Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

The Solopreneur’s Guide to Using Buffer for Social Media Management

Written By: Mike Allton in Social Media, Uncategorized | May 1, 2015

entrepreneur-guide-using-buffer-social-media

These days, businesses who fail to leverage the power of social media, particularly solopreneurs who are pushing with all their might to find momentum for their startup, are missing a golden opportunity.

It’s far too easy to think that you’ll have time to create a presence on social media later, or that you can just focus on Facebook and ignore the other platforms.

That’s “leaving money on the table” as the saying goes, since you never know what opportunities might exist for you on LinkedIn or Twitter or even Google+, until you try.

That’s why it’s critical for solopreneurs that they find and use a tool and system for managing that social media presence. While it’s nice to say you should have a presence and develop a following on all of the major platforms, it’s quite another thing to actually implement that.

A great social media management tool, like Buffer, can make some of the necessary, more routine, tasks of social media activity easier and less time consuming.

Like any tool, Buffer will take a little time to learn in order to adapt it to your business needs, but it’s worth it. Fortunately, we’re going to cover everything you need to know in order to use Buffer to manage your entire social media presence, and it will only take about twenty minutes to get through it all.

Ready?

Ok. Take a deep breath, and let’s review what we’re going cover today:

  1. What Is Buffer?
  2. What Social Networks Does Buffer Support?
  3. How Much Does Buffer Cost?
  4. How To Start Using Buffer
  5. When’s The Best Time To Post?
  6. How To Monitor Engagement
  7. How To Re-Buffer Successful Posts
  8. How To Find Other Content To Share
  9. How To Use Buffer’s Analytics
  10. How To Use Buffer On Mobile
  11. Daily / Weekly / Monthly Routine

Here we go…

What Is Buffer?

Clearly, Buffer (http://buffer.com) is a “social media management tool” or we wouldn’t be talking about it in this context, but what does that mean, really?

First, 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. While a tool that only supports Twitter could technically be called a social media management tool, I consider that too limiting unless you’re absolutely, 100% positive that Twitter is the best and only social network for you and your business.

Second, a good social media management tool should support scheduling of updates to whatever networks that tool supports, and which allow scheduling. This is important because while there may be tools that allow you to blast to multiple social networks, if it can only be done real-time, that won’t meet the needs of solopreneurs and business owners who are trying to see to the day-to-day needs of their business, and can’t be interrupted to post to Facebook at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

Third, ideally, the social media management tool will provide insight into the effectiveness of your social media activity. Were you posts interesting? Did your fans and followers respond or take your requested action? What was your most effective status update during a given period? These insights are far too challenging to figure out on your own, so the tool should make determining and tracking this relatively easy.

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.

Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll dig into 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 – Of course, 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. You can connect all of your Twitter accounts to your Buffer tool – as many as your plan allows, that is (and we’ll get into that next).

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. Buffer also supports Facebook Groups, but Facebook is making changes to the permissions and API for that functionality, so expect some changes here. It’s likely that, going forward, only Facebook Group Admins will be able to schedule posts to their Facebook Groups.

LINKEDIN – Buffer supports personal LinkedIn profiles as well as Company Pages.

GOOGLE+ – Buffer is one of the few tools that support scheduling of activity to Google+ Pages. In fact, with Buffer, you can even include the special Google+ formatting and the Google+ ID of anyone you want to mention in a post, and it will display properly when shared. Unfortunately, Google does not allow scheduling of posts to personal Google+ profiles. Yet.

PINTEREST – The latest addition to Buffer’s offerings, 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.

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 two plans, “The Awesome Plan” and “Buffer for 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. Currently, Pinterest is only included with the paid plans, but there is a 7 day free trial which unlocks Pinterest for you if you want to go that route (http://buffer.com/pinterest).

The Awesome Plan is what most solopreneurs and businesses need. With it, and for just $10/month, you can:

  • Connect up to 12 social profiles
  • Schedule up to 200 status updates at any given time
  • Connect up to 15 RSS feeds to each social profile (more on that in a moment)
  • Use 2 team members
  • Basic analytics*

The Buffer for Business plan (http://buffer.com/business) is an option for larger businesses and agencies. Ranging from $50 – 250 / month, these plans feature:

  • 25 / 50 / 150 social profiles
  • 5 / 10 / 25 team members
  • Unlimited 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 http://buffer.com 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_-_A_Smarter_Way_to_Share_on_Social_Media_and_Evernote

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

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!

For each social network, it’s easiest if you’re already logged into that network with your current browser. And if you want to connect, say, multiple Twitter profiles, you’ll need to log out of any you’ve already added to Buffer and log in to the new one.

For instance, suppose you have a personal Twitter profile and that’s what you used to first sign in to Buffer. But now you want to connect your branded profile to Buffer. In another tab, go to Twitter, sign out of your personal profile and sign back into Twitter using your branded profile.

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_-_Connect

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, if any, social networks you would like to be selected by default when you begin to compose a new status update to schedule. This is a great time-saver if you’re always sharing to, say, your Twitter profile. 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: Content, Analytics, Schedule and Settings.

ContentBuffer-Profile-Tabs

With the Content tab selected, you will reveal four sub-tabs: Queue, Suggestions, Contributions, Feeds.

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. They will be listed in reverse chronological order, meaning, the status updates at the top will be the ones that are due to be shared next.

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, so the more you use Buffer, the more accurate those suggestions will be.

Contributions – If you’re using Buffer in a team environment and have more than one person assisting with your social media activity, team members can offer contributions on content to be shared. They will appear within the Contributions tab so that you can review and determine if and when you wish to publish them.

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, therefore, 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

With the Analytics tab selected, you will reveal three sub-tabs: Posts, Analysis, Insights.

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.

ScheduleBuffer_Schedule

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. And you can create fairly complex schedules if needed, with completely different posting times and frequencies for different days of the week.

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.

(This is actually an incredibly subtle, yet valuable feature for businesses that may have multiple locations in different timezones, and different social profiles for each. If you’ve got three Facebook Pages for your three locations in NY, Paris and LA, you can set each one to use local time and make sure that, no matter what, you’re queuing up posts to be shared when each Page’s audience will be most likely to see them.)

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 and Google+, where it’s possible to post too much.

Settings

Buffer-Settings

Within Settings, you have access to Link Shortening, Team Members, Reconnect, Empty Queue, 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. The short link is just a shortened version of a full URL, like http://sbi.me/1I0Xguc instead of http://www.sitesell.com/blog/2015/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-twitters-periscope.html. It saves characters and consumes less attention. With these settings, you can choose which link shortener service you use, including Bit.ly and a branded short link, like we have here.

Team Members – You can add or remove Team Members here.

Reconnect – If one of your social profiles has been disconnected from Buffer (sometimes the networks force this to make sure you still want it), 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. (Note that you can only use a particular social profile with a single Buffer account, so if you find yourself wanting separate Buffer accounts for some reason, you may need this in order to associate a profile with the “correct” Buffer account.)

Create Posts

Now that you’ve connected all of your accounts, set up your schedule, and adjusted your settings as needed, it’s time to start creating content.

Just to be clear, each time you add a new status update and assign it to a social profile, that update will be automatically shared at the next available time slot. If you Buffer a post today for your Facebook Page, and your next available time slot for that post is tomorrow morning at 10am, that’s when that post will go out.

(Yep! “Buffer” is now a verb. Just like you can Google something, you can now Buffer something. Pretty cool, huh? I’ll use that going forward to mean that a piece of content, whether it’s text, an image or a link, has been queued up to be shared to one or more networks. It’s been Buffered.)

The basic share dialogue can be found within the Content tab, above your queue.Buffer_Share-01

Clicking within that field will reveal all of your social profiles as a row of small icons across the top (your profile image for each, with a network logo superimposed). You can select or deselect any social network just by clicking that icon. Which means it’s possible to create a status update that gets queued to all of your social profiles at once.

As you begin typing text for your update, note the counter in the lower left – that’s your character count. Be mindful of the fact that Twitter only permits a total of 140 characters, including links and linked images. Facebook and LinkedIn also have character count limits of 63,206 and 700, respectfully. Pinterest pins can have a 500 character description, but it’s best to keep within the first 200 characters for visibility in the stream. (There’s no limit to Google+ posts, though status updates longer than 10,000 characters probably belong in your blog!)

You can insert a link to share at any time. As soon as you’ve entered it, Buffer will automatically shorten it for you using your Link Shortening settings. And if you’ve selected a social network like Facebook that posts a preview of shared links, you’ll see a version of that preview below your status update field.

Buffer_Link-Preview

You can remove that preview, but you cannot change it. If you’re sharing a link to an article that has a poor image, or no image at all, it might be best to share an image instead of the link preview entirely.

To share an image with your status update, you can click on the camera icon in the lower left, or simply drag an image from your computer to that space. It will be uploaded to Buffer and then be previewed for you to verify.

  • You cannot share an image and a link preview simultaneously, but you can share an image and include one or more links within your status update.
  • Images shared via Buffer will be shared and appear as regular image posts for each network, which means the image will appear within the stream, including on Twitter.
  • Images that are too large may not be permitted on certain networks, so be mindful of file size and dimensions.

Within the text of your update, you can say whatever you need to – whether it’s the title of an article you’re sharing, a question, or an introduction designed to spark a conversation. You can include hashtags and you can also @mention other users on Twitter.

As mentioned earlier, you can use Google+ formatting like *bold* or _italics_ as well as @mention a Google+ user if you use their numeric Google+ ID string.

For Pinterest, if you want to schedule a pin you must include an image – it can’t automatically pin an image from linked content. And you will need to specify the “Source URL” for that image – that’s the link to the page or article or website the image is from or referencing. And when you select Pinterest from the icons, a drop down will appear that lets you select from your available boards. Currently, you can only pin to one board at a time.

Once you’ve finished composing your update, it’s time to hit the blue button in the bottom right corner… but there you have a couple of options. You can add this update to your queue, share it now, or share it next, which just puts it at the top of your queue instead of at the end. You can even pick a specific date and time to schedule a post, regardless of your queue or schedule for that social network.

When’s The Best Time To Post?

This question comes up all the time with business owners and solopreneurs. What’s the best time to post to social media?

The answer is, it depends. (Yeah, I know… not what you wanted to hear.)

The most important consideration to keep in mind is that your social network audience is unique to you, and may differ from one network to another. That means that no one can tell you the best time to post to your Facebook Page, for instance. At least, not without doing some research.

So every time you see a “best time to post” infographic like the one below, take it with a grain of salt. Those are all aggregate and average times, and may not apply to your audience.

What Are The Best Times to Post on

Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

 

In order to determine the best time for you to post to social media, you’re going to have to run a series of experiments. Now, before you start to hyperventilate and have flashbacks of High School Chemistry class gone horribly wrong… this isn’t going to be hard.

All you have to do is pick a preliminary schedule, create your content, and then monitor the results. After a few weeks (faster if you have a large online audience), adjust your schedule, keep posting status updates, and continue to monitor the results.

And that’s where these popular infographics come in handy. If you have no idea when your audience is online, start with these suggestions! Set up a Google+ Page schedule that posts once or twice a day between 9am and 11am, Monday through Friday.

You can then use the Posts tab within Analytics to see which posts do well, and at what times, and make adjustments accordingly.

How To Monitor Engagement

To be fair, there’s one glaring omission from Buffer’s feature set that some solopreneurs might need, and that’s the capability to monitor and engage with your posts and audience. In other words, you can’t view notifications, retweets, mentions, shares or comments within Buffer.

If you need a tool to assist you with that, I strongly recommend Hootsuite and, in fact, I continue to use both tools for just that reason. I can easily monitor mentions and run saved searches within Hootsuite — but nothing compares to Buffer’s scheduling capability.

But to be honest, the easiest method for brands and businesses to monitor their social profiles for social media engagement is to simply use the default mobile apps for each network!

If you put the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ apps on your mobile phone, you can pick and choose which ones push notifications to you and demonstrate a badge icon for notifications. I can instantly see if I have 2 notifications on Facebook and can quickly tap the app and see what’s going on.

Facebook: iOS | Android
Twitter: iOS | Android
Google+: iOS | Android
LinkedIn: iOS | Android

Additionally, Facebook and Google+ both have apps specifically for their business users:

Facebook Pages*: iOS | Android
Google My Business: iOS | Android

The key is to find the right combination of tool(s) and process(es) that will enable you to quickly and easily see and respond to engagement from your social media fans.

How To Use Buffer’s Analytics

While you won’t be able to monitor notifications or view details like individual retweets within Buffer, what you can do is easily see the total numbers for these metrics. We refer to these as “social signals.” Social signals include likes, favorites, +1’s, comments, replies, shares and mentions.

If you click on the Analytics tab and then Posts, for any particular social network, you’ll see all of the status updates that have been shared already, and the current metrics for each.

Buffer_Post-Analytics

You can sort by Recent, Most Popular, Least Popular and by type of post (Image, Link, Text). You can also select a specific date range.

Below each post you can see what the activity on that post was, and for tweets you can even see what the potential reach was based on your follower count and the follower count of anyone who shared that tweet.

As you scroll through your past updates, Buffer even calls out the status updates that were the best for that period, so you can easily see which ones stood out to keep in mind for future updates.

And to be perfectly honest, for most of us, it’s more a matter of watching which status updates didn’t resonate with our audience and making a mental note to avoid that topic or style or message.

For instance, I recently tested a series of 3 – 4 tweets which I created from the mobile Feedly app. Feedly is an RSS reader and I have a great collection of outstanding sources of content feeding into it, including Entrepreneur magazine and Content Marketing Institute. I wanted to test Feedly’s integration with Buffer, which allowed me to select an article, tap on Buffer, and select the accounts to share to. I selected my Twitter account and left the rest of the tweet formatting as-is, which had the title of the article in quotes and couple of default hashtags. I found that those tweets received no engagement at all, yet other tweets shared around the same time performed better. The next time I test the use of Feedly for sourcing content, I’ll edit the tweets before buffering them and then check back later to see how that worked.

If you have the Buffer for Business plan, you also get to take advantage of the Analysis and Insights tabs.

Analysis

The Analysis tab is fantastic for solopreneurs who want a little more automation and aggregation to their analytics. In other words, instead of sifting through your past posts one at a time, the Analysis tab shows you graphs and reports that summarize that data.

There’s a graph at the top that shows you how many posts per day were posted for that social profile (through Buffer), and how many clicks those posts got. It takes just seconds to see what your best (and worst) days of the month were.Buffer-Analysis

Below that, you’ll find a table display of all of your posts which you can easily sort by whatever social signals are supported by that profile. Want to find which tweets got the most retweets? Which Google+ posts got the most comments? The Analytics tab will tell you.

With this data available, you can get into far more granular detail about how your posts performed over the past month, and more easily determine which styles and content should be replicated in the future.

Note that the default is 30 days, but you can adjust the timeframe to whatever you need to analyze.

Insights

The Insights tab gives you a better perspective on how your activity is impacting your community. You can track your follower growth, see trends in activity levels, and see if there’s a correlation in publishing activity compared to follower count (did you attract more followers when you went from two posts a day to three?).

It will take a while for Buffer to download and process all of the data from your respective social profiles, so give it some time after you upgrade before you try and get any real Insights. But one of the really valuable aspects is the tracking of follower growth for all of your connected profiles in one place. No other tool provides that.

Reviewing these reports should be a part of your monthly routine, which we’ll outline in more detail below.

How To Re-Buffer Successful Posts

As you’re reviewing these past posts and noting those that were particularly successful, one of the great options within Buffer is to “Re-Buffer” a post. That means you can easily re-share that post to one or more social networks.

One method is to simply click and drag a post from the Posts view over to the social network you want to re-Buffer to in the left menu.Buffer_Drag-Post

That’s OK if you just want to re-share a post to one social network. But what if you want to edit it or share it to multiple profiles?

Mouse over the post and on the right side, you’ll see an option appear to RE-BUFFER THIS POST. Click that and you’ll get a new compose window that is pre-filled with that status update.Buffer_rebuffer

Please note though, the way that Buffer is able to track how a particular shared link performs is based on the shortened link. When you re-buffer a status update that contains a shortened link, unless you replace that link, you’ll be sharing the same link again. Readers who click it won’t know the difference, but if you’re tracking clicks on that link, you just need to know that the stats will include all shares. If you need to measure the performance of one share over another, just use a new shortened link.

There’s no “Best Practice” when it comes to re-buffering old posts, other than what the individual social networks and your own audience will tolerate. By that I mean, Twitter tends to move at light speed, and therefore it’s accepted and expected that Twitter users will share the same tweet or versions of that tweet often. The other social networks are less forgiving. As a rule of thumb, other than new content, I prefer to share links to the same content no more than once a month.

How To Find Other Content To Share

If you’re blogging regularly, or creating great evergreen pages of content, you should be routinely feeding those pieces of content into your Buffer so that as you attract new followers on social media, those followers have an opportunity to see posts they missed… plus the fact that many of your current followers will miss your posts just because that’s how social media works – unless they’re set up to be notified when you post, they’ll only see your activity if they happen to view their stream within a narrow window directly after you post.

But other than that, where can you curate great content to share?

I already mentioned two great sources: RSS Feeds and Buffer’s Suggestions.

By determining ahead of time what sources you find valuable and credible, you can plug the RSS feed into Buffer and create a never-ending supply of great, new material to consider sharing.

Personally, I tend to use Feedly for RSS feeds on topics that I may blog about, and Buffer has RSS feeds for sources that I’ll more likely just want to share with my audience. But that’s entirely up to you.

And Buffer’s suggestions are great. Buffer does a tremendous job of mixing quotes, interesting articles, attached images and other recommendations. But that’s a feature that I recommend using sparingly, as many of Buffer’s other 2 million users will be getting a lot of the same recommendations, and it’s best to avoid sharing the exact same updates as others if you can.

Another option is Buffer’s “Daily” app (iOS only, sorry), which makes it even easier to review the various Suggestions that Buffer offers you. You can choose any of your connected social profiles and skim through a series of suggested articles or quotes to buffer.

Finally, use your past successful posts as inspiration for new content. While re-buffering past posts is an option, you should also pay attention to the topic and source and consider sharing more status updates like that one.

The Buffer Browser Extension

Another way to easily find and share great content is to install the Buffer extension for your browser. It will add a Buffer button to your toolbar, as well as add some integration into your viewing of websites.

Essentially, any time you’re on a blog or webpage that you want to share via Buffer, just click that Buffer button. It will open the same Buffer share dialogue box where you can now select one or more social networks, edit the text of the share, and even insert an image instead of the default link preview. And you can again choose to schedule the post, share it now, or share it next.

But wait, there’s more!

With the Buffer extension installed, you can also:

  • Highlight text on any website, right mouse-click, and Buffer that text along with a link to the page, which is awesome for sharing quotes!
  • Right mouse-click on any image and Buffer that image.
  • Turn on Buffer integration with Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest so that a Buffer link or option is added to the default share options.
  • Turn on image overlay so that a Buffer share button appears on any image when you mouse over it.

This is of particular value considering the new Pinterest support. Now, with the Buffer extension installed, it because incredibly easy to create a consistent Pinterest presence. And, when using the extension to schedule a pin, the Source URL for that pin is automatically filled in.

How To Use Buffer On Mobile

Buffer also has a mobile app (iOS | Android) which you can use to manage your queues. And with the app installed on iOS, the iOS 8 Extension enables sharing to Buffer from other apps (like I was doing earlier with Feedly).

All of your social profiles save for Pinterest are supported by the app, and you can compose new updates, edit updates in the queue, and see how your past updates have performed, just as you do on desktop.

Suggestions, contributions and feeds are all accessible, and you can adjust your posting schedule as well.

Buffer has clearly worked hard to make their mobile app an accurate duplication of everything you can do from the web.

Daily / Weekly / Monthly Routine

So, now that you have a thorough grounding in the mechanics of using Buffer, let’s get into some specifics in terms of how you can be using the tool on a regular basis. I’ve broken this out into Daily, Weekly and Monthly routines.

Daily

  • Review your Suggestions and Feed content for great articles to share.
  • Review how the previous day’s posts did and re-buffer any that really resonated.

Weekly

  • Review how the previous week’s posts did and re-buffer any that really resonated.
  • Review how effective lat week’s posts were according to time of day, compared to the previous week, and test other time slots.

Monthly

  • Review all of the posts from the previous month. Note those that did well and those that did not, and try to replicate the style of those that were successful.
  • Re-buffer posts of content that you want to continue to re-surface for new followers.
  • Take a moment to review your RSS feeds and eliminate those that aren’t delivering great content, and routinely add new sources to keep everything fresh.
  • Make sure your queues are filled up for the next month.
  • Review your Analysis and Insights for each social profile to gauge your past performance and the effectiveness of campaigns, as well as the results of experiments.

Do keep in mind that all of Buffer’s analytics are only for posts that are shared through Buffer, so if you’re thinking about sharing something to a social network and were just going to share it directly, consider using the Buffer button in your browser and just choose Share Now. That will help make your monthly analytics more complete.

The Bottom Line

Buffer currently boasts 2.3 million users, and handles over 500,000 status updates a day for all of those users across multiple social platforms. It sports one of the best and easiest user interfaces, and features the most robust scheduling capability available.

With Buffer, solopreneurs can more easily set up a constant and valuable presence on whichever social networks they choose, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and now Pinterest. And most importantly for solopreneurs, that activity can be measured, tested and adjusted to eventually evolve into a valuable marketing and networking asset.

Don’t let the number of social networks and amount of activity that you’re “supposed” to generate scare or overwhelm you. Using a tool like Buffer, with a little bit of guidance from articles like this, can make a huge difference.

And if you’re like most of the rest of us, that’s not the only fear that’s getting in the way of your solopreneurship. We’ve studied some of the most famous and successful solopreneurs in history, and discovered that there are several fears that get in the way of all entrepreneurs, and noted how those incredible individuals managed to overcome them. It’s all part of our email course on Solopreneurship, which you can get for free below:

If you have questions about Buffer or how solopreneurs can use social media to fuel their endeavors, we’d love to chat with you in the comments below.

Mike Allton
Mike Allton is the Chief Marketing Officer for SiteSell. He's the author of "The Unofficial Book on HootSuite" and is known for his prolific blogging and social media expertise.
  • Excellent approach, Mike Allton 🙂

    Congratulations!

  • Wow, Mike! Going to take me weeks to digest this one.

    • Thanks a lot Venkatesh! I hope it’s helpful.

  • Thanks Mike for such an informative post. One doubt prevented me from upgrading to Buffer paid plan – If I am already using Hootsuite, why do I need buffer? I’d love to get your answer on this. I know that you use both, so you are the right person to ask.

    • You’re welcome Sourav!

      And you’re right, I do use both… paid plans even… and I do get that question a lot. So I blogged about it. 🙂

      http://www.thesocialmediahat.com/article/hootsuite-versus-buffer-heavyweight-championship

      What it boils down to is this: if you want to be able actively monitor all of your key social profiles via one interface, including saving searches of brand mentions and key conversations, Hootsuite is a tremendous bargain. There are likely more expensive tools that perform some aspects better, but again, for most small businesses, Hootsuite is incredible.

      But while Hootsuite has adequate scheduling capability, it just doesn’t compare to Buffer. In fact, there are at least one or two other scheduling features that I still need to work into this post… for instance, if you use the Buffer extension to share an article, one available option is the Power Scheduler that lets you share and re-share that piece of content over a period of time, and you can pick and choose which profiles to share when… all from one dialogue screen.

  • Magda Savin

    I started to get good leads for one of the energy blogs on Twitter, many followers and retweets.
    After a while, I started building a nice audience on Facebook, but using my personal account.
    After a while the blog http://www.alternative-energies.net created a different page on Fb which was merged from my previous personal page and turned into a company page.
    Now, they have likes and followers, but they are not able to maintain the same audience like before.
    What is the best solution here, they must pay for advertising on Fb, boost post and so on, or there is another way to develop the audience like I did before using groups?

    • Thanks Magda!

      Facebook for Business is definitely different and evolving. While some can get away with using a personal profile to promote their business, or a even a personal profile labelled as a business, that’s dicey, as it is against Facebook’s terms and could backfire.

      Which means that businesses need to resign themselves to using a Facebook Page to represent their business and yes, that means having a budget to pay to reach fans. Fortunately, that doesn’t require a large budget. As little as $100 a month might suffice depending on your needs, and actually be quite effective for your business.

  • Coup Steer

    Thanks!
    informative one will always keep in mind! 🙂

  • OliviaU

    I really enjoyed reading the article. There were some really great things to think about for our own site.
    Best,
    http://www.ampronix.com

  • Wow! This is such and informative and comprehensive post. I started looking at social media scheduling tools and stopped at Buffer tonight because it seemed right on target for what I want to use it for. Thank you so much for teaching me everything I need to know to get started with this tool …and then a whole lot more!

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