Buffer Social Media Management

Do you want to connect with fans, followers and admirers? Are you looking for an easy way to share your content across multiple social media platforms? Do you want to manage all of this without being overwhelmed? If so, then you need to download Buffer, a social media management tool.

If you are looking to improve your social media marketing strategy and management but do not have the time to do the social media updates, then Buffer is one of the best tools for you. Buffer can update your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts easily.

What is Buffer?

Clearly, Buffer is a social media management tool or we wouldn’t be talking about it in this context, but what does that mean, really?

  1. Any social media management tool worth its salt has to be able to post status updates to social networks. What’s more, it should support multiple social networks.
  2. A good social media management tool should support scheduling of updates to whatever networks that tool supports, and which allow scheduling.
  3. Ideally, the social media management tool will provide insight into the effectiveness of your social media activity.

A Quick History of Buffer

In 2010, that’s what Joel and Leo, the co-founders of Buffer, set out to do. They started with Twitter, and offered a tool that was designed to allow users to share tweets and schedule them in advance.

Over time, they added support for multiple networks, analytics to review performance (including a great weekly email delivered to your inbox), and have continued to enhance their already outstanding scheduling ability.

With Buffer, social media posting on a consistent basis is a lot easier – which is a key success factor in business.

Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll dig into how to use Buffer. This will include all of the specific features and functions Buffer offers, and demonstrate why they’re special.

What Social Networks Does Buffer Support?

While Buffer may have started with Twitter, it’s quickly grown to support all of the major networks, as well as many of the different kinds of profiles for different networks.

  • Twitter: Buffer supports Twitter and multiple Twitter accounts. Since Twitter makes no distinction between personal or business profiles, if you want a separate Twitter handle for your business, you simply create a second account.
  • Facebook: Buffer supports both Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages, which means you can schedule status updates for both your personal and your business Facebook accounts.
  • LinkedIn: Buffer supports personal LinkedIn profiles as well as LinkedIn company pages.
  • Pinterest: You can connect your Pinterest account and schedule pins to any of your boards. While this includes shared boards in addition to your normal boards, secret boards are not yet supported.

For more information, read our article on Pinterest vs Instagram for Business.

So with a Buffer account, you can schedule posts to any or all of those social networks, including both personal and business profiles for the platforms that allow it.

But what is all of that connectivity going to cost you?

How Much Does Buffer Cost?

There are three plans, Pro, Premium, and Business – in addition to the free option.

The free option is really just an unlimited trial in which you can check out Buffer for as long as you need, but is really limited in overall capacity. You can only connect to one profile per social platform and schedule 10 status updates.

Pro Plan $15/month

is what most solopreneurs and businesses need. With it, and for just $15/month, you can:

  • Connect up to 8 social profiles
  • Schedule up to 100 status updates at any given time
  • Connect up to 15 RSS feeds to each social profile
  • Use 1 team member
  • Basic analytics*

Premium Plan $65/month

  • Connect up to 8 social profiles
  • Schedule up to 2,000 status updates
  • Connect up to 15 RSS feeds to each social profile
  • Use 2 team members
  • Basic analytics*

Business Plan Starting at $99/month

  • 25 / 50 / 150 social profiles
  • 5 / 10 / 25 team members
  • 2,000 scheduled status updates
  • Rich analytics

We’ll dig into the differences in analytics later on, to help you determine which plan is best for you.

How To Start Using Buffer

If you haven’t already, head over to Buffer and create your account.

Buffer supports “single sign on” which means you can use one of your existing social network profiles to get started, and I certainly recommend that. It makes logging into Buffer ten times faster and easier.

So use whichever network you’re typically logged into. (Just remember which one you used, and make sure all of your social profiles use strong, secure passwords.)

buffer-social-media-signup-page-screencap

Give Buffer an email address, and then head over to My Account to review your other account settings. Here, you can turn off or on various email reminders (getting reminded when Buffer has shared all of your updates is essential), as well as set up a secret email address if you want to be able to email a status update to Buffer.

Click on Dashboard in the left menu at any time to return to the main Buffer app.

Connect Social Profiles

The next step in learning how to use Buffer is within the dashboard, along the left side, you’ll see all of the social networks you’ve connected. If you’re just starting, the only connected network will be the one you used to log in, so it’s time to connect the rest!

Below the list of connected profiles within the Buffer dashboard you’ll find a tab to “Connect More.” Click that and you’ll find the Connect a Social Network screen.

Here you can select any of the available social networks and one by one, add all of your most important social media profiles.

buffer-social-media-connect-a-social-network-page-screencap

As you add more social profiles, you’ll see them appear in the left menu. Clicking on any of those social profiles will give you access to that profile’s settings, schedule and queue.

To the left of each social profile is a circle that you can check. This is to indicate to Buffer which social networks you would like to be selected by default.

Whatever you choose, you can change it for any given status update, and can update your defaults on the fly if, for instance, you’re going through a project of finding evergreen content of your own that you know you’ll want to share to all your profiles.

Navigating Profile Tabs

If you click on any of your connected social profiles, you’ll be able to access all of the options and settings for that profile, as well as any status updates that you have scheduled.

There are four main tabs along the top: ContentAnalyticsSchedule and Settings.

Contentbuffer-social-media-tabs-screenshot

With the Content tab selected you will reveal four sub-tabs:

  1. Queue: Your queue is where all of your scheduled posts appear for this particular social profile. If you have not yet scheduled any status updates, your queue will be empty.
  2. Suggestions: Buffer will offer you up to 25 suggestions of content that you and your audience may find interesting. The suggestions are based on topics that Buffer has selected based on your past shares and usage.
  3. Contributions: If you have more than one person assisting with your social media activity, team members can offer contributions on content to be shared.
  4. Feeds: You can connect RSS feeds from your favorite sources of content and see the latest published articles here. It does not automatically share this content. Rather, it allows you to quickly scan recent posts and decide if any are appropriate to be shared to one or more of your social profiles.

This is the heart of your Buffer dashboard. Each of your social profiles can have an entirely different queue, as well as different suggestions, contributions and feeds.

This allows solopreneurs the flexibility of having social profiles that truly cater to their unique audience, rather than just blasting the same messages across all profiles at once.

Analyticsbuffer-analytics-tab-screenshot

With the Analytics tab selected, you will reveal three sub-tabs: PostsAnalysisInsights.

We’ll spend time in a moment reviewing all of the analytics you’re able to get from Buffer, but for now, what’s important to note is that the Posts tab tells you how each of your status updates performed after it was shared, and that the Analysis and Insights tabs are reserved for the “Rich Analytics” that comes with a business account.

Scheduling Your Postshow-to-use-buffer-to-schedule-posts-screenshot

The Schedule tab is the most powerful feature of Buffer. It’s the most robust social media scheduling system available. Each profile has its own independent schedule, just like it has its own queue.

  1. First, make sure that your Timezone is correct for you. The default is London (UTC 0) and is also independent for each social profile, so you will need to change this setting for each schedule that you’re configuring.
  2. Next, consider when you want to share posts for this specific social profile. How often, which days of the week, and at what time, are all options that are going to be fairly unique to you and your business, and your audience (but we’ll take a detour from Buffer in a moment and dive into this question a little more to help you out).

For now, what’s important to understand is that you’re able to select or deselect specific days of the week just by clicking on them.

For the days that are selected, you can then add, edit or remove posting times below. If you want to create alternate times for different days of the week, click on New Posting Schedule.

It’s up to you how you configure them, and there can be overlap… just make sure you pay attention to the total number of posts going out on any given day, particularly for networks like Facebook, where it’s possible to post too much.

Buffer Settings

Within Settings, you have access to Link ShorteningTeam MembersReconnectEmpty Queue, and Remove.

  • Link Shortening: With Buffer, like most social media management tools, you can choose to use a “short link” when sharing content to social media, particularly Twitter.
  • Team Members: You can add or remove Team Members here.
  • Reconnect: If one of your social profiles has been disconnected from Buffer, use this to reconnect and re-authorize that profile.
  • Empty Queue: If you have a lot of status updates in your queue and just want to start over, this is a convenient option.
  • Remove: If you wish to disconnect a social profile from your Buffer account, do so here.

Buffer is a great social media management platform for any small business with limited time or money to spend on social media. And with their new engagement tools, they’ve patched up one of their biggest weaknesses, making them a pretty solid all-rounder in the social media management industry.

Buffer’s pricing is split into two tools – Publish and Analyze – meaning you only have to pay for what you need. Both packages are split into distinct pricing tiers, which can help if you’re looking to pick and choose your features.

Buffer isn’t perfect – it’s missing some listening features that are found in other services, like Hootsuite. However, it’s definitely one of the better platforms on the market, and has more than enough features to earn a closer look.

Buffer Social Media Management Overview

Buffer covers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Its services – Publish and Analyze – are split into two and purchased separately. The former helps you plan and schedule your posts, while the latter helps you assess the impact your social media profiles are having.

For a basic rundown of the pricing for these tools, Publish has three paid tiers (plus a free one). These cost $15$65, and $99 per month. Analyze has two tiers (and no free tier), costing $35 and $50 per month. You can lower these prices by opting to pay yearly instead of monthly. Buffer also offers a discounted $85 per month plan which combines Publish Premium and Analyze Premium.

Conclusion

Buffer is a social media management application for scheduling updates in various social networks. It’s convenient, fast and intuitive. With it you can schedule your posts so that each of your social media updates is made at the best time to get more traffic and higher visibility.

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