Tools that allow you to pre-schedule any type of content for your social media accounts often come under harsh scrutiny.
Those who have strong opinions about social media, and how it should be used, believe that nothing should be scheduled and everything should be done live. We agree that social media users should be engaged and present but we disagree that you can’t use some tools to facilitate the sharing of content.
The thing to note is that you still need to be mindful of what you are scheduling. This isn’t about choosing any content and this isn’t about “setting it and forgetting it.” You want to pick content that you’ve actually read, enjoyed and know your audience will find useful and you need to be engaged enough to converse about the shared links as they go live.
The other thing to be mindful of is that when using a pre-scheduling tool, you’re going to want to still pay attention to current events and news. If something major is happening – ie: a natural disaster, a major news story, etc. – you’ll want to get into that tool and cancel your pre-scheduled pieces so that you don’t seem insensitive to what is happening in real-time.
That said, we think that tools, like Buffer, have a place in the market and can really enhance your social media experience when used correctly.
For those unfamiliar with Buffer, here’s a quick overview of how it works:
As you can see, the tool still allows you lots of control to ensure that you’re personalizing the content and choosing the platform that it most makes sense to share it to.
Here are three reasons why we love Buffer as a pre-scheduling tool for our social media.
I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time with my head down, completely focused in on my work. However, there are at least three times in my day where I stop what I am doing to browse through some of my favourite news and tech blogs.
To give you an idea of how many I browse through at that time, here’s a snapshot of what my Chrome bookmarks bar looks like:
If I were to share the articles I find interesting within those three time periods, my followers would get about three to five (or more!) articles spammed at them quickly and then I’d go back to my work and my accounts would go quiet again.
By sharing the articles I’ve found interesting through a service like Buffer, I can share them on a pre-determined schedule and at regular intervals. Instead of a link spam fest, I can share one link three – four times per day and those links are spread out over the course of many, many hours.
When I’m reading articles and browsing websites, I don’t always also have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ open yet each of them are fantastic outlets for some of the content I want to share. Oftentimes, each of the sites I’m browsing offer limited share icons, which makes choosing the platform I want even trickier.
When I use Buffer, I can curate the content to the right social media platform and ensure that the message I’m sending to each is specific, for those people and makes sense for the platform.
For example, I send mostly business-only articles to LinkedIn. I don’t share super awesome videos of amazing cellists nor do I share about the latest Kickstarter toy that I’m drooling over. However, I’d likely share that type of content on Google+ and Twitter. Facebook tends to be, for me, a place where I share more tutorial or practical information. Twitter is a mixed bag.
Once you know how you want to use each platform and the audience at each, Buffer makes it easy to push the content out to the right people and at intervals that won’t overwhelm.
Often times when you are using social media to share information about your business, as well as to share content and have conversations, marketing material comes into play. Sharing your marketing messages (aka self-serving content) is something that I encourage people to do but there needs to be a good balance between content and marketing messages.
With Buffer, we can get a really good view of what is going out, and when, and ensure that we have a healthy mix of content vs. marketing. This ensures that we deliver a lot of value and interesting content with a mix of marketing so we don’t annoy any of our social media connections.
Any of our real-time, in-the-moment Tweets and updates are done by us and not through Buffer. Anything where we’ve typed something out and we’re not sharing a link is sent manually. Buffer becomes our tool for mostly curating and sharing content.
What are your thoughts? Do you use Buffer or any other scheduling tool? What’s your opinion on social media scheduling in general? Leave it in the comments below.