Buffer – The Answer To Your Social Media Woes
As someone who freaks out when she loses her to-do list, Buffer was an amazing discovery. It can be very time consuming and very confusing to try and keep social media efforts straight, so I can only assume that Buffer was created to try and calm down the organization-freaks like me.
Even if scheduling is not your obsession in life, chances are you understand the importance of scheduling when it comes to Twitter.
If you have a Twitter account for your business as well as a personal Twitter account, it can be tough to remember when you last tweeted, what you last tweeted, and where you last tweeted it. Many people use Twitter dashboards such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule tweets, but even this can be an overwhelming task.
You are still the one responsible for deciding when to schedule a tweet and making sure all of your schedules don’t overlap. These dashboards are wonderful when it comes to laying out all of your Twitter activity side by side, but the scheduling simply isn’t ideal.
Buffer, however, is a website that solves this problem. Buffer is a new way for businesses and individuals to help keep their tweets organized as well as help people tweet at the most opportune times based on their followers. The website was created by Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich in January 2011, and it has already grabbed the attention of over 70,000 tweeters.
How to Get Started With Buffer in 3 Easy Steps
Buffer works in a few different ways: First, Buffer can be particularly great for those who are either starting a business or are simply hoping to promote specific content. It allows a user to go into their Buffer for five minutes in the morning, plug in all of their tweets, and then the service will tweet them out at a scheduled time.
Second, Buffer works well for those who are surfing around the web and see something they want to tweet. Instead of tweeting it at that very moment, they can just throw it into their Buffer and then the service will tweet the message for them. Think of it this way: If you come across a great article at 4am, what’s the point of sharing it with your sleeping friends?
Below explains exactly how the system works and how you can get started in three easy steps:
Step #1: Sign up for Buffer
Signing up for Buffer is very easy. Your first account is completely free. All you have to do is visit Bufferapp.com and give your email address and choose a password. It’s really that easy! Once you have signed up for an account you have the option of upgrading your account to manage more than one Twitter name.
Step #2: Visit your Buffer dashboard and consider creating a schedule
Once you have a Buffer account, you will be taken to your Buffer dashboard. The dashboard will show you exactly which tweets you have scheduled and when they are scheduled to go live. However, it is up to you when you want to schedule your tweets. You can go up to the “settings” tool-bar and then create your custom tweet schedule.
Once your schedule is setup, that will be your schedule every day! If you want to tweet something immediately, it’s best to go right into your Twitter and do so. However, Buffer is a great way to make sure your tweets are spread out throughout the day. You can see an example of my tweet schedule below.
Step #3: Set up a Buffer Extension and add tweets for sharing
Setting up a Buffer extension will allow you to click the Buffer icon at any point in time. Some websites have actually included a little Buffer sharing icon next to the Twitter sharing icon, but the extension will allow you to have this luxury even if the website is behind on the Buffer phenomenon.
Once you have downloaded the extension, a little sharing icon will pop up on either the top of bottom of your screen. Whenever you’re visiting an article that you’d like to tweet, just click on the icon. A screen will pop up just as it does when you are using Twitter sharing icons. The only difference: Instead of tweeting at that exact moment you will tweet at a scheduled time. Consider the screen-shot below:
All I did was click on the Buffer extension on the top right hand corner and then a screen popped up. I clicked “Add to Buffer” and now the article will tweet at a scheduled time. Although I am only using one Twitter account, you can add more by clicking the “ADD” button that you will see next to my profile picture.
Extra Buffer Noteworthy Features
The tool also offers a few unique features that go beyond the scheduling perks including analytics, personalized tweets, and the ability to create a schedule for you that will allow you to tweet at the most opportune times according to your followers Twitter activity.
- Analytics – You can check out how many people will potentially see your tweet in your Buffer dashboard by clicking “analytics” (imagine that). If someone re-tweets your tweet, you will see your analytics go up. The dashboard will also show you how many people clicked on your tweet once they tweet has gone live. Below is an example from my dashboard.
- Personalized tweets – You can highlight a section of an article and then click your Buffer sharing app to create a custom tweet. Whatever you highlighted will show up as your tweet!
- Custom scheduling – Buffer works together with a site called Social Bro to help you determine when the most optimal time is for you to be tweeting. The free service will look through your followers and determine when—day of the week, time of day—they are most active on Twitter. Once the tool determines these numbers, you can sink them with Buffer so that your schedule it tweeting at the exact right times.
Although it may seem a bit complicated just reading through the review, it is actually extremely simple to figure out. It should take you no more than probably ten minutes to get going with Buffer, and I think you will find that it will save you loads of time each day.
Are you willing to give it a try or are you confident and satisfied enough with the tools you use currently? Which are these and what features are you missing?
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to 401k limits. She writes for an on-line resource that gives advice on topics including small business loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.