Buffer is one of the many automated social media posting tools out there. We have been using it for a while now, and a recent development has pushed it up in my estimations. So here is the what, how and why of the brilliance of Buffer.
Buffer lets you line up a series of posts to your various social media accounts so that you can maintain regular activity without actually having to log on to Twitter and get distracted every couple of hours.
It also lets you share interesting content that you’ve stumbled across with the push of a button to save all the copy, pasting and link shortening that you would otherwise do manually.
There are two types of Buffer:
- The free version, which restricts you to only one account per supported social media site, only 10 posts queued up at a time and a limited ability to alter the timings of posts by day.
- The ‘awesome’ version is $10 per month and, in my opinion, is worth it. Especially for businesses. It lets you have multiple accounts linked up (up to 12), you can add team members who can manage accounts, more variability on the schedule and unlimited space for backed up posts.
- There are also other options available for larger companies and agencies.
Buffer comes in several forms:
- The website itself, where you can create, schedule and move posts around as well as access analytics (I’ll get to those).
- The Buffer button, which you can download to your browser window, means if you are reading a fascinating article on the New York Times website that you think your network would want to read, you just press the button and it brings up a little box where you can alter the message, choose which accounts to send it to and schedule or share now. Once it’s done, you’re still on the original site with your article.
- The mobile app offers the same functionality as the site, but on the go.
- If you are actually on, say Twitter, and want to re-tweet a great post, there is also a Buffer button added in there, so you can edit the RT, or schedule it for later.
As well as convenience, Buffer also comes with some nifty bits of info, including an analytics tab for each social media profile you have linked up.
- It tells you how many clicks, mentions, retweets or shares you’ve had on each post.
- You get ‘top posts’ based on the levels of interaction compared with your other content.
- It also tells you how big your potential audience was for each post.
Finally, scheduling, which with the paid version allows you to set how many posts go out each day and at what times. You can have different settings for each profile and for each day of the week.
So why do I think Buffer is brilliant? It’s just so clean, simple and easy to use. You can drag and drop posts to re-order them, line up a post for all your Twitter accounts with the necessary hashtags, then line up a post from the same article with a different message for Facebook or LinkedIn. Plus, $10 will hardly break the bank, and will be made up quickly by the amount of time and faffing it saves you.
They have also just announced that you can link up to Google+ profiles as well, which is a major boost for them.
There are, as with anything, a couple of drawbacks though.
- You cannot yet link up to Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Company Pages or Groups. (This is why we still use Hootsuite too). But they do say they are working on it.
- Sometimes content does not like pulling through for Facebook and LinkedIn posts, where normally there is a picture and short description. This may not be a fault with Buffer, but with those sites, but usually they do still pull through on Hootsuite.
Everything technological comes with a few niggles, and for me it’s worth putting up with Buffer’s, especially as they have such a proactive and positive attitude to fixing and perfecting their app.