If you run a Social Media account for a blog, a business or a campaign, then this post will help you drastically reduce the time spent spent on this task. One of the reasons most often given by small business owners for not having a social media presence, or for giving it up, is the time spent scheduling and tracking posts and replying to updates. Help is at hand, via a nifty little app called BUFFER!
It is my absolute favourite tool for managing social media accounts, and I always recommend it. Buffer schedules updates for a variety of Social Media accounts. Here are the functions that set it apart from every other social media scheduling site.
Affordable Simple Pricing … for any Budget
If you are running a campaign, or on a tight budget, you can use their free plan. This does limit you a little bit, eg if you want to integrate more than one Twitter account, or if you’d like to share the running of the account with someone else. The most limiting part of the free plan is that you can only schedule 10 updates at a time. I like to schedule updates for the whole week, so have taken a step up to the Awesome Plan.
This is a really great option for small businesses or campaigns. you can assign more than one person to update the account, and schedule many more posts at a time. The RSS feed is quite handy – more to that later. The Awesome Plan also enables you to vary posting times throughout the week.
The Browser Extension
I use Chrome, but there are extensions for Safari, Safari, Opera and Firefox. You can either use right click to post (see below) or even use the Buffer button on various websites, e.g. you can Buffer Retweets on Twitter, so that you aren’t RTing a whole load at once. I also use this when photos have right click disabled.
To Buffer or Not to Buffer?
One of the great options on Buffer, is to use the automatic scheduling system. This means that instead of setting a time when you want the update to be posted, you allow Buffer to schedule it for you. On the Awesome Plan, you can select how often you wish to post. If more of your customers are online in the evenings or weekends, this means that you are more likely to reach them. It is estimated that the lifespan of a tweet is around 18 minutes, i.e. your followers will probably not scroll back far enough on their timeline to see what you have posted hours ago. Regular updates are necessary to give you the chance of reaching as many followers as possible.
Add to Queue = Add to the end of Buffer queue
Share Next = Add to Buffer queue, ready to post next
Share Now = Post update immediately
Schedule Post = Select date and time to post update
I use the Buffer schedule to post interesting content, e.g. other blogs or news reports that I think my followers will be interested in, and the Schedule Post facility to share my own blog posts.
Right Click to Share Photos and Text
This is my absolute favourite function. It is so easy and effective. It is known that engagement from followers on Twitter increases when a photo is shared. Using the Buffer browser extension, you can right click on a photo to schedule it. You can also highlight a section of text to share. And the pièce de résistance – you can combine these tricks to post both photo and text!
Simply highlight the text that you wish to share, then right click on it to Buffer that text – or right click on the image to Buffer image and text.
There is evidence that sharing a photo like this on Facebook may lower engagement, as Facebook’s algorithms favour the automatically chosen thumbnail, so keep this for Twitter.
Schedule Series of Posts
When you schedule a post, you can use the Simple Composer or the New Scheduler – this is a really handy tool when you are scheduling shares of a new blog post. You can select from the predefined schedule, or add your own individual time slot. Simply select ‘save’ on each section then Add All Updates to Queue.
Reshare Popular Posts
This is what happens when your tweet is RTed by Richard Dawkins, by the way! Scroll down your Analytics column and you will see the updates marked TOP TWEET. You can then just drag and drop them to reshare – either from the same account, or from one of your other accounts.
Suggestions and RSS Feeds
One of the time consuming things about running a social media account is finding good content to share. Buffer has a ‘Suggestions’ column – you can choose which type of suggestions you’d like to view. For more personalised content, you can add RSS feeds of your favourite blogs and websites. Just drag and drop the content into your Buffer.
Check out this video of a Buffer-hosted webinar for more tips and tricks