Twitter and Facebook can present a real paradox to you as a small business owner. On the one hand, they both present a seemingly limitless supply of new leads and customers. On the other hand, they can be time consuming, attention grabbers that distract you from doing the work that really matters.
To add to the challenge, anyone who knows anything about how to successfully promote yourself on either of these two platforms will tell you that presence is key. What does this mean?
Presence is Key
You need to post something on your Facebook page at least once per day. And not just promotional things. You need to ask interesting questions, interact with your followers. You know the drill.
Same thing goes for twitter. You can't just tweet about your upcoming promotions over and over again and mix it in with a few retweets of people who everybody else follows.
You Can't Do It All At Once
Though it only takes a few seconds to jump on to twitter or facebook and post an update, if you have to do this several times throughout the day, it's going to take a toll on your productivity. We simply can't afford to switch our focus from clients, development and creativity to social media and back again.
Seriously, when was the last time you had a “productive” day that you spent sitting on Twitter the whole time? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Some people try to combat this with flurries of activity. You know these people. You don't see anything from them for days and then all of a sudden your feed is flooded. Retweets, thank-yous, self promotion and then… Silence again.
There is no better way to piss off your followers than to flood them with lots of tweets or status updates while your feeling inspired and then leave them with nothing for days.
Or Can You…?
For me, I usually come up with a lot of cool ideas for tweets and facebook posts all at once. Interesting questions to ask people, clever ways of promoting a blog post, etc.
What if I could queue up all these ideas but have them sent out over a period of time?
There are plenty of twitter clients that allow you to do this, but they are usually the “social media dashboard” type clients that have a lot going on and are too feature-heavy for my needs.
Buffer Saves the Day
You can imagine my excitement when I found the tool that matches my needs exactly.
Buffer is the easiest tool I've found that allows you to schedule your tweets and status updates throughout the day. Here's how it works:
- You sign up for a (free!) Buffer account and connect your twitter account(s) and facebook page(s)
- You add tweets/posts to your Buffer via their web interface, or from their super-simple browser add-in. It automatically shortens your links and pulls in a snippet of the page with an image (for facebook)
- Your posts are buffered, literally. Buffer “automagically” picks a schedule for your updates and posts them to your twitter and/or facebook feeds every couple of hours.
Okay, those are the basics. Now that you've signed up, here are some other cool Buffer tips I've found helpful:
- Make sure you install the browser addin for whatever browser you prefer. It's really simple and fast- my favorite way to share articles as I browse the web.
- There is a fantastic free iPhone app. They also have an Android version.
- You can connect your bit.ly account to your buffer account (it's in the settings) so you can track how many clicks you get on your tweets/posts.
- Check out the Extras– They have some really cool integrations with many different clients and services.
- Check out the free version of SocialBro for Google Chrome. It can automatically analyze your followers, determine the times that they are most active, and update your Buffer schedule accordingly. Wow.
That's Buffer for you. As you can tell from this article, I am a huge fan of their service. Also, just to let you know if you sign up using my link, we'll both get an extra space in our Buffer as a result.
If you'd rather not give me an extra buffer slot (and receive one), you can go directly to their website at bufferapp.com.
I Want to Hear From You
Every Thursday, I feature one new technology that is helping me run my business, or improve my life.
If you have a technology challenge or question, I invite you to share it in the comments so that I can answer it on the blog.
In the Comments: What's one new social media tool that you've been using? What's it doing for you?