Buffer Review – My Favorite Time Saving Twitter Tool

As I recently mentioned in my BlogWorld recap, I met Leo Widrich, one of the guys behind the Buffer App for Twitter sharing.

Now as many of you might know, I’m a huge fan of HootSuite for my Twitter management needs. For the longest time, I have heard people raving about Buffer, but I figured I didn’t need another app to schedule tweets since I could already schedule tweets in HootSuite.

What I didn’t realize is how much simpler Buffer really is. Let me demonstrate.

Before I begin, as a disclaimer, I didn’t get any freebies, payment, sponsorship, etc. from Buffer for writing this post. If you choose to use my referral URL to sign up for Buffer, I don’t get paid – I simply get extra Buffer scheduling space.

Tweet Scheduling in HootSuite

The simplest way to schedule tweets in HootSuite is by using the bookmarklet which you can find in your HootSuite dashboard when you hover over the Tools menu.

HootSuite Bookmarklet

Once you drag the Hootlet to your bookmarks bar on any browser, you can click on it while viewing a page you want to share. Then you’ll see a popup allowing you to choose the social profile to share it with along with the option to send the tweet now or schedule it for later using the calendar.

HootSuite Twitter Scheduling

If you need to remember what scheduled tweets you have in the system, you can go to your Publisher menu to see your scheduled tweets.

HootSuite Publisher

Now as you can see, I made an oops and scheduled two tweets to go out at the same time. To change that, edit the text, or reorganize the tweets, you have to edit them individually using the same scheduling calendar.

HootSuite Publisher - Editing Tweet Schedule

Faster Tweet Scheduling in Buffer

Now, let’s take a look at the Buffer difference. When you setup your account, you start by entering your preferred tweeting schedule. I like to send my posts at five minutes after the hour. This means that my tweet will come across someone’s feed after all of the automated Twitterfeeds that usually happen right at the top of the hour.

Buffer Twitter Scheduling

For easy Buffer sharing, you can grab the Buffer bookmarklet for any browser’s bookmarks bar or install the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Then, when you’re reading an article you want to share, you click on the Buffer bookmarklet or button installed by the extension (I use the one for Chrome) and get the following scheduling popup.

Buffer Tweet Scheduling

Here you can select your preferred profiles to share the tweet with and edit it as you so choose. Then you can post now or add to Buffer. To see your pending tweets, you just go to your Buffer dashboard.

Buffer Pending Tweets

Since you set your preferred tweeting schedule, you can’t accidentally set two at the same time. To edit the text, simply click on the pencil to edit. If you do notice you want to rearrange, you can simply use the Drag to Reorder to move them around.

Buffer - Reorder Pending Tweets

Additional Buffer Sharing Options

If the bookmarklet isn’t enough, you can also use Buffer directly in Twitter using the Chrome extension. This will put a Buffer call right in your Twitter stream when you’re looking at your home feed, someone’s profile, Twitter lists, or any other tweets.

Buffer Inside Twitter

When you click on it, you get your usual Buffer popup with the RT @username text with the option to edit the tweet, post now, or add to Buffer.

Buffer Popup Inside Twitter

You can also follow these directions for adding Buffer to your Google Reader. Then you can share posts you are reading in Google Reader to your Buffer.

Buffer Sharing Inside Google Reader

Considering the way I use Google Reader, this is a definite plus.

For mobile users, there is a Buffer Android app and a way to email to your Buffer using a customized email address from mobile apps on tablets and other smartphones.

The New Buffer Button

Last but not least, you might have noticed a new button in my social sharing strip at the top of the post.

Buffer Social Sharing Button

The Buffer button allows users to easily add your post to Buffer. No more copying & pasting long URLs from the Twitter button to your Twitter management tool of choice (although it is still an option for those who directly tweet)!

Analytics in HootSuite vs. Buffer

For statistics junkies, here are your analytics options.

In HootSuite, you can create reports or see quick stats about any ow.ly shortened URLs.

HootSuite Quick Analytics

Or you can see individual stats of your ow.ly shortened tweets.

HootSuite Individual URL Statistics

In Buffer, you can see an overview of your sent tweets and their retweets, clicks, and overall estimated reach based on your audience plus the audience that retweeted the Buffered tweet.

Buffer Analytics

Pricing for HootSuite vs. Buffer

Both HootSuite and Buffer are freemium applications meaning that there is a free structure vs. a paid structure. In HootSuite, if you have no more than five accounts to manage and don’t really care about enhanced analytics, you can use the free version. Otherwise, it is $5.99 per month, which is the plan I use because I have a ridiculous amount of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other accounts.

In Buffer, if you have only one persona to manage (one Twitter and one Facebook) and only need to store 10 scheduled posts at a time, you can use the free version. Otherwise, there are two plans – the pro plan for $10.00 per month (which is the plan I use) for up to 5 social media accounts and 50 posts in your Buffer. There’s also a super premium plan for $99.00 per month for unlimited social accounts and posts in buffer.

My Twitter Strategy

My Twitter strategy involves using HootSuite for monitoring all of my Twitter accounts’ mentions, direct messages, Twitter lists, and keyword searches in easy to follow streams. Then I use Buffer App for tweet scheduling. I also use Formulists for creating awesome, automatically updated Twitter lists (more on that in an upcoming post). Together, I can efficiently interact with my followers and find new followers while sharing great posts with everyone. So if you don’t use them already, try them out – even just using the free accounts with your priority social profiles could make a huge difference!

Your Favorite Time Saving Twitter Tools

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Twitter management applications and time saving tools? Do you use HootSuite and Buffer? Please share your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments, and happy tweeting!

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Comments

  1. says

    I am a human case study for how NOT to use Twitter. I rarely tweet, am horrendous about retweeting posts, have not managed lists effectively. But I’m definitely going to check out buffer because it would reduce at least one aspect of my twitter lameness ;) Thanks for the great suggestion!

    Alexis
    Alexis just posted Safe Baby Sleep or Hatchet Job?

    • says

      You’re welcome Alexis. It takes a lot of trial and effort to get good at Twitter. It’s taken me three years and I’m still not what I would consider great at it. :)

  2. says

    Buffer is fantastic.

    The analysis options are more limited than Hootsuite but I like the simplicity. And it’s not obvious but you can see who ReTweeted you.

    If you want a more on the analytics, you can set Buffer to use bit.ly to shorten links.

    One last addition I found recently is that if you’re using a feed reader than synchs with Google Reader you can star items and have them fed to Buffer via ifttt.

    e.g. FeedDemon > Google Reader > ifttt > Buffer > Twitter
    Giles Farrow just posted Software Marketing Tweetables 21 November 2011

  3. says

    Kristi, I’ve been a Hootsuite user for a year or so (probably at your suggestion). I can definitely see the advantages of Buffer over Hootsuite. I think Buffer would be most useful for people like you who are heavily involved in Twitter and other social media.

    I’ll be evaluating my social media strategy in early 2012 — checking out Buffer is near the top of the list.
    John Soares just posted All Your Writing Clips on One Site: Cuttings.me Review and Interview

  4. says

    I started using Buffer about 3 weeks ago. I am just amazed to know about the functionalities of Buffer. I simply love the stats and the Tweet at peak times options. Seems so promising.

    Hootsuite I loved.. but Buffer is good for those things you find online that you think your followers might be interested in but don’t want to bombard them link after link at one go.
    Shamelle just posted When Blogging Seems Like A Thankless Job 3 Important Things you MUST Remember (Thanksgiving edition)

    • says

      Exactly. I usually read several articles at a time, and I’m sure it doesn’t help the blog owner or my audience if I’m tweeting 5 – 10 posts at a time. Buffer definitely solves that issue!

  5. says

    Still using the Buffer as a free app; I’m liking it and it has advantages vs. TweetDeck (my other scheduler). I too have the Chrome extension, nice to have. The other thing I like is how easily it is to move tweets around, if I want something to tweet sooner rather than later. I don’t consider myself a power tweeter, so not sure I need the full pro benefits yet, but they’re very appealing. FWIW.
    Davina K. Brewer just posted Do you know where your comments are?

    • says

      Moving the tweets around is a life saver for me. I can add a ton of posts to Buffer, then go in and move them around based on the topic (business articles during business hours, more personal stuff for evenings and weekends). :)

    • says

      I see so much come through my stream at the top of the hour and at half past, so I thought five minutes later would give my tweet a chance of being at the top of the stream. :)

  6. says

    I’m more of a MarketMeSuite person myself, but I love love Buffer. I tend to read posts at 4am, and who am I going to share with at 4am on twitter? Being able to click that little buffer icon in my browser (whether at my desk or from my android) is just wicked. I love this post. I never took notice of the Buffer pricing options and the $10/month sounds perfect. Thanks
    Vanita just posted Why not turn your blog into a business?

  7. says

    I have been testing out the free buffer version for about a week or so now. One thing I like about it is it is simple and easy to figure out. You can start using it in a few minutes after signing up. So far I only use it with Twitter. I am not sure if I add Facebook if I can schedule 10 posts to Facebook and 10 to Twitter, or if it will split 5 and 5 with the free version or not. Never tried Hootsuite. It looks appealing too.
    Ray just posted Adding an Email Subscription

  8. says

    I’ve been using buffer for last couple of months and really getting encouraging results. The best thing I like about buffer is that you can check which of your tweets are getting how many retweets and clicks. Plus you can manage your tweet timmings as per your followers.
    Aanchal just posted Web Design India

  9. says

    Hi Kristi, comparing Buffer to HootSuite is a great idea because so many people are relying on HootSuite these days. I use both also, but I stopped looking at the stats in HootSuite a long time ago. Buffer’s stats are much easier and convenient to get at. I started posting to Facebook with Buffer this weekend and I can’t wait to compare the engagement levels against HootSuite and native Facebook posts. Either way, I’m sure I will continue to post with Buffer because using the Chrome extension is a breeze compared to cutting and pasting into HootSuite.
    Chat soon!
    Ileane just posted Preview the New YouTube Design Now!

  10. says

    I am loving Buffer for helping to get my tweets out there in front of people during the time of day that I am typically at the office and have limited access/ability to push things out otherwise. I have been using it for a couple of three weeks and really could not be happier – good to see some love here.

    PS – love you blog, good information and have added it to my list of regular visitations.
    Ray just posted IntenseDebate vs. Disqus

  11. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I am a big fan of the great team and product at buffer :)

    I use it to schedule my “marketing” tweets a week in advance and enable me to share content at a distributed time without “spamming” my followers :)

    In addition the team at buffer are great, work from passion to create a great product :)

    Thanks for sharing great tools :) we can all learn from the way you use social media to better align our social media efforts.
    Sharel

  12. says

    Thanks for the excellent article Kristi. I’ll admit I was struggling with Buffer when I first started to use it and then just abandoned it. But it didn’t hurt me too much since I’ve been a Hootsuite junkie for a while. But thanks to this article I’ll give Buffer another try and who knows – I might just LOVE it!! Cheers :)
    Patricia Redsicker just posted Why Book Reviews Matter and How to Write One

  13. says

    Wow, I have never heard of Buffer until now. Headed over there to make some adjustments to my social media game. Thanks for the heads up and I see I have to start coming by here more often. You provide killer information!

    Keep up the great work and I shared this on my FB page as well with my people. Thanks again!
    Freddie just posted Building a VA Army

  14. says

    I have been looking for an alternative to Hootsuite for tweet scheduling. If Hootsuite would refine their scheduling tool, have the function to auto follow back and DM (like socialoomph) then it would be perfect. I will definitely have a look at Buffer.
    Matt Kinsella just posted How You Made Your Own Luck

  15. says

    I need to start taking more advantage of scheduled tweets and backlog more ahead of time… ;-O I remember what a revelation it was when the capability to time emails first came out, LOL! That was about 10 years ago.

  16. says

    I’ve been using Buffer for about a week. I’ve added the Chrome extension and really like how simple it is to add a Tweet to my Buffer as I surf and share. I came across your site via google search for “twitter marketing buffer” to gauge the demand for such KW phrases. very nice job in reviewing Buffer. The only thing that might make this piece better would be to embed a video showing how you do what you do. Other than that, really well done piece.
    Local SEO just posted Geo-Press Plug-in

  17. says

    Kristi, came back for a 2nd visit. Not only coz your buffer review was top shelf stuff, but I needed to snatch the article URL since I plan to refer your piece in my video segment I’m going to do on how and why I use Buffer | ifttt | PostRank and Visibli to find and syndicate fresh relevant content using all of the above. Again, strong work kid!
    Local SEO just posted Geo-Press Plug-in

  18. says

    Thanks for the heads up on this…I have been using Co-Tweet, which is simple to use, but lacking in some areas. Signed up with HootSuite, but it seems that I’ll actually have to read the directions to be able to use it…LOL.

    That being said, looks like HootSuite is a good tool, but I should also add Buffer, especially if it enables me to update my Facebook Page, rather than my personal profile.

    I love when you write a review– I know I can always trust you to give the straight scoop on things, and if you recommend it I know I should look into it!
    DeniseGabbard just posted Jobs for Writers Today