New Tool Tuesday: Buffer for Tweets

I’m NOT a fan of automating very much in social media — after all, the word social is in there for a reason.

But I do like tools that help augment and magnify good content, and that’s why I am loving a new (to me) tool called Buffer.

With Buffer, you can schedule tweets to go out at key times during the day — you pick the times through your dashboard, although they start you out with some default posts.

You load up as many tweets as you want, and when your Buffer is empty, nothing goes out.

“But Katy,” I hear you thinking, “wouldn’t it be better to just post the tweet manually?”

Well, yes, ideally you’d go to your preferred Twitter app a few times a day and post your link, share someone else’s content or get involved in a conversation.

But what if you are in the United States and only tweet during eastern business hours? Or what if you update your blog at 7am but most of your Twitter followers are active in the afternoon, when you’re at work?

(Homework: see “Timing Your Tweets” and “How to Time Your Blog Posts for Biggest Impact“)

I sometimes get funny looks when I speak at conferences or in small groups, and tell people that I get a ton of traffic from Twitter and Facebook — mostly through tweeting OLD (but still relevant) links. I really try not to just be spammy — if people are talking about something in social media and I have posted about it, I think my content can be valuable. Or if there’s a timely update to a previous post, a great conversation happening in comments, etc., I find that I can often get more traffic to a post weeks and months after than I did when it originally published!

The same can be said for sharing content from others. I have more than 700 blogs and websites in my Google Reader (true), and if could, I’d share hundreds of items a day.

But since that can be overwhelming, I’ve been using Buffer as a Google Reader shortcut (see directions here) and adding all of the content that I want to share to Buffer, so it’s staggered instead of one tweet after another after another.

When you add a tweet to Buffer, you can change the text, shorten the link and more:

And then tweet immediately or add it to your queue.

Speaking of the queue, you can move things around or edit any unsent tweets from your dashboard.

And, if you upgrade to a premium account, you can add multiple accounts, have more space in your buffer and get some other goodies. For me, that’s great, because I manage multiple accounts (disclosure: I asked Buffer to upgrade me for purposes of this review). But if you are just trying to boost one Twitter account or profile, the basic account should be just fine. And even with that free account, you can get bonus features for referring people to Buffer through your personalized link.

I’m excited to see that soon, Buffer is adding a Facebook tool to its app, so you’ll be able to schedule Facebook statuses as well as Tweets.

And Buffer has made it super simple to share via Buffer (just look at all of the add-ons, bookmarklets, mobile apps, etc in their Goodies section).

Now I want to know — do you think apps like this are good for making sharing more efficient, or do you think this just adds to the idea that social media has been taken over by robots?

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Comments

  1. says

    Absolutely – this looks very useful – I will check it out now. Especially since I am based in London I end up missing a lot of the great conevrsations on twitter that happen late in the US. great tip – thank you!

    • says

      Yeah, I have tried that and other tools, but often find that the scheduling takes longer than the posting! I’ve found Buffer to be very quick, and with all of the add-ons, it’s pretty much one-click sharing, which I really like.

  2. says

    I’ve been looking for a way to manage multiple accounts better … honestly I’m a smart girl but I am not so good at remembering to change accounts on tweetdeck before posting – I’m a disaster! Okay not a Kenneth Cole like disaster but I could do better, just sayin!

  3. says

    Katy

    Like Morgan and Matt I use Tweetdeck – at home anyway. I was using it on my iPhone but it kept freezing on me. I’m in Oz and like to be able schedule tweet links to my blog during the night (here).

    Also like Morgan I sometimes tweet from the wrong account – which is problematic as I keep my dieting account (this one) separate from the rest of my life!!!

    Deb

  4. says

    I definitely think this could help you be more strategic with your Tweets and promoting your blog or other’s. Like with everything in social media, you just stlil need to come off as genuine and wanting to contribute to the conversation as opposed to a 1-way dump of spam. This would also really help with businesses, like you said, who may have followers in other time zones.

  5. says

    Thank you! I have been looking for this tool, I mean I knew what I wanted, but didn’t know it existed.

    Will have to look into this. My issue is not having a smart phone and having Twitter blocked at work… which I should be working anyways! So it’s very difficult to stay in the Tweet world from where I am at. This would help.

  6. says

    So, that’s what that is. I like it! A lot of times there are things I’m doing in the future that I would love to tweet about, but they are things where I can’t bring my phone with me. So, many things that I could tweet, are not tweeted. And let’s face it, they are all gems. ;-)

  7. says

    I do think its good to share old posts via Twitter for those who may miss the original posting. And it does help with traffic. I usually schedule them in Tweetdeck but think I will check this out. Sounds like it will be even easier to use. Thanks for sharing about it, Katy. I love you more and more each day.

  8. says

    I’d prefer a way to keep draft tweets loaded up and be able to fire them off at will. I’ve always wanted to live tweet from races or training run/bike rides without having to stop long enough to compose it. “Halfway mark!”, “Big Hill!” etc.

  9. says

    Scheduling tweets can also backfire, though — I see tweets all the time from journalists tweeting out scheduled tweets that are no long relevant/old news/the story has changed. It makes them look silly.

    But if it’s something that doesn’t necessarily have a timeframe, go for it!

  10. Lauren @ Forward is a Pace says

    I’ve scheduled Tweets with Hootsuite, but it takes too long. I love how simple this is and that you can add & add without swamping your followers all at once. I think I’m already obsessed with this tool.

  11. says

    Katy,

    Thanks so much for this amazing post and review here! Loved your usecase on how you use Buffer in connection with Google Reader, this is exactly how I fill up my Buffer too! :)

    I absolutely agree with your thoughts on automation. With Buffer we really want to help people to save more time on providing great content for their followers on Twitter. Tweets are still written by you and are your genuine content. All we do is help you post it at a better time and so that you don’t flood your followers.

    If anyone of has any questions, please feel free to email me leo @ bufferapp.com

  12. says

    I love this! I am not given to hanging out on Twitter (or Facebook); I basically hit and run because there are other things I need to be doing, but I also want to stay in touch and get my messages out. Win-win.

  13. says

    Ohhh this is SO neat! I honestly did not even know this existed (i use tweetdeck at home, and my phone at work… if i even feel like tweeting). I’m going to look into this! Seriously, you are such an amazing, all-around, KNOWLEDGEABLE person. So, so helpful!

  14. says

    oh my word. you just made my social media life with these posts. THANKS, again, my dear, for constantly sharing how to be BETTER at what we all love doing :)

  15. says

    is it kinda like hootsuites schedule tweets? Just curious what the difference is. Maybe you said it and i totally misread it. Could be, i have been having my blonde moments. haha.

    • says

      Lindsay —

      I don’t use Hootsuite all that much, but yes…it’s similar. I find that Buffer gives better analyics and is a bit easier to use, but if you use and like Hootsuite, go for it!

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