Social Media Marketing made easy - GET BUFFER!
May 10, 2016
Social Media Marketing made easy - GET BUFFER!
Vice President, Marketing
Sky Angel Networks, LLCBroadcast Media, 11-50 employees
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Buffer
Buffer is being used by our organization to maximize the visibility of the various brands that we represent across the spectrum of social media platforms. We are a small business and Buffer is used by both of the two principal partners. Buffer boosts our productivity by automating several steps in the social media marketing process. It used to take ten minutes or more to share content across two or three social accounts. We'd have to go in to each social platform and use its unique features to push the content. Now, with Buffer, we can easily and efficiently share that same content on up to twelve social accounts in just a matter of minutes. What a godsend!
- User Interface for sharing: Buffer makes it super simple to share content. (1) Cut and past the text + hyperlink that you want to share, (2) Select the accounts you want to share it to, (3) Add an image if necessary (Twitter)., (4) Select time frame for sharing. Buffer automatically shortens the link and displays a draft for your review. Super simple. Better overall interface and experience than both Hootsuite and TweetDeck.
- Direct Access to RSS Feeds: One of the nicest features of this app is that they've found a way to give you direct access to RSS feeds of content -- right in the app itself! Obviously we find the majority of our content as we browse the Internet in the course of our workday but this is a great way to save time when you're focusing on filling up Buffer with great content. You simply type a keyword in and it displays a variety of RSS Feed results for you to choose from -- for each social media account! More than I could ever use.
- Pablo Image Tool: Image preparation is one of the most challenging and time consuming areas of social media marketing. Buffer has found a way to simplify and integrate that process as well with 'Pablo'. Pablo is an integrated tool that allows you identify or upload relevant images and then customize them. Once they're ready for action you can either download them or share then right from the interface. It's intuitive and the most efficient web-based social media tool I've ever seen for images. Bravo!
- Google Chrome Extension: This is another feature that we used all day long. In the course of the day I'll run across excellent content and I can easily drop it into my Buffer account without having to stop what I'm doing in that browser by using the Chrome extension. Another great tool that I don't know what I would do without.
- Scheduling: Buffer gives us at least three ways to schedule our posts: (A) Manually (by date & time), (B) Automated Scheduling - I set up a schedule in advance and then can just mindlessly submit posts into my Buffer account and know that it will shoot them out in the order and frequency that I set up in the schedule, (C) Optimal Scheduling - Buffer now includes a tool that when activated automatically optimizes the times that you're posts will be published. I LOVE THIS! I want the most visibility and re-sharing of our content. With Optimal Scheduling I don't even have to worry about that and this frees me up to just focus on finding compelling content. WOOHOO!
- Customer Service: Buffer's customer service department is RADICAL! They're known as 'The Happiness Team' and they really mean it. They will not stop serving you until you are completely satisfied and happy. Buffer is not the easiest app to wrap your mind around and the integration aspects when you add team members can be hairy, nut they're always there for you and unlike most CSRs they'll be the first to admit when they have a feature that needs improvement or isn't working right. I had an issue pop up this weekend and a representative named Darcy took the time to provide support by screencast, direct message chats on Twitter and even a Google Hangout where we were face to face. I can't remember another time where I felt like a support representative understood my pain and bent over backwards to make things right. Well done Darcy!
- FAQs - Buffer is kind of like riding a bike. Once you get the hang of it - it's easy, But until you've got the training wheels off it can be a pretty wobbly experience. The FAQ's are written in simple, straightforward language but no matter how tech-savvy and experienced you are with apps it can be a bit frustrating and overwhelming to get it set up and to troubleshoot. In my opinion, it needs to be more visual. More screenshots, videos, and perhaps even interactive, real-time workshops or introductory classes for new users.
- Account Management - I had some issues with integration of our free account into the master account. One day my partner logged into her account using a social login instead of her email and all of the sudden all of her default settings were gone. We could not figure it out ourselves using the HELP section and ended up having to request support from the 'Happiness Team'. It turns out that content managers must login via email in order for the platform to identify that they're logging into the master account as a content manager, It was confusing -- but we got it all straightened out with the support team. (Thanks Darcy!)
- Two-step processes - Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could find no truly 100% efficient way to share images and hyperlinks simultaneously. If you want to share an image across all platforms you can do that but then your FB / LI / G+ posts are identified as images ("Kevin shared an image") when in fact I was sharing an article with an image attached. Likewise if I share an article to FB / LI / G+ and the hyperlink is appended in the post then an image isn't attached to the Twitter post. Unfortunately, Twitter is inherently different from other social platforms so you just can't 'have your cake and eat it too!'. This is especially problematic when you're working in the mobile interface. After struggling with this shortfall for a year I've come to accept that I have to share in two steps if I want to optimize my posts for the various platforms. I do this by setting my defaults to FB page, LI and G+ profiles and after I share a post to those three platforms (which automatically append the hyperlink with image), I come right back and share to Twitter (which allows me to select and attach a relevant image as opposed to appending a hyperlink). I'm sure everyone's different but that's how we optimize our posts on the two different types of platforms.
We started off using TweetDeck and then migrated to Hootsuite. These apps work fine for monitoring partner posts and hashtags that are relevant to our brand but their sharing and scheduling utilities were clunky and inefficient. I'd still be using them for social media monitoring but Buffer recently launched their own tool called Respond so I'll probably keep everything integrated with Buffer going forward.
I recommend it for all businesses that are using social media marketing in their marketing channel mix. I can't imagine a single scenario where I wouldn't recommend it. My first recommendation would be to use it on a trial basis by registering for the individual plan. Once you've established that it will work for your business then upgrade to one of the paid plans based on the size of your business.