There are hundreds of tools available for scheduling tweets and posts. Among my favorites is Buffer. This free service (which can also be upgraded for minimal cost) allows you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ (pages, not profiles) and app.net. Its interface is simple and easy to understand, and automated schedules help you fill the void when you’re less apt to be online.
Under Buffer’s free plan you can schedule up to ten tweets or posts for each connected social media account. Want more? Upgrade to the “Awesome” plan ($10/month) and you can connect up to 12 profiles (ie. 4 Twitter accounts, 2 Facebook pages, etc.), and you can buffer up to 200 posts. “Awesome” also allows you to configure schedules on a per-day basis, as well as connect up to 15 rss feeds.
How Does it Work?
Posts can be “buffered” via social sharing buttons, a browser extension, or within Buffer directly. Link shortening is part of the service, which means you have more characters for tweeting.
When you create a post within Buffer itself (and also in some apps), you control the entire tweet or post, and can designate which networks it is scheduled for. I tend prefer the Buffer tool more than stock Twitter tools, so I’ll often opt to “buffer” a tweet and select “Share Now”.
You can also insert posts so they’re the next ones scheduled. Buffer will automatically adjust the rest of your scheduled postings.
Not sure what to tweet? Buffer provides suggested tweets. I’ve found they represent some pretty good content, and I often use them to fill in as content when I’m torn on what to scheduled at the moment.
Lots of Extras
Buffer is flexible in that it embraces third-party developers. With that, Buffer has been integrated into many apps, including If This Then That (IFTTT – another of my faves), WordPress, and several Twitter and rss clients. You can see the full list here.
Some apps that harness Buffer allow you to schedule content from other systems, like Instagram and Pinterest. For example, you can use IFTTT to conditionally schedule a tweet (using Buffer) for any Pinterest pins that include a specific keyword or phrase.
I simply wrote a recipe referencing my Pinterest rss feed:
And that’s it. Now, whenever I include that specific phrase in any pin, it will wind up in my Buffer schedule. Sweet, huh?
I love that Buffer itself is clean in both design and usage. There’s no head-scratching or hunting around the app or webpage to figure out what to do next. While you may read through the help files to get a good grasp on everything it can do, the interface makes it easy to move around without losing your place.
Oh, but I did mention “after hours”, right? Buffer is perfect for that. In fact, some folks use Buffer solely for off-hours scheduling.
When scheduling late-night posts, be careful about giving the impression you’re actually sitting in front of the computer. Avoid asking targeted questions. Instead, post links to relevant content or announce new features or contests.
And don’t let the lack of crazy colors and high-end graphics fool you. Buffer is very good at what it does. I only wish it integrated more social networks. But with the ability to handshake with IFTTT, I can see why Buffer would want to focus more on doing what it does as best as it can.
Do you use Buffer? What’s your favorite feature? And if you don’t? Go sign up and see what all the fuss is about.