Posting fresh content on Twitter consistently can be time consuming. And the potential distractions of social media are even more costly.
You’ve likely thought about scheduling your Twitter posts before. Doing the work in advance and switching on autopilot would make your life so much easier, right?
The main problem is the best features of scheduling services are paid.
We want to uncover a way for the average individual to create a professional Twitter content schedule for free, including tweets with photos. It’s been shown by engagement numbers that posts with images outperform text only.
Here’s the Best Part…
You can automatically reuse each scheduled tweet, so your hard work finding great links and promoting your content isn’t dispatched once and then forgotten.
You will be able to repeat a tweet every couple days, weeks or months. This means you can spend a couple days to schedule tweets for the rest of the year (and beyond).
Feel free to add this to your list of services for clients, combining Twitter scheduling with contests or marketing campaigns.
If you are short on time, download the 1-page PDF with the steps to make this happen…
Here is my ultimate guide to scheduling recurring tweets for free:
Below are the services we are going to string together to achieve our goal.
STEP 1 – Create and Setup Your Accounts
At this point, I’m going to assume you have a Twitter account. If not, now is the time to create one!
A Gmail account will give you access to Google Calendar. This is what we’re going to use to schedule tweets.
Next, sign up for Buffer and connect your Twitter account. With Buffer, you create a posting schedule and select the times to send out tweets each day. Using the free plan, you are allowed up to 10 tweets in your Buffer.
Finally, setup your IFTTT account, and activate the Buffer channel. When you do this, you must link one specific social media account within Buffer (in this case, Twitter).
STEP 2 – Create a New Google Calendar
I recommend creating a new calendar specifically for scheduling Twitter posts. I named mine “Buffer Twitter Posts”.
When you have this setup, go back to IFTTT and activate the Google Calendar channel using this newly created calendar instead of your default Gmail calendar.
STEP 3 – Create Recipe on IFTTT for Text-Only Posts
With all your accounts setup, you are ready to put the connections in place.
In IFTTT, you create “recipes” to automate tasks between popular services. Our recipe will link Google Calendar to Buffer.
All of your tweets will be setup within Google Calendar, and they are sent to your Buffer queue automatically.
Buffer then posts your tweets to Twitter according to its posting schedule settings.
Is this cool or what?
Our first recipe is for text-only Twitter posts. We are going to separate these from photo posts since the recipes are a bit different.
Select “Create a Recipe” within IFTTT.
Click the big, underlined “this” button, and search for Google Calendar to select your trigger channel.
Then we want to select “Event from search starts” as the trigger.
In the next step, you choose a tag to use within each GCal event which will separate your text-only posts from photo upload posts.
You can see in the screenshot below that I went with “regposts”. You can choose anything you’d like, just make sure your tag is unique so you don’t get duplicate tweets. We’ll dig into how to use these tags once we move onto Google Calendar.
Now the “if” part of the recipe is handled. We need to add the “that”, which in our case is Buffer.
Click the “that” link (what a weird sentence).
Search for Buffer and select for your action channel.
Choose the action “Add to Buffer”. You can see this is why we are creating separate recipes for simple posts and photo posts.
By default, the Buffer update will include the “Title” from the Google Calendar event. We want to delete this and use the “Description” field instead.
Click within the text box and click the “flask” button that appears in the top-right.
Choose “Description” from the drop-down menu and then click the “Add Ingredient” button.
Now you can click the “Create Action” button.
Verify what you’ve just done and hit the “Create Recipe” button – that’s it!
STEP 4 – Create Recipe on IFTTT for Posts with Photos
This is very similar to the process listed above, with a couple minor changes.
On the “Complete Trigger Fields” page, we need to select another unique tag for photo posts. As you can see, I’ve used “pixposts”.
Then after adding Buffer, choose “Add photo to Buffer” when you arrive at the “Choose an Action” step.
Use the Google Calendar “Description” for the Buffer “Description” field (same as above), and for the Buffer “Photo URL” field, we want to connect that with the Google Calendar “Where” field.
That is it folks, we are all systems go. It’s now time to fill your social pipeline with content.
Let’s move onto Google Calendar…
STEP 5 – Setup Tweets on Google Calendar
Each Google Calendar event represents one tweet. Let’s create our first event on the correct calendar.
Here is the checklist:
- Update “Title” and include your search tag (photo or text-only)
- Select date & time to add to Buffer
- Make start and end time the same
- Select repeat frequency
- FOR IMAGES ONLY: Past photo URL in “Where” field
- Choose your Buffer + Twitter Calendar
- Write your tweet text, hashtags and links within “Description” field
The next time you schedule a tweet, you can copy an existing event under the “More Actions” dropdown menu to use the same settings.
Using this method, you can schedule up to 10 tweets each day with the free Buffer plan.
The biggest win, by far, is the Google calendar repeat scheduling feature to automatically recycle your tweets every couple days, weeks or months.
By repeating forever, you are creating a never-ending content schedule that you can continuously build upon.
As long as the aforementioned services work as advertised, you’ll have a Twitter machine running each and every day.
STEP 6 – Plan Content Schedule
With your system in place, let’s take it a step further and categorize your content.
Here’s an example of how you can sort your social media updates. Keep in mind that you want to tweet your own content about 20-40% of the time. The end goal is traffic back to your website.
- Post 1 Personality Status Update (Instagram, Music, etc.)
- Post 2 Links to Your Original Content
- Post 2 Helpful Articles by Others – @mention if applicable
- Post 1 Helpful Tool, Service or Book – @mention if applicable
- Post 1 Helpful Quote – @mention if applicable
- Repeat Posting Steps Above
I am building a library of tweets using the categories above, and saving them to a spreadsheet on Google Drive.
You can also use a tool like Feedly to curate blog posts from your favorite websites.
People publish their IFTTT recipes, so search other social media networks and channels to see what interesting combinations you find.
One example is saving all tweets you schedule on Buffer to a Google Drive spreadsheet. Instead of manually building a spreadsheet, let IFTTT do it for you!
I love taking advantage of technology in this way. Saving keystrokes, and therefore time, on mundane tasks gives you freedom to explore more important things that pique your interest.
Ready to put this in action? Download the 1-page PDF recap of the steps to automate your Twitter account.