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How #bufferchat Shaped Our Community and What We Plan to Do Next

Jun 13, 2018 5 min readOpen

Of the many ways that we engage with our audience — email, video, content, socks — one of our longest-standing traditions has been #bufferchat, our weekly Twitter chat where members of our Twitter community gather together to share questions, answers, insights, and GIFs about social media topics and workplace trends.

We’ve been meeting together every Wednesday for the past four years — a total of 203 Twitter chats.

This week’s #bufferchat — our 204th — is our final weekly chat.

We have exciting plans for the future of community events at Buffer and for how we’ll evolve the conversations of #bufferchat into new and innovative forms. At the same time, it’s a bittersweet good-bye: We’ve loved the last four years of #bufferchat, the people we’ve met, the relationships we’ve formed, and the memories we’ve made. To celebrate the past four years of #bufferchat, we put together this recap of some #bufferchat history and highlights, as well as more information on what’s ahead for us and how you can get involved.

We look forward to connecting with you in many new ways in the coming weeks and months!

We’ve collected recaps of every chat on our #bufferchat page. Feel free to browse for a trip down memory lane!

A Fast, Four-Year History of #bufferchat

Before #bufferchat there was #toolschat, a Twitter chat kicked off by Buffer’s co-founder Leo Widrich in June 2011.

#toolschat was a weekly get-together all about the best apps and tools for social media marketing and productivity. Naturally, the Buffer product fit quite well within this chat. We stopped this chat after two years to focus on other strategies — Buffer was a one-person marketing and community team at the time.

As we grew the team and brought on our first full-time community builder, we decided to revisit the idea. Nicole Miller joined the team in 2014 as Buffer’s first community champion, and one of her earliest projects was resurrecting #toolschat in a new format. Nicole came up with #bufferchat: a community-building conversation around a new, Buffer-related topic each week, either social media or company culture.

The very first #bufferchat was on June 11, 2014. The topic: Productivity.

We learned a lot in those early days as the chat grew to more than 180 participants each week and 2,000 total tweets during the chat hour. In October 2015, Nicole passed the #bufferchat baton to Arielle Tannenbaum, our Community Strategist, and Arielle took over hosting duties. Under Arielle’s watch, the chat evolved even further, grew to two chat times, and reached millions of people. The most popular #bufferchats brought in more than 500 participants with tweets that reached more than seven million people each week.

Why we chose to retire the current version of #bufferchat

We spent several months talking through the future of #bufferchat before finally landing on retiring the current model. It was a very hard decision!

We have loved doing it, and the community it has built is amazing.

Ultimately, there were a number of factors that led us to move on.

  1. The way that Twitter has evolved with its algorithm and non-chronological feed, a Twitter chat no longer felt like the best way for us to reach our community.
  2. The amount of people joining in each week has been steadily decreasing for the past year or so (even though it’s still a lot of people every week!)
  3. With the amount of time it takes to organize the chat, we found ourselves not trying other new programs/projects.

So in order to either grow or maintain the health of the chat, we felt that we’d need to add more and more resources to it, but we also wanted to give ourselves space to think of new and better ways to build community, support Buffer customers, and provide educational experiences. We went back-and-forth on this point for quite some time before deciding to invest our time and resources in new initiatives for our social media community.

Highlights from #bufferchat’s history

Over four years and 200 chats later, #bufferchat has covered everything from self-care to the future of Twitter (more than once). Here are some of the top stats, fave topics and happy tweets from four years of #bufferchat.

Our most popular chats:

  • 511 participants – Social Media Hashtags with Christin Kardos
  • 487 participants – Growing Your Twitter Network with Madalyn Sklar
  • 477 participants – The Future of Community with David Spinks
  • 471 participants – Building Your Tribe with Jeff Goins

Our lifetime participant average for #bufferchat is 299.
(The participant average for the new #bufferchat time is 90.)

Chats with the furthest reach:

  • 7,223,879 reach – Youtility with Jay Baer
  • 7,297,416 reach – Content Curation with Matthew Knell
  • 7,071,023 reach – Facebook Marketing with Erik Fisher
  • 6,641,868 reach – Productivity Tools and Tips

Our lifetime average reach for #bufferchat is 1,802,738.
(The average reach for the new #bufferchat time is 506,731.)

Our chats with the most tweets:

  • 4,169 tweets – Website Design with Richard Newnens
  • 4,078 tweets – The Future of Community with David Spinks
  • 3,943 tweets – Staying Organized Online
  • 3,892 tweets – Reputation Building with Aaron Friedman

Our lifetime average tweet count per chat is 2,730.
(The average tweet count for the new #bufferchat time is 510.)

Some of the most unique topics:

  • Fun in Social Media (for April Fool’s Day 2015!)
  • Living Your Passion
  • Lessons in Happiness (All the Buffer Happiness Heroes jumped in!)
  • Digital Mindfulness

Total number of Bufferchats: 203, as of June 6, 2018!

Total number of questions in 2 years: 1,385

Total number of tweets in 2 years: 383,090!

What’s next: Our future experiments with events and engagement

Four years ago, a Twitter chat was a trending, new strategy for community engagement on social media. We were proud to be among the early adopters! As time has gone on, other strategies have entered the scene, and as Twitter has evolved, so has the way that people interact and discover Twitter chats.

We always want to deliver value to our audience and community, and we hope to do so in effective, creative ways. We’re eager to explore the next chapter of engagement with you. Here’s what we’re exploring next:

  • The Buffer Slack community: This community of 5,000+ is like a 24/7 #bufferchat. There’s always someone around to chat with and plenty of opportunities to get involved and feel connected
  • New Instagram Stories series: Join us every Thursday for an Instagram Stories quiz show
  • New Instagram Live series: Join us every Wednesday for a live discussion of this week’s social media news and trends
  • Special #bufferchat events: While #bufferchat will no longer be on the schedule every week, we do plan on holding one-off chats for big social media moments and product launches in the future. Stay tuned!
  • Follow us on Twitter. We’ll continue to tweet questions and to spark conversations with the content we share on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

We have put a lot of thought into our #bufferchat decision and are excited about the space for more ways to support the Buffer community in the future.

Over to you

Thank you so much for being part of this chapter of the Buffer journey. You’ve made it truly special and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

  • What are your favorite #bufferchat memories?
  • Do you have any new ideas you’d like to see us try in the future?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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