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Social Selling and Tech
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In the fifth episode of the Tech Product Review podcast series, guest expert Andrew Jenkins chats with host Bill Banham about how sales and marketing pros can employ Buffer to help drive social media, and social selling, results.

Listen to the show here.

Buffer is a simple and easy way to schedule posts, track the performance of your content, and manage all your accounts in one place

Read the transcript:

Bill Banham: Welcome to the latest episode in the product review series with Andrew Jenkins. I'm your host, Bill Banham. And today we're going to look at Buffer. Andrew, welcome to the show.

Andrew Jenkins: Thanks for having me, Bill.

Bill Banham: Let's jump straight in then. Firstly, what is Buffer and what does it do?

Andrew Jenkins: It's a social media management tool for scheduling posts to channels such as Facebook, your LinkedIn company page, your LinkedIn personal profile, Twitter, Google Plus, and now more recently Instagram. So that's, I'll call it, the management side and the scheduling side. And it also provides analytics to show how your content performed over a particular period of time. And you can use it as an individual, or you can upgrade to some of their other higher plans to incorporate having a team with different administrative rights. So if you want to stage your content such that someone queues it up, someone approves it, and then once it's approved it drops into your scheduled queue. You can do that if you're an agency, you want your clients to approve content before it goes out, then you can use the same hierarchy approach, as well.

Bill Banham: Thank you. So, how does Buffer help companies?

Andrew Jenkins: Well, it integrates with quite a number of other tools and technologies. It works with solutions like Audience. It works with solutions like Twitter and FlipBoard, and there's a Chrome extension. So, wherever you happen to be surfing the web, if you find an article or a post of some kind that you think is appropriate to be shared in social but you don't wanna share it at that moment, you can if you wish, you can share immediately via Buffer, but you can also drop it into your queue. Or if you're curating content on behalf of clients you can drop it into their queue. So, part of the strength of Buffer is its integration into a number of different tools, a number of different browsers, so that really it can act as a hub. We use it with solutions like Feedly, where we curate content from a variety of different blog sources and news and media sites. You can use it from your phone. So, if I wanna double-check what's been scheduled by a client I can check there, I can delete, I can edit when the post will go out, maybe some content within the post, all of those capabilities.

Bill Banham: All there any shortcomings when it comes to Buffer?

Andrew Jenkins: I've been fortunate, I'm a heavy user of it. The company that I have, we curate content and create content on behalf of clients and for a number of them. And so, Buffer's an integral part of what we do and how we do it. And some of the things that I wish it could do, it's great, I can drag posts from one account to another if I wanna duplicate across a couple different channels. I can drag and drop in different order. My personal wish list is to be able to drag and drop multiple posts simultaneously. And, as well, to have the posts represent or show you what they'll look like. [Insituous 00:04:04] is an expression. So, I wanna know what they're gonna look like in the Facebook feed. There are some third party tools out there where I can show a client what the post will look like in the Facebook feed, subject to their approval, which is nice, but some of these third party tools are really one at a time posting schedules where Buffer is far more powerful, so it's trade-off.

There's a lot of power within Buffer. It's just a couple things, as I said, dragging and dropping, having a content library. It was something they Beta tested, but they found that some people were being abusive with it, where they were spamming from their library. So they took that away, because it didn't match their core values.

So, I wish there were a way to store some Evergreen content, as I mentioned the dragging and the dropping. Those are probably only a few ... As I said, I'm a power user, so there haven't been many instances of me finding a shortcoming with it.

Bill Banham: Wonderful. Yeah, we hate those terrible spammers, for sure. So, where and how do you use Buffer?

Andrew Jenkins: We curate content under the rule of 80/20, where 20% of our clients' content comes from them, it's about them. They've earned the right to market and promote themselves. The other 80% of the content that we share on their behalf is from third party sources. And that can get to a sizable volume. So we have some tools for content discovery, content management.

But once we've either discovered or we're getting regular feeds of content from key sources we need them to be routed into the appropriate channels and the appropriate accounts. And this is where Chrome extensions for Buffer and the like come in handy. So the direct integrations of Buffer have been very helpful for certain platforms.

And as well, we have resources in place that are curating content subject to approval. So having that hierarchy where we can have contributors finding content that needs to be approved. And then we have our community managers or clients doing the final approval. And so, as I mentioned earlier, having Buffer really as our hub that everything, as we cast a wide net to discover content, or we're off researching content in different channels and sources, it all comes back to a central hub, and that hub is Buffer.

And, on the flip side, once we've done all that content creation, curation, and discovery and research we can then track how the content performs. And, for instance, more recently, we had a holiday here in Canada on Monday, so we can easily go into the schedule on Buffer and turn the postings off with one click of our mouse, and the queue just gets bumped over to the next day. We can do that across every channel and across every client. So, when you wanna make sure that you're not posting at inappropriate times or times that are best left dark, you can do things like that quite easily.

Bill Banham: Wow. Sounds great. So let's talk money. Is there a cost to Buffer, and if so, how much is it? And perhaps there are various different license options available.

Andrew Jenkins: Their pricing is based on the number of team members and the number of social accounts that you're managing. You could start for below $100 a month, U.S. And it can climb from there. If you're getting into the enterprise or agency size accounts where you're managing multiple social accounts for multiple clients and you have expanded teams. But if it's someone within your digital marketing department you could get by with a very, very low cost solution.

Bill Banham: Okay. What are the benefits of Buffer that you have seen?

Andrew Jenkins: For me, it's having everything centralized so I can go in and I can look across all of the social channels for all of our clients and see what's queued up, when, how the content is performing, the integration with all the different content management discovery sites that we use, and other tools, is invaluable. We run a weekly report with another tool to show us, as an example, what the best time to tweet is for a particular client. We can run that report and then automatically run a synchronization process from that analytics tool to Buffer, and it recalibrate the schedule for us automatically. So it's those types of integrations that, from our perspective, are invaluable. And social media is always on medium, it's very demanding, there's a lot of activity, there's a lot of volume of content, and we can be better, faster, cheaper, or more productive, or all. And if a solution like Buffer can help us do that then that's where we're driving most of the value or benefit.

Bill Banham: Perfect. Thank you. And just finally for this particular review, what does Buffer mean to your clients? So, perhaps in terms of return on engagement, return on investment, being able to get their message out there and ultimately drive more conversions.

Andrew Jenkins: Well, it will show us, on a regular basis, what content is performing best. So we operate under the umbrella of test and measure and adjust. And so, we're constantly doing that. So Buffer gives us the latest data on what content is performing and to what degree; likes, clicks, shares, favorites, retweets. And then, we have the ability to re-Buffer something that's performing well to give it new life and to extend the life of certain pieces of content as well. And analytics can help us show our client that what we're doing is working. We'll show them the kind of content or activity that isn't working so that we don't repeat any past mistakes, as well as showing them that we've optimized the schedule for particular days, be it Twitter or Facebook or what have you. And as well, for us just personally, to be able to serve multiple clients simultaneously.

Were it not for something like buffer ... We're curating and posting several hundred posts a day for clients, and if we didn't have something like Buffer we couldn't handle that volume. And we're able to, and I don't want this to sound self-serving or like we're selling, but we're able to provide a cost-effective solution to our clients where we're discovering, managing, curating, scheduling content on their behalf to lessen the cost of a full-time resource. And whether they have no digital marketing team or they have a digital marketing team in place where we can provide additional bend strength if it weren't, again, for solutions like Buffer we couldn't offer the service that we have.

Bill Banham: And now the final big question. Out of five stars, Andrew, how many would you give Buffer?

Andrew Jenkins: I'd give it four and a half. The reason I won't give it five is because, as I mentioned before, I'd love it if I could drag and drop multiple posts simultaneously. I'd love them to bring the content library back, but I respect the fact of why they had to take it away. Some people just ruined it for the rest of us. But everything else that they have in the solution right now is fantastic. So, four and a half out of five for me.

Bill Banham: So close, Buffer. Almost perfect. But we respect the reasons for the limitations though. Okay, well that takes us to the end of this particular review. Andrew Jenkins, thanks for your time.

Andrew Jenkins: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. 

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