The 8 Most Useful Buffer Features for a Powerful Social Media Presence

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Speed, fastI manage the family budget with speed and efficiency. My spreadsheets are slick, my workflow is fast, and I’ve learned enough tricks along the way to shave hours off my process.

I’ve also never bothered to teach anyone else how I do what I do.

Don’t worry, this post isn’t about money management. (Phew!) Rather, I find that it can be hugely helpful to share the tools, tips, and tricks that make the things we do on a regular basis as efficient as possible. Using Buffer for social media management is one area we’re happy to share.

We’d love for you all to know just how quickly, easily, and simply you can supercharge your social sharing for a more powerful social media presence. If you’re familiar with the basics of Buffer, we’re hoping you’ll find some pro tips among the eight features below. Come see how we schedule, analyze, and integrate to form a truly fast social media workflow.

8 Tips for Social Media

1. Share faster with Buffer’s browser extension

Browser extensions are one of our favorite productivity hacks at Buffer. So, needless to say, we love using the Buffer browser extension. If you haven’t yet, you can install the extension for free on your Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera browser. You’ll be all set up in just a couple clicks.

After it installs, you’ll first notice that the Buffer icon appears in the top right of your browser window, next to the address bar. Clicking this icon allows you to share directly from any page you’re on to however many connected accounts you choose.

Buffer-extension-icon

(One of our favorite tips is to use the keyboard shortcut to share automatically. You can set the shortcut to whatever you’d like inside the Buffer extension settings. Mine defaults to Option+B on my Macbook.)

The Buffer extension will automatically grab the page title and a shortened URL and preselect your default Buffer accounts. You can add more accounts and completely customize the text and formatting of your finished update.

You can also mention Twitter usernames in your update, and Buffer will offer autocomplete options so you can quickly grab the folks you want. If you share to Twitter plus another network, the @ name will update to show a full name on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn updates.

Here’s the extension in action:

buffer-extension-gif

Another neat trick with the browser extension is buffering straight from Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Hacker News. If you have the extension installed, you’ll notice a Buffer link or Buffer button built right into the site, either in the post editor or inside the main content. You can add to Buffer directly from these links and choose all the same options as you could if you were buffering with the extension button—adding to profiles, setting the time, customizing text and mentions.

Here are a couple of ways the extension appears in Twitter. You’ll notice it when you’re composing a native tweet:

Twitter buffer

You’ll also have the Buffer option when you want to retweet:

Buffer retweet

Of course, if any of these options sound like too much or not your style, you can customize the way the extension works through your settings panel. Click the menu button in the top right of your Chrome browser and go to Tools > Extensions. There you’ll find the Buffer extension and a link to your settings.

Buffer extension options

I like to run a pretty clean menu bar. I’ve hidden the icon from the main menu, and instead, I go straight to the keyboard shortcut when I want to buffer a page. To hide the icon, you can right-click on it and choose Hide Button.

2. Clip and queue text and images as you find them

With the browser extension installed, you gain the advantage of easily sharing your favorites bits of text and any awesome-looking image right when you find them.

For text, if you’re browsing a site and come across a neat stat or quotable blurb, simply highlight the text and click the Buffer button from your browser menu bar. The composer window will pop up with your highlighted text prepoulated as your update (with a link to the original, full page).

Buffer highlighted text

You can also buffer with the keyboard shortcut or by right-clicking on the selected text and choosing “Buffer Selected Text.”

Right clicks also let you buffer any image you find on any site. We’re big believers in the power of sharing self-explanatory graphics, the kind that make sense with or without the text you add alongside. Many sites make some really fabulous images. Buffering them is super easy.

When you find an image you like, right-click on the image and choose “Buffer This Image.”

Buffer This Image

The composer window will pop up again, and you’ll be able to add this image to any of your connected profiles and change up the text as much as you want. The composer will be prepopulated with the page title and a “Found at URL” note that includes a shortened URL to the main page content.

3. Send your tweets at the perfect time

With Buffer, you can send an update one of four ways:

  1. Share immediately
  2. Add to the top of your queue
  3. Add to the bottom of your queue
  4. Share at a custom time

We start you off with some default times spread out throughout the day. But what’s the perfect time for your audience in particular?

Followerwonk can help with this. Its Twitter analysis contains tons of neat stats, and the app syncs directly with Buffer. You can sign up for a free account—just sign in with your Twitter credentials—and right away see a sampling of the data that Followerwonk grabs.

One bit of data that is hugely helpful is their graph of the most active hours for your followers, set to your timezone. To get to this data, click on the “Analyze followers” tab, enter your Twitter username, and select “analyze their followers” from the drop-down menu.

Followerwonk Twitter followers  analysis

My chart is below. You can see that 1:00 p.m. MT is when my followers are most active.

Followerwonk

You may also notice in the above image that there’s an orange button at the bottom to schedule with Buffer. Followerwonk will analyze your follower data and create custom buffer times based on this data and the frequency you set. I post to Twitter four times per day. Here is what the Followerwonk results look like for me:

Followerwonk results

Voila! A custom schedule that posts when my followers are most likely to see it. It’s a great jumping off point for coming up with an ideal tweeting schedule (I’m going to adjust mine so that something posts earlier in the day, when I’m for sure online to respond). Simple, quick, and incredibly helpful.

4. View, track, and recycle your top-performing posts

All Buffer accounts—Individual, Awesome, and Business—come with built-in analytics that track the all-important engagement metrics like clicks, shares, comments, and favorites. We even add a stat for your potential reach, which adds together the total of everyone who might see your post, including your followers and the followers of those who reshared your post.

One of my favorite Buffer analytics feature is the visual high-five for those posts that have performed particularly well. The green Top Post tag reflects a bump in shares, retweets, and favorites compared to your historical trends. It’s awesome encouragement for a job well done.

Top Post

These top updates are obviously well-liked content. You may want to share them again—either in a new way to the same network or as a repost to a different profile. Fortunately, this is as easy as dragging and dropping.

Hover over the post you want to reshare, and you’ll notice that the gray icon to the top left of the post changes to an arrow. Click this arrow and drag to whichever profile you want to share.

Drag and Drop

The same thing can happen from your queue as well. If you have an update pending on one profile and want to add to another, simply drag-and-drop. Once the post is in the queue, you can still enjoy complete customization of the text, link, attachments, and send time.

5. Check and compare your most important metrics

Advanced stats on all your sharing are available with our Buffer for Business plans. You can see graphs of your most important stats side-by-side, and you can set custom timeframes to change the way you view your metrics.

We’ve dropped in a few custom timeframes for you to start with: 90 days, 30 days, 7 days, yesterday, and today.

Custom timeframes

Once you have your time frame set, you can change and update the graph to reflect a comparison between engagement and follower stats that are unique to each network. Here is the full grid of options:

Buffer stats

Comparing any of these two metrics lets you see how the stats correlate. Do commented posts correlate to retweets? Did share numbers jump when posting frequency increased? Here’s a sample graph of a Google+ chart comparing +1s (in red) and comments (in green).

Google+ chart

6. Sort your recent history to see your biggest hits

Below the graph section in the advanced analytics, you can see a complete list of all the posts you’ve sent that fall into your chosen timeframe. All the data is there: date and time, full content of the post, post type, and all the share numbers. Posts are listed in chronological order starting with the most recent ones.

So what can you do with all this big data?

Well, if you’re interested in exporting it, the file we’ll hand you has all these numbers and figures split out into a spreadsheet. We often use exports here at Buffer, throw them into a Google spreadsheet, and apply some fancy formulas.

You can also gain insight right from the Buffer stats dashboard. The column headings for Recent Posts are clickable and sortable. Click any one of them, and you can see the posts with the most or the least numbers in any category.

Sorting analytics

 

7. Integrate Buffer with your most-used apps

We sure love social media tools. If there’s something that can help us work smarter, sign us up! We’ve been fortunate to partner with some of our favorite tools and to be featured in integrations with tools we use every day.

Buffer connects with 45 different services (plus an iPhone app and Android app, too). The full list is here. Recognize any that you use on a daily basis?

Two of our most-used ones are Pocket and Feedly. With Pocket, you can add to Buffer directly from the app, while reading the stories you’ve saved. We’ve worked this into our workflow by using the Pocket browser extension to save the stories we want to read later, then reading them in a batch of curation all at once. As we come across stories that are worth sharing, we add to Buffer as we read.

Buffer inside Pocket

Feedly’s Buffer integration is just as slick. We use Feedly to manage our RSS subscriptions. Some members on our team follow up to 80 blogs (I’m a relative lightweight with only 45), and Feedly helps us keep track of what’s going on at the sites that matter to us. We’ll often read stories in Feedly that we think will resonate with our audience. It’s really simple to share these right from within the post by clicking the Buffer button in the header.

feedly-sharing-to-buffer

8. Import an RSS feed straight into Buffer 

We’ve heard a lot of requests for the ability to add to Buffer from an RSS feed, and we’re happy to say that this feature is on its way!

We’ve had it turned on for Business users already, so you may have seen it popping up in your dashboard. With this new feature, you can add an RSS feed right from within Buffer, view the most recent posts from the feed, and add straight to your queue. Here’s a peek at what the process looks like:

Add feed from Buffer

After grabbing the feed and pulling into Buffer, you can then add directly from the feed list to any of your connected accounts. The links and titles show up automatically, just as they would if you were using the extension, and you have the ability to completely customize the text, formatting, and send time of the update.

Want more insight? See all 8 of these tips on video

We had the privilege of sharing these tips in our first-ever Buffer-hosted webinar, led by Buffer’s Rodolphe Dutel. If you’d like to see Rodolphe walk you through each of these features and hear from him how these eight tips can impact your social sharing, we’d love for you to watch the video below.

How many of these Buffer features were new to you? Which ones have you tried so far and loved? It’d be awesome to hear your feedback in the comments and continue the conversation there.

And for those who aren’t yet on our Buffer for Business plan, we’d love to have you try out the fun features. You can grab a risk-free, cancel-any-time trial right here.

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like A Guide to High Quality Social Media Sharing: What, When, and How to Share and 29 Free Marketing Tools to Improve Your Work Today.

Image credit: Éole

  • http://www.confusinglysimple.com David French

    So the RSS Feeds option would work similar to the Suggested Posts option? When I first heard about the RSS option, I feared that it would be dumping the feed right into the queue.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great question, David! You’re right. Feeds will allow you to choose the feed and then grab the posts you wanted. There’s no auto-adding to speak of. :)

  • http://www.michaelofei.com/ Michael Ofei

    This is a great summary of Buffer’s features. I particularly like the web browser extension. It makes it easy to update my content. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Awesome, Michael! Thanks! :) The extension is part of my sharing DNA at this point!

  • http://kpanastasi.com/ Katya Pavlopoulos

    Time to take how I use Buffer to a whole new level

  • Agnes Dadura

    wow, I especially appreciate the Followerwonk schedule times tip, as recently I’ve been trying to figure the best posting times for myself. Also, I would actually like to see an article about the money management. I’ve tried using a few apps, but they didn’t stick.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Agnes! Hope Followerwonk gives you some keen insights. :)

      I don’t pretend to have any answers about money management, but I’m happy to share what I use! I’ve used Mint for several years to manage accounts and transactions. It’s super dependable and thorough. Lately, I’ve been interested to try Level – it takes a slightly different approach to budgeting (showing you how much money you have left over to spend). There’s been some trouble connecting my banks, but once that’s squared away, I think it could be really valuable.

      • Agnes Dadura

        I will check it out, but I’m guessing these account connection won’t work with Taiwanese banks (online banking is very bad here, but on the other hand I can use my TV as e-ATM). Up to now I had to enter data manually, and after a week that’s becoming difficult (forgotten).

        And yeah, I’ve set up my new scheduling times based on Followerwonk, thanks!

  • http://www.geekandchin.com/ Xavier Rosée

    I’ve installed the Chrome extension and the “buffer” green button never appeared when I’m posting on my Facebook page. I have to resort to the Facebook Scheduling option, which is clearly not ideal when all the rest is handled through Buffer. Is thre anyway to fix this?
    And before it’s asked: I did restart my browser :-)

  • http://www.arianabrowning.com/ Ariana Browning

    These are fabulous tips, thank you! I did not know about the drag and drop, and keyboard shortcut. Both are going to be big helps. Love the analytics.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      So glad to hear it, Ariana! Drag-and-drop was a huge epiphany for me the first time I tried it. :)

      • http://www.arianabrowning.com/ Ariana Browning

        I bet! It is for me. I like using the Buffer suggestions, but they don’t have it for the Facebook profile. So I have been copying and pasting the stuff when I could have simply drag and dropped. Major tada! moment. haha

  • http://www.7eyetechnologies.com Kristina Roy

    Hi Kevan, Nowadays everyone use internet and spend lot of time for making online money. But few people know how to achieve goal of online marketing. You really shared good points about buffer features that were difficult to find. I am going to follow these useful points to give new height in my social media presence as well as my online business. Thank to share this amazing post with us.

  • Deirdre

    Hey – I love reading – and writing – about money management! I’d love to read how you do it – spreadsheets rock (but I’ve abandoned them now cos I’ve found even quicker ways to manage mine!)

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Deirdre! I might just have to add the topic to our ideas list!

      (I will say that I use Mint for money management and have quite enjoyed it for the past several years. I’m looking into Level, too.) :)

      • Deirdre

        I’ve tried various UK equivalents, plus the spreadsheets method, but now I’m using Money Dashboard and it finally does everything I need. And to prove I did read your article, I used the chrome extension only today!

  • Anup Misal

    Selecting the text and buffer extension automatically picking up the url and content for sharing by clicking on the extension on the chrome bar is awesome. Buffer has made sharing simple I would say, it won’t be any easier than this.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Anup! Really happy you find it easy and useful! :)

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  • Erin

    Excellent post, Kevan. Love #2 – clip and queue – and I appreciate your efforts to keep us up to date, Buffer style!

  • http://www.markmidwintermusic.com/ Mark Midwinter

    Great tips here Kevan! Thank you!

  • http://hubskills.com/ Partha Bhattacharya

    Great post Kevan. Thanks. I’m inclined to believe that my article on Buffer+WordPress 2 days earlier may have triggered this post. I may be wrong though. Do you mind if I mention the URL here? http://hubskills.com/buffer-for-content-marketing-in-wordpress/

  • Adrienne

    My favorite newest addition is highlighting the text and adding it to Buffer. It just makes the tweets different and I am loving this. Not that everything else isn’t cool so don’t get me wrong but I just love this new addition.

    Thanks guys for staying on top of things.

    ~Adrienne