How and Why to Simplify Your Social Media Marketing with Buffer

Buffer is still my go-to method for scheduling content ahead of time to go out on multiple social networks.

Yes, even though they recently made the news when they were hacked, the way they handled the situation has kept me confident about staying on their service. Joel and the Buffer team were honest and kept all their users in the loop as they worked to fix the issue and really step up their security measures.

Why Scheduling Tweets and Posts Is A Smart Thing to Do

I often spend about 15-20 minutes a day reading news and articles online, and when I find something interesting and relevant to my audience, I want to share it with them. However, if I share all the articles I read on the spot, what I risk doing is flooding my audience with a slew of tweets and Facebook posts all at once. That’s annoying.

I’ve personally unfollowed people who have a habit of mass-posting all at once because their posts become the only thing I see plastered all over my stream. Mass-posting feels spammy.

Mass-posting all at once also means that my audience members who don’t log onto social media at the same time as I do, are more likely to miss my content. What good is a tweet or post if nobody sees it?

Scheduling your Tweets and Posts to go out at strategic times of the day helps you get content to your audience at regular, consistent intervals. It also makes it easier for you to batch your social media networking tasks to increase productivity.

All that said, scheduled article-sharing shouldn’t be 100% of what you post on your social media networks. Be sure to set aside time to have genuine conversations and engage with your followers as well.

How to Schedule Tweets and Posts with Buffer

1. Visit bufferapp.com and sign up for a free account.

2. Connect your social networks. The free account allows you to connect one account from each social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Connect Social Networking Accounts on Buffer

3. Click on “Schedule” to set the days and times of the week you want your content to go out. So if I want anything I schedule for Twitter to go out at two different times of the day, five days a week, I’ll select the dates and times just like in the example below:

Scheduling Tweets with Buffer

4. If you’re a Google Chrome user, install the Buffer Chrome Extension. A shortcut should appear at the top right corner of your browser. (not a Chrome user? Skip to step 9.)

5. Now go find an article you’d like to share with your audience. Click on the Buffer icon to add it to your Buffer.

Buffer Chrome Extension

6. You’ll see a popup window with customization options. There, you’ll be able to select all the different networks you want to share this article with, edit your post, and choose the thumbnail that appears alongside the post.

Buffer Chrome Extension Demonstration

7. You also have the extra options (in the bottom left corner) of uploading your own accompanying image, using the Buffer URL shortener, and choosing a specific date/time to publish (if you want it to post at a time different from what you’ve already set in your Buffer queue schedule)

8. Finally, decide if you want to share the article immediately, or add them to your Buffer queue by clicking the green “Buffer” button.

9. Not a Chrome user? No worries. You can fill your Buffer right from your Buffer page. Just click the field in the top left corner of your Buffer page where it says “What do you want to share?”.

update directly from Buffer

10. A pop up window will appear asking you to choose the social networks you want to share to and compose your post. You’ll also be able to share a URL to any interesting articles you want to share with your audience. (Buffer comes with its own URL shortener) Once you’re ready, choose to post immediately, or add it to your Buffer, which will make sure your post goes out at the next pre-scheduled time you’ve set for your Buffer.

Take Social Media Marketing with Buffer to the Next Level

Ready to step it up a notch? Try pairing Buffer with IFTTT, aka “If This Then That”. IFTTT allows you to create “recipes” or set triggers that automatically perform another action anytime it sets off.

If This Then That

Here’s an example of how to set one up where any time I favorite a Tweet, it gets added to my Buffer queue:

1. Visit ifttt.com and sign up for a free account.

2. Begin creating your recipe. Click on the blue “this” link to reveal all the possible social channels you can choose to set as a trigger. In this case, we want to choose Twitter.

Setting up IFTTT

3. If this is your first time, IFTTT will prompt you to activate your Twitter channel. This is a one-time action.

4. Once activated, you’ll see four options for Twitter. You can set it up so every Tweet you send gets added to your Buffer, or so that only Tweets that contain a particular hashtag get added, or any Tweet that contains a link gets added. In this example, we want to choose the option that says every time you favorite a Tweet, it sets off the trigger and adds the tweet to your Buffer.

favorite tweet as trigger in IFTTT

5. Now confirm that favoriting tweets is your new trigger. Then choose what will happen when the trigger goes off by clicking “that”. For this example, I chose “Buffer”.

6. If this is your first time creating a recipe with Buffer, IFTTT will prompt you to activate your Buffer account. When activating your Buffer account, you will also be asked to pick one social media network to post to. Unfortunately, we can’t set a recipe to post to multiple social media networks via Buffer at this time. IFTTT has stated that this feature will be added sometime down the line.

7. Now to customize your recipe, and how the tweet will appear. I’m choosing to Re-Tweet (RT) all tweets that I favorite, and include the Twitter handle of the person who wrote the original tweet. To do that, IFTTT allows you to “add ingredients” to your recipe. Just click on the blue “plus” icon to the right to see what ingredients are available.

Adding Ingredients to Recipes in IFTTT

8. Once your recipe looks good to you, create your action. When you’re done, your new recipe will be saved alongside all your other recipes. IFTTT gives you a few options to manage your recipes. Choose to turn them on and off as you wish. Since recipes are checked every 15 minutes, you have the option of asking IFTTT to check your recipe immediately if you’d like it to run right away. You can also choose to share your recipe, and edit it anytime.

Recipe Options in IFTTT

Overall

And there you have it. Ways to simplify your social media marketing with Buffer, and how to supercharge your efforts by pairing it up with IfThisThenThat. Buffer also integrates nicely with many other web tools.

If you prefer to have your scheduling function more closely integrated with your Twitter activity, you could also opt to use Hootsuite.

What other recipes do you plan to create? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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