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Why we are particularly thankful for Twitter

May 3, 2011 3 min readBuffer News
Photo of Joel Gascoigne
Joel Gascoigne

CEO and co-founder @ Buffer

We’ve talked before about why we think Twitter is awesome, and why we even think it can make you a better person. Today, I want to share with you why we are particularly thankful that Twitter exists.

If you’ve been following along with our progress for a while, you might know that it’s still fairly early days for us.

We only launched 5 months ago, but we’ve been amazed and delighted by what we’ve managed to achieve in those five awesome months. We couldn’t have done it without Twitter, of course.

Sure, our app is for people who use Twitter, and so it is absolutely dependent on Twitter being around, but did you also know that we launched with zero marketing, and all the early traction was down to the small following I had at the time?

The inspiration for Buffer

It was back in late September last year that I had the idea for Buffer.

I’d been using a few other apps to help me schedule tweeting the tech and startup articles I loved to share with people. After using a few, I found that they all required you to schedule each Tweet individually, and it was taking a lot of time.

I was sure there had to be a better way. I tried looking for an app that would let me schedule daily times and just add Tweets to a queue. I even suggested the idea to one of the good scheduling apps. After hearing nothing back, I decided I’d build it myself. How hard could it be?

The first steps: using Twitter to get feedback and launching through Tweets

When I first had the idea, I decided to put together a small page explaining how it would work, and with a way to give me an email to be notified when the app was ready. Guess how I shared that page and got the first few emails?

Yep, that’s right – I used our good friend, Twitter. I simply Tweeted the link a few times from my personal account, and a few people retweeted it. By the time I had the first version of Buffer ready at the very end of November, I’d collected 120 email addresses. When we launched, about 50 out of those 120 people tried Buffer.

That first month of Buffer, December last year, was really key for us. It could basically make or break us. We released our product early, before we had a lot of the features ready we wanted it to have.

It was our way to find out whether people wanted it. We needed just the right amount of tiny successes to give us the motivation to keep pushing forward and improve the product. Luckily, we had a few of those high points that month.

In December 2010, we had 100 signups and 4 people upgraded to the Pro version. My followers helped me spread word of Buffer, and it triggered the first few articles to be written. Those moments made us sure that Buffer could really work.

It made us realise that as long as we keep putting the effort in and keep learning, Buffer could be really big.

What we’re doing now

Our challenges are slightly different today. After the early success in our first month, I knew I needed more of an emphasis on marketing Buffer. I was sure that there were a huge amount of people out there who would also find Buffer useful.

Thankfully, more luck came my way. I’d known Leo for a while, but early in January he got involved and we’ve realised we work very well together. He truly loves working on Buffer, and even before he got involved he loved how Buffer works. His marketing comes from the heart, due to the passion he has for the product.

We work well together, because I was in desperate need of the extra help and ideas for marketing, and Leo likes the fact he can work on a product where the tech is taken care of. We now have over 5000 users and are growing at a pace we’re very happy with.

Whilst we’re branching out and trying a few other methods to grow and market Buffer in order to take things to the next level, Twitter is still an invaluable tool for us and is often our first point of contact with people who are very helpful.

We’ll never forget how we started. Thank you Twitter.

Is Twitter important for you too for reasons that might not be so obvious? Please share it with me below

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