Why and How I use Buffer

We all want to engage our friends, our audience, our clients, our tribes.

Much like a cocktail party, we want to talk to people, make new friends, network, share useful information so interaction with you is seen as beneficial and people will come back for more.

Twitter is a great tool for achieving this engagement.  It is everywhere, millions of people are on it, including a lot of the people you want to interact with.  Besides being a tool for carrying conversations, I find it is a great way to provide information I come across during the day.  I get email messages that are worth sharing, I have insights that I want to convey to other people, and I subscribe to a myriad of RSS feeds that provide me with lots of information worth sharing.  Twitter provides a great way to easily share all of this with my relationships.

I find, however, that it is a bit hard to take full advantage of Twitter based on my daily workflow and schedule.  That’s where today’s tip, Buffer, comes in handy.

 

My issues with Twitter

Here is one of the problems: a tweet has a very short life.  It will pop up in your follower’s twitter feed and, depending on how many other people they are following, it will quickly move down the list into oblivion.

Another problem is that often I come across something worth sharing at times when Twitter activity is low.  Sometimes I will be rocking my baby to sleep at 3AM and pull out my iPhone and run across something great I’d like to share.  The problem is, if I share it then, no one will see it.

Continuing the cocktail party analogy, when I’m online I want to mingle, make friends, have conversations, provide valuable information to people, and establish relationships.  If I am at the cocktail party when no one is there, I will be basically talking to myself.

And there is yet another problem: I often go through my RSS feeds a couple of times a day and come across a dozen or so articles at a time that I would like to pass on and share with my relationships on Twitter.  If I share them all then and there, people will be overwhelmed.  It would be as if while at the cocktail party, I start blabbering 100 different things while holding my martini glass.  People will tune me out and think I’m crazy or a robot.

So the question is: how can I better the odds of my tweet being noticed?  How can I help the resources I have to share make it to people who will be there ready to receive it?

 

Here’s how Buffer can help

Buffer will help your tweets in two different ways:

  1. It lets you space out your tweets over the duration of the day
  2. It lets you specifically choose what time of the day your tweets are going to be tweeted.

But before we talk about this tool, we need to take a step back.  Let’s say Buffer didn’t exist and you were going to space out your tweets by physically tweeting at different times of the day.  The first first question should be: when is your target audience most likely to see your tweets?  In other words, when should you tweet?

There are a number of studies being conducted to try to answer that question.  They show twitter engagement by hour, by day of the week, and by other parameters. The problem is that these studies tend to be very generic and usually cover the entirety of Twitter demographics.  The truth is that different tribes will behave in different ways.  Nobody has the same audience and followers as you. Therefore, the best way to determine when your audience is most active is to test it yourself.  After all, you are building relationships with individuals that most likely have something in common with one another.  It is likely they use Twitter in a similar way.

To try to determine when your followers are most receptive to communicating with you, my advice would be to, using trackable links, send out tweets at different times of the day for a few days taking note of when each link was posted and whether they were clicked.  This is by no means a a surefire way to determine when your tribe is most active as there are many other factors at play, but it can help you get an idea.  There are a number of ways you can create individual links using Hootsuite, Google URL Shortener, Bit.ly, etc.  Just make sure you have a way of identifying when you post that link so when you count the number of clicks you will know that those clicks all happened at that specific time – or at least during the “lifetime” of that tweet.

In my case, I found that people click on my links usually between 9-10AM, then around lunch time, then again between 3-4PM, and after 8PM.

Once you have this information and a list of awesome things you want to share with your community, Buffer app can really help you.

The first thing to do is to sign up for a free Buffer app account here.

Next, you will want to set up the schedule for your buffer of tweets.  You should do that based on the information you gathered regarding the times when your followers are most active.  The free version of Buffer app allows you to enter only 10 items to your buffer at a time, so I would set up 10 different times per day for your tweets.  That way you can set up your buffer of tweets once a day and forget about it.

Once your specific schedule is set up, you can start filling up your buffer with goodies.

So let’s say you check our RSS feeds first thing when you come into the office.  As you come across articles you want to share, you simply add them to your Buffer app buffer. There are different ways you can do that.  My method of choice is the Google Chrome Buffer extension, which adds a handy button to your Chrome toolbar.  Once you’re on a page you’d like to add to your buffer, all you have to do is click the button. Once you press the button, Buffer presents you with the tweet-to-be.  You can then freely edit it.  I usually edit it so it sounds less robotic.  I have always tried to be witty on my twitter and Facebook updates, so I try to do the same with Buffer.

After you do that for 10 articles, you are done for the day.  Your tweets will be posted in sequence, based on the schedule you set up previously.

I hope this was of help.  If you have any questions about Buffer and how I use it, please leave comment below.

See you on Twitter!

@cesarabeid