I bet you hear this word a lot. Buffer this and Buffer that. And I bet you've always wanted to know what the hype is all about. I mean, it can't be that good - can it? Well my dear readers, that's what I'm here to talk to you about today. As a tried, tested and loyal user of this tool, I'm here to give you the lowdown on:
• What it is
• How you use it
• Why it's so great
• Why you should be using it
As of January 2015, Buffer had more than 2,000,000 registered users (source). I myself, have been using it for nearly two years. In all my time since I started using the Internet and all it has to offer, I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best tools that has ever been created.
If you run a blog or small business, chances are you use social media. That means you want to keep your different platforms updated with great information. Social media channels are such a great way to engage with your audience, promote yourself and your business, and share your knowledge and interests on a particular subject. These platforms are available for us to utilise, and it's only right that we make the most of them. If you're anything like me, you love spending time on social media. But you've got a life. You don't want to be taking a break ever hour to share your latest blog post or a link to an article you like. So the question is, what do you do?
Whether you're just starting to learn about social media or you use it all the time, this is a tool that will transform the way you manage your online platforms.
"Buffer is a new and smarter way to share what you want to share on Social Media. It’s like your magic box you can use anytime to fill with great Tweets, Facebook stories or LinkedIn updates. Just drop them in and you don’t have to ever worry about when it will be posted, it’s all taken care of for you."
Buffer is a scheduling tool. It allows you to schedule content with links and images to be distributed at certain times throughout the day. You can choose from social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
How Does It Work?
If you create a free account, Buffer allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook page or profile, LinkedIn and Google+ account. In total, you can have up to ten updates stored in your buffer, or schedule. If you pay for an account it's $10 a month. This gives you unlimited use of your buffer account and you can schedule as many updates as you want. Currently, I have a free account, as I update my feed every evening ready for the next day. But I'm always very tempted to upgrade and know many people who have done so.
When it comes to scheduling, there aren't specific times you have to abide to. Buffer allows you to create your own schedule. So if you know you want to send out eight tweets per day, you can schedule all these updates to go out at a certain time on each day of the week. You can pick the optimal times to get your content out there. During the week, you can fill your social media feeds with content, and just sprinkle a few updates at the weekend when you're not as active, yet still want to keep things updated. For more help on this, Lauren from Elle & Company created a great infographic - just click here to view it.
Your own schedule can also be made unique to each social media account that you connect. So you can schedule more updates for your Twitter profile, because you'll be more active on there. But your Facebook could have fewer automatic updates at slightly different times of the day.
To start your schedule, all you need to do is go to the timer icon on the app and click 'new schedule'.
Once you've got your schedule sorted (or if you don't have one that's fine too), you can start scheduling updates. If you have a schedule, every time you set an update to go out, it will list and get ready to be distributed at the next available time in your schedule. For instance, if you schedule an update from your account at 4pm and the next free time on your schedule is 5pm, the update will be sent out at 5pm. Whereas if you don't have a schedule set up, you can just schedule your updates for whatever time you like. Then you just leave Buffer to work its magic.
Why Is It So Good?
One of the features I love most about Buffer is its analytics. For each tweet you send out, it gives you a breakdown of data, including reach, favourites, retweets, mentions and clicks. It's great to see which of your content is gaining the most traction, and it's also great for analysing your headlines, and the way you form each tweet. Recently I shared one blog post I'd written, How To Create The Best LinkedIn Profile Ever (Part 1), on two consecutive days of the week. One tweet looked like this:
That got four clicks.
The next day, I shared the same post, with the same image, but a different headline. It looked like this:
That got thirteen clicks.
So just because I used a different headline meant I got nearly three times the amount of clicks. That's what your Buffer analytics can tell you. You can see what topics your audience likes the best, what times of day you reach the most engagement and who is actually interacting with your tweets. But not only does it give you stats for Twitter. You get to see analytics for all the other social media channels you have connected too.
For me, Buffer is really useful for sharing other content. Everyday, I make an effort to share content I've loved from different writers and bloggers. But sometimes I might come across one during the day and I'll think, where can I put this so I'll remember to share it for tomorrow? Now, I just add it to my Buffer and it's ready to go. You can also install the extension, so whenever you're on an article on the web, just click on the Buffer icon and you can add it to your schedule in no time.
The Latest Update
While I was writing the content for this post, the Buffer team introduced a new update. Pinterest. Yep, these two great tools have partnered together to make scheduling pins possible. You can trial it for free for a while on a free account but then you'll need to upgrade. It sounds super cool.
What You Think
I reached out on Twitter and asked the question: can anyone give me a quote about how much they love Buffer?
Here's what you said:
I'd love to know, are you a fan of Buffer? How long have you been using it for?
Wondering how to be found online?