What is Buffer?
Did you know that you can create a bunch of Twitter, Instagram or Facebook posts ahead of time and then schedule them for whenever you want? Today we’re going to take a look at a service called Buffer that does just that.
With Buffer, you can manage a range of social media accounts. How it works, is that you create your social media post which is then placed into a queue. Any time you have an idea you want to post, come across a post or a tweet that you want to share to your followers, you then add it to your Buffer queue.
Then, those Posts in your queue will be sent out automatically by Buffer, according to the posting schedule that you put in place. Posts are sent out in order, at the times you have preselected.
Follow your set posting schedule eliminates the need to choose a date and time for every post you want to schedule. All you do is add it to your queue and Buffer does the rest.
Connecting your Social Media Accounts
The first thing you’ll need to do is to connect your Social Media accounts, which you can do from the main Buffer page. Click the Add a Social Accountbutton. Then, choose the type of social account you want to add. Once you select an account, you’ll then need to enter in your credentials.
You can connect accounts from a range of social networks to your Buffer. You can choose from:
- Facebook Page
- Facebook Group
- LinkedIn Profile
- LinkedIn Page
- Google+ Page
- Google+ Profile
You’ll probably notice that your Facebook profile isn’t listed. That’s because Facebook removed the ability for third-party apps (such as Buffer ), to post to personal Facebook Profiles on your behalf — which is kind of a bummer.
On the bright side, you can publish to any Facebook Pages that you own. So in this way, Facebook appears to be encouraging people to use tools Buffer and Hootsuite for their business or organization, rather than personal use.
Also, Google is shutting down the Google+ consumer network so those options won’t be available for much longer.
Setting Up Your Schedule
For each social account that you connect, you can schedule the times that posts should be shared. These can be different for every account – which is great because maybe you create more tweets during the day than posts to your Facebook page.
Click Settings, then Posting Schedule.
Here, you can set different times for different days of the week, or set times for every day, every weekday, or every weekend. Here is my Roger Talks Tech schedule. I So let’s say today is Monday, and I just added three posts to my Twitter Queue. The first one would be sent out at 11:27, the next at 2:30 and the last one at 4:17.
If I click here on my Roger Talks Tech Google+ page, I get an entirely different schedule which I can modify.
Once we’ve set up our social accounts and our schedule, we’re ready to start adding posts to your Buffer to share. You can do so right from the Content tab of the Buffer website.
In the What do you want to share? box, type in your content as well as any links that you want to share. If you have more than one account connected, you can select which accounts the post should be shared with so in this way, you can cross-post to your different accounts. The only restriction here is that you cannot post to two Twitter accounts simultaneously. Which is no biggie — just do two separate Buffer posts.
To add an image to your Buffer post, click the image icon and then navigate to the image you want to upload. You can also add in a wide-variety of emoji by clicking on the Emoji icon.
When you’re reading to queue up your post, click ‘Add to Queue’ and the post will be sent out at the next scheduled time slot.
Using the Browser Extension
If you have the Buffer browser extension installed, you can go to any blog post or website and share it the page directly by clicking the browser extension button. Let me go to an article on Engadget’s site. Once I find the article I want to share, I click the Buffer icon here. A pop-up appears, containing suggested text to be shared, which is usually the title of the page, and a short link to this page. If you want, you can edit the text of the post as well as choose the accounts to which you want to share it.
Another way to use the extension is to right-click on a blank area of the page and choose Buffer this page. You can also share an image via Buffer. Again, right-click on the image on the page, point to Buffer and then choose Buffer This Image. You can also add selected text to a post via Buffer. To do so, select the text on the page that you want to share, point to Buffer and choose Buffer Selected Text.
From the Analytics tab, you can view the posts you have sent and see the engagement they got. From the top of the window, you can look at the analytics of the posts you have sent out in order of Most Popular, Least Popular, or by time. If one of your updates performed exceptionally well in analytics, you can add it to your queue again by clicking the ‘Re-Buffer’ this post’ button.
There are other applications as well that have their own Buffer extensions such as some RSS readers, in which you can share articles directly to Buffer. Additionally, there are WordPress plugins that send updates to your Buffer when you publish and/or update WordPress Pages or Posts.
Buffer for Business
There’s also a Buffer for Business account with which you can connect 25+ social accounts, schedule 2,000 posts per account, invite team members, access advanced analytics, and more — starting at $99/mo. The Basic account, Buffer Pro allows you to 8 social accounts schedule 100 posts per social account.
So I think that’s it for our discussion on Buffer. So that’s a wrap!