Moving into 2017 I knew I needed to do more to increase engagement on social media for both WP in One Month & How I Built It. Simply promoting isn’t a great strategy; while I convert most listeners and students through my personal Twitter, I want change that. I tried doing it manually for a while, but it was too time consuming. After toying with the idea, I decided to upgrade to Buffer Pro for a year to see if it would help me while also saving time. About a month in, I have some thoughts.
If you don’t know what Buffer is, it’s an app that lets you easily schedule posts across multiple social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. With an upgraded account, you can connect to 10 profiles instead of 1 for each platform. There’s also a Chrome extension and mobile app for easy link sharing. This post is broken up into 3 sections, where I set out to answer:
- Does Buffer help me engage more?
- Does Buffer save me time?
- What’s my Buffer feature wishlist?
Does Buffer Help Me Engage More?
This is the most important question, as with any social media strategy you want to engage with your current followers while getting more and keeping them entertained and informed. I think Buffer does a really nice job of that, but it did take me about a week to find the right rhythm. Here’s what I know doesn’t work: “Queue up a bunch of links to share with little to no commentary.”
This makes my Twitter account nothing more than an aggregate RSS feed, so I needed to change my strategy. I came up with 5 categories and try to give them equal time on my feeds:
- Question for Followers (direct engagement)
- Promoting Services
- Knowledge Sharing through my own content
- Knowledge Sharing through others’ content
- Just for Fun
I also want to apply the 80/20 rule for others’ content: 80% my own, 20% others. Right now it’s probably closer to 50/50, but as I put out more and dig up more evergreen content, that should change.
I’ve seen modest returns on this, with my Twitter accounts each growing by about 10%. I’m coming up with some better plans for Instagram, which I intend to implement soon.Does Buffer Help Me Engage More? Yes! Click To Tweet
Does Buffer Save Me Time?
As it turns out, it does not (for the time being). At first, I didn’t really change my workflow. I would see something and Buffer it, visiting the site a few times a day. Now, I try to layout my entire week on Sunday night or Monday morning, and it usually takes me 45-60 minutes. I’m finding stories, determining what I want to promote, and coordinating between accounts. I then check in on it a few times a week to make sure schedules look good, add new links I came across, and more.
I’d say all-in-all I spend 3.5 hours per week managing Buffer. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but if I bill $90/hr, just managing my social accounts costs me $315/week, plus the $109/year I paid for Pro. Ideally, that number should be down to maybe an hour per week, and I have some thoughts on how to do it.
I will say, they have a “Content Inbox” that’s a built in RSS reader, which makes it very easy to discover and add new content to my various profiles. It’s a nice touch; between that and the Chrome extension, I don’t need to hunt and peck as much as I would otherwise.Does Buffer Save Me Time? Not yet, sadly. Click To Tweet
What’s my Buffer Feature Wish List?
A month in, there are only 2 features I really wish Buffer had, and both revolve around my goal to save time. The first is a complete, aggregate schedule for all accounts. Basically a week’s view, with times, what’s being posted, and where. I picture it a lot like my view in Fantastical or Google Calendar:
This will save me a ton of time trying to cross-reference all of my accounts to see what I’m sharing, when. I know there are other tools that provide the service, but I would love to have it right in Buffer.
The other feature is scheduled repeat posts. There is a way to rebuffer built in, which allows to to click and reschedule. But something like Social Jukebox, where I can make a queue and posts just get cycled through every 3 hours or so would be a fantastic feature. The way I view it is I have my regular queue of stuff, and I have my repeat queue. I can configure schedules for each of them; that’s another reason the combined schedule would be really helpful.
There are other services for scheduled repeat queues, but again I’d like to keep all of my social media management in one place. I am considering building a bot just to do it for me (for fun and learning!).What's my @buffer wishlist? Combined schedule & scheduled repeat posts. Click To Tweet
I’ve enjoyed using Buffer, and I’m definitely seeing some early returns on it. I’d love to see the above features added. I’m also open to evaluating other tools that might be more feature complete without being much more expensive. What do you use? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments!