TURNING TEDIOUS INTO SIMPLE
With Buffer you and your extended team can all contribute their unique points of view across your social media sites consistently. You can also take advantage of the content curation feature, saving time and manpower. These are only a few of the features buffer has that can be of benefit to your business. In this post we will be taking you through how to use this app and its features, enjoy.
SAVE TIME MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Like most online tools you will be required to set up an account if you wish to use buffer. It couldn’t be easier. Start by hitting the “Sign Up For Free” button as pictured below.
You’ll then be prompted to either connect a social media account or use the traditional route, by entering your email and password. We would recommend opting for connecting one of your social media accounts. It will save you time in the long run as you will need to connect your social media sites at some stage. Whatever way you decide to sign up is up to you, just choose one of the available options and you’re good to go.
As buffer is a social media manager, one of the first things you will be required to do is connect your various accounts. Buffer supports each of the mainstream social media channels incl. Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and Google+. To add one of these accounts to your buffer profile, simply click the plus button on the top left of the screen
A list of instructions will then follow instructing you how to add the profiles you wish. Buffer will require login details if you are not already logged into the chosen account. If you are, just accept the permissions and you’re all set.
ONE MAN SHOW OR TEAM GAME?
One of the many reasons we love buffer is the way that you can invite your team members to assist you. Having a team behind you has many benefits. Different perspectives, another set of eyes to spot errors and a lighter workload. Buffer allows you to add team members to assist you in managing your profiles.
This could be a Virtual Assistant or a member of your staff. Having a team behind you is however not a must. Buffers’ sheer simplicity will allow you to manage your accounts very efficiently. But should you chose to add a team member, here’s how.
Start by clicking Admin, Team Members and then Invite New. You select which team members have access to what. Access to one account does not mean access to them all.
Sometimes members of your team are better at one social media channel than others. This allows your team to play to their strengths. It’s also useful should you opt to have a personal profile connected along with your business ones.
Simply enter your newest team members name and choose what permissions they may have from the list below.
YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR
Now it’s time to make use of Buffer and start scheduling content. At the side here you will see the various social media accounts you have access to.
Choose what social media account you would like to post to and insert your posts. You will have some posting options:
- Schedule Post
- Add to Queue
- Share Now
- Share Next
When you first set up your account, click on the schedule tab and choose which times you want to schedule posts for release.
These times are all customisable. Select the desired social media account and click the schedule tab. After this you will be greeted with more options like the ones pictured below.
This is simple, just pick the selected time zone, the times you wish your posts to go live and go to the new posting schedule section.
Do have a look at using Buffers optimal timing tool located at the bottom of the page.
This tool will tap into all the variables at play when deciding what time your posts should be released.
You will first need to choose how many times a day you will post and then calculate your times.
Then you will be presented with a graph that will give you a visual representation of engagement from your followers. You will notice a black bar at the bottom indicating the optimal times to post. These times are also reflected on the left hand side.
You will then be given suggested times, if you are happy with these click replace existing schedules and you are good to go.
CHANGE IS CONSISTENT
… especially as your account grows. Because of this we would recommend optimising your times once a month. Doing this will keep Buffer optimised and learning from your audiences activity.
If you’re happy with the suggested times, click Replace Existing Schedule below the graph.
When you have multiple posting schedules configured, using this option will replace all of them with one new schedule for every day of the week.
You can still keep separate schedules, but you will need to note them down and reschedule them if you hit that Replace All function.
We always keep a separate schedule for weekends.
NO CONTENT, NO PROBLEM
Producing original content is something which is incredibly valuable although time consuming. It’s best to mix it with curated content i.e. content created by others so that content creation becomes more manageable.
This is also a great way to build relationships with other businesses and will encourage them to share your content too.
One of our favourite Buffer features allows you to add unique content feeds to each of your chosen profiles.
To access your content inbox, select a profile, click content inbox and as per the screenshot above you will see the options to add and remove feeds. You can have a maximum of 15 feeds at any one time. We have found this to be plenty for each account.
Once your content stream is entered, buffer will automatically stock it with your chosen sites most up to date stories but don’t be worried, none of the content is automatically shared. It’s just presented to you as an option to share if you wish.
The content will be located in your content inbox. Simply scroll through the content feed and select what you feel is appropriate to share. Buffer will automatically give you image options to share along with the articles you choose. Adding these to your content queue will automatically put them at the bottom of your schedule and you can also rearrange this if you wish.
Do update your feeds regularly. We do. Remember if you’re bored with what you’re reading then so are your followers.
PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS IS VITAL
Performance analytics will allow you to gather all the information that matters about which posts work and which posts don’t. Buffer offers a built in analytics tool that will help you maximise what works in your posts and minimise what doesn’t. It’s a great entry point into analytics.
When you’re more comfortable you should start looking at Google Analytics and each channels own analytics. For now, this is sufficient to start with.
SEE WHAT’S POPULAR AND WHAT’S NOT
Once you enter your analytics section, you will be greeted by a list of your posts from the last 30 days. As pictured below, you will then have the option to sort them by their popularity.
Sorting your posts by Most Popular and by Least Popular gives you an indication of what your followers are interested in and what they aren’t. The learning is clearly to repeat what your followers want to read about and discontinue posting about things they are not interested in.This simple entry into analytics is very beneficial for those starting out.
Trends are what you are looking for. If you can spot similarities in what works and what doesn’t you can avoid posts that fall on deaf ears. Analytics can open your eyes to information about your followers you would’ve never thought relevant. This is such a useful feature.
SO HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO USE BUFFER?
Buffer can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be as you can see by the image below. We run 10 social media accounts from our Buffer account using the Awesome Plan. We love it.
MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA EASIER AND USE BUFFER
As you can see Buffer allows you to schedule your posts in advance and depending on how many times you post per day you could schedule a week ahead in one sitting. The trick here is to use your daily allocation of time for Social Media to live engagement which allows you to build meaningful relationships with your followers.
There’s a couple of other things we do with our buffer account that save us time. Here they are:
- Install Buffer for Chrome
We love this because it means we can share any article we come across during the day by clicking on the buffer button on Chrome. It saves so much time and means we’re always sharing things we discover as we go about our day.
- Install Buffer on your Phone
There’s a Buffer app for your phone and we find it useful to just log in and buffer content while we’re waiting for a meeting to start, at conferences when we have a minute etc. It’s a great use of time.
- Look at the Apps and Extras Section under My Account
We’ve connected Buffer with several of these extras to make things work most effectively. Here are the ones we recommend:
- Co-Schedule – so when we release our blog posts they’re integrating with our Buffer Scheduling.
- Hipplayapp – for buffering evergreen content.
- BulkBuffer – for uploading large quantities of tweets etc.
- Tweriod – for identifying the best times to tweet.
- Feedly – for feeding new content into buffer.
- IFTTT – for building “recipes” to keep buffer filled.
Time is a commodity no one has enough of. Buffer can however help you make the most of it by assisting you with your posts and guiding you on what’s working and what’s not. Save time, use Buffer.
Conor O'Keeffe - Content Intern
Conor O'Keeffe is our content intern at How Great Marketing Works. He joins us from CIT and is exploring what it means to be a marketer and how his passion for words can build his career. We're delighted to have him here and appreciate his unique perspective on marketing.