Posting everything to your social accounts manually and in the moment is what every social media “guru” wants you to do because they say it makes it more “authentic”, more “real”, and more “honest”. I say; what a load of bullshit.
These modern day, social media messiahs think that everything that goes out over your social networks will only be blessed by the social gods if you are the one that hits the “post right now at this moment” button and nothing else will ever do and if you venture too far from this you are committing social sin and must be burned on the social stake after being drawn and socially quartered which to me sounds really, really, freaking painful.
Let’s get real. Posting everything the moment that you “discover” it is great in theory but what most event marketers find is that this can actually cause a social media train wreck. I know, I have jumped the rails a couple of times. How you ask? Let me tell you!
You see, I am a big fan of RSS feeds. Feeds allow me to follow many event industry blogs and meetings industry news websites by simply reading them all in one place. Shazam. No more going to a million sites a day, they are just there, in my Google reader, waiting. When a post interests me, I click on it, and should it be good enough for my readers or clients, I tweet it or post it to Facebook. Perfect!
Now throw in an event, a new website design, 5 meetings and just a dash of travel and blend together.
Rail meet rock, rock meet wheel, wheel jump track and over the cliff we go.
Busy happens in the event world and when I get busy, I can let my RSS reader sit for days, stacking up posts. 100, 200, 300 and even 1000 posts from websites I love.
Using the manual, hand curated, nothing but love and social sugar method of sharing, I would get back from an event, open Google Reader and then bombard my Twitter followers with 100 Tweets in a row…….one after another after another after another.I am reading good shit and damn it, I don’t want you to miss good shit so I must get it out there so here come 10 MORE and more and more and more.
But what about Facebook? We can never post more than 2 items a day to Facebook and because I am out the next few days, Facebook will just have to sit empty because God knows, we cannot automate anything, we will be struck by lightening and our ears will fall off. Sorry Facebook fans, “No Post for YOU”.
- Manually post to Twitter and Facebook, all good
- AHHHHH, Get super busy
- Days go by, no posts to Facebook or Twitter
- Get back and post 1000 tweets an hour
- Things get back to normal
- Go back to bullet point one
This sucked, this was just not working and I cannot even imagine what it must be like for some event marketers or planners that don’t use an RSS reader or other method to get updates from sites they like. They can take the recipe above and add all of the time that it would take to visit tons of websites and shake….. twice.
After toying with different solutions, I have found the perfect recipe.
Buffer is a simple tool that helps you do one thing and one thing only. Share smarter. It even says so on their website.
Here is a snip from their website:
What is Buffer? We designed Buffer to offer you a both personal and yet more efficient solution to handle sharing on social media. Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.
Basically, Buffer allows you to hand pick the content you want to share on Facebook and Twitter and then put it into a queue that is released over time so that you are not the dude that TwitterBombs everyone or jams up the Facebook timeline.
How Does Buffer Work
Buffer is pretty simple to use. First, you sign up for an account. You will start with the free, learn to love it and then move to the paid, which is how I did it.
The Free Account:
- 10 posts in your Buffer
- 11 Twitter account
- 11 Facebook account
- 11 LinkedIn account
- Free browser extensions
- Free mobile apps
- Use your Bit.ly details
This plan works until you realize the power of Buffer and then you move to the $10.00 a month plan.
- 50 posts in your Buffer
- 66 Social accounts
- 22 team members/account
- Free browser extensions
- Free mobile apps
- Use your Bit.ly details
- Advanced scheduling
They also have a $99.00 a month top tier but much like mowing your lawn with a nuclear bomb, it is a little overkill.
How I use Buffer
Using Buffer, I am able to spread the posts that I want to share over time so nothing gets lost or forgotten. I can even add my own comments and thoughts. When I read a post that I want to share, I click the buffer icon in my Chrome or Firefox Browser and up pops a Buffer Box.
I can send this post to one, two or even all of these accounts. The choice would be all mine. I can tailor the message, add the post to the queue or post it immediately. I can even choose the thumbnail that will be used on my Facebook page….. what is not to love. You can even post original items and pictures.
Can you hear the sound of angels?
- When you first set up your Buffer account, Buffer pre-selects some times, basically a few times a day, all week.
- You will then edit the pre-selected times to ones that you like better.
I have my buffer set up to post 5 times a day to Twitter and 2 times a day to Facebook which allows for a few other instant posts throughout the day…. if we ever had “breaking news” in the meetings industry, I could send it right now, this minute. In fact, I have made life easy and I actually send everything through buffer including my own PlannerWire posts.
By always using buffer I am in control of what goes through the stream and when it goes out, even when I am away from my desk. Yep, this means that your event can even be posting to social networks while you are at the bar getting your drink on this weekend.
Pretty nifty, eh.
In fact, you will see the little buffer icon in a lot of places now including on Facebook posts, websites and even as a part of many RSS readers. It is everywhere.
The Results of using Buffer
Beyond feeling more in control and less social stressed, you can:
- Maintain a stable social posting schedule (for me, 2 Facebook posts and 5 Tweets per day) with out having to keep track
- Post when you are away. Even when I am off on an event or building event websites for clients, Buffer is working
- Ensure that your posts are well timed (yeah, we all read posts while laying in bed, posting them at midnight is not a great idea)
Other Features of Buffer
Buffer offers even more that can make it your most important social tool:
- Extensions for FireFox, Chrome and Safari
- A WordPress Plugin
- Apps for Android and iPhone
- Add ons for If This Then That (ITTT)
- Apps for Mr Reeder and Twylah
- Apps for SocialBro, Strawberryj.am, RSSOwl, ShareAHolic
- Too many more… it gets bigger every day
With all of these features and such a low cost of entry, not trying Buffer would be a crime to your followers and to your schedule.
My greatest fear is that one of the larger networks will gobble them up and wreck the damn thing like Yahoo did with Flickr and Twitter did with TweetDeck.
Let’s hope that does not happen.