social media resource kit buffer

When you’re just starting off on social media—whether as an individual or a brand or a company or otherwise—the potential of Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the various other social media channels can be hugely exciting. And for the social media pros, the questions exist, too.

What to do first?

Where to click?

What to upload?

What to share?

These are questions I’ve had each time I’ve started on social media with a new venture. Where to begin? And what resources will I need to take my social media marketing to the next level?

We’d love to share some of the most valuable social media marketing resources we’ve got for helping you get started on social media in the best way possible and helping everyone find more success with social sharing. Checklists, spreadsheets, guides, and photos—we’ve bundled it all together in a free download for you!

Exclusive Giveaway for Buffer blog readers: Download the Social Media Marketing Resource Kit for an amazing collection of resources to help boost your marketing!

social media marketing kit

No e-mail address required! Click, download, and enjoy!

(Update: For anyone having trouble with the download, I’ve made available an alternate link as well!)

What the marketing kit includes:

  1. A guide to choosing the right social network for you
  2. A guide to coming up with a voice and tone for your social media marketing
  3. A checklist of the way to create an awesome bio
  4. A checklist and examples for the essential of completing your social media profile
  5. Infographics for the best time to post, the best day to post, and the best length for your updates
  6. A spreadsheet for tracking and auditing your social media growth
  7. A spreadsheet for measuring the impact of your tweets
  8. A list of the IFTTT/Zapier recipes we use to help automate helpful tasks
  9. Free stock photos to use however you want—background images, social shares, etc.!

All this is free to download—no e-mail signup required. Just click the link to get the .zip file full of goodies right away!

How to use the free social media marketing kit

To access all the free resources, download the file to your computer and unzip the folder. Inside you’ll see files and subfolders that contain all the goodies mentioned above.

Here’s a bit more about each of the files that we’ve included.

1. How to choose the right social network for you

When it comes to deciding on a social network, there seem to be six major networks to consider: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

How do you decide which social network is right for you?

The marketing kit includes a grid with the differences between these main networks, and the differences can be broken down into a couple of categories: types of networks and demographic information.

Tim Grahl at Out:Think lists three big questions to ask when choosing a social network.

  1. Does it make sense for my content? (Refer to the types of networks listed in the kit.)
  2. Do potential fans spend time there? (Refer to the demographic information in the kit.)
  3. Does it make sense for me?

It’s this final piece—your gut—that could make the most telling argument for or against a social network.

Does it make sense for me? Is it something I can easily fit into my life? Do I have time to do it? After doing some research and observation, do I “get” how it works?

Small marketing teams often settle on two or three networks. Larger teams might be able to handle all six (plus other networks like SlideShare, YouTube, and Tumblr). And once you decide on the networks you’ll pursue, you aren’t tied to them forever. You can always revisit which network is right for you later on down the line.

2. How to come up with a voice and tone for your social media marketing

When starting fresh on social media, you have the opportunity to engage and delight your audience with a consistent, authentic voice and tone. Our marketing kit includes an exercise to help you think through what this voice and tone might look like for your brand.

Perform the exercises in coming up with the personality traits of your voice, examples (both good and bad), and the rationale behind the traits. To help you come up with ideas on what your voice and tone could look like, you can answer these questions:

  • If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer? (a coach, friend, teacher, dad, etc)
  • Describe in adjectives what your company’s personality is not.
  • Are there any companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?
  • How do you want your customers to think about your company?

3. How to create an awesome bio

Every social media site lets you write a little about yourself. Craft something great by following the guidelines in the social media bio checklist found in the marketing kit.

Note: You don’t have to get hung up on including each and every item from the checklist. Get as many as you can, and come back to the bio later on to update it as things change or as you look for a new way to express yourself or your brand.

4. How to complete your social media profile

The marketing kit includes a checklist and examples from each of the six major social media networks on how to fill out a complete social media profile.


One way that we’ve found super simple to create the right-sized images for our profile is to use an image creation tool like Canva. (More on Canva and creating images below.) You can also consult a social media image sizes guide for the specific sizes and shapes of cover photos, profile photos, and more.

5. When and how to post to social media

We’ve been very fortunate to have so much great research to rely on when it comes to discovering the best times and best updates to share on social media. One of our most-referenced resources is the social media timing infographic from KISSmetrics. Their research shows that …

  • The best time to tweet is 5:00 p.m. ET.
  • The best time to post to Facebook is noon ET.

best time to tweet best time to post to facebook

The kit includes an infographic on the ideal length of your social media updates, which should give you some ideas on where to start with your sharing.

Note: You may find that your personal best times to post and ideal lengths might be different than these guides, and that’s perfectly great! If you’re looking for a place to start, you can get going with the best practices. Then by all means go with the times and updates that have proven to work best for you.

6. How to track and audit your social media growth

As your social media channels grow, it will be great to track the changes from month to month. We use a social media audit spreadsheet here at Buffer, and we’re happy to share this one with you for you to use as well!

On a monthly basis (or weekly, if you prefer), you can visit each of your social channels and your social stats and check for the following:

  • Follower count
  • Referral visits to your website or blog
  • Engagement stats – clicks, reshares, likes, and comments

We’ve also included columns to track the frequency with which you share (for a consistent frequency, you can use a scheduling tool like Buffer) and the appearance of your channel.

7. A spreadsheet for measuring the impact of your tweets

On a weekly or monthly basis, you can drill down into the post metrics of what you share on social media. We took a lot of inspiration from Moz on coming up with a “share score” for the updates that we send.

The spreadsheet that we’ve included in the kit has spaces for tracking the score for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, and it’s optimized for use with a Buffer data export file. The spreadsheet can be updated manually as well.

The scores will tell you which posts outperformed your average post for a given period. All scores are relative to the average—so about 50 percent of scores will be above average and 50 percent will be below. Our best learning from this data is to see which types of posts do extremely well on our social media channels. We can then seek to repeat that success.

8. A list of the IFTTT/Zapier recipes we use to help automate helpful tasks

One way we’ve found to get more done on social media—an especially important facet of a just-starting-out strategy—is to automate some of the tasks that might take us extra time. IFTTT and Zapier are two tools that have been an enormous time saver in this regard.

The marketing kit includes some of our favorite recipes. Feel free to use these and edit so they work best for you. Some of the tools we connect include:

9. Free stock photos to use however you want—background images, social shares, etc.!

In the marketing kit, you’ll find a folder of 17 free stock photos to use however you want. The images come courtesy of our Buffer happiness hero Dave. They’re all copyright-free. (Thanks, Dave!)

We’ve found that some great spots for stock photos like these is to use as cover photos for social profiles or for images to share as updates.

Canva is a really useful tool for editing and creating images that use these stock photos. You can click on a premade template at Canva that has the exact dimensions for things like Twitter posts and Facebook header. Once you click to open a template, you can choose a layout and drag-and-drop one of the free stock photos into the design.


We’d love to see what you create! Feel free to drop a note here in the comments if you’d like to share.

Further reading:

Much of the advice we’ve shared here comes from in-depth articles we’ve posted before on the Buffer blog. If you’d like to learn more about any of these areas, here are some links you might find helpful:

We hope this free resource is useful for you! Drop us a note in the comments about how you’ve used these checklists, spreadsheets, guides, and photos. We’d be keen to hear!

social media marketing kit

Image sources: PlaceIt, Death to the Stock Photo

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Written by Kevan Lee

Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers. We’ve got a new podcast! ?

  • Very cool, love it.

    Thanks very much! 🙂

    • Awesome! Thanks, Barry!

  • Off-topic. Kevan, i’ve noticed that, at Buffer, you prefer NOT to email-gate the premium content like this amazing resource.

    Why is that? Is this decision based on a research?

    Thanks. 🙂

    • Great question, Alin! Thanks for asking! I think we’re quite excited about getting these resources into the hands of as many folks as possible so that it can help the max number of people. Giving it away without asking for anything is one way we’re trying now. And we’re bound to learn lots! We may even end up back at email-gating or share-gating or some other, hybrid solution!

      • Great idea to try to giveaway something without even asking for email. Not that I won’t get it anyway, but I’m interested how this experiment turns out and hope you’ll share the results 🙂

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      • zong teoh

        thanks for resharing this on twitter, if not I wouldn’t have discovered this valuable resource! and yes, I’m even more surprised that the zip file was downloaded the moment I click the link! 😀

    • Great question – I suspect that this is due to Buffer already being well known, and described in the content – they believe that people who start to thing more strategically about social media will decide Buffer is a great tool they can use, and some of these will sign up to the premium version = profit.

  • Incredible resource Kevan, I’ll be digging through all the content during the next few days! Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Hi Daniel! Thank you so much for the comment! So glad you found this one useful. 🙂

  • What a Tremendous Resource Kevan. How to choose your social networks and how to set up your social profiles are Gold!

    • Thank you, Neil! Very happy to hear this. 🙂 Glad to know these downloads will be helpful!

  • Buffer really walks the walk – thanks for yet another outstanding resource!

    • Thanks so much, Diana!

  • Kim Fox

    Awesome. I’m teaching a sm course next semester and I’ll will share some of the resources with my students. I’ve fallen in love with Canva too. Thx for this treasure trove. It will make my life easier since I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

    • So happy to hear this, Kim! Best of luck!

  • Double thumbs up Kevan!! We love having ‘homework’ for the weekend!

    • Haha, sounds great! Thanks!

  • Jeannine Orzechowski

    Hi Kevan, I would love to have this document but keep getting ‘Failed – Network error’ when I try to download.Could you email it to me?

    • Kripa

      I’m facing the same issue…any fix for this?

      • Hi y’all, so sorry you’re having trouble grabbing our download! Could I ask what browsers you are using @jeannineorzechowski:disqus and @disqus_ZbyZeyS4iK:disqus? I’d love to get to the bottom of this!

  • Pandian

    Awesome treasure Kevan and giving this for free, its awesomeness to the next level.. Eagerly waiting to know about the lessons learned from this strategy too..

    Assuming that will be in your upcoming blogs..


    • Definitely! Thanks so much for the kind words. Excited to share more great stuff with you!

  • Matt Ryan

    OMG. This is amazing. The two spreadsheets alone are worth a fortune. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it.

    • Excellent! Awesome to hear this Matt! Cheers!

  • I’m pretty new to this stuff – this is really helpful, thanks!

    • Thanks so much, Jeremy! Glad to hear this is helpful!

  • Ahh, this is great! Thank you, thank you! Excited to dig in. 🙂

  • Thanks for the Zapier love, Kevan! This is such an incredible resource, so very glad you put so much thought and love into it.

    • Thanks so much, Alison!

  • Nancy Anaya


    Any suggestions on where to find a reliable social media consultant?

  • Tons of resources and no email-gate…THAT is generosity at work!

    Thank you Buffer and Kevan! I will surely check out what you have – and will add the kit to my library.

    P.S. The alternative link worked for me.

    Thank you!

  • Your posts are always well written, informative, and happen to come at good times for my company and clients. I am just about to “get started” with a new client and this is a great brush up review. Thanks Kevan and have a fun Friday! 🙂

  • Thank you for this article. Buffer is really awesome!

  • Love these resources! Can we put links to individual pdf’s on blog articles? Would love to share these with our customers and add some notes of explanation / context. We use buffer of course and its a great combination with CoSchedule for WordPress websites.

    • It’d be super great if you wanted to share any of these pieces individually! Thanks so much!

  • Dr.Manuel Tejeda

    Excellent, as usual Buffer has gone another extra mile. Congrats!

  • Just when I think Buffer can’t get any more awesome.

  • Cool Christmas treat, right on time for 2015

    • Woohoo! Glad to hear you enjoy this one!

  • Ovii

    Very useful article. Can’t wait to stat following this tips. Thank you very much for the effort done. I recomand it to every begginers.
    p.s one question: what IFTTT/Zapier is?

    • Hi Ovii! Thanks for the comment! IFTTT/Zapier are two online tools that help with automation. Basically, you tell IFTTT or Zapier that you want X to occur when Y happens (for instance, add a new row to a spreadsheet when you publish a tweet). Hope this helps!

      • Ovii

        I understood. I’ll try it. Thanks

  • Thank you for the great helpful article. It is awesome for the new starters for sure.
    Very helpful indeed.

    • Thanks! Excited for you to have some great resources on hand. 🙂

  • Cathy Yerges

    Kevan, a most excellent post! I see tremendous value in using each one of these tools. I look forward to sharing the resource with my clients.

    • Awesome stuff, Cathy! Thank you so much for sharing these with your clients! That’d be incredible!

  • Dan

    Great post! There’s a reason why nearly all the major corporations spend millions a year to keep their web presence active and engaging.

    Strengthening your image on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest lets your customers interact with you on an entirely new level.

    Simply put, the longer you can keep your company in the heads of those motivated customers, the better the chance of them coming to YOU when they need your product.

    Punchy Social Media can keep that online presence fresh, interesting and providing amazing value at the same time.

  • Anne Michelsen

    This is great stuff. I am just in the process of setting up a social media plan for one of my clients. You just made my life easier! Thank you!!!

  • Billy Schlotter

    Great resource! Question though – Was looking at the SM Analytics sheet, and wanted to modify it for Facebook posts. I did some modifications for it, the only thing i am not sure on is what does the formula for the scoring reference (=27*LN(G2) +50). What is the breakdown of how it works?

    • Billy Schlotter

      Specifically what does the 27 refer to?

      • Hey Billy! We owe a great debt of gratitude to the team at Moz and their One Metric framework for those calculations. This post goes into great detail about the formula: Hope it might help!

        • Billy Schlotter

          Was just reading that article and was coming back to reply with that link! Another great resource. Still not 100% sure where the 27 comes into play, just that it does. haha

          • Haha; yup same here! I need to put in a message to them to see if we can’t track it down. So sorry to make you hunt down that post!

  • Thanks for the gift, nicely compiled 🙂 Happy New Year!

  • Rose Begonia

    This is fantastic! And thanks so much for the bonus free stock photos! 🙂

  • mark bill

    You have really allured me; I have no words to explain my feelings about your

    best blog post

  • Connie Abbott

    Thank you so much, this is going to be so useful as soon as my blog is finally functional! You’ve gone the extra mile and more!

  • great resource, thanks!

  • Anna Franklin

    I’m doing some digging this weekend on a few things for social media so this should be really useful. All downloaded and waiting for some time with a coffee to get stuck in. Thanks, Kevan and Buffer. 🙂

    • Sounds great, Anna! Wishing you some fun times this weekend! 🙂

  • thanks for your shared content. I’m going to read to try to improve!

  • Allan R. Morton, Jr.

    Thanks for the resource! Getting ready to download. Just learning Buffer and hungry to get my arms around this SoMe thing! Two quick questions (on but off topic). I’m using the free Buffer version now but evaluating which way to go. Does the “upgrade to awesome” option include the same rich analytics available to the small biz upgrade? Also the little popup that slides in on this page asking if I want to schedule my first post…who is the provider of that software / plugin? Yours in house or something like list builder or Sumome?

  • Shauna

    Thank you sooo much! 🙂

  • Rockonomics

    Great resource. Thank you especially for the Excel Sheets. No need to set something similar up myself, just for the sake of trying it out.

    • Sure thing! Really glad to help. 🙂

  • Donnalie

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I was blown away with the information and resources I gained from Social Media 101. To be honest, when I accepted the offer I was expecting my inbox to be bombarded with loads of literature for me to decipher HOWEVER, IT WAS THE TOTAL OPPOSITE. The info was precise, easy to read, understand, follow and was very engaging – I LOOKED FORWARD TO RECEIVING THEM. Thank you Kevan + Buffer. [I trust my voice & tones are in order] 🙂

    • Wonderful to hear this, Donnalie! So happy to be able to provide value for you.

  • Nicola Haverty

    Thank you for being so pro-active in this realm. It has been quite a learning curve for me personally, one which I am glad to say I had help from you and your team on. Thank you once again.

  • Everyone at Buffer is amazing. The content is always high-quality and the resources you provide are so generous. Thanks for giving so much to the community! I’ve been applying much of what I’ve learned.

  • My Gosh… You guys do not exist… Is it for real??? Speechless *-* … Let’s Bufferize the World !!!

  • Giovanni Sampaio

    Hello, Kevan. Amazing content. The e-mail course really helped me to get a solid grasp of the methods used in social media. I will put it into practic soon.

    Thank you and greetings from Brazil 🙂

  • Cool!!!! I’ve been pretty active on social media for a few years, but need to hone my approach, looks like this will help for sure 🙂 Thanks, Buffer!

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    Valuable writing ! Apropos , people are interested in a The Common Application AP-1 , my business came across a template document here

  • bob

    Hey Kevan,

    Thanks so much for sharing this list. Have another free tool, It lets you create ad images simply 🙂