A long time ago, in a blogosphere far far away…I was looking for some awesome tools to automate my tweets. There are certainly a lot of them out there. I checked. As a result, the choice is quite difficult.
Many people want an all in one solution, where they can take care of all their social media needs at once. Others are just looking for simplicity. A way to share content easily, quickly and with optimum effect.
If you are one of the latter, then in my humble opinion, Buffer is the way to go.
You have heard of Buffer, right? Or perhaps you have seen the funky “black stacked plates” symbol amongst the share buttons and wondered:
What is that crazy icon all about?
In the following post I am going to explain what Buffer can do for you. I will also show you how amazingly integrated it is. Finally, I will go over some features even Buffer pros might not have heard of.
Now, go and put on your most comfortable shoes. Let’s get going…
What is Buffer App exactly?
If you are new to Buffer (or Buffer App as it is also known), here is a quote from their homepage:
Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you’re reading
Not only that, but you can schedule your posts on various social media accounts, and do so in an optimized way!
If you are already using Buffer, a lot of this will seem obvious. However, for the newbie, the following are some of the highlights.
Add to Buffer from your browser
With the Buffer Chrome browser extension (Safari, Firefox and Opera are available too) you can add content from right inside your browser. Simply click the Buffer icon (top right in Chrome) and go to the standard Buffer share window. Here is what you will see:
It allows you to choose what social media networks you share on, the contents, the scheduled time and so on.
If you click on a tweet button inside a blog post instead, the Buffer button also appears inside the Twitter window.
The green Buffer button above will then take you to the same buffer share window shown above. So why use the tweet button then? It has the advantage of adding the blog owner’s Twitter name to the tweet, which is something you really want to do.
As you can probably tell by now, Buffer makes it pretty easy to share content. That is certainly one of their missions. What makes it even more powerful though, is the ability to share via a schedule. Your Buffer schedule can be set up in a variety of ways:
Let Buffer make one for you
Create a manual schedule
Import an optimized schedule
There are two fantastic services you can use to find your best times to tweet. After you have done that, you can import these times straight into Buffer. Then you can rest assured that your shares are going out at the best possible times.
Buffer integrates with Bit.ly
Ok, so scheduling your tweets is pretty cool. But the fun does not stop there!
If you like using link shortening services, Buffer integrates with some of the best ones:
**Note: If you don’t know about link shortening services – they replace URLs with very short ones. It gives you more space to tweet. Remember, you only have 140 characters.
Share content from Feedly
If you are like most people and moved to Feedly when Google killed their reader, then the news gets even better. You can share content from inside Feedly too.
I know, you already have the Buffer Browser Extension so it’s irrelevant. Perhaps some people can’t use the browser extension. Then this is another easy way you can share!
Some lesser known features
Some of you are perhaps a little bored? You have been using Buffer since before it was invented and are just about to leave this page! Well read on my friend…
Auto predict for perfect usernames
Recently, Buffer added even more great functionality to help us share. There is now an auto-predict for usernames.
For example, when you add a username to a tweet by typing @username, buffer will try to find who you mean. Take a look at it in action (here’s me typing “ashley”, I was sending myself a tweet!):
There are two really cool things worth noting here:
You can type either the name or the twitter handle after the @ (as you can see, my name and username are quite different – but Buffer still found me)
If you share on multiple networks, Buffer will try to replace the name on the other social network with the right username
This is extremely helpful. Now you don’t have to go and find the person’s exact username. Buffer will type it for you. Imagine how happy your fingers will be!
Tweet quotes or images directly
This was introduced a while ago, but I did not know about it until I researched this post! The Buffer browser extension allows you to easily share text and images from inside the browser.
Assuming you have the Buffer browser extenstion installed, right click on an image or some text and you will get the option to “add to buffer”. Below I have highlighted some text with my mouse, then right clicked:
This is great for sharing quotes or images, something we should all be doing to mix up our social media shares a little.
For the geek in you – Keyboard shortcuts
On the Buffer web app (ie the browser extenstion) the following keyboard shortcuts are available:
Use “alt + b” to open the Buffer share box
Use “alt + b” on any website to open the Buffer browser extension
Use “ctrl + enter” (“cmd + enter” for Mac) to add updates to your Buffer
Use “alt + (number)” to switch between your profiles
Once you get these shortcuts down, you will be even more efficient :> Is that possible? And don’t forget how happy your fingers will be.
What else does Buffer work with?
Well, everything actually! I even send tweets from my coffee machine. Crazy I know. But I drink a lot of coffee, so it rocks.
Ok, you got me. Buffer is not integrated with everything (yet), but the list is huge. Take a look and see if your favourite blog feed reader, sharing app or similar is on there.
If it is not, shoot the Buffer team an email (or better yet, a tweet) and I am sure they will start working on it. If enough people ask!
Does it come with a free set of steak knives?
A few people have asked me about the cost (in the comments), so I have added this after publishing.
Buffer comes with a free variant, which is great for most users. Here are the key points:
Only connect one of each social profile type (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
Only 10 shares in the buffer
Limited scheduling (same times on each day)
Only one login to the account
If you have a greater need than this, check out the Awesome Plan ($10 a month). This includes:
Up to 12 social profiles
Unlimited Buffer space
2 team member accounts
So you don’t need to pay, but if you do, you get a lot more!
So you might be asking yourself:
Does this guy get paid by Buffer?
No, I do not. And they don’t even have an affiliate program. I just pay them for their service! Monthly.
Honestly, I just love the app and what it can do. So I wanted to share it’s power and lesser known features with you all.
I stumbled across blogging while recovering from a shattered leg. I have not stopped blogging like a madman since! Join me in reaching for the top - become a better blogger, social media user or just plain "better informed". And feel free to ask a question in the new Q&A in the menu :-)