Buffer App Tutorial: Scheduling Posts for Facebook, Twitter & Google Plus
When you run a business, or two, and need to stay on top of your social media posting it is essential that you get skilled with using a post scheduler. Buffer is just such a tool which allows you to set up a bunch of future posts for multiple networks and then sit back and relax while it does the rest. Here’s my tutorial on how to get started using this time saving tool.
Tutorial level: Beginner to Intermediate
Setting Buffer Up: Adding Accounts
First thing is first, you will need to visit BufferApp.com and set up an account, which is free. It will automatically add whichever social media account you log in with, then you will need to set up any others you wish to use in the app.
From your dashboard, you can add an account either by clicking the + icon in the upper left, next to the word “Accounts:
or by clicking the “Connect More” button below:
Setup a Schedule for your Social Media Posts
Once you have your account(s) connected select it and then click the “Schedule” tab across the top of the page. This will open up the scheduling for that Network.
Buffer will have some times plugged in by default for you, but you may want to edit that to better meet your posting needs. Buffer allows for a wide variety of customization in this area.
Click the “Add Posting Time” button to add a new time.
Click the drop down time selectors to adjust each posting time specifically.
To remove a time rollover the little clock icon next to it. It will turn into an X which when clicked will remove the time slot.
Click on a day’s name to toggle it on or off for posting.
If you want to get really focused, click the “New Posting Schedule” to start setting up different posting times for each day of the week. The process is the same as above but done for each day separately instead of as a group.
Scheduling a Post in Buffer
Now that you have your accounts and post times set up, let’s add a post. There are different ways to do this, which may seem a little involved at first, but once you get the idea you will find the way that works best for you. Ultimately it is nice to have the options, I find.
Click the “Content” tab at the top and you will be taken to a spot where you can input your post content. If you have no posts queued (like when you just started using buffer) then you will input it directly into the page. Once you have posts queued up though the content box will become a pop up to fill out.
Fill In Your Post Details
Across the top of the post box you can click to toggle which networks will get this post scheduled. Below that you can type and paste in your content. When you put a link in here it will automatically shorten (you can choose which shortener to use in the “Settings” tab) and load a link preview. If you want to add a photo, click the photo icon at the bottom left and then drag a photo onto the drop area.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your character count box in the lower right, which will give you character limit warnings based on which networks you have selected. Finally, click the “Add to Queue” button in the lower right, which will then add this post to your selected queues.
Tips & Tricks
While on the content tab you can see each post that is queued for your selected network. You can change which network you are looking at on the left “Accounts” menu.
If you find you are posting from the same source numerous times in a row, click the “Shuffle” button on the right, above the queue, to mix it up.
Rollover the link icon on the left of a given post to reveal the move handle. Click and drag this to change the order this post will appear in.
Rollover a post to reveal the buttons for delete, edit, move to top and share now. All useful things when the situation calls for it.
Determine Best Times For Posting
We will depart from Buffer now to find out which times are best for posting on each network. This information is found a little differently for each network.
Facebook: log into you Facebook page and click the “Insights” button at the top, above your cover image. Then click the “Posts” button from the Insights menu. This will give you a chart showing you how many visitors are online each day of the week, and below that another chart of what times of day they are most online.
Twitter: set up the free version of an account over at followerwonk.com. Sing in with your Twitter account and then click the “Analyze Followers” button. Input your Twitter user name and choose “analyze their followers” in the drop down. Click “Do It” and you will be given a ton of info on your followers, including the times of day they are mostly online.
Google+: Set up the free account at Timing+ and sign in with your G+ account. It will quickly show you the days and times your G+ followers are online.
Instagram: Set up a free account at iconosquare.com and log in with your Instagram account. Click the “Statistics” button at the top of the site, then click the “Optimization” button on the left hand menu that appears. At the top of this new page you will see a graph outlining the best times to post.
You can find detailed tips on this topic on this BufferApp blog post.
Getting more Advanced with Buffer
If you can handle the above, you are well on your way to social media post scheduling success. Just so you know though Buffer does have some further features that may interest you.
In the “Settings” tab for each account you can select which link shortener you want to use.
In the “Analytics” section you will find some interesting info about your posts once they are posted. Of course, this only track posts posted through Buffer, not posts posted directly into a social network.
Buffer offers a paid version that allows for more accounts, team members and further analytics.