The Complete Guide to Scaling Your Social Media With Buffer

Have an account with Buffer but not seeing the results you’d like yet?

Maybe you’re not sure about the best ways to maximise your time and effort on the platform?

The point of Buffer is to help you get more out of your social media accounts. However, if you don’t have a winning social media strategy to go with it, your efforts could be wasted.

You probably know this, but there’s a lot more to a successful social media strategy than just automating your posts. To get the best results, you need to have a solid content plan and publishing routine.

Read on if you want to know how to kick-start your social media strategy using Buffer- and start scaling your social media.

Step 1: plan in advance

You know the old phrase: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The saying couldn’t be more true for social media. It takes careful planning and consideration to create a social media strategy that really works.

The whole premise of Buffer is that you schedule your social media posts in advance.The more you can do ahead of time, the longer you can spend on other tasks.

Here’s how to smash your content planning in 3 steps:

1. Get into the rhythm of batch working

Working in batches is much more efficient than working on one task at a time. Why? Batch working lets you get a good rhythm going, and you don’t need to start from scratch each time.

If you’re new to batch working and are instead used to hopping from task to task, you may find working on one task at a time takes some getting used to.

To help, minimize distractions by closing all tabs on your computer apart from the ones directly related to your current task.

2. Allocate Buffer time in your work schedule

Take a look at your diary and block off a few hours one day a week where you’ll get all of your posts scheduled.

It’s much easier to spend one afternoon a week working on your social media instead of trying to do smaller amounts every day of the week. Otherwise you’ll end up interrupting your workflow throughout the day as and when you remember to post something.

Of course, you’ll still want to pop into social media and engage with your audience here and there.

However, knowing that you’ve got a week’s worth of content written and scheduled in advance will be hugely beneficial to both your short term and long-term strategy.

3. Make use of Buffer’s social media calendar

With Buffer’s social media calendar, you can plan your content weeks and months in advance- make use of it!

Your scheduled posts will display in a weekly or monthly view like this:

Buffer social media calendar view
Source: Buffer

If you hover over the update, you’ll be able to see the text, image and link that will go live with your post too. From here you can edit, delete or even re-share the post if it’s performing well.

Buffer social media calendar edit
Source: Buffer

In addition, you’ll be able to adjust the timing and add new updates all from the calendar screen. To access it, though, you’ll have to upgrade to Buffer’s Awesome plan.

Don’t have time to plan months of content? Let us do it for you! Here at MixBloom we make sure your content calendar is never empty. We’ll assign you a social media manager to plan, source and schedule all your content straight into your Buffer queue.

Step 2: curate your content

This is where you gather all of your content together ready to schedule into your Buffer queue.

This content can be made up of three different types:

(1) Original content: content created by you.

(2) Curated content: sharing content created by other individuals/companies.

(3) Promotional content: content that directly promotes your company’s services/special offers/competitions etc.

Let’s go through each one.

Original content

Creating at least some of your own original content is really important.

Chances are people will follow you because they’re interested in what your business has to say- so say something!

Here’s what you need to do to build great original content:

Create a content plan

Remember what we said: fail to plan, plan to fail.

The first step to creating your own content is to build your content plan.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make a list of all of the content types or topics you would like to use.
  2. Think of specific titles for each piece of content and add them underneath each heading from step 1.
  3. Decide which ones you want to prioritize, and organize your titles in the order that you want to create them.
  4. Work through them in your specified order of importance.
  5. Continue to keep track of which are completed, which are in progress, and which have been published.

You can do all of the 4 steps above using a tool like Trello (it’s what we use here at MixBloom!).

To help you get started, here’s a more detailed guide to using Trello for your content marketing plan.

Mix it up

According to Quick Sprout, there are 15 types of content that increase traffic:

  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Videos
  • Guides
  • Book reviews
  • Opinion posts
  • Product reviews
  • How-to posts
  • Lists
  • Link pages
  • Ebooks
  • Case studies
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews

To keep your content varied, try to include a few of these in your content plan.

By no means do you need to use all 15. But adding a few infographics and podcasts alongside your usual content can definitely keep things fresh.

Curated content

Sharing your insights on other people’s content is just as important as sharing original content.

Not only does it mix things up a little, it’s also a great way to build connections in your industry. See it as a way of giving a virtual fist-pump to people in your industry. Chances are, they’ll fist-pump back!

Here’s where you can find third party content for your Buffer queue:

Google Search

This is the most obvious- but can also be the most time-consuming too!

Start by thinking about what your audience want to know. Then search content (articles, infographics, podcasts, etc.) that will be relevant to them.

Go through the search results and select the content that you think your audience will find most interesting.

Pro tip: make sure you set your custom settings on Google (under ‘Tools’) to only show you articles from the past year. This way, you can make sure you’re only posting fresh content.

Social media

How many times have you been scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter and thought: that’s interesting!

Social media is a great place to find shareable content. The best bit? If you’re a Buffer user, this process is made even easier.

Let’s say you’re scanning the web and you find an article that you’d really like to share with your followers.

You would normally have to copy and paste the link either into your social media handles, or into the Buffer app.

However, if you’ve got Buffer’s browser extension installed, all you need to do is click on the buffer icon.

Buffer web browser extension icon

The extension will pull the title, image and shorten the URL for you from the following sites:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Hacker News
  • Reddit

You can also use this same extension to schedule re-tweets for later.

Buffer’s web extension adds the little buffer icon onto your tweets. If you click this, you’ll be able to schedule the re-tweet for your chosen time and date.

Buffer browser extension for scheduling retweets
source: Buffer

Oh, and we almost forgot: the extension is completely free. Woo!

Content aggregation sites

Another (and much quicker) way to source your curated content is to use content aggregation sites such as inbound.org,  Reddit, and Feedly.

We particularly like Feedly, as it not only allows you to focus on certain blogs in your industry (making your search a lot more focused), but it also integrates with Buffer. So, you can simply search content by keyword and, if you see anything you like, add it straight to your Buffer queue with just a click of a button!

Promotional content

Social media is a great place to tell everyone about your product or services. However, this should be done sparingly and in a way that engages your audience.

Remember, people come to social media to interact with friends, be distracted, or be inspired and entertained- not to be sold to!

For promotional content to work, it has to be integrated with interesting, useful content and not sound too sales-y. Simple, right?!

What’s the best mix of original, curated and promotional content?

There doesn’t seem to be one set ratio for how much of each type to post, as there are quite a lot of different opinions on the matter.

Some use the 411 ratio (for every promotional post, there should be 4 informational ones).

Some use the 5, 3, 2 ratio (where 5 is curated content, 3 is created content and 2 is personal posts).

Many use other ratios altogether.

However, a few things are for sure:

  • In the world of social media, it’s poor etiquette to focus too much on your own business.
  • Sharing other people’s content often leads to them acknowledging you in front of their own followers or returning the favor by sharing something of yours.
  • There is a vast amount of amazing content already out there- make use of it!

So, if you curate content often, post your own content less often, and promote your products or services now and then; you can’t go far wrong.

Don’t think you’ll be able to spend hours curating content? Our professional writers at MixBloom prepare a perfect balance of curated, original and promotional content to be posted to your Buffer account for you. Find out more here.

Step 3: share the smart way

Once you have your bank of content together, it’s time to put them into your Buffer queue.

The way you share your content on social media can make a huge amount of difference to how it performs.

What time should I post to reach the biggest audience? What should I write in the update space to drive more engagement?

We’ll answer those questions below.

How often should I post?

There’s a lot of conflicting advice on what social media posting frequency is best.

But that simply shows that it differs from industry to industry, brand to brand, and audience to audience.

However, timing is an important part of social media marketing to get right.

Post too little, and your followers may lose interest; post too often, and your followers may become frustrated.

According to Social Media Week, this is a good frequency to stick to:

  • Facebook: 5–10 posts per week
  • Twitter: 3–5 posts per day
  • Instagram: 1 post per day
  • Pinterest: 5–30 pins per day

At what times should I schedule my posts?

When it comes to what time of day or week is best, that also very much depends on the nature of your industry, brand, audience, and specific goals.

However, Social media Week’s benchmark is a good place to start:

  • Facebook: 1 pm to 3 pm
  • Twitter: 1 pm for more retweets, 12 pm and 6 pm for higher CTR
  • Instagram: 3 pm to 4 pm, although 2 pm, 5 pm and 2 am see a spike in engagement too
  • Pinterest: while Saturdays show the highest engagement, the optimal posting time during the workweek is between 8 pm to 11 pm

Pro tip: another way to find your own optimal posting times is to use a tool like Followerwonk.  It shows you charts listing the most active hours of your Twitter followers and integrates right into your Buffer account.

How can I write an engaging update?

Once you upload your content to Buffer, you know the next step: write a sentence or two for each piece you’d like to share.

Talk about what the content is about, perhaps add what you think of it, and add what your audience can expect to gain from reading it.

It can be very tricky to sum up a piece of content in a way that’s engaging and compelling using a small amount of words. (Twitter’s 140 character limit always catches people out!).

This can take time to get right, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

Keep posts short but informative

With lots of information in social media feeds, people are more likely to engage in posts that are written clearly and concisely.

If you’re linking to an article, briefly share what the article is about and why that would interest them.

Show your personality

Social media is a great place to show your business’ approachable, personable side.

Avoid using language that’s too stuffy or corporate. Instead, write your posts in a way that you’d write to a friend.

Include images/videos/GIFs where possible

Posts with video and moving images see some of the biggest engagement numbers.

Why? They convey messages and portray emotions in ways that text and images just can’t. I mean, just look at that cat.

In other words, if you want to grab your audience’s attention, you’ve got to join the video and GIF party.

Adding a video in buffer is easy. Just select the ‘add photos or video’ option when you’re writing your post. Once the video has uploaded, you’re able to add a frame and a video title too.

To upload a GIF, download your favorite moving image from a site like GIPHY (it’s free!). You’ll then be able to upload the file into Buffer as you would any other image.

Make use of hashtags

PRWeek analyzed over 65,000 social media posts to see how the amount of hashtags used affected their performance. They found that both Facebook and Twitter posts performed best with just 1 hashtag, whereas Instagram posts peaked performance at 9 hashtags.

Be sure to use hashtags in the way that’s best for the platform you’re using.

Mention other people or businesses

Tagging other social media accounts in your posts is a really good way to build relationships with other social media users. It’s also a great way to boost engagement.

If you’ve written about someone or a brand in your content, tag them in your post (this is done by adding an @ before their handle).

If you’re sharing something that’s highly relevant to a brand, you could also mention them. Then, if they do comment on, like or share your post, not only will you be building a dialogue with them, but you’ll be building one with their audience too.

Want a professional to do the writing and sharing for you?  Let one of our social media managers beautifully write your updates with focused hashtags, mentions and awesome visuals. Try it free for 7 days and see what you think.

Step 4: track your results

Whether you’re on Buffer’s Individual, Awesome or  Business plan,  you get access to insightful data on how your posts are performing.

The analytics tool will give you valuable tips on what kind of posts you should be posting more/less often.

Make sure to take the time to keep track of these statistics, as they can give you a really good overview of what your audience is interested in.

You can even gain insights into what time of day your posts are getting the best response. This will allow you to optimise your scheduling even further.

Pro tip: before you start analyzing your social media marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to already have some key metrics in mind:

  • What is the main goal for your social media marketing efforts?
  • Are you looking to increase your followers, boost your website traffic, or build relationships with influencers?

Once you know what you’re focused on achieving, analyzing your social media strategy’s results – and therefore success – will be much easier.

Key takeaway – what you can do today

Buffer is a great tool for streamlining your social media strategy with ease, and at low cost. However, the full benefits are only unleashed when you follow a structured content strategy.

Remember, the first stage of any good content strategy is to prepare in advance. 

If you have some time today, start by building a calendar of content that you’d like to share for the next week.

Think about what kind of topics your audience will be interested in and start planning you content based around that.You’ll soon see how it quickly builds into a more focused, consistent strategy over time.

If you’re finding it difficult to put enough time aside to plan, write and schedule your content into Buffer, why not give MixBloom’s 7-day free trial a go?

Our professional social media writers will get your content together, write your social media posts and schedule them into your Buffer queue for you.

This means you can have the social media presence you want, without disrupting your schedule!

Claire

Claire is a social media manager and writer at MixBloom and loves writing about all things social and content marketing.

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