John Lincoln

Complete Review of Buffer (Is It The Right Solution?)

Find yourself in need of a social scheduling platform?

If so, read this Buffer review. 

In this review of Buffer, I’ll cover the in’s, out’s and how-to’s to help you decide if Buffer is right for you.

Complete Review of Buffer
Buffer review

Buffer Review Overview

Before we dig into the details, let’s go through a broader overview of Buffer. Buffer is a complete social media management tool that allows you to schedule and publish your posts from its platform. We’re not just talking one or two social platforms; Buffer lets you integrate all your accounts into one, easy to manage dashboard. But Buffer has expanded beyond the bounds of social media, and become one of the leaders in non-traditional thought and work practices. The Buffer Open Blog regularly features pieces on their progressive company culture, self-improvement, and ways to work smarter, not harder. It’s a good read and a fascinating company, but that’s not what this review’s about. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how – and how well – Buffer works.

Buffer Review: Social Media Scheduling

It’s biggest claim to fame has always been its social scheduling. And perhaps its biggest strength lies here. Buffer’s intuitive drag and drop editor makes set up and editing easy to use, even for those new to social schedulers.
Buffer Review: Social Scheduling
Buffer Review: Social Scheduling
To start, users will navigate to their Buffer dashboard and select the networks they’d like to schedule a post for. Users can also group platforms together in order to send specific post types to those specific groups. Then, write your post and include a link. Here’s where Buffer gets really cool: you can edit how the link is displayed. Most tools will automatically fill in the title, image and description pulled from the link, but with Buffer, you can choose how you want those elements to appear. If the link doesn’t upload an image, you can choose and upload your own. Buffer also supports GIFs and videos. If you link to a video, Buffer will grab screenshots from the video from every 15 seconds to use as featured images. Once you have your post looking exactly how you want it, you can navigate to the Schedule time to select posting times. You can choose the exact publishing days and times you’d like to post to each social account, and Buffer will adhere to that schedule for all future posts. Of course, you can choose not to post on certain days, or opt to post different accounts based on different time zones. Buffer also includes an Optimal Scheduling tool, which will recommend the best times to post on each channel. After you’ve scheduled your posts, you can rearrange them as need be with the platform’s simple drag and drop editor. They can be viewed in list or calendar form, and even shuffled at random if you’re feeling a bit spontaneous. If you want a look at what your post will look like live, head to the For Review tab, where you (and team collaborators!) can view the posts before they’re scheduled to appear in case any last-minute edits need to be made.

Buffer Review: Special Features

In addition to its core functionality – social scheduling – Buffer offers a few extra features to make sure your posting is as seamless as possible. RSS Feed – You can view the RSS feeds from any of your favorite blogs in Buffer, and post from the directly to easily share their content.
Buffer Review: RSS Feed
Buffer Review: RSS Feed
Browser Extension – You can install a browser extension to save content for later. Features include:
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Overlay on images – save images to Buffer by clicking
  • Power Scheduler – schedule multiple messages across multiple accounts and times
Buffer Review: Power Editor
Buffer Review: Power Editor
Pablo – Pablo is an image curator designed by Buffer. Using it, you can select and size an image to different social media specs, and create easy text overlays and backgrounds to create richer, more engaging photos. Buffer for Instagram: Instagram has historically been hard to publish on using outside platforms, but Buffer found a way around it. Using it, you can schedule singe-image posts to any of your business accounts and Buffer will automatically publish for you. If you’re scheduling a video or multi-image post, you can upload that to Buffer as well. While it can’t publish the post for you directly for you, Buffer will send you a push notification at the scheduled time. The post will be automatically loaded for you in Instagram; all you have to do is hit “Publish.”

Buffer Review: Analytics

Buffer offers a solid set of analytics regarding post interaction and performance. If you navigate to the Analytics section in the Posts tab, you’ll find a breakdown by post of total likes, comments, clicks, reshares, mentions, and total reach. You can sort the totals as you would like – by most popular or least popular, most comments, etc. to get a birdseye view of the metrics most important to you. And, when you do find posts that have performed particularly, you have the option to Re-Buffer them (schedule them to post again) with any edits included. You’ll also find a graph on the Analytics page that gives an overview of posts per day vs. clicks per day. You can add different metrics to this chart to track as well. For example, you could track likes vs. comments to help determine how engaged your audience is.
Buffer Review: Buffer Analytics
Buffer Review: Buffer Analytics
Buffer also recently announced a new product called Buffer Analyze. While its not yet available to the general public, you can sign up for early access on their website. All the details and included analytics are still unclear, but it does promise a more in-depth look at account performance and the types of content that perform best with your particular audience.

Buffer Review: Buffer Reply

Another newer product in Buffer’s Arsenal is Buffer Reply. Previously, Buffer was purely for scheduling, and didn’t offer an option to interact with followers online. That’s not longer the case. Buffer Reply is all about follower interaction. It’s created for customer service and displays tweets in real-time. All incoming tweets and direct messages are displayed and expanded when clicked on. You can reply directly to tweets and messages, archive old ones, like comments or choose to follow users. You can also tag a particular message and store it to reply to later – and set reminders in Buffer. There’s also a custom search bar that allows you to sort through all tweets and messages by keyword, hashtag, phrases, etc. Buffer Reply started out only serving Twitter, but has now expanded to include messages from Facebook and Instagram as well. Do keep in mind, this is a separate product from Buffer itself. If you’re interested in Buffer Reply, pricing starts at $50/month for individuals and $225/month for business teams, with a 14-day trial included.

Buffer Review: Pricing

Buffer is one of the more reasonably priced social scheduling platforms. It’s plans are separated into Starter plans and Business plans. The Starter plans are geared more towards individuals, with the most basic plan coming in at a whopping $0 dollars. That will get you a total of 3 integrated accounts and 10 scheduled posts per account. If those numbers won’t cut it, you can upgrade to the Pro plan for $15 month, which allows 8 integrated accounts and up to 100 scheduled posts per account. On the business side, Buffer offers different plans for Small, Medium, and Large companies. The Small comes in at $99/month and offers up to 25 accounts with 2,000 posts each. Medium will set you back $199/month, 50 accounts and 2,000 posts. The Large costs $399/month, with 150 accounts and 2,000 posts each included. All Business plans come with extra features you won’t find in the Individual plans, including advanced social analytics.

Buffer Review: Pro’s

Buffer’s real advantage is in its simplicity. It focuses mainly on one thing – social scheduling – and it does it very well. It’s extremely easy to use and requires almost no social know-how to get started. The simplicity of the drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to schedule and arrange posts, and the Optimal Scheduling tool takes a lot of the guesswork out of the timing. Even it’s more advanced featured, the RSS feed, browser extension, etc., are designed to make the posting process as streamlined as possible. Because it keeps it simple, Buffer’s able to offer one of the best scheduling tools in the market.

Buffer Review: Con’s

Because Buffer is so focused on seamless scheduling, it lacks a few of the features more robust social platforms often include. And the features it does offer – advanced analytics and social interaction – aren’t included in the base version. For example, as we mentioned above Buffer Reply is a separate tool and requires a separate payment plan. For bigger businesses looking for an all-in-one software, they may do better with more robust, comprehensive social tools like Hootsuite.

Wrapping Up Our Buffer Review

Bottom line: Buffer delivers on its promise. It offers a simple, seamless way to schedule and post to all social media accounts, and includes enough bells and whistles to may the money well worth your while. If social scheduling is your ultimate goal, Buffer’s the tool for you.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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