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MARCH 2015 - Social Media
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Social Media 201: Buffer

by Reg Levy

If you missed the 101 series, check out the archives. We covered the basics of each of the major social media networks and how they can be incorporated into a lawyer’s strategy for networking and connection with clients. In Social Media 201, we will cover more innovative uses, tips, and tricks. This article will cover Buffer, a social media management application.

Social Media Management

If you stuck with us through the Social Media 101 series, you probably were overwhelmed by the options for social media use. The five major social media networks—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest—are just the tip of the iceberg, but can still be daunting. Managing your presence on just one of these takes time and effort, but five? You’re probably ready to give up.

Do not despair! A cadre of tools exists to help you out. Buffer is one such—as are HootSuite and Oktopost.

Social media management applications (or “apps”) allow you to schedule posts, choose which social media accounts get posted to, and give you insight to the number of people interacting with your posts.

Scheduling

Did you just have a brilliantly-tweetable thought at 2am, when all your followers are asleep? Happens to the best of us. Buffer to the rescue! Be brilliant at 2am and schedule that tweet for 9am or 5pm, when your followers are most active.

Adult social media users likely are most active on social media around the times that you are most active—often before work, around lunch, and after work, but it may differ. Buffer allows you to see when your social media posts are interacted with by your followers, which will let you know when your followers are most active. It also will give you insight to the kinds of content with which your followers are most likely to interact.

Another tactic is to schedule insightful posts for 10am or 2pm, when people might be hit with the need for a social media break. This keeps people involved with your social media posts, increases your interactions (keeping your name at the front of people’s minds), and allows you to focus on your work.

Buffer will tell you when “most” people are active on the various social networks and recommend that you post during these peak times automatically. It also will start gathering information about how your followers act, helping you tailor content to your audience’s schedule.

Posts can be scheduled pretty far in advance, too. If you have a post that is perfect for Christmas but it’s only June, Buffer lets you decide when the post will be released, simply holding on to it until the scheduled date.

Diverse Social Media Accounts, Diverse Posts

Social Media 101 discussed that different social media outlets are good for different kinds of content. Pinterest is primarily visual, Twitter relies on brevity, and so on. Some of your posts may be cross-medium posts while others may need to be tailored to a particular social media network.

Buffer facilitates this by putting all your social media networks on one dashboard. You can easily type in a post and, seeing that it doesn’t quite fit into Twitter, schedule it for posting to LinkedIn and then go back to modify it for a slightly different Twitter post.

For posts that are appropriate for all of your social media accounts, you can tell Buffer to blast them all out at the same time (great for announcing an event, for example) or space them out to maintain interest in that post from different sections of your social media followers.

Small Data

Buffer collects information on interactions with your posts by using special links—it knows how many people clicked on a link you shared from Facebook or, if you shared that same link in a Twitter or LinkedIn post, how many people from each of those clicked it. This lets you figure out what kinds of things interest your followers—and whether you have different kinds of followers on your different social media accounts.

TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch)

Social Media 101 focused on free social media accounts. Buffer is a “freemium” application—it starts out free but requires payment for higher levels. Everything discussed above is free: you can link up to three social media accounts and schedule up to ten posts at a time. Additional data points, including how many followers you lost and gained over a period of time and which posts were most successful, are also available for paid accounts.

Disclaimer

This article focuses on the social media management app Buffer but is generally true for both HootSuite and Oktopost.

 

Reg Levy is the WLALA Website Committee Chair.  She is VP of Compliance + Policy at Minds + Machine.

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