One of the truly killer apps for social media management is called Buffer. If you’re not familiar, the idea is that, using Buffer, you connect your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and set schedules for each account. You can then add links to pages or stories, or craft status updates, and allow Buffer to publish those updates according to your predetermined schedule.
What’s the big deal, you ask? Because with Buffer, you’re not automating your social media activity, but you are using a tool to accomplish multiple things at once:
- Freedom to find articles and create posts when it’s convenient for you
- Ability to space out activity throughout the day, rather than sharing a bunch of articles at all once
- Ability to schedule posts at specific times that correlate to your audience’s peak activity
For instance, I know that for most people, peak Facebook usage is mid-afternoon. On average, you’ll find more people logged into Facebook at two o’clock in the afternoon than at seven in the morning. So if I’m going to share a post to Facebook, it would be ideal to do so mid afternoon, yet I’m not likely to remember to create that post at 2, or even more likely, I’m going to be busy doing other things. I could use the scheduling tool within Facebook or HootSuite, and that’s not a bad idea in some instances, but it’s far easier to click a button to add an article to my Buffer, and let Buffer handle the post. And if appropriate, I can select to also share that post to Twitter and LinkedIn as well.
This is particularly useful since Buffer supports multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages, so I can schedule activity on my personal Facebook profile, personal Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, company Facebook Page, and company Twitter account. Buffer also supports LinkedIn Groups and App.net profiles.
Each profile can have its own schedule and completely different numbers of posting times. My personal Facebook profile, for instance, only has one posting time, 1pm, and I rarely use it, while my LinkedIn profile has three times that I keep filled with interesting articles to share.
One interesting feature within the Buffer website is that when you’re looking at the queue of updates you have scheduled for a particular profile, you can click a button to shuffle them, randomly rearranging the posts. Shuffling updates can help you avoid sharing articles from the same source repeatedly in a row, or from sharing the same articles at the same time across platforms. Now, thanks to an update to the Buffer app, you can shuffle your updates on your phone just by shaking. Give it a try, it’s cool!
The Buffer Team has also brought their great Analytics to their app. Before, you could log into your web account and see your past posts and the interactions that post received, like Favorites, Retweets and Click-throughs. Now, those analytics are available through the app.
Finally, the app now supports new update types, giving business owners and social media marketing agencies greater flexibility in what they can schedule.
I strongly recommend using Buffer to help organize and manage your social media activity. While the app does not yet support Google+, I am told that capability is under development, so it’s just a matter of time. Try it out, and let me know what you think!