If there’s one social media management tool that you absolutely cannot live without, what would it be?
For me, that’s Buffer.
I first discovered Buffer not through their software but through their awesome blog. The folks at Buffer do in-depth, well-researched articles about marketing and life hacks, and more than a year ago, I came across one of their posts. I read their blog posts religiously, and after a few weeks, I was intrigued so I finally tried their software. To this day, the Buffer blog is one of my favorite corporate blogs around.
But Buffer not only has a great blog—they also have a great product. And if you’re serious about having a decent social media presence, you absolutely must use it. I use it to maintain my personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. And for me, Buffer is more than just a social media scheduling service.
Whether you’re a Buffer newbie or a regular user, here are some tips and tricks you should try today.
1. Use Followerwonk to set your optimal time for tweeting.
If you’re wondering what’s the optimal time to tweet and to post to Facebook, you’ll find many studies about that on the web. But if you want to be more accurate, your best bet is to look at your own followers and figure out when they are online.
Thanks to its integration with Followerwonk, Buffer can help with that. Simply go to Followerwonk, log in (you’ll need to sign up, if this is your first time), click “Analyze followers” and put your own handle. You’ll see a bar chart that shows when your followers are most active online. Underneath the chart is a “Schedule at buffer” button—just click that, allow the integration, and you’re set!
2. Install the browser extensions.
The Buffer website is great because it’s intuitive and easy to use. You can go there and know exactly what you’re supposed to do. But if you want to add articles to your queue directly from a publisher’s website, the Buffer browser extensions can help with that.
The extensions are easy to install, and they’re handy. They’re available for all major browsers (or at least the browsers that matter.) Once you’ve installed the extension, you’ll see the Buffer button on your browser as well as on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks for easy sharing.
3. Buffer your retweets.
Ever wish you could schedule a retweet? Most of my retweets happen in real time, but sometimes I like to buffer them. For example, if people have been sharing my blog posts and LinkedIn articles and I want to retweet those shares, scheduling my retweets will make sure I don’t flood my followers’ feeds.
With Buffer, you can easily schedule your retweets. Simply go to Twitter.com and open the tweet. Look for the Buffer button under the tweet. Voila!
4. Download the mobile and tablet apps.
Buffer isn’t only great on desktop: it’s also a great way of sharing while you’re on the go. I have it on my phone and my iPad.
The apps have the major features you’ll find on the website. You can buffer posts, see content suggestions and view analytics.
Several apps integrate well with Buffer (see next tip), but the Buffer app is handy when sharing links and photos from apps that aren’t partnered with Buffer. For example, when I see an awesome article on Flipboard, I copy the link (by pressing the “tweet” button or by copying the link directly) and then pasting it to Buffer.
5. Buffer from your favourite apps.
Feedly is, hands down, one of the best RSS readers post-Google Reader. And thankfully, it’s integrated with Buffer. That means when I read an article on Feedly that I want to tweet about, adding it to my Buffer queue is pretty darn easy.
In addition to Feedly, Buffer integrates with other apps and websites, including IFTTT, Commun.it and Reeder.
6. Learn from your own analytics.
I love that Buffer’s analytics tool is very visual. You’ll see your top tweets right away and how many re-tweets, favorites and clicks your posts got.
Analytics are available on the website as well as the apps, so you can check your numbers anywhere. Use these numbers to see which type of content your community is responding to. You can also use analytics to identify posts that you should re-buffer. (See next tip.)
7. Re-buffer your best posts.
This is one tactic that even experienced marketers aren’t doing very often yet. If you know a tweet was successful once, try posting about it again.
Why should you re-buffer your posts? Remember that only a fraction of your followers usually see your tweets. So by posting a successful tweet again, you’re exposing the content to a new audience. Also, re-buffering gives you more content to share, which is important if you want to save time.
To re-buffer your posts, simply visit the analytics section of Buffer, look for a top post, hover your mouse to the lower, right hand side of that post, and then click the “Re-buffer this post” link.
8. Check out content suggestions.
Finding quality content is often the most time-consuming part of maintaining a social media presence. Believe me, I know. Even if I’m a full-time social media marketer, I also experience this. If social media is just a small slice of your job, content curation can be a big time suck.
Thankfully, Buffer can help. Earlier this year, they’ve added a “content suggestions” feature to surface articles you might want to post about.
What I like about these suggestions is that they often come with photos. That’s helpful because the ideal Twitter post should have a photo. (More on that below.)
Just a word of caution: While Buffer does a great job of curating awesome content,you should still read the articles before adding them to your queue. It’s simply good practice to read everything before you tweet—plus, you’ll never know if there’s something in the article that you don’t agree with.
9. Buffer images.
You’ve probably already read this before: Photos increase engagement on social media. Many people are visual, and photos stand out on many networks.
On Buffer, it’s easy to share images. Once you’ve downloaded the browser extension, you’ll see a “Share image” link at the lower, right hand side of an image when you’re on a website. Alternatively, you can right click an image and click “Buffer this image.”
10. Use Buffer to schedule your updates
Did you know that just like Hootsuite, you can use Buffer to specify when a social media update should go out? This is handy when you want to buffer content but you don’t necessarily want it to go out next from your queue. For example, if I have a new blog post and I’m scheduling tweets to promote it throughout the day, I may want later updates to go out at specific times. I can do that with Buffer.
To do this, just click the drop box where it normally says “Add to Queue.” Select “Schedule Post,” and then specify the day and time when the update should go out.
11. Buffer directly from Safari, Chrome and other apps.
Here’s a nifty Buffer functionality for iOS users: Try buffering posts directly from Safari or other integrated app that supports the native iOS menu. This is a handy tool if you opening links from your email on your phone through Safari.
You’ll need to enable this feature if you’ve never used it, but it’s pretty easy:
- Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the share button.
- Swipe the top row, and tap more.
- Enable “Buffer.”
- Move “Buffer” to the top of the list.
- Tap Done.
Once this is enabled, just click the share button, and you should see the option to share via Buffer.
How are you using Buffer to optimize your social media efficiency?
These are just some of the tips I’ve been using to take full advantage of Buffer. The best part: All of these tips are doable under Buffer’s free account.
What Buffer tips would you add to the list?