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Jason St-Cyr
Jason St-Cyr

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First thoughts on using Buffer for social media

I do a lot of posts to my personal accounts, so I’ve been looking for a way to make this easier across my channels. A former colleague mentioned using Buffer and wrote a nice post about it so I decided to look into for my use case.

My channels scenario

  • 3 channels for professional social posts ➡️ Twitter, LinkedIn, Mastodon
  • 1 channel for personal social posts ➡️ Mastodon
  • 2 channels for video content ➡️YouTube, TikTok

Does Buffer work for this scenario?

This depends on how much you want to pay. During the trial, no problem, since you have access to all the features. On the free plan, though, there are some limitations that impacted my usage:

  1. 3 channel limit: If you stay on the free tier, you cannot go beyond 3 channels. So this works fine for covering my professional social usage. Luckily, my personal channel matches up to one of the professional ones, so I’m covered there too. Unfortunately, that means I cannot also do my video channels.
  2. 30 scheduled posts: This is a total across all channels. With me posting to 3 channels, this essentially means I can schedule 10 posts. If I do one or two a day for the week, this is fine, but more than that and you start hitting the cap. Since I was trying to plan out my future personal blog posts too (which go out a few months) I started hitting the cap fast.

What’s the experience like?

Simple scheduling: Given the publishing feature is the main attraction, I’m not surprised I found the scheduling to be pretty simple, and I really liked the way it checks the limits for each channel. One generic post, then personalize for each channel (usually shortening for Twitter, though you can turn into a thread now).

Mastodon support: Mastodon is supported for posting now, that was a clincher for me! If you go this way, make sure to confirm your Buffer email first before adding the channel or the authorization flow doesn’t work.

Different time zones per channel: During an initial post, you can set a time and it figures it out across your channels. However, if you try to edit the time for one of them, it goes into a channel-specific timezone, not yours. And each channel had a different one for me. Some were London, some were New York, some were Los Angeles. It makes selecting times really irritating.

Analytics channel limitations: After initial signup, you get a trial of the higher tier which let me look at the campaigns and analytics. However, Analytics didn’t support multiple channels that I had, and because I have those channels set then NONE of the analytics worked. I think they need to align the analytics channels to the publishing channels so that the user flow works well across their features.

Final thoughts

All in all, I’ve been able to do pretty well doing light-weight posting about once a day or so across the channels. I like being able to spend some time on my Monday morning, read some articles, and then plan out my week of sharing. It’s nice not to have to think about it every day!

At the free tier, you get enough for it to be really useful, but the analytics channel mismatch was enough to turn me off going any further. If your channels match up with those in the Analytics tool, it might work for you.

A calendar view from the Buffer app showing multiple scheduled posts across different channels

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