It’s been an amazing month at Buffer working on some fun social media strategies and thinking ahead to some big new ideas.

What’s a good Medium strategy?

How can we gain more followers on Instagram?

What might a Buffer podcast look like?

I’d love to share with you what’s been on our plates recently, along with all the social media stats from our Buffer accounts. It’d be great to hear your thoughts also on the content we can write that would be most helpful for you!

Buffer social media report

Inside Buffer’s social media marketing stats

Here’re our complete stats from May for each of Buffer’s five major social media profiles. We’re hopeful that the context and background is helpful as you build and analyze your social media strategies. Feel free to shout with any questions!

(All stats cover a 28-day period from last month, and comparisons are made to the 28 days prior.)

Twitter

We gained 9,424 new followers for a total of 323,715 followers. (Last month, we gained 11,532 new followers.)

We shared 292 tweets (not including #bufferchat and customer happiness) that earned a total of 70,369 total interactions. This was an increase of about 35 interactions per tweet compared to last month.

Out of everyone who saw a tweet, 1.6 percent of users engaged with the tweet by clicking, retweeting, replying, favoriting, or following the Buffer account.

  • Engagement rate – 1.6% (1.4% last month)
  • Average impressions per tweet – 15,963 (16,046 last month)
  • Average total engagement per tweet – 263 (clicks, retweets, replies, follows, and favorites) (239 last month)
  • Average clicks per tweet – 182 (148 last month)
  • Average retweets per tweet – 21 (23 last month)

If you’re interested in digging deeper into any of these stats, I’m happy to share our .csv of exported Twitter analytics.

Top tweet from May

Buffer top tweet

The #talkpay movement and this tweet garnered such a huge response we wrote a whole post about it.

Facebook

We gained 802 new page Likes for a total of 36,779 Likes. (We gained 835 new page Likes last month.)

We shared 69 posts that earned 4,304 interactions. This was an decrease of 7 interactions per post compared to last month.

An average Facebook post reached 1,256 (1,549 last month). Of these, 819 people were fans of our page (1,030 last month), so each post reached an average of 2.2 percent of our total number of fans (was 2.8 percent last month).

  • Average clicks per post – 52 (-10 from last month)
  • Average likes per post – 7 (-3 from last month)
  • Average comments per post – 1 (no change from last month)

If you’re interested in digging deeper into any of these stats, I’m happy to share our .csv of exported Facebook analytics

Top Facebook post from May

Buffer top post

LinkedIn

We gained 355 new followers for a total of 4,742 followers. (We gained 283 new followers last month.)

We shared 20 posts that earned a total of 313 interactions.

  • Engagement rate – 1.7%
  • Interactions per post – 15 (+8 from last month)

Google+

We gained 32,722 new followers for a total of 817,052 followers. (We gained 34,644 new followers last month.)

We shared 40 posts that earned a total of 1,032 interactions.

  • Interactions per post – 25 (25 last month)
  • Clicks per post – 3 (3 last month)
  • Reshares per post – 4 (same)
  • Plus Ones per post – 16 (17 last month)

Pinterest

We gained 212 new followers for a total of 4,756 followers.

We shared 179 posts that earned a total of 440 interactions.

  • Interactions per post – 2.5
  • Repins per post – 2
  • Likes per post – 1
  • Comments per post – 0

Referral traffic to the Buffer blog

Social referral traffic Buffer blog - May 2015

The above chart shows the top five social referrers to the Buffer Social blog. Numbers six through ten were StumbleUpon, Scoop.it, Pocket, Reddit, and Tumblr.

Referral traffic to the Buffer app

Social referral traffic Buffer app - May 2015

The above chart shows the top five social referrers to the Buffer app itself. Numbers six through ten were Blogger, Quora, Google+, Scoop.it, and WordPress.

Inside Buffer’s social media strategies

Along with the stats, I’d love to share a bit about the strategies we’re testing on different social networks. It’d be awesome if you find this helpful or if this sparks any ideas for you. And it’d be great to get your thoughts in the comments on ways we could improve or grow, too!

1. Exploring a new strategy on Medium

We’ve been inspired by the great work of the team at Medium and excited to try out some new strategies for connecting with the audience there. A couple of ideas (I’d love to know your thoughts!):

  1. Short-form content
  2. Buffer publications

For short-form content, we were thinking it might be a great opportunity to provide a unique type of article compared to the longform content we publish here on the blog.

On Medium, our thought is to republish a popular Buffer blog article by turning it into three or four Medium articles.

Is Your Audience on Snapchat, Ello, or Vine?

Or to simply share a tip or strategy that’s been on our minds.

So You Want to Write a Catchy Twitter Bio …

Or we’ve also thought to go the route of writing responses to popular Medium articles on social media, business culture, and transparency, or to pull these types of stories from others into our Medium publication itself.

In terms of the Buffer publications, we’ve currently started one for all of our social media content, and we’re considering starting new ones perhaps for transparency, remote work, or culture as well.

(If you have any ideas for Buffer collections you’d like to see, I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

We’re quite early with things, though I’m happy to share some stats from the experiment so far. Here’s a look at all the views, recommends, and read ratios of our Medium content.

Medium stats overall

Medium stats per post

The one thing we noticed with our most successful Medium article so far (the Don Draper one, which went live on a Saturday) is that there could be quite an opportunity to publish and share this content on the weekends when Medium’s volume is a bit lower and there’s more opportunity to stand out in the Medium feed.

2. Building a presence on Instagram

We’ve also been ramping up our presence on Buffer’s Instagram account, sharing more often and working on some new Instagram strategies and tips to grow our following. We’re excited to share what has worked best for us so far!

A couple of things we’re trying so far:

  1. Consistent posting schedule – We’ve been averaging one post per day on Instagram recently
  2. Reposting photos from teammates – It’s been fun to share a bit behind-the-scenes from the lives of those we work with
  3. Announcing #bufferchat topics
  4. Sharing quotes and created images

As for the tools we’re using, a couple of helpful ones so far have been:

  1. Repost – Super useful for reposting photos from teammates
  2. Iconosquare – Helpful for getting benchmarks and stats on how our content is performing

3. The 1-pixel Pinterest tip

A few weeks back, we shared a post on the Buffer blog about creating Pinterest content no matter how visually inclined your brand is. One of the questions we had while writing the post:

How do you insert a tall, vertical Pinterest image into a blog post without taking up a whole lot of room?

Hugh Briss replied to the post with a super interesting tip that lets you include a Pinterest-optimized image without using up much real estate in the post itself.

Here’s the video from Hugh:

Recap:

  1. Upload your tall Pinterest image to the post
  2. Change the height and width to 1-pixel each
  3. Done!

We tried this on our social media templates post, adding a 1-pixel image above the first picture of the post. Now, when you click the Pinterest “Pin It” button or use the Buffer extension to schedule a Pin, our secret, optimized Pinterest image comes up automatically.

Pinterest image options

And if you’re curious what the 1-pixel image looks like within a post, here’s a sample. (It’s on the line right below this. Pretty hard to see, right?)

social report

New visions and ideas for social media marketing

We feel grateful for the chance to work on so many amazing and fun social media strategies, and we’ve got even more that we’d love to try out. Here are a few that we’re thinking over.

1. What might a Buffer podcast look like?

We’re very grateful for the encouragement and interest from the community for a possible Buffer podcast. It’s something we’re thinking about here on the team (we’re also looking for new teammates to join us, if you might be interested!), and I’d love to learn from you:

What would be most valuable for you with a Buffer podcast?

A few ideas:

Topic

  • A podcast A podcast about Buffer’s values and culture
  • A podcast about remote work
  • A podcast about startups and entrepreneurism
  • A podcast about Buffer culture

Format

  • Buffer folks (me, Courtney, Nicole, Leo, others) talking with each other about a given topic
  • Interviews with Buffer users on how they get the most from Buffer
  • Interviews with social media marketers on what they’re testing and trying
  • Interviews with influencers in the industry
  • 1:1 chats with Buffer teammates

If any of these catch your eye (or if you have any other ideas to share), please do let us know in the comments! We’d love to make any future podcast as helpful and useful to you as possible.

2. Hangout on Air – Office Hours

Another idea we’ve been toying with is making time to share with you all in an office hours format, kind of an open Q-and-A where we can chat with one another and learn from each other.

The thought is that Google’s Hangouts on Air could be quite great for this. Hangouts on Air offer live video streaming that you can watch on YouTube or replay later on, complete with chat functionality during the broadcast. It’s one of the smoothest ways to record a Hangout, and we’d love for the content to be accessible to anyone, any time whether you’re able to hang out live with us or not.

Hangout on Air screenshot

Social media content we’d love to write about (any thoughts?)

And finally, I’d love to share a few of the social media blog post ideas we’re considering for the next few weeks. If any of these topics jump out at you, I’d love to hear your votes!

  1. Social Media for Non-Profits
  2. How to Choose the Right Stock Photo for Any Project
  3. The Top 10 Social Media Research Studies (and What You Can Learn From Them)
  4. 35 Unique Social Media Conversations That Every Small Business Should Be Prepared For
  5. The Secret Psychology of Instagram
  6. The 7 Hidden Factors of the Most Effective Social Media Ads

Over to you

What’s been working for you these past few weeks with your social media marketing?

Do you have any advice for us on the topics we’ve listed above?

It’d be really great to hear your input. Feel free to leave us a note here in the comments or catch us on social media. Thanks!

Image sources: Pablo, Unsplash

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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! 🍟

  • Great tip on the Pinterest 1-pixel image. Hadn’t seen that before. You should also be able to specify other images using Schema. While it appears that the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin doesn’t currently offer a social setting for Pinterest specifically, if you specify a particular image for Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, Pinterest should be able to find those also and make use of them. Setting up Rich Pins will also generally increase pinning activity by making your content more appealing to pin and perform better on Pinterest by offering more.

    I like the idea of short-form content on Medium. I’ve often wondered why you don’t have much short-form on the Buffer blog. While I like the great detailed posts you create here, the addition of short ones that cover a single tactic or answers a question, would be great. With searchers using question formats in search 27% of the time, providing easy to find answers is a great opportunity to give people the answers they’re looking for and get additional site traffic. Seems it could be a great addition here.

    Very interesting to get to get a bit of insight to Buffer’s social performance each month. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Thanks, Ben! Love the Schema tip. I hadn’t put those pieces together yet! (Facebook > Pinterest) 🙂

  • Whoa, clicking on the 1-pixel image is super trippy. Love this tip!

    • Haha, yeah that one blew me away!

    • Eric Agnew

      Agree, that was a great tip! Never would have thought of that one… now I’m wondering where else that might be applicable!

  • Cal Bachand

    The Buffer podcast sounds amazing, YES to all those ideas! 🙂

    • Hi Cal! Really appreciate your response. Thanks for the vote of confidence there!

  • Brendan

    +1 for the buffer podcast!

    Also like the idea for hiding the large image for Pinterest, but I actually like to keep it visible on the post as a right or left sidebar – set the width to 100-200px and let the height adjust accordingly. Text can wrap around it.

    • Thanks, Brendan! Wonderful tip on the Pinterest image, too. 🙂 Do you end up manually adjusting the height and width for the image to make it small in the post yet big when shared to Pinterest?

  • dprol

    I would like a buffer podcast to listen more often remote workers. Also like the idea of chats between buffer teammates at SF! And finally, all the future content sounds amazing.

    • Woop! Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • I’m sure that podcasts will boost your business a great deal. I, for one, would seriously hope that you keep doing these awesome blog posts. I’ve been a long time fan. There are a number of your blog posts that I’ve come back to over and over.

    If you do postcasts, just make sure that you can dedicate the same amount of dedication back to the blog.

    • Thanks for the feedback on this, Vernon! Yes, we’d love to find a way to balance any additional type of media with the same focus on our blog content. We’ll see what we can figure out for you! 🙂

  • CrazyReporting

    My vote on content ideas: numbers three through six. My vote on podcast ideas: startups/entrepreneur tips

    • Awesome! Thanks for the votes! Super helpful as we consider the best way forward here. 🙂

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  • Jeff Domansky PR

    Kevan, great insight into social media strategy, thanks for sharing. Following podcast topics would add much to smarter SM Strategies:
    – Interviews with social media marketers on what they’re testing and trying
    – Interviews with influencers in the industry.
    Really like the idea of what people are trying out, testing, etc
    Regards

    • Thanks so much for the thoughts here, Jeff! T

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  • Hi Kevan. Nice roundup! Well, you probably guessed what my vote would be already but here it is anyway: I’d love to read “5. The Secret Psychology of Instagram” 🙂

    • You bet, Thibaut! 🙂

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  • Shawn Ryan

    Hey Kevan! Love the transparency. Would love to read about social for non-profits and the secret psychology of Instagram. Two suggestions: 1. Could you embed polls into the post next time so I don’t have to type my answers in the comments. 2. I’d love to read a non-profit post about how people can change the world in 24 hours via social media. I think it could be possible with the right strategy, content, platform and influencers. #dreambig

    • Hi there Shawn! Thanks so much for the comment. Polls are a splendid idea, I’ll see what I can whip together for next month’s update. 🙂 Thanks, too, for the votes for content. Your non-profit idea sounds really amazing, I’d love to see if I can put together something along those lines. 🙂

  • Thank you for putting all of this together Kevan! Lots of stuff for takeaways here, but here’s one absolutely key one for me.

    Twitter: 323,715 followers (9,424 new) and 263 average actions per piece of content.

    Google+: 817,052 followers (32,722 new) and 25 average actions per piece of content.

    It boggles my mind. You have 2.5x the audience on Google+, the Google+ audience grew by 3.5x, yet Twitter has 10x the amount of engagement.

    In spite of a lower amount of reach on Facebook (FAR lower) – Facebook still gets you 2x the average interactions as Google+ does, and LinkedIn’s absolutely minuscule audience gets you almost the same amount of interactions.

    Something about Google+ is so very, very off. I wish they’d allow us to look at follower insights and what not, just to see who all these people. 30,000+ new followers – any insights on who they are Kevan?

    • Hi Avtar! Thanks for the comment. Great to hear from you. 🙂 Yeah, the Google+ follower numbers are a bit of a mystery to me also. I think we are fortunate to be listed as a suggested page to follow, which helps boost the numbers significantly, though I’ve not personally gone through that flow to see how it all works. That’s my best guess at this point. I’ll keep digging!

      • I’d say we’ve also participated the least in Google+ of all our social networks, so I think a lot of the low engagement there stems directly from us not being super involved there. Working on getting better!

        • At the same time however @courtneyseiter:disqus, if you have an audience of 800,000+ on Google+ and you’re posting content / links to them on a regular basis – you’d expect the traffic from there to at least be able to rival Twitter – which again as your GA traffic shows, is not happening, and neither are the interactions. You guys participating in replying to the comments there and what not might cause a spike in interactions, but will it be anywhere close to justify that massive following? Or the traffic?

          • Great questions, Avtar. I’d say our experience of being a “suggested” follow for people means we that though we have a large fan base it might not be a targeted group who might be interested in our content enough to click through with any regularity. I’m not sure what the onboarding experience for G+ is like anymore; I’m thinking it might be the kind of thing where you are asked to just choose a few accounts to get the hang of things. 🙂

          • Hmm, yeah I see your point. Quite possible that people do follow for the sake of following and populating their timeline, it may not be actually relevant to them. Maybe just post some GIFs of cats slipping off roofs to test whether they respond to those!

            *slinks away into the shadows with his G+ skepticism*

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  • I really like how transparent you guys are — you really walk the talk! As a fan of both Buffer and podcasts in general, the Buffer podcast idea sounds phenomenal. Perhaps you could consider linking the topics of the podcast to your #bufferchat topics for greater reach. Curating comment by pulling relevant and valuable insights into a Medium publication also sounds like a great idea as that can compliment the original material you’re already publishing so regularly on this blog.

    Really excited about your plans, guys!

    • Thanks so much for the support, Stephanie! Very happy to keep pushing ahead on these fun projects for you, and feel free to reach out with any thoughts any time! 🙂

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  • Hello @kevanlee:disqus!

    As always, you blow my mind with your ideas and transparency. No wonder Buffer is so successful. Thank you for all the hard work and commitment. The social media world wouldn’t be the same without you!

    Now, this Pinterest tip is absolutely awesome! Never thought of it!

    • Yes, huge thanks to Hugh for the tip on Pinterest! Glad you enjoyed that one. 🙂

      And thanks so much for the kind words about the post. It feels really great to share transparently with our numbers, and I’m so happy to know that it might be helpful for you and others!

  • Leslie Belknap

    Hi Kevan! Great post – as always 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    I love the idea of a podcast with these formats 1) Interviews with Buffer users on how they get the most from Buffer 2) Interviews with social media marketers on what they’re testing and trying.

    For Hangout on Air inspiration, you might enjoy Page Fights – live landing page critiques by marketing optimization experts (via unbounce) http://www.pagefights.com/

    I’ve been reading a lot about Instagram lately. I’m definitely not an Instagram expert but here are a few thoughts I can share with you based on my recent research:

    1) On Instagram, I think consistency is key. Without consistency, it can be challenging for viewers to understand the meaning or story of your images.
    2) If you prefer to share a mashup of disparate visuals, you could consider using collages and/or text overlays so you can more effectively tell a story with each visual without forcing viewers to click on the image to read the caption.
    3) This article, (http://buff.ly/1H2t6ai) published today, touches on the importance of consistency in tip#4: “The main objective: to avoid a profile that looks like a vintage photo album that fell to the floor and was pieced back together at random.”
    5) Brands with a variety of potential stories to tell could experiment with the “Calgary Zoo Annual Report” format (http://buff.ly/1LiOo4m)

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with the world. It sparked some new ideas for me! 🙂

    • Hi Leslie! Really great to hear from you. 🙂 Thanks so much for the tips on Instagram. I really love the common thread there of “stories.” I think that’s such a great, high-level way of thinking about Instagram strategy! Love it!

  • 1. Short form on Medium. I only read these doctoral dissertations because I love y’all. Google likes 2000 words but real people don’t. This could easily be 4 posts.

    2. HOA over podcast. Or HOA whose audio is turned into a podcast a la the #AskGaryVEE show.

    3. Working remotely yet keeping the vibe going is got to be a challenge. Maybe you could encourage that example.

    4. Instead of stock photos how about photography tips for bloggers. Make and maintain your own stock library.

    • Hi Bridget! Love all the ideas here. Thanks so much for the great feedback. I’d love to incorporate as much here as possible. 🙂 Curious, do you happen to have a stock library for yourself? I’d love to learn from you what that might look like!

      • I just use iPhoto/Photos. I take photos that are interesting if I think I may want to use them in a blog post. 🙂

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  • Can I change the Instagram Display Name frequently?

    Actually I am in process of testing / starting a project related to fashion brand, so currently I will be starting a new A/C with a particular name (for example XYZ), later if I wish to change the name from XYZ to ABC, is it possible?

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  • I’d definitely be up for a Buffer podcast. I’ve also been pondering joining Medium as well. Since I have my own blog, I wonder if it makes sense to spend the time to post on another platform, when I want people to read my blog?

    But I do like the idea of perhaps using Medium for short-form ideas. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Oh and I highly recommend Google Hangouts Live On Air. I use it every week to record my video podcast.