Simplify Your Social Media Efforts With Buffer

by Brenda Barron on April 17, 2014
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If you truly want to influence people and establish yourself as an expert in your field, your social media presence needs to go beyond Twitter and Facebook. But maintaining multiple accounts across networks can be a time-consuming endeavor.

Content curation via a scheduling app is perhaps the most efficient way to extend your reach. You can not only post your own original material, but also share other people’s relevant content with your fans and followers. Offering valuable information about your industry on a regular basis will help you to develop a reputation as a thought leader.

Various tools, such as HootSuite and Sprout Social, are available for social media scheduling. Buffer, which launched a business version of its app in December, is an attractive option for entrepreneurs, thanks to its exceedingly simple interface and seamless integration possibilities.

Getting Started With Buffer

Buffer for Business makes it quick and easy to curate content. After connecting the app to your social accounts, you can install a web extension in your browser bar for ready access. Buffer is compatible with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and available as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

When you come across an article, video, infographic, or any other content you’d like to share, all you have to do is press the Buffer button and a pop-up window will appear that provides social sharing options based on the accounts you’ve connected. (Buffer currently works with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and App.net.) Next, select the network(s) where you’d like to post the item. You can customize the text, change images, and set a specific time for the content to be shared.

Buffer’s basic features are similar to those offered by HootSuite and other competitors. But Buffer’s super simple interface sets it apart. According to Len Wilson, creative and communication director at Peachtree Presbyterian in Atlanta, HootSuite has many unnecessary features that bog down its user interface.

“Buffer doesn’t offer the ability to consolidate feeds from all of your social networks. Instead, it focuses on one thing: publishing,” Wilson notes. “And it does it very well, with automatic URL shrinking, thumbnail and description posting for Facebook and LinkedIn, and an easy ability to select/deselect networks.”

Creating a Sharing Schedule

Unlike competing apps, Buffer lets you set up a precise schedule for when you share content that varies per day and per network, right down to the minute. You just select and save your preferred posting times for each day of the week and then add content to your stream to fill those specific time slots. This way, you can be certain you’re sharing content at the most opportune times, without having to recall what those times are on an ongoing basis.

You may schedule as many posts per day as you’d like, depending on the needs and expectations of your industry. Buffer’s free plan lets you schedule up to 10 posts at a time. For an unlimited number of posts, upgrade to the “Awesome” plan for $10 per month. Its small-business plan provides 25 connected social accounts and up to five team members for $50 per month. Free trials are available.

Using Daily Content Suggestions

Buffer recently rolled out a content suggestions feature that makes curating content even easier. Buffer suggests five posts a day that it believes are in line with what you typically share and would be of interest to your target audience.

With one click, you can add these to your Buffer schedule and go on with your day. It’s truly content curation made simple, which means you wind up with more time for managing other aspects of your small business.

Tracking Metrics

One final feature Buffer offers is a robust set of metrics. Its tool can be integrated with Google Analytics to give you a full sense of where you stand on the social front. Buffer gives you to view up-to-the-minute data about how many new followers you’ve gained, how many people have clicked on your shared links, how many mentions, favorites, and retweets you’ve received, and more.

HootSuite offers analytics, too, but they are tucked away in reports that must be created and exported before viewing.

Brenda Barron is a writer from Southern California. She specializes in discussing how technology and social media are used in business practices.

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