Do you ever notice people that seem to always be online? Always posting to Twitter or Facebook? Just because they’re posting several times throughout the day doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on Twitter or Facebook all day long. They could be using one of several apps that allows you to schedule or spread out your posts throughout the day. One of the best apps I’ve found to do that is Buffer.
Unlike robust social media management tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck (both excellent tools), Buffer does one thing and it does it exceptionally well. Buffer is a status update scheduling tool, but unlike a more full-fledged social media management tool, Buffer doesn’t ask you when to post your updates. Buffer initially selects four times throught the day when your posts will go out (but you can add, subtract or edit any of those times). Each time you add a new post to Buffer, it simply throws it into the buffer queue behind your other scheduled posts. In the screenshot below, you can see that there are several posts scheduled to go out over the next 24 hours. This is how Buffer works.
Now, I can spend 20 or 30 minutes over lunch or in the evening reading news updates from my Google Reader account or (some of my new favorites) Flipboard (iOS app link), Zite (iOS app link) or even the Bloomburg BusinessWeek (iPad app link) apps on my iPad. Then, when I read interesting articles, I can add them to my Buffer knowing they’ll post later and not inundate my followers as I read each article.
Buffer also makes it VERY easy to add content, whether you’re sharing links of articles you’re reading or whether you just want to schedule a post without a link. Buffer has created more than a dozen different ways to add content to your account. In addition to being able to update from the website, you can also update with an Android app, iPhone app, Firefox and Chrome extensions and (one of my favorites) a way to add to your Buffer via email, it’s easy to keep your Buffer full wherever you are. Below is a screenshot that shows how to add an update to Buffer via email. You’ll receive your own exclusive @to.bufferapp.com email address and everything you send to that address will automatically get added to your Buffer. Just add the email address to your contacts and you can add to your Buffer from anywhere.
Buffer is a free service, but there is also a couple paid versions available. For free, you can have up to 10 updates in your queue, and you can have one account each of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. For $10/month you get up to 50 updates at a time, six social networks and up to two team members per account. There’s also a $99/month plan that gives you lots more.
I’ve been using Buffer for about six months now and it has become an indispensable part of my day and my social media routine. If you’re interested in checking out Buffer, click here (referral). If you sign up through my referral link, we’ll both get one extra space added to our Buffer queue.
**Update Thanks to Troy Thompson of Travel 2.0, you can use Tweriod (a free service) to find out the best times to tweet. Simply connect Tweriod with your Twitter account and it will let you know the historically best times to post content to get the most interaction from your followers. Tweriod is included as part of the paid Buffer subscription, but you can look up the times on your own for free as well. **