Social media is an essential element of all successful marketing strategies. Simply put, your audience is on social media, so you have to be on social media as well, irrespective of the product or service you are offering.
There is no secret to social media, the formula is pretty straight forward: 1) identify your audience, 2) determine which social media channels they are using, 3) post helpful and relevant content, and 4) post consistently.
For many businesses "post consistently" is the hardest part of social media, because it can be time-consuming. This is where tools like Buffer can make your life a lot easier.
If you are not familiar with Buffer, it's a social media management tool which allows you to manage multiple accounts (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), all from one place. The distinct advantage being the ability to manage all your social media activity from one location.
For example, at Evolving Digital we use Buffer to schedule Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts for the upcoming week. Using social media management platforms (like Buffer) is a no brainer, and we recommend automating social media posts to all our clients.
While there are many tools you can use, Buffer is undoubtedly one of our favorites, and why we chose to focus on it in this post.
Try Buffer For Free
As is the case with most SaaS products, there is a free version which you can try. And while many other platforms radically strip-down their "free version" features, Buffer certainly has enough features to give you a good taste of the product.
What exactly do you get for free?
- 3 social accounts - you can automate up to 3 social media accounts
- 4 social networks - you can post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- 10 posts per account - you can schedule up to 10 posts per account
For most small businesses this is enough to try the product and assess the value. Also, even if you are a medium or large business, you should slowly transition from one tool to another, hence starting with a simple/free version.
If we exclude the free plan, Buffer offers 4 different plans - from $15/mo to +$100/mo. To summarize the differences, the more you pay, the more accounts, users, and social media networks you can manage. Furthermore, higher cost plans offer advanced analytics.
For more information see Buffer's pricing page.
Which plan is right for your company will depend on how many social media accounts you are managing, and how big your marketing team is. In our experience, the cost of Buffer will more than justify itself, because it will save your hours every month.
How Can Buffer Help Your Business?
If you value your time, any tool that makes you more productive is well worth the investment, especially when it's affordable. With regard to specific features/benefits, Buffer and other social media tools excel in three core areas: management, scheduling, and analytics.
1. Manage All Accounts In One Place
If you only manage one social media account, then it may be difficult to understand how time-consuming managing multiple accounts can me. Continuously switching between different applications/websites is hugely inefficient, especially if you have more than one person responsible for social media. In our experience, if you have 3+ accounts, or more than one person posting on social media, using Buffer or a similar application will cut your social media management time by at least 50%.
2. Schedule Posts
As we mentioned earlier, if you are serious about growing your social media channels, posting consistently is essential. Tools like Buffer make it much easier to post consistently. For example, you can schedule all your social media posts for the upcoming week, and as you can imagine, this is much quicker than posting manually/daily.
Also, with Buffer, you can quickly post the same message across different social media channels, without having to copy/paste across different platforms.
3. All Your Data/Analytics In One Place
Concerning analytics, Buffer has everything you would expect - reports that cover reach, impressions, clicks, comments, shares, and more. Yes - you can get this information directly on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Having all the data in one place often leads to better decision making, because it's easier to compare how your key metrics are performing across different social media channels.
Is Buffer For Everyone?
If you only have one social media account, then we could debate the need for social media management tools like Buffer. However, we are yet to come across a business with only one social media account.
Another essential aspect is usability. We find Buffer easy to use, but if you find it difficult, then there are other options like Hootsuite, Synthesio, Sprout Social, and Sysomos. For the most part, all these tools have similar features and pricing, so there is no wrong option.
We mentioned earlier in the post that social media is absolutely necessary if you are serious about growing your business. We have seen countless companies experience phenomenal growth after dedicating the time and resources to social media.
Mastering social media management platforms like Buffer will help you scale your social media efforts, and more importantly support your growth, irrespective if you are looking for more followers, impressions, clicks, or conversions.