Mastodon is currently going through an explosive phase of growth. Some people say it reminds them of the early days of Twitter. Why is it growing so fast, and why now?
It's largely due to its decentralized structure and mission to build a safe and stable social network without any corporate interference. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Mastodon is not-for-profit. It’s not owned by anyone and is run by the community that uses it. It primarily uses a chronological feed and it doesn’t serve ads or collect your personal data.
In other words, it stands in stark contrast to the "big tech" social networks you're probably more familiar with and offers something new and exciting.
But because Mastodon has a chronological feed, unless you are posting consistently and at all times of the day, your posts might not be seen by a large chunk of the community.
This is where scheduling comes in.
With Buffer’s newest integration, you can plan your Mastodon posts in advance and schedule them at specific times to reach your audience when they are online. It’s particularly powerful if you want to share across multiple timezones and spread your posts out – rather than posting all your ideas at once.
How to schedule Mastodon posts with Buffer
First things first, if you don’t have a Mastodon account yet, you should get yourself set it up with one. It’s not as daunting as some people make it out to be. Check out our beginner’s guide to Mastodon to learn how.
1. Log in to Buffer and connect Mastodon as a channel
If you’ve already got an account, getting it connected to Buffer is your first step. Log in to Buffer and go to the channel connection page. Mastodon will be one of the new options.
2. Choose your server
After choosing to connect a Mastodon channel, you’ll be prompted to choose a server. Buffer automatically suggests some of the more popular servers, but if your profile is on a server not on the list, you can choose the “Other” option and manually type the server address.
3. Authorize Buffer on Mastodon
From there, you’ll be taken through an authorization flow and in a few clicks you’ll be all set to start scheduling posts from Buffer to Mastodon.
4. Start scheduling out your posts
This is where the fun starts; it's time to start creating and scheduling content for Mastodon. In Buffer, you can create content for any of your connected channels using the composer. Here’s a short demo video highlighting how easy it is to create content for Mastodon.
And here are a few tips for creating a Mastodon post using Buffer.
- Each post can contain up to 500 characters. Some instances allow for more characters but this is the default limit.
- You can include links and no matter how long the link is, it will count as 23 characters so there is no need to use a link shortener to save characters. In fact, using a link shortener is actively discouraged.
- You can mention users by typing out their full address, e.g. @firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that any usage of @word will be interpreted as mentioning the local user with that handle, if that user exists. Only the username part will count against your character limit – the domain is not counted.
- You can use a #hashtag to make your post discoverable to anyone searching for that hashtag. Hashtags can contain alphanumeric characters and underscores, but cannot contain numbers only.
- You can add images up to 8MB in size and up to four images can be attached to a post. You can upload a single video or GIF (GIFs are converted to soundless videos).
Using the Hashtag Manager in Buffer
Hashtags are a great way to improve discoverability on Mastodon and with Buffer’s hashtag manager you can save groups of hashtags and insert them into your Mastodon post with a single click.
Scheduling with Buffer’s iOS and Android apps
If you like to schedule your content on the go, you can use Buffer’s iOS and Android apps to post to Mastodon. Here’s a quick video showing how it works. The hashtag manager is also available on our mobile apps.
Feedback and what’s coming next
It was super fun to build this integration in partnership with some very supportive and generous beta testers. They helped us iron out bugs, better understand the Mastodon platform, and improve the user experience before launch. We feel very lucky to have a community that is just as excited about this as we are!
And now that we've launched V1, we're already starting to think about how we can add more power to our Mastodon integration. Scheduling boosts? Analytics? These are some of the requests from our beta community.
What do you think? How can we make Buffer for Mastodon even better? We’d love to hear from you. You can connect with us on Mastodon at https://mastodon.world/@buffer (we’d really appreciate a follow!) or you can find us at all the other usual places.
Get started today
Mastodon scheduling is available on all Buffer plans, including our free plan. To learn more about how Buffer can help build a consistent and engaging presence on Mastodon, and to get started, go to https://buffer.com/mastodon.
See you in the fediverse!