Who doesn’t love saving time? I can’t think of anyone, so if you currently post to social media for your business (or do it for someone else’s), this post will give you information on how you can save time by using one my favorite social media automation tools, Buffer.
If you’ve ever tried to publish social media posts for a week, it doesn’t take you long to realize that there must a be a better way. For one, not every social media channel lets you schedule posts in advance. That means you must physically log in at the time of day (or night) you want the post to be published and manually post it. Then you must do this across the rest of your social media channels. This can be time-consuming and inconvenient to have to be “on call” at all hours of the day or night and on weekends to publish posts.
There are many social media automation tools but my favorite for small businesses is Buffer. Their tagline is: “Save time managing social media for your business.” You get a lot out of the free version which allows three channels and up to 10 pre-loaded posts per channel.
If that’s not enough, there are other subscription models that open the number of social media channels, prescheduled posts per channel, and account users. Check out their pricing page for the most up-to-date information.
The Free plan allows you to choose three options from the following: Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn Page, and LinkedIn Profile. The only channel you cannot get with the free version is Pinterest.
By using Buffer, you’ll save time because you’ll be able to preschedule your posts across all your channels at once. To get started, create a new account and connect your social media accounts using the above choices.
Loading posts in Buffer
Here’s how to preschedule a post in Buffer.
Look for the Queue tab at the top. Click on the “What would you like to share” field at the top of the page.
I’ve found some content that I want to share so I’ll copy/paste the link into the “What would you like to share?” field. In this example, Snowbird Creatives has Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as options to publish to.
You can either write your copy in or click the “Customize for each network.” I will often write some copy first and then customize the copy for each channel, like this:
From here, click on the field for each channel and make your adjustments.
In this example, you can see that Twitter has an exclamation point. That’s because Twitter doesn’t allow link attachments. You will have to manually add one in if you want one.
Here, I’ve made edits.
Continue making the edits you want for each channel, then click on the blue “Add to Queue” button on the bottom right and choose “Schedule Posts:”
Since you probably don’t want the same content to be published across all your channels at the same time each day, go the left navigation bar and adjust the posts to publish at different times per channel. Just click “Edit” and select a new day/time:
Use the Buffer extension to load up content you see in your internet travels
Another way to tap into Buffer’s time-saving awesomeness is by installing the extension. Go to Preferences (in the upper right-hand corner as near your logged in name) then find the Apps & Extras tab.
Here I’m on a website and want to share something I’ve found. Just click on the Buffer symbol; it looks like three black flat squares stacked:
Here, you can adjust the copy per channel and schedule the posts. Note that you may have to copy/paste copy and adjust it for Facebook. If you want to really want to know why, here’s an article on it.
Pro tip: It’s important that you share, comment, like, follow and ReTweet other peoples’ posts/pages, respectively. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Spread social media love and be more giving.
Takeaway: I use Buffer to schedule posts for Snowbird Creatives and my clients and we’ve found it to be a great time saver. The free version is great but if you want to connect Pinterest, curate content within the program, or take a deeper dive into analytics from Buffer, you can do so for a nominal fee.
This post has been refreshed to reflect updated pricing, functionality and screen shots.