Upon first glance, you may think that StackRoll is another service that’s eligible for a hit-and-run; you know those beta services that you sign up for to try out, leave after 5 minutes, and then never think about or return again. Well, it’s definitely not that type of service. This is one that you’ll want to keep in your bookmarks for safe keeping.
StackRoll is currently in open beta and though the UI is more geared toward mobile devices (it looks great on my iPad), it’s very functional on the desktop as well. One of my favorite tools for scheduling tweets is Buffer, which I reviewed here a few months back, but StackRoll may just take its place! StackRoll is much different from Buffer because instead of adding tweets with an extension or bookmarklet, you have to manually enter them. In this way it lets you build a “stack” that you can then “roll” out to your followers at the time and interval specified by you.
Let’s take a closer look.
Since you can add more than one Twitter account to StackRoll, when creating a stack you’ll need to choose which account you’d like to post from. You can also enter a name for your stack or keep the default. It’s best to enter your own name here just so that you have a general idea of the type of content you have in that stack (you’ll see why later). Lastly, you’ll need to specify how many tweets you plan to have in your stack; the maximum amount you can have is 30 tweets. Also, you can always add more later if what you specify is not enough.
When you click on the “Generate Forms” button, you’ll see a number of status boxes listed on the page where you enter your tweet text. So if you chose to have 10 tweets for your stack, you’ll see 10 boxes here. There is a button at the bottom that will let you shorten your URLs all at once (though it was not working for me at the time of writing this). When you’re done, you must then click on “Create Your Stack.”
I took the time to go through my Google Reader account to find links worth sharing and it took a good 30 – 45 minutes. This can actually be a huge inconvenience to those who don’t have the time or are just too lazy. On the other hand, if you take out an hour each week to do this, you can really save yourself some time for the rest of the week! Either way, there definitely needs to be a more convenient way to add tweets to your stacks – if possible.
Once you have all of your stacks together, you can choose to add more tweets (if you’re not at your maximum of 30) or go to the next step, which is scheduling. Thankfully this is less time-consuming because you don’t have to schedule each tweet individually: you simply schedule the entire stack as a whole.
To get started, first pick a date and time that you’d like to publish your stack. Then you’ll be able to choose a tweet interval (the amount of time to wait in between tweets). This ranges from 5 minutes all the way up to 1 day. If you have a stack of 30 tweets, it’s probably not smart to choose anything under an hour because you’ll end up bombarding and annoying your followers. On the other hand, if you choose something like 6 – 12 hours, you’ll have tweets for days!
Once you click on “Roll Your Stack” you’ll be able to see the potential publishing schedule for your tweets, complete with date and time! Depending on the interval you choose for your tweets, your stack may span over a single day or several days. I chose to do 6 hours between a stack of 15 and that gave me 4 days worth of tweets!
So this is why creating different stacks with unique names can really come in handy. You can have one stack with conversational tweets, another with links to articles and web pages within your niche, and another with quotes or words of wisdom. Each stack can then have their own schedule. Best of all, this is all free (for now anyway).
Even though adding tweets to your stacks can be time-consuming, StackRoll is a very useful tool that can help you build your following on Twitter and add more value to your timeline. It’s a known fact that users who are more active on Twitter have more followers and are considered more valuable since they are constantly sharing great content.
Be careful though, don’t think that you can just go create and schedule stacks and never visit your Twitter account again! You still should interact with your followers, retweet, and engage where you can. StackRoll is just there to assist you so that your account doesn’t sit idle for too long on days when you’re too busy and don’t have the time to tweet.
You may also want to take advantage of the free beta while you can because you never know how long it will be free. Services like this usually add paid subscriptions once they come out of beta.
What are your thoughts on StackRoll?