Buffer is a tool that, honestly, I couldn’t live without! It helps me share all the great content that I consume each morning over the course of the day, and by doing so, it helps me keep my online presence going even when I’m neck-deep in client work (and even on the weekends when I attempt to take some “down” time). For these reasons and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the awesome tool, I wanted to share it with you here today.
What is Buffer?
Buffer is a tool that helps you share all the great content you want to share with your community throughout the day. It can be linked to your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts (though I’ve only ever used it for Twitter so far) and it comes with a bookmarklet for use in your browser, mobile apps and more. Basically you can add content to your Buffer no matter what device you’re reading from or where you are. It also gives you valuable insights and analytics on the content you share through Buffer, marking which are your “top tweets” (for example) of the day.
How does Buffer work?
Basically, as you read, watch or listen to a piece of online content that you want to share with your audience, simply click the “Buffer” button from within your browser’s bookmarklet (or click on the app from within your mobile device) and the following field appears (screenshot taken from my desktop):
Once you customize the tweet and click “Buffer” it gets added to your Buffer list.
What is your Buffer list?
Your Buffer list is a pre-determined number of specific hours within the day. Each time you add something to your Buffer, it gets added to the next available time slot within your Buffer list. The great thing is that you can customize your list by days of the week. For example, I tweet out about 30 times a day, using my Buffer App, from Monday to Friday and less frequently on the weekends. Buffer automatically knows which day of the week it is and adds to the list accordingly. Take a look:
Partial view of my weekly Buffer schedule:
Partial view of my Buffer feed:
So, as you can see, Buffer is a simple, easy to use tool that helps you maintain your online presence and share the content you want to share with your audience over a pre-determined course of time.
Remember: Buffer is good for sharing articles, posts, videos, pictures, etc – but you still need to be present on these channels to monitor and actually engage with others. It in no way makes up for real, honest human interactions.
Buffer and your crisis communications
Benefits of using Buffer in your crisis communications:
If you have crisis communications to tweet out (and I say tweet because Twitter is the only social platform you should consider tweeting out the same message on over the course of a pre-determined amount of time), than Buffer can help make sure your communications are being tweeted out periodically, making sure that your message and links are seen by the maximum amount of followers. Obviously this strategy is not an “always strategy”, but when needed, Buffer can be a good tool to use.
Remember: Even if you’re using Buffer to help you communicate your message points in a crisis, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t absolutely still be monitoring and responding/reacting accordingly on those channels. Buffer is a sharing tool, not a monitoring tool or an engagement tool. This is very important to remember in a crisis situation.
Things to remember when it comes to Buffer and your crisis communications:
When faced with an online issue or crisis of any kind, remember to evaluate and, when necessary, pause and/or stop your Buffer feed as you would all other marketing communications. If you’re in the midst of a crisis and your Buffer was loaded with marketing messages and communications that are not deemed appropriate to be shared in a crisis, be sure to stop them before they have the opportunity to reflect poorly on your brand.
Even without a budget, you can benefit from the features Buffer offers. The free account gives you up to 10 pre-scheduled “buffs” at a time. You can have unlimited set times within your Buffer account, but can only load 10 tweets or posts at a time.
The “awesome plan” however, gives you unlimited amounts for only $8.50 USD a month (less if you pre-pay a year in advance).
So whether you have a small budget or no budget at all, Buffer is at your disposal!
What about you? Do you use Buffer, and if so, do you find it to be useful? Share your experiences and comments with me below.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.