When Joel started Buffer, its aim was to help you schedule Twitter updates for smarter sharing. It’s come a long way since then, and now we have lots of features to help you improve your social media presence across a whole bunch of networks.
To help you get the most out of Buffer, we collected 10 of the most useful features together into this post.
1. Using Feedly and Buffer: Keep your Buffer full with amazing content at all times!
If you enjoy reading RSS feeds and catching up on the news of the day, Feedly is an awesome way to do that.
Why people love the Feedly & Buffer combo:
- Add what you’re reading to your Buffer without opening a new app or browser window
- Grab all the details of the article (title, URL, etc.) quickly and easily
- Make filling up your Buffer part of your reading time
Feedly is one of the smartest and most beautifully designed newsreading apps for iOS, Android and web. It syncs across all your devices and lets you find and read the best content for whatever topics you’re interested in.
Feedly now comes with Buffer integration built right into it. Any article you are reading you can easily add to your Buffer queue.
For the web version, each article carries a Buffer button that works just like our browser extension. Every time you find something worth sharing, hit the Buffer icon and you are good to go:
The Buffer iOS integration is done via a brand new Buffer iOS sheet for apps, which gives you an easy way to add new updates all of your accounts. At the same time, it should be super easily accessible on the top right from any article. Filling up your Buffer and keeping it full couldn’t be any more convenient:
Plus, you can easily highlight sections of what you’re reading and the text will be automatically added to your post when you click the Buffer button!
2. Schedule retweets: Use Buffer to share other people’s tweets anytime
Retweeting is one of my favourite uses of Twitter, since the people I follow share such amazing content all the time. Buffer makes this process even easier for me, and better for my followers.
Why people love retweeting with Buffer:
- Spread retweets out so you don’t overwhelm your followers all at once
- Add retweets to your Buffer account as you catch up on Twitter—no waiting, but your tweets get spaced out for you
- Add variety to your Buffer account by sharing other people’s tweets as well as your own
Being able to schedule your retweets with Buffer gives you an awesome opportunity to show your support for other people’s tweets without flooding your followers with too much content at once.
First up, let’s look at scheduling retweets from the web. This is super easy and works with the click of a button. The first thing you need is the Buffer browser extension.
Now, whenever you are seeing something that’s worth sharing, you can hit the Buffer button:
It’ll give you the chance to easily schedule the retweet from that Twitter account. You can also schedule the retweet for multiple accounts:
That’s it. Fill up your Buffer with as many retweets as you want. And of course, you can do this for multiple Twitter accounts at the same time. Grab our Awesome Plan if you want to have more than 1 Twitter account connected and then add retweets to your heart’s content.
Now that you are scheduling retweets from all around the web, we’ve also got another cool way for you to do so: from anywhere on mobile. The way this works is super simple: You email the Tweet to your secret Buffer email address. That’s it.
You can grab your secret Buffer email from here:
All you have to do is send a tweet to your secret Buffer email address and you are all set with another great retweet scheduled in your queue:
3. Followerwonk and Buffer: send your Tweets at the best time
The best time to post tweets and other social media updates is one of the most common questions we get about social media. We’ve looked at optimal timing before, but when it comes to Twitter specifically, Buffer’s integration with Followerwonk can make it even easier to work this out.
Why people love using Followerwonk with Buffer:
- Easily find out what times your followers are online
- Find out when followers of influential people or your friends are online
- Set up an optimized Buffer schedule with a click
We couldn’t be any more excited to have teamed up with the folks from Followerwonk, an amazing Twitter analytics tool, to deliver the best times to Tweet for you. And from there, you can easily export your optimal Tweeting times straight into Buffer.
All that’s left thereafter is for you to find great articles, links and more, add them to your Buffer and you’ll be sharing at the best times to reach most of your audience.
The first, and most obvious way to find out about the best times to Tweet is to simply head to the Followerwonk homepage and hit “Analyze Followers”:
From there, simply add your own Twitter handle into the box and choose “analyze their followers” to get optimal Tweeting times:
Now, you’ll get a beautiful graph from Followerwonk showing you exactly when most of your followers will be online.
All you have to do is select how many times a day you want to have setup for Tweeting and hit “Schedule at Buffer”:
It will then automatically create a new schedule for you with these optimal times in Buffer and voila, you’ve got an optimized Twitter schedule:
4. Custom scheduling: Even more precise targeting for individual posts
Most of the time, having your Buffer account pre-set with scheduled times to post is really convenient. You can add a whole bunch of posts when you’re in the mood for sharing, without worrying about what time they’ll get sent. But sometimes you just want to have a little more control.
Why people love custom scheduling:
- For time-sensitive updates, you can choose the right day and time to send them
- When you don’t want to post in your next Buffer slot, you can leave a bigger gap by custom scheduling a post to go out further into the future
- You can target the right audience with the right content by scheduling it specifically
If you’re using the Buffer browser extension, simply hit the schedule icon any time you want to customize the date and time of your update:
Of course, custom scheduling also works in the same way from your Buffer dashboard. Simply open the composer and add new updates. You can schedule these to be sent at the perfect time:
And we didn’t forget mobile! On your mobile device you can pick an exact date and time for your social updates to be published while you’re on the go.
The same works with Buffer for iPhone. Pick a date and time and you’re good to go:
With our recent additions of Google+ and LinkedIn company pages, you can now have up to 7 types of accounts connected.
Why people love Buffer’s different account options:
- Post to multiple networks at once
- Manage your brand across the web on various networks
- Publish the best types of content for each network
With a free Buffer account, you can connect one profile or page per network. This means you can share content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and App.net all at the same time.
If you sign up for an Awesome account, you can pick and choose any 12 profiles from all of the types we have on offer:
- Twitter profile
- Facebook profile
- Facebook Page
- Google+ Page
- LinkedIn profile
- LinkedIn Page
- App.net profile
Adding a new profile or page is super easy. Let’s take a look at Google+ as an example:
All you have to do is hit the “connect account” button. From there, simply hit the G+ page:
Once you hit connect, simply accept all of Google’s terms to start publishing to your Google+ page through Buffer with one click:
And that’s it, now you’re all set to start using Buffer to schedule and publish to Google+. Simply click on the avatar to post an update to that account:
6. Buffer inside Echofon: schedule updates without even leaving your Twitter client
Buffer makes it easy to share updates to social networks at optimal times, but it’s even better when that can become part of your normal workflow.
Why people love using Buffer inside Echofon:
- Add to Buffer without leaving your timeline to open another app
- Seamless integration: make Buffer part of your normal Twitter workflow
After you’ve downloaded either Echofon for iPhone or Android adding updates to your Buffer is super easy. All you have to do is head to the composer and press the schedule icon.
It’ll immediately get you connected to Buffer and then let you schedule the post to your Twitter followers. Buffer will automatically publish the Tweet at a better time and also give you analytics about how many clicks and retweets you’ve received.
You can of course do the same magic on your Android device with Echofon for Android. Simply hit the clock icon and your next upcoming Tweet will be queued up for you inside Echofon:
Once scheduled via Echofon, your tweets are all queued up and ready to go out at a pre-set time. You can of course change the timing of your tweets by heading to the “schedule” tab on the web app or the iPhone or Android app.
Here is how it looks after scheduling a few updates from Echofon, both normal tweets and retweets:
Whenever you come across a tweet you want to retweet, here is how you can do this from inside Echofon:
7. Auto-complete: get the right username, every time
Auto-complete is one of the best features to come to Twitter overall, in my opinion. Remembering the username of hundreds of people is next to impossible, but auto-complete does all the heavy lifting for us.
Why people love auto-complete:
- Share in the right format across networks with our smart auto-complete feature
- Give credit where it’s due to build your audience and mutual respect
- Don’t worry about remembering everyone’s usernames on Twitter or other networks
Using auto-complete is really easy, and it works in our web app, our browser extensions and our mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
To get started, type the @ symbol in a new Buffer post. When you type a letter after this, you’ll see suggested usernames for you to choose from:
You can scroll (or swipe, on mobile) to choose from the suggestions, or type more letters to narrow down the selection. Once you select a username, you can keep typing the rest of your tweet as normal.
Tip: Make sure there are no spaces between the @ symbol and the first letter of the username.
And that’s it! Pretty easy, huh? Here’s how it looks in the iPhone app:
Although Buffer lets you share to multiple places at once, we know that each social network has a very specific kind of audience. We want to help you make the most out of your audience on each network, so we’ve made our auto-complete feature really smart.
When you type in a Twitter username for one of your posts and also send it to other networks, Buffer will automatically replace the username with that person’s real name for any other network you post it to:
One of my favorite things about auto-complete is how much faster and easier it is to add usernames to my tweets now. Rather than typing out a whole username, you can just type one of two letters and Buffer will find them for you:
And because it works seamlessly in our iPhone and Android apps, it can save a ton of time when you’re adding to your Buffer from your phone.
I’m always cautious about usernames in case I spell one wrong or forget what it is—after all, I want my tweet to go to that person, so I need to get it right! Whenever I can’t remember the Twitter username I want to use, auto-complete helps me work it out without even leaving Buffer!
This is also super handy when your friends have names that are hard to spell—no more agonizing over whether there was an extra “i” in there somewhere!
8. Post images and quotes: give your followers more variety
We don’t just share links to social networks, so our Buffer posts should be full of variety, as well. With Buffer’s image and highlight-sharing features, you can share whatever kind of posts you like.
Why people love to share different kinds of content:
- Variety for you and your audience
- Choose the right content for each network
- Share just the part you want to, instead of the whole page
Have you ever read a great quote on the web and wished you could add it to your Buffer account to share with your followers? That’s exactly what we wanted to do all the time, so we built this nifty feature to allow you to exactly do that.
Highlight any quote on a website:
Hit the Buffer button from your browser extension and share the quote together with the link:
With Pinterest, Instagram and also Facebook exploding with more visual postings, adding your own great pics to the newsstream is becoming a lot more powerful. And frankly posting images is a lot more fun too.
So, you know the painful, “save image”, “upload image” process we all have to go through every time we post an image? Yes, you can now forget about it. All you have to do is right click any image and share it right away:
It will go into your Buffer as the full size image:
And post to your wall exactly as that:
9. Analytics: see which posts are doing well to maximize your impact
Following guidelines for optimal social media results is all well and good, but without analytics on your posts, how can you tell if you’re getting the results you want?
Why people love Buffer’s analytics:
- Quickly see which posts are performing the best with out “top post” icon
- Compare different blog post titles to see which one works best
- See which content works best for each social network
Not long ago, our analytics got a powerful upgrade. Now, instead of just clicks and retweets, all clicks, retweets, mentions, reach and favorites that you receive will be tracked for you for free.
We have also made it so that they now update in real time. So whenever you hit the “Analytics” tab on the top right, you will receive a fully up to date view of your analytics for your tweets.
So, whenever you glance through your Twitter analytics you will get a great idea of how much interaction each of your updates has received. The ones that performed the best will be tagged with “top Tweet”:
The most powerful aspect with this I’ve found is that although Facebook updates have a longer shelf-life, it is very hard to get an overview of what has performed better and what has performed worse.
Taking a quick look through the updates will give you a great idea of how well each of your posts has performed:
Of course, each profile or page you add has its own analytics stored in the Analytics tab:
Depending on the network, you’ll sometimes see different types of data here, but you will always be able to compare posts against each other to see which ones performed best.
10. Pocket and Buffer: Read when you want, share when you should
Sharing the articles we read has always been a common use-case for Buffer. The problem is that reading and sharing often take place within different apps, making it a cumbersome process. That is, until now…
Why people love using Pocket with Buffer:
- Share as you’re reading, but have your posts spaced out for you
- No need to open another website or app to share what you’re reading
- Seamless integration makes it fast and easy to share
With Pocket, you can easily install their browser extension. Now, whenever you come across something you want to read later, hit the Pocket button and it will be saved later:
Pocket also has apps available for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. The apps keep your reading list up-to-date so you always have something available to read.
As if Pocket’s apps weren’t awesome enough yet, they also come with full Buffer integration. This means, keeping a full Buffer at all times is easier than ever before. Any item you save for later in your Pocket, you can now also easily add it to your Buffer.
All you have to do is click the sharing icon on the top right to get all your most important sharing options to pop up, including Twitter, Facebook, Evernote and Buffer:
When you hit the Buffer icon, you can easily select which profiles you want to share to, edit your update and send it straight through to your Buffer:
As with all posts you send to Buffer, you can then see these updates in your queue, edit or delete them, and view them in your analytics tab after they’ve been sent.
Do you have any other favorite Buffer features that we didn’t mention? Or something you’d like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments.
P.S. If you liked this post, you might like The Top 10 Secret Buffer Hacks and Features: Supercharge your Social Sharing in 2013 and From 0 to 1,000,000 users: The Journey and statistics of Buffer.