When it comes to growing your small business there is no getting away from it you just can’t afford to ignore social media.
Do so and you seriously risk being left behind in a cloud of dust as your competitors kick-off and sprint ahead of you.
I also regularly hear many of the excuses; I don’t know how to do it, I’m too old for all that, I don’t know what to write or most commonly, I haven’t got the time!
It is this last point that I want to help you with today.
About a year ago I discovered an online app the has literally saved me hundreds of hours over the last 12 months and also enabled me to share extremely valuable content will my followers, friends and colleagues across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
All from the same place – Buffer.
In a nutshell Buffer is an app that allows you to quickly share content that you find on the web across multiple social media channels with just one or two clicks of your mouse. But the beauty of Buffer is in the name; it will automatically add this content to your own personal “buffer” which will then automatically be scheduled throughout the day.
Not only that, Buffer also provides you with clear, easily readable analytics that show you how many people have seen your post or tweet and how many have clicked, favourited, liked or shared.
As I said above, Buffer has literally saved me hundreds of hours in posting valuable content that others can view, read, share and make use of. And this is how…
Each morning before doing anything else, even my “to do list”, I open up my web browser and my favourite news reader, Feedly. Now it doesn’t matter at this stage if you do not have access to Feedly or other news feed reader as you can use your regular sources of news and latest information directly from their websites or links from email summaries they might send you.
(I will shortly be doing a review and guide on how to use Feedly for your small business and if you would like to have access to it as soon as it is released simply send me details of your email address on this link and I will make sure you get it as soon as it is published)
I then scan through all the latest news stories or blog posts to find articles that I think my followers, customers and prospects would be interested in and where they would get some benefit from reading, watching or listening to that content.
Buffer – Time Saving Social Media Management
Having identified a suitable piece of content, I simply then click the Buffer icon I have installed on my browser. In this instance on Chrome. The really good news is that there are also Buffer apps for iOS and Android. And I admit that sometimes I do lie in bed and do this same exercise from my mobile.
That then pops up a window automatically containing the title of the content and a shortened version or the web address. Within this window it will also show all the social media channels I had previously connected to Buffer and highlight those that I have pre-selected to be the default ones to share to. You can turn these on or off for each piece of content with a simple click of the mouse.
If I want to I can edit the title of the article to make it more suitable for the social media channels I am sharing to. You can also do this later from your Buffer on-screen dashboard once the content has been scheduled.
With one further click I can then quickly and easily add this shared content to my automatically scheduled list ready to be sent later that day, the next day or some other time in the future.
More About Buffer
Buffer was the “brain-wave” of Joel Gascoigne (twitter link) who at the time of its initial creation was based just down the road from me in Birmingham (UK). Back in late 2010 Joel came up with the idea but before creating anything put up a simple web page with basic details of what the product would be and simply asking for email details of anyone who would be interested.
He started tweeting links to that page out and before long had receive enough responses to consider the idea as viable – another great use of social media for small businesses to consider – proofing product ideas.
In very early 2011 Buffer was launched and by the mid-February they had 500 users. Later that and with tens of thousands of users and was generating a good monthly income (from optional paid versions for more social media channels and users), Joel moved to the US, secured approx $400,000 in funding and continued on his amazing journey.
Today Buffer helps over 1.4m users daily to save time on their social media management, many from the free version which is ample enough for most small business owners and managers.
The FREE version
This is what you currently get with the free version of Buffer.
One account link to any of the following social media channels:
LinkedIn Company Pages
If you have more than one of any of the above then you might want to consider the “Awesome” plan version which allows up to 12 social media profiles to be linked in any combination of numbers.
This is the plan I use as I currently have 3 Twitter accounts, 1 x personal Facebook profile, 1 x Facebook Page, my LinkedIn account and a Google+ page all connected and available to schedule and share content to. This plan costs me just $10 per month.
One last thing I must say is that I am not affiliated to Buffer in anyway but rave about their product not only because it works beautifully, is extremely easy to use and their customer service and transparency is second to none. They even publish their income and customer numbers on a regular basis as well as their staff incomes.
How do I get Buffer?
Accessing buffer is easy. Simply head over to Buffer where you can create an account either using your email address or using your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. From there you simply connect your profiles and then for each of your profiles, click into the “Schedule” tab to choose the days and times that you prefer your posts to go out.
The “hey presto” you are ready to begin buffering and saving hours on the daily management of your social media activity. The beauty being you do not have to keep nipping in and out of your different accounts though-out the day to make posts. You can do it all in one short burst of activity.
But should you also come across something interesting during the day it’s just a couple of quick clicks and its ready to be sent out to whichever of your social media channels you choose.
Over to you – has this been helpful?
I really do hope you have found this to be helpful. As I mention in my About Rob page my aim with this site is to provide practical and useful information to help you make the most of the opportunities the internet provides to market and grow your business. Please leave a comment below about this article, whether it has been helpful or how you think it could have been improved to provide more value to you.
PS – don’t forget if you want to hear as soon as my post on Feedly is published simply enter you details below: