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A Month With BufferApp

This guest post is by Derek Land of ThisIsInspired.com.

On the recommendation of BufferApp from Misty Belardo I have incorporated BufferApp into my Twitter routine—my Routwine, if you will. It’s been very useful, but also brought some interesting thoughts to bear. (In this article I may use ‘Buffer’ and ‘BufferApp’ interchangeably but they are same service.)

Now in case you don’t use Buffer or haven’t heard about what it is, here’s a brief biography: Buffer allows you to load up tweets in a queue, and it tweets them out at pre-determined times of the day and week—what times and which days are up to you to decide. You save a tweet, tell Buffer when you want it published, and it tweets for you.

Key features

A service like BufferApp can be very useful in the strategies of bloggers and online marketers who are looking to leverage the social power of Twitter to share information.

The great thing about it is how easy it makes queuing up a list of tweets that can potentially reach more people with similar interests to you—which can, at the very least, increase your Twitter reach, drive traffic, and raise your social influence.

In this functionality, Buffer differs from many current and past Twitter services (I refrain from naming names) that don’t let you queue tweets, or at least, don’t do so easily, and it’s far and away better with the whole scheduling aspect.

This scheduling is key, because without it, you (a) flood your followers a few times a day when you happen to be online, and (b) miss out on visitors and potential customers (if you’re doing any kind of online selling) because they may be on Twitter at a different time of day from you.

Certain features of this scheduling ability are only available to paid subscribers of Buffer—which also sets it apart from most other tweet schedulers. However, by supporting Buffer as a paid subscriber, you’re also guaranteeing that the developers keep it running like a well-oiled machine. I appreciate the value of this, and am glad the Buffer people have, from the start, incorporated a monetization method to keep the service relevant and useful.

Since I’ve started using Buffer (and, granted, I am by no means whatsoever a Twitter power user), my follower count has gone up, as have the number of clicks on those links I’ve tweeted. Engagement has increased, but that growth has been slight. In Buffer’s defense, I should note that I’m pretty straight-laced in everything I do, so building excitement and feedback is an ongoing struggle for me. However, to say the main benefit of Buffer would be driving traffic would be a bit self-serving, and also shortsighted: you can add followers in a big hurry, but this may come at the expense of conversation and interaction.

Therefore if you use Buffer or any tweet scheduling service to tweet your tweets for you, it is important to balance your feed with engagement and pleasantries. I’ll probably say this once or twice more in this article.

Who uses Buffer?

Buffer can fit into just about anyone’s “Twitter Life.” The app is not made for certain people, and its creators don’t exclude anyone by using jargon or confusing settings. Everything is straightforward, and even Twitter novices can begin using it fluidly in a few minutes.

I can see folks using Buffer for one or more of a few reasons:

  • to drive traffic and increase link sharing
  • to expand social influence
  • to inform/educate people otherwise unreachable (offline)
  • to increase the consistency of your Twitter presence
  • to solidify corporate presence or brand.

If you are the “I ate a pickle omnomnom” type of twitterer, Buffer will probably hold little value for you. However, if you’re in a business looking to better leverage social media, you’re a designer wishing to increase the visibility of your projects, or you’re a blogger wanting to increase interaction and visitors, BufferApp will be the perfect fit. I’d venture to say there’s no reason not to use it, and the longer you delay, the more benefits of the service you’ll forgo.

How to use Buffer successfully

I’ve gathered a few pointers to keep in mind that may help you to make the most of Buffer as you incorporate it into your online social life. These pointers have been honed a bit to apply to Buffer but they apply equally to any social scheduling service, and by extension, to any online interaction.

  1. Avoid letting traffic become the sole, soulless purpose of using Buffer; balance those tweets with meaningful interaction, DMs and @-replies. Be more engaging the more you tweet; don’t stagnate or sacrifice conversation for content.
  2. Avoid queuing up time-sensitive information, like giveaways or news flashes. BufferApp tweets in ascending order the tweets added to you queue, and if you queue up a lot, it may be many hours or a couple days for those tweets to get out.
  3. Avoid sending highly popular tweets to your Buffer queue. If Smashing Magazine has a WordPress theme giveaway (which, as you can guess, are always highly popular), queuing the tweet will likely cause it to fall on more deaf ears if you have a longer queue and/or fewer scheduled tweet times.
  4. Balance Buffer with real-time tweets. The power of Buffer comes from setting schedule times when you are not online or actively using Twitter, or to tweet more on the popular days (Monday-Wednesday). Do not let it become the only way you tweet.
  5. Adjust the frequency of your Buffer tweet schedule—make it more often if you tweet more, and less if your queue is shorter. This way, what you say is spread more evenly and consistently to your followers and readers.

Pros and cons … Wait, what?

In short, Buffer is a fantastic service. It does one thing, and it does it very well. Are there ways the Buffer People could tweak their app? There are a (very) few. And, Buffer People, if you are reading this, keep doing what you’re doing—these are thoughts others may not share and are, at best minor points far removed from my Scale of Irritation.

  • An option to randomize the queue prior to each tweet: This may seem a bit inane. However, consider that both content and tone may fluctuate through the day or week. Also, you may find yourself queuing up a few tweets in a row on the same topic. An option to go random would resolve these minor issues.
  • A faster pop-up for the bookmarklet (which sometimes does not work) and browser extension: However this may be the result of a slower server, server cache settings, and the like. My high speed connection is just fine, and the pop up still lagged a bit.
  • Possible cooperation with app developers to incorporate send-to-Buffer in apps like Tweetbot, et al.: This would easily put the use of Buffer on a par Instapaper, and possibly replace the need for email-to-Buffer. Cross-app services like these have both stability and practicality in our increasingly busy social and work lives.

These problems, as you’ve already read, are exceedingly minor. And one additional point about the browser extension and bookmarklet: If you click it once and nothing happens, give it a few seconds before you click it again.

Is BufferApp for you?

I would very much like to see Buffer establish itself as a regular online service, much like Tweet Marker (but with wider support than Tweet Marker). As I write this, the team is preparing to roll out Buffer for Facebook.

For casual twitterers, there is no real con in using Buffer, and by that same token the pros are significantly diminished also. I’m not trying to be mean; if you use Twitter to simply catch up with friends or as a chat tool, then using Buffer will be counterproductive.

For businesses and bloggers, the key con of using Buffer rests on the one using it: not correctly balancing community interaction of a few personal tweets with the stuff you save in your Buffer queue. Don’t leave the social aspect of Twitter behind, or get so caught up in the mere act of tweeting that you forget why you started using Twitter in the first place. As with everything in life, balance is key.

Twitter is a place for sharing information; I’ve come to rely on Twitter for news more than CNN.com (my old standby), and for the latest trends, tips, and tricks in web development and design. To me, Twitter is a wonderful tool for learning, and for engaging with other writers, designers, and potential clients. And Buffer has put a “functionality polish” on the way I use it.

Twitter is a social place, even if for some there is a distinction between “casual social” and “business social.” Let’s make it more friendly by using it smartly, whatever app or service we use.

Derek Land has designed and developed websites for clients around the world and written on blogging and social ethics for several widely read online publications. You can follow him on Twitter at derekland or visit his website at www.ThisIsInspired.com.

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Comments

  1. Wendy says:

    Wow!. Thanks for all this information. I will definitely look into this Bufferapp.

  2. Kalen Smith says:

    There have been many other tools to schedule tweets before. However, BufferApp sounds like you can organize your tweets much more easily. I’d like to see what influence it really has on conversions though. Are you saying that you can know when a particular demographic is likely to be on Twitter and schedule tweets accordingly?

  3. ptaylor98 says:

    I’ve been using Bufferapp for almost six months and I strongly agree with your article. One nice feature is that Bufferapp will send a reminder email if your buffer runs out, which is great. And I use the Chrome browser, which has a toolbar add-on for Bufferapp, so it’s always available. Very useful to me, particularly to be able to tweet during off hours to my followers around the world.

  4. I actually just started using BufferApp myself about a week ago, and I have been getting more interaction and website visitors. Then again, I can’t exactly track if it was BufferApp alone that has done this, or that and a combination of about 12309283 other Twitter apps I have been toying around with… lol but hey, its good so far!

    Thanks for the post,
    -Gabriel Johansson

  5. Gregory C. says:

    Has anyone compared the effectiveness of Buffer App vs Timely.is? (It’s another service that optimizes the times your tweets get posted, but claims to do so automatically).

    Just curious.

    Great analysis by the way!

  6. I have been using Buffer for quite a while now and find it very useful for tweeting to my followers on the other side of the world while I am asleep. I find it easier to schedule tweets with Buffer than Hootsuite. I wish that the bookmarklet could be faster but I do know that Leo and Joel are working hard on their product to make it a success.

  7. Fred Tracy says:

    Nice article. I was looking for something to schedule tweets for a while, and I found a few applications to do it.

    Right now, TweetDeck suits my purposes just fine, but I may give this one a shot just for kicks.

    Thanks for recommending it.

  8. Bob Garrett says:

    Hi Derek

    As a somewhat “power” Twitterer, I have used a few different solutions but really like Hootsuite. It did take a few attempts to get the msgs in the exact format for uploading that the Owl requires, but I have greatly simplified the process using a Google spreadsheet. I can now load a few hundred msgs in a matter of a minute or 2 at most.

    • Derek Land says:

      HI Bob thank you for your insight about Hootsuite. I will admit I’m not a power user on Twitter, but I have used Hootsuite a bit in the past year. It’s another top-shelf service, but I think it’s power really comes from offering so many options; I like the appeal of Buffer being simple – it does one thing and does it very well. Hootsuite offers a much greater, but perhaps a bit more confusing, array of options.

      Thanks!

  9. Its terrific, i was not aware of Buffer App. Now I’m also a member of it. :)

  10. Leo Widrich says:

    Derek, thanks so much for the amazing post here. And of course, thanks to Misty Belardo who told you about us.

    It is so great to hear your suggestions for how Buffer might be useful. Using it to establish a strong Twitter presence and making link sharing a lot easier is absolutely our goal.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the Cons, we definitely are working on getting more integrations going and now that you mention it, TweetBot is actually at the top of our list!

    • Derek Land says:

      You’re welcome Leo. I love Tweetbot’s integration with Instapaper, and would love to see Buffer be so integrated.

      ps I shouted you on Twitter before I realized you were the same Leo from Buffer. It was a long day for me. :/

  11. I love now the bufferapp ;) hehe

    Btw: Thank you for releasing this informative article.

  12. Gary Judge says:

    Thanks for putting me on to BufferApp. I am enjoying experimenting with it and can see that it has massive potential.

  13. naijadotcom says:

    Thanks for the suggestion,will try them out.

  14. @TheArkLady says:

    I have been using BufferApp since it was released in beta but nothing has convinced me as to why it would be a better service than paid HootSuite. Want to explain? Bob mentioned it earlier but didn’t talk about the pros or cons. I think finding what works best for you takes some time but I’d like to see a comparison of features to convince me.

  15. Checked it out, thanks, and find HootSuite more convenient for RT’s and @mentions with FireFox.

    Am I missing something?

    Any insights?

    What does it do better than HootSuite, in your experience?

    Thanks,
    Christine Hueber

  16. Mark Aylward says:

    Hey Derek
    I’ve used it for a couple of weeks and love it. I especially like the e-mail reminder it sends. I agree with your points about timeliness. You can’t just blast away or you defeat the purpose
    Cheers
    Mark

  17. MsKatrina says:

    I use a free account on SocialOomph and I can schedule my tweets down to the minute I want it released. What are the advantages of Buffer over SocialOomph?

    • Leo Widrich says:

      Hi Katrina,

      Great question there. I think SocialOomph is a great solution too.

      With Buffer, you can simply put Tweets into your queue and they are already scheduled for you. No need to do it invidvidually. With the browser extension you can also add Tweets to your Buffer from any website you are browsing with just one click.

      I hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions. :)

  18. Amanda says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve been using Buffer app for a few months, and I’m fairly happy with it.

    What I really like is the ease of use and the analytics. Buffer app is about 400 times more efficient than scheduling tweets on Hootsuite, and as well you can check the analytics and see what tweets are working.

    However, on the downside, Buffer app’s free version only allows you to schedule 11 tweets and connect to one account. To use more, you have pay.

  19. Adam says:

    BufferApp is a great tool for those who want to schedule a mass amount of pre-determined tweets ahead of time. When my company started into the Twittersphere, we discovered Buffer and fell for it immediately. We would schedule out 7-10 tweets a week, and then fill in with others later.

    A few things this article didn’t catch:
    You can change the queue of your tweets once entered in. Just click them and drag them where you want. Maybe this is only for Premium users
    You can only have one user, unless you upgrade to the Premium services
    You can only alter the schedule of your tweets by upgrading to the Premium services

    That being said, we have gently fallen away from Buffer, and only use it a few times a week now. And to be able to use it as we need to, we must have the Premium subscription. For 1-2 tweets a week, that doesn’t make it a very good fit for us.

    We’ve recently stumbled upon BrandChirp, which allows you to schedule individual tweets manually, without the hassle of changing the frequency, etc. It also has many more tools to help you effectively hone your brand on Twitter. Plus it’s a third of the cost per month. For us, this is just a better fit. But for most others that need a service like this, Buffer App would be the way to go.

    Now… If I can just figure out how to cancel my paid subscription to Buffer… I can’t find a thing about it on their site!

  20. Carrie says:

    Hi Derek, thanks for the excellent post on Buffer. I have been using if for a few months, ever since I got my iPad 2, and find that’s it’s super fast and easy for scheduling tweets, esp on the iPad. Of course, you still have to go into Twitter to tweet real time with folks, so I see it as a basic framework and then I add the embellishments when I have time, so to speak. I find it much easier then Hootsuite, maybe because don’t have all those columns to deal with. Ways Buffer could improve: 1. add suggested tweets that integrate with your keywords, like Roost; 2. enable images, like Sendible 3. email you a confirmation that you tweet has been sent.

    For now, I’m going to continue to use it and look forward to the Facebook integration, and am crossing my fingers that this has the image integration!

  21. nikher says:

    I have been using BufferApp since it was released in beta but nothing has convinced me as to why it would be a better service than paid HootSuite.

    M Tech computer

  22. Derek, Thanks for your thoughts on BufferApp. I just discovered it and was looking for other’s experiences. Your post is very helpful.