Of all the social media management tools I’ve ever used, (and there have been a lot of them), Buffer is the one that has changed my life the most. It’s changed my world, taking the frantic world of social media and making it fun again. For the past two years, Buffer has become an absolutely essential part of my daily workflow. Here’s a peek behind the curtain, so you can revolutionize your life, too.
Why Is Buffer So Awesome?
There are many, many, reasons, but for me, the biggest reason I love Buffer is that I can separate my content creation and publication. I’m not quick-witted and time pressure kills my creativity. I need a lot of creative foreplay before ideas start really flowing. I work best when I can focus on the task at hand, without distraction. So, when I’m creating content, I tend to create a lot of it at one time. Once I’m in the zone, I’m milking those creative juices for all I can. If I were to produce all of my content as I published it, I’d be missing opportunities, annoying my audience, and not using channels to their potential. On the flip side, if I try to focus on tweeting at just the right time, I get stressed and my work wouldn't be as good as it could be.
Buffer is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a buffer that I can use between when I create my content and when it goes out. It’s like a faucet for my content. I can have a full reservoir of content waiting in the wings, but my content is published in a steady stream that I control.
Buffer also integrates with the tools I’m already using, like Chrome, Pocket, Zite, Feedly, and Twitter. The user experience is well designed so in the off chance that I think of a tweet while I’m reading an article, I can put it in my Buffer effortlessly and quickly return to what I was doing. I don’t lose the flow, which is critical to me staying in a creative space.
Before Buffer, I really struggled with Twitter. I launched an account in 2007 and after a few months, promptly wrote about how it was “a complete waste of my time”. Boy, was I wrong. In the early days, I think my lack of love was due to the fact that there wasn’t really a community yet. Or, at least not my community. I deleted my account without remorse and thought that was the end of it. But, of course, we know that’s not the end of the story.
In 2009, I rejoined Twitter. I was working on the internal creative team at Capital One, exploring how we could use social media to provide a better customer experience. I started using Twitter to connect with people at conferences. I found it incredibly useful for connecting with like-minded people, but I was in constant awe of how so many people found time to tweet throughout the day. For me, composing a tweet was a complete break in my workflow. Again, I resigned to the fact that Twitter wasn’t a good fit for me, but kept my account up and running.
I remember the exact moment when I saw Buffer for the first time. It’s one of those flashbulb moments that marks a permanent place in your brain. By now, it was 2012 and I was at a digital agency, leading a team of community managers who ran the social media for several Fortune 500 clients. My job was to find ways to help them be more efficient and effective. I sat in my office and as I read Buffer’s spot-on website copy, I could hardly believe that someone had built a product for my exact problem! My eyes widened as I tested it out and I ran into the bullpen bursting with enthusiasm. About half my team was as excited as I was, and the other half didn’t have a clue as to why we blue-sky thinkers needed more than two seconds to write a tweet.
Now that I’m back to being an entrepreneur, using social media well makes a difference to my bottom line. Here are just some of the ways I like to use Buffer in my daily workflow.
Use Buffer to Quote Articles in Pocket
This is one of my all time favorite features. When I find an interesting article, I save it to Pocket. (I also have an IFTTT recipe that automatically saves the link of any tweet I favorite to Pocket, too) Then, when I’m reading all the great stuff I’ve saved, if I highlight a quote and click the Buffer icon, it will automatically create a tweet from the highlighted text.
Use Buffer to Shuffle Between Social Media Accounts
Today, I don’t just have one Twitter account. I have five. There’s one for me, one for each of the businesses I own, and one for each of my books. And then there’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ for all my brands, too. When I find something interesting, there’s a high chance that it will be relevant across many accounts. But it’s annoying to my followers if they see a tweet by me followed immediately by the exact same tweet from my business. Luckily, Buffer thought of that with the shuffle button. Whenever I finish a power session with Buffer, I head into the app and click the shuffle button on all my accounts. This way, I save time and my followers stay engaged. Win-win!
Use Buffer to Tweet at a Better Time
I do my best writing late at night. It’s 3:37am as I type this. If I had a brilliant thought now and published it, no one in my audience is around to interact with it. So, Buffer saves the day again. Now, I can create content when my mind works best and delay publication to a time when my audience is actually there to have a conversation.
Use Buffer to Get Help
Now that I have a team, Buffer comes to the rescue again. By adding team members to my account, I can get help with contributions so I share more frequently. I have control over whether someone can post directly to a Buffer or if I need to approve their work before it is published. Again, the set up is intuitive and easy to use.
Use Buffer to Find Content to Share
A few months ago, I noticed Buffer started suggesting content for me to share. Over and over again, I’ve found their suggestions to be spot on. The content they suggest is relevant and interesting and, again, saves me time.
While my list of loves is long, there are a few teeny things that would make Buffer even better. I’d love to see an integration with Tweetbot and a mobile version of the Chrome extension. But other than that, I really don’t have any complaints. Joel and his team have really put a lot of love into this app. They’re constantly asking for feedback (in a nice way that makes me want to give it) and their customer support is just as good as their marketing. I’m just as thrilled using Buffer today as I was two years ago when I discovered it.
How about you? Have you given Buffer a shot? What’s your favorite feature? Did you learn something new by reading this? Let me know in the comments!