How do you spread out your tweets throughout the day? Do you consciously choose when to send what, or are you more of a spontaneous tweeters?

Spontaneity, if it’s who you are, is a great thing. However, it can lead to a Twitter account that is “blotchy” – lots of activity clustered together in the span of an hour or so, and then radio-silence for the rest of the day.

Any business or professional Twitter account should make an effort to plan out their tweets – at least some of the time. And the 70/30 Rule will help you get there.

The 70/30 Rule is a general rule of thumb that I like to recommend to businesses and individuals that are new to Twitter. It allows for businesses to do a little self-promotion, without bombarding their followers with too many overt marketing messages – which will ultimately scare them all away.

Here’s how it works:

70 percent of the time, you should tweet others’ content. 30 percent of the time, you should tweet your own, branded or promotional, content.

This means that the majority of the time, you’re looking for content to share with your followers that is not created by your brand. That could include things like interesting blog posts, news articles, photos, videos… content from around the web that’s produced by others.

There are two major benefits to this strategy:

1: You’re sharing information that is useful to your audience. They’ll soon realize your account is one of value, not marketing messages.

2: You’re sharing information that is produced by others in your industry. This could lead to potential partnerships, or even just putting your brand on the radar of Twitter accounts that you want to interact with in the future.

Of course, if you’re a business, you want to use your Twitter account to promote your business. If you’re a job seeker, you want to use it to network with potential employers and headhunters. Likely, you have a reason for using Twitter that’s not necessarily all about sharing information – and that’s okay. That’s where the 30 percent comes in.

Fewer than half of your tweets, about 30 percent, can be marketing, promotional, or branded content. You can tweet about your latest product launch, a new blog post from your CEO, a coupon, a last-minute deal. Use this 30 percent to let your audience know how great you are – and because the vast majority of your content is actually useful and not self-promotional, they’ll believe you.

Over time, I find that brands will even reduce that 30 percent to 25 or 20 percent, because they see surprising, significant value from sharing non-promotional content.

We’ve written before about using data to create a tweet calendar that will keep your Twitter content organized and on-topic, as well as repurposing content to stretch the usefulness of the articles, videos and photos you tweet. These are very useful tactics that – in conjunction with the 70/30 Rule – can help you maintain your Twitter presence with the least amount of work for the most reward.

(70/30 image via Shutterstock.)