Buffer is another of the tools I use daily and honestly I don’t know what I would do without it, well actually I do: what I would do is spend a great deal more of my time planning and posting across my various personal and professional accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and app.net etc. and consequently a lot less other work.
As a small charity or non profit is all too common to find your ‘comms dept’ under a great deal of pressure, Even more so with the continuing rise in influence of channels like Twitter and Facebook to distribute your message and maintain conversation; and more importantly the need to be constantly ‘on the ball’ within these services. Buffer is a free service that will go a long way to reducing the amount of time necessary to maintain a healthy stream of information from your organisation across multiple social media channels.
At a basic level buffer is an application to queue up posts for twitter and/ or Facebook – this means you can continue to send out content, engaging with your followers at times throughout the day or night when you might be otherwise occupied. This is no substitution for actual human interaction and conversation of course but it does mean thatpeoplewont forget about you. Another advantage is that you won’t irritate your followers by bombarding them with a barrage of posts all at once – one of the top reasons cited for unfollowing an account on twitter is ‘too many tweets’ when I think more accurately this could be rephrased: ‘so many tweets in such a short space of time that it took over my timeline’. Then you can go to the web interface or log into the app on your phone or tablet and drag and drop to rearrange the order and/or times you want these tweets to go out ~ or just leave them to come out in the order you have posted them – here is a complete guide to the web app.
The real advantage of Buffer though comes from its integration. There are browser extensions that will give an instant add to buffer for whatever web page you are on, it also inegrates with twitter’s own web interface giving you the ability to buffer retweets. Buffer also plugs into other services: RSS readers e.g. Mr Reader, reeder; social media readers like flip book; Stat and tracking services like Tweriod (to find out when is best to tweet) as well as into your email client so you can email tweets straight to your buffer – check out the available extras here:
Real world application
Here are a few use cases to put this into context:
- I’m on the train going through twitter on my phone and see five tweets that deserve a RT so I clck add to buffer so they don’t all go out at once and flood
- I’m looking through my RSS feeds on my laptop first thing in the morning and see a couple of stories I want to share – but I know that not many people are on twitter this early so I add them to buffer to queue them up for later in the day
- I want to link to the same piece of content at different times of the day or on different days so that the majority of my followers will see the link regardless of thier timezone or when they are online. Hopefully this will also increase my click troughs and shares.
There are loads more hacks, tips and tricks to increase your productivity buffer put out a really good post at the end of last year which is definitely worth a read :
Got an iPhone? Have a look at this vid for a tour of the iphone app
And the stats I haven’t even mentioned the reporting – go ahead and demonstrate some ROI why don’t ya?
This post turned out loads longer than I meant and I have barely scratched the surface but I think I have praised it enough so give it a go, see what you think and leave me a comment to let me know how it went….
AND – if you are already using Buffer please leave your tips in the comments for others to read - and share it up : )