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?
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?