There are so many tools out there for managing social media – it’s really surprising when you begin to rattle off a list. I’ve been looking for one that does it all, but I’ve yet to find it. Nicole and I were discussing recently that for many bloggers, it seems that it’s important that a tool is intuitive and cheap. No one wants to pay a fortune because if it gets to that point, a blogger can just hire a virtual assistant. Inexpensive is important, and VERY easy to use. Which leads me to discuss using Buffer for social media.
I’ve used Buffer for social media for approximately three years as the basis of this review. I’ve been on both the Basic plan and the Business plan (right now I’m on Basic). I’ve got to be honest, I don’t love it. I intend to provide a balanced review, but just so you know my stance, I’m shopping around for a new social media scheduler. While I say I don’t love it, I also (at the same time) say that it’s not a total dog. And you may find that for the price and what you specifically need, it works. Buffer is great if your needs are very simple. I need a little more. Here’s what I looked at.
Using Buffer for Social Media
Price and Availability of Coupons
I want to start where Buffer excels, and this is definitely one of those areas. While I’ve never seen coupons available, the price is $102 a year for the basic plan. If you can’t do the math in your head, that equals $8.50 per month. (Note: the pricing here says $10 a month. I am paying $102 and I’m not sure why). I may find other tools that can compete with this price, but right now I can’t think of one off the top of my head. There’s a small business plan that allows for more social profiles, team members, and more for just over $1,000 a year. This was not the price I paid back when I used it for business and even then, I found that the features weren’t there for me so I downgraded.
Set up is very easy – you can use Buffer for social media with the following services: Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. Instagram is reminders only, meaning that you’ll get a reminder on your phone when it’s time to post. Buffer will not post to Instagram for you. On the basic account you can connect 12 profiles, which is plenty for me even with multiple blogs.
Browser Compatibility and Speed
I’ve used Buffer in a variety of browsers and it’s fine. There is a browser extension that you’ll see in Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can click it and schedule something through Buffer, though this is where it’s not my favorite: it’s often slow. It definitely takes a few seconds (or more sometimes) for the Buffer extension to load. Sometimes it chugs (no matter the browser for me) and I feel like I’m spending too much time scheduling to places like Facebook and Twitter which I’m just sort of maintaining anyway.
But Does it Work?
So once you’ve attached your profiles in Buffer, you can begin scheduling using the extension or by manually adding posts. The interface is really basic which makes it easy to master, and that I appreciate. But here’s the thing: every time I go into the dashboard, one of my accounts (or more) has a failed post. Sometimes it gives the reason, sometimes I have no idea why. Besides this, the interface “works” for Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s where it doesn’t work: where it needs to be more visual, like Instagram and Pinterest.
To put it simply: I can’t stand the Buffer Pinterest interface. I just can’t get into a groove with it, nor can I get a visual picture of how my pins are organized like I can in Tailwind. Tailwind mastered the Pinterest interface in my opinion because the scheduler looks like the tool. I fully acknowledge that perhaps some don’t need the visual cues as much as I do.
Note: Buffer is an approved Pinterest marketing partner. So they get points for that.
What Else is Buffer Missing?
Honestly I’m still upset with Buffer for something they did over two years ago: removed suggestions. They used to suggest articles from a variety of sources that I could use on my social media and that’s one of the reasons why I signed up for it. You can read their reasoning for removing suggestions here. If Buffer had something else I need, I might be able to forgive them for removing suggestions. But they are also missing mentions. Meaning, if someone mentions me on social media, I won’t know unless I sign up for another tool they recommend. No thanks.
With no suggestions and no mentions, I feel like I’m stuck in a black hole of my own tweets, with no connection to the outside world, staring at a boring interface. It could be argued that they do let you add RSS feeds for you to add to your content, and that is true. But you get a maximum of 15, so that means you are sharing from the same sources over and over, and I’d love to share from other people in my content area. I WISH I could connect to other people on Buffer and share their stuff and have them share mine. That would be an added bonus I couldn’t pass up.
What if I Need Help?
Buffer customer service is great. When I’ve emailed them in the past, they’ve always been responsive. They also have an FAQ with lots of questions and answers.
Summing Up My Relationship with Buffer
Buffer, I can’t quit you. You’re not sexy, but you’re cheap. So you’ll do ’til I find someone else. Are you considering using Buffer for social media? Let me know your thoughts about my review in the comments!
Buffer App$120 per year and up
Interface (Easy to Understand)7.0/10
Compatibility & Speed8.0/10
Scheduler Reliability (Failed Posts)7.5/10
Enhances Blogging & Blogging Tasks5.5/10
- Basic Interface for FB and Twitter (Easy to Master)
- Daily Failed Posts
- Extension Sometimes Spins
- Pinterest Interface
- No Suggestions or Mentions