Social media is almost a necessity for anyone running a business today, but I know that managing a social media program can be overwhelming. Today I want to share one of my favorite tools, which helps me manage my own social media (and my clients’) with ease: BufferApp.

What is BufferApp?

BufferApp is an online tool to help you manage all of your social media accounts, and easily schedule posts for the future. Here’s how it works:

  1. You hook up all of your social media accounts to Buffer (Facebook page, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn pages or groups, etc.)
  2. For each one, you choose a schedule – how often you want to post. So, for Twitter, you might choose three times daily, in which case you would choose what times of day for each day of the week you want to tweet. For Facebook, perhaps you only want to post twice a week, so you’d choose which days you want to post.
  3. Schedule away! Simply write up a post and “buffer” it for later, and it will drop into the next available time slot in your predetermined schedule. This makes it easy to schedule posts in bulk, saving you time.

Check out these other free marketing tools I recommend for business owners.

What I love about BufferApp

There are many tools that offer similar functionality to Buffer, but there are a few reasons why I love using Buffer over any others:

  1. It’s extremely cost effective. There is a free option, which limits the number of accounts you can hook up and how many posts you can schedule. Or, for just $10 per month, you can hook up unlimited social media profiles and schedule as many posts as you want. Well worth the $10 in my opinion.
  2. It gives you suggested content. When you first configure each new social media account in Buffer, it gives you the option to add “content feeds” you are interested. You just share social media accounts that are relevant to your business or topic, and then each time you log in, Buffer will give you suggested posts to share, aggregated from your relevant feeds.
  3. You can connect as many profiles as you want, easily. As a marketing consultant, I manage social media accounts for several clients in addition to my own. I can connect as many Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ accounts as I like, making it easy to manage all my social media activities in one place.
  4. It’s a good fit for anyone. As I mentioned, BufferApp is extremely scalable for someone like me who manages many social media accounts, but it’s also a great option for a small business owner with just their own social media to worry about. It’s easy to use and makes managing social media easier for anyone.

How I use BufferApp

As I said, I’ve connected my own social media accounts, as well as those of my clients. What I do is sit down every Sunday and plan out social media for the week. For myself, I look through my content feeds, email newsletters and other favorite content to schedule relevant posts for the week. For my clients, I typically manage their accounts through a content calendar, so I just schedule out whatever is planned for that week.

Here are a few tips to maximize the use of Buffer:

  1. Customize for each network. You can create one post and schedule it to post to all your accounts, but I recommend tailoring your content for each social media platform. Even if you post the same article to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, each one has its own conventions and standards, so it is more meaningful to your audience to write the post for each network.
  2. Check out the analytics. Buffer offers useful analytics about how your posts perform, such as how many people clicked your link, retweeted it or shared it. Examining these metrics can help you identify which of your past posts were most popular with your audience, so you can plan future posts accordingly.
  3. Don’t forget to engage in real time! The benefit of a tool like BufferApp is that you can schedule several social media posts at once, saving you time—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about your social media after that. It’s important to check in throughout the week to see if anyone has commented on your post or asked you a question, as well as generally engaging with your followers.

Any fellow BufferApp users out there? What is your favorite part about it? Any tips I missed? Or, if there’s a different social media management tool you prefer, I’d love to hear about it. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Want more of my recommendations for free and very low-cost tools to help support your small business marketing efforts. Check out my Marketing on a Budget Toolkit.