The ability to schedule posts on Facebook pages has been a massive help to Facebook users.  This video shows you how to schedule posts.  Note that before scheduling you will need to set a ‘start date’ for your business using ‘Milestones’ in the status bar menu.

If the little clock doesn’t appear when you construct your status make sure you are posting to your page in the ‘voice’ of your business page.

I looked at Buffer before, way back when Monday morning cool tool was just a little thing I did on my Facebook page.

I use Hootsuite to manage my Twitter account and I schedule some tweets via it.  I’m a big believer in scheduling, I can’t be online composing tweets all day so I find the content I want to share and schedule it  so that people who aren’t up early in the morning get to see it too.  I don’t rely on scheduling totally, I believe you have to check in to twitter, reply and converse with people in real time as it is this relationship building that makes Twitter so effective.  Hootsuite is great for me as it does everything I need it to, however I’ve discovered that some of my clients don’t want to learn a complicated new tool on top of learning Twitter and that is where Buffer can come in handy.

Buffer app automatically spaces out your tweets so that you are not flooding peoples newsfeeds, since I first tried it there is far more app integration and far more bells and whistles so I thought I’d give it another look.  Today I’m just going to look at basic setup but I do recommend trying some of the apps that integrate with it.  I’ve added Social Bro as this allows Buffer to schedule tweets when it knows my followers are online the most.

Here’s how it works:

Go to www.bufferapp.com and sign up using a social network. I’d recommend Twitter.

Next you need to add the buffer button to your browser.  This allows you to share any web page you are visiting by simply clicking it.

Next go to the Buffer ‘Dashboard’ – Here you can add another social network by clicking ‘connect account’

Once you have set up your social networks it’s time to try posting from the app.  Buffer offers you a message to share or you can create your own.

When composing your own you can add a link by simply posting it into the tweet box, Buffer automatically shortens it for you.

You can also add a photo (by clicking on the camera icon on the left hand side)

Now click ‘Add to Buffer’ the app will schedule the Tweet to go out from your Twitter account. (or post to another network if you have selected them).

Once you have scheduled your tweet you are able to edit it, delete it and if you have scheduled a few you can change the order that they appear in your schedule.

If you want to play with some of the other tools that support Buffer click on ‘Apps & Extras’ on the top menu.

If you use Google Chrome to browse the Internet the extension that you added at the beginning of the process automatically adds the option to add a tweet to buffer from the web application.  I’ve also noticed it appear on Facebook as an option when I’m posting and this morning I noticed it pop up as an option on my Google reader, being able to tweet directly from my reader would be a massive time saver.

The great news is that once you have sent a tweet via Buffer you can see some statistics about that tweet, you can see who it reached, how many replies and RT’s it received and how many times any shortened links you added have been clicked.  It really is a simpler version of Hootsuite.

Do you use Buffer?  What is your favourite feature? What apps have you added?  Lets talk in the comments below.

 

 

I found an interesting post on Inside Facebook today about using Hootsuite to post to Facebook.  Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know I’m a big fan of Hootsuite (affiliate link).  I rarely use it  for Facebook but  from time to time I need to schedule posts if I’m not going to be around, It’s important to be consistant and Hootsuite scheduling allows me to do this even when I’m with clients or teaching a course.

The disadvantage of using Hootsuite for Facebook according to the article is that Facebook penalises your content as it comes from a third party app.  This means posts sent from it are less likely to appear in the ‘Top News’ feed of Facebook users and may get overlooked.

I do use Hootsuite scheduling far more frequently for Twitter, in fact I use it on a daily basis.  Unlike Facebook there is no penalty for using third party apps to post on Twitter.

Whenever I mention scheduling it usually sparks a debate.  There are advantages and disadvantages but used properly I believe it can help you create an effective social media strategy.

The argument against scheduling

The idea of scheduling makes some people prickle and I think I understand why, social media is social, users value authenticity and interaction, the perception is that if you schedule you don’t care, you are not there to respond.  However I don’t believe we should all be chained to our computers or phones all day long to interact on Twitter.  Scheduling doesn’t preclude interaction, it just guarantees you are able to reach your audience when they are online even if you are not. Those who schedule must respond and interact live too but if you schedule you can do this when it suits you without loosing your audience.  In this respect scheduling tweets actually makes you more social not less so.

The advantages of scheduling

I find scheduling invaluable for many reasons.  As I mentioned in my opening paragraph I can’t always be at my computer, If I’m out of the office I’m still able to share with my followers, I’m able to be consistent.  If I kept my tweeting to when I had computer access I’d be in danger of flooding my followers streams with my tweets.  There is nothing worse than logging into Twitter and seeing it dominated by a string of tweets from a single user.  By spacing my tweets out I’m giving people time to digest them. As the tweeter this means followers are more likely to look at the links I tweet .  The biggest advantage of all is that scheduling is a massive time saver and it helps me avoid those procrastination moments. I spend time in the morning scheduling and then dip in throughout the day to converse and engage.

How to schedule

Before you start scheduling I’d recommend analysing your followers using a tool like Tweriod or CrowdBooster, this will give you a rough guide to when your followers are online and you can create your content calender around this. Use Hootsuite (affiliate link), Buffer or Crowdbooster to schedule your tweets and assign timeslots during the day to check in on your account and read tweets from others.

Do you love or hate the concept of scheduling? I’d love to hear your opinion so please leave a comment below.

We’ve talked alot about Pluggio in the past.  It’s a very handy Twitter client which is great for finding new people to follow, and for importing RSS feeds.  It also has two ways to allow you to schedule your tweets into the future.

The traditional time specific scheduling similar to Hootsuite but also a rolling schedule that allows you to put space between your tweets, ensuring that you are not crowding followers timelines with heavy tweeting.

We don’t recommend that you use scheduling exclusively for tweeting, but in conjunction with your personal tweets and conversations it is a great tool for delivering consistent tweets even when you are not there.

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