Because it’s totally awesome and I can really see how this tool could help a busy company where a lot of people have a little bit of time to contribute to growing a brand via social media. I love the “team” element of this tool and I am going to spend all day tomorrow convincing a few of my colleagues as to exactly why we should use it.
What is it?
It’s an online tool that allows you to populate a stream with content that Buffer later shares across your social networks at specified times throughout the day (or night). In this sense, it’s not unlike Hootsuite which, while Twitter focused in its GUI, gives you the capacity to tick other social networks when you go to share, and to schedule your sharing.
So how is it different than Hootsuite?
Buffer can live as a button on all browser based toolbars, so you’re effectively able share content from anywhere. Unlike Hootsuite, where you can view in columns all your social media activities across several networks (you can also view social media activity from those you are following in these networks), Buffer is focused simply on creating a stream of content to be shared across these networks.
What do I love?
I love the sharing button and the fact that all I have to do to share across all my selected networks is click the button once. Once I click, I am given the option to “share now”, or to “Buffer” (which will throw content into my stream). When I check my content queue, all my content is lined up and waiting to go. I’ve currently got my stream set to send content out at 08:30, 10:00, 14:00 and 18:00. I will probably also add a late night slot so that I am reaching followers in different time zones.
Why is this tool so great for businesses?
Picture this. You’ve got a busy company full of clever people who both read and produce a tonne of good content. You have a few blogs, and various people throughout the company comment on other social media channels all the time. Beyond that, as a team you’re in a great position to recommend other good thought leadership content to your audience, who may consist of prospects, competitors, potential staff and potential investors.
You could leave the gigantic task of all this content management up to your marketing team, or, you could create a team account on Buffer that everyone could access and submit content so that a steady stream of it goes out to your universe. While the free version of Buffer is probably okay for individuals, the “go awesome” version for a measly $10 a month would not only allow you to stream across more than a few social networks, but you’d also be able to add more than one Twitter account which would enable you to segment your stream a little.
You may have separate Twitter accounts for business and technical functions, an account solely dedicated to events, or accounts for each region you operate in. Same goes with LinkedIn groups – you may operate several and this tool allows you to register each of them to be part of the content sharing stream.
The scheduling element to the tool has got to be helpful for any business operating across different time zones as well.
They email you when you need to top up your stream. This may sound annoying some of you, but as a busy marketing person it can be easy to neglect your content curation duties – especially when you’re so caught up in creating content.
Anything wrong with it?
I don’t see an option to share to LinkedIn company pages which is a bit of a shame as they’re a great resource and it would be nice to have a team of people contributing to them. It could be a problem associated with permissions and sharing to LinkedIn company pages.
Buffer gets a huge thumbs up for me and it’s going to be part of my social media marketing toolkit from here on in.
Are you using it? Do you like it?