VA Tools In The Spotlight: Buffer & Hootsuite


Buffer and Hootsuite are great online tools to organize and schedule social media content for your clients.

Buffer

If you regularly find content on the web that you share on the social media accounts for your clients, Buffer could be a great option for you.

What is it used for – key features

  • Schedule social media content for your clients
  • Have posts scheduled up to weeks in advance
  • Allow content to go to various social networks
  • Works with a ‘queue’ system, sending content you have added out at pre-arranged times
  • You can add a Buffer add-on to your browser, so anytime you find something good it can be sent to the Buffer queue quickly and easily.

Why should l recommend this tool to a client?

It is a great tool to allow you to schedule their social media content and for it all to be accessible and viewable for them in one place. It is a great tool if your clients like to regularly share news articles and informative pieces of content from around the web; these can be added to the queueing system as they are found.

How does it work?

In Buffer, you set dedicated times during the week when you want content to go out to your accounts. Their handy timezone features is really great if you have clients in different time zones. Then you add content, and it will be added to a ‘queue’ which will then gradually head out during the week. If you’re on the web and see a great article you want to add to the queue, you can do quickly and easily using the Buffer extension for your browser.

Integrations?

Buffer offers an extensive range of apps that can integrate with the system. View the list here.

Pricing?

Buffer is free to use but you are very limited on how many posts you can schedule. The ‘Awesome’ Plan ($10/month or $102/year), is the best option to go for. It allows team members and up to 200 posts. Buffer also has an app to manage on the go.

Best Practices

Shuffle Updates - You can shuffle your updates at any time to put them in a random order; really useful when you want to reorganize everything and don't want to do it manually.

Pausing - Is your client heading on vacation and wants to slow down their social posts? You can completely pause a campaign without having to delete any posts, or simply change the times or frequency that posts are heading out.

Email Content - Found something great to share but don't have the Buffer phone app to hand? You can email content to the account and it will be added automatically.

Browser Extension - With this, you can share things to Buffer directly from whatever webpage you are using. You can also share text snippets and quotes.

Keyboard shortcuts - These are always useful to save some time. Use these next time you want to save something:

  • Use “alt + b” to open the Buffer share box
  • Use “alt + b” on any website to open the Buffer browser extension
  • Use “ctrl + enter” (“cmd + enter” for Mac) to add updates to your Buffer
  • Use “alt + (number)” to switch between your profiles

Groups - Buffer Groups lets you group profiles together, so you can easily share to multiple client profiles in one go without having to select them all.

Rebuffer - Some posts will be more popular than others. Rebuffer them at a later date to share the great content again.

Buffer in Twitter - With the browser extension from above, when you're in Twitter you can add a retweet to the Buffer account instead, and it will be sent out a later time.

Link Shortener - If you prefer bit.ly to buff.ly, you can easily change how Buffer shortens links. Custom ones can also be created.

Reorder - Use one clients profile more regularly than another? Reorder how they are shown on Buffer by dragging them at the side.

Other Comparable Tools

Hootsuite (below)

Edgar

Sprout Social

 


 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a great tool to manage clients social media presences, and it offers apps so you can also monitor and manage on the go. Social media posts can be scheduled in advance and monitored within the app itself.

What is it used for – key features

  • All your client social media accounts in one place
  • Access content streams from your networks within the app
  • Schedule social media content weeks in advance
  • Offers team members collaboration
  • Monitor all networks within the app itself

Why should l recommend this tool to a client?

It allows you to monitor and schedule their social media networks in one place. They can easily access this content (if it is their own account) at any time.

How does it work?

By using your own account or your clients, you add their social media accounts and can schedule content to their networks for specific times and days up to weeks in advance. In adding their networks, you can also use Hootsuite to monitor and respond to comments within the interface too.

Integrations?

Hootsuite offers an extensive range of apps that can integrate with the system. View the list here.

Pricing?

Hootsuite is a very valuable tool for your social profiles. The free version is basic; if you are serious about your social media, it pays to go to the higher levels. The Pro version allows up to 100 social accounts and up to 10 enhanced analytics reports. Message scheduling is advanced, and messages can be uploaded via a CSV file for multiple messages. Messages can be archived and apps included if required. This starts at $8.99 per month.

Best Practices

One Click Scheduling - If you schedule often, you'll know that each message you schedule requires you to manually click the date and time every time. To save time, use one-click scheduling. Head to the Publisher view (the little paper airplane in the left sidebar) and select the 'Week' view. Then you can just click the time and date of your choice and all details are filled in. Quite the timesaver.

Use Bulk Scheduling - This is a great tip if you regularly schedule Tweets. You can plan your tweets in an Excel file, and then schedule them in one go in Hootsuite with the Bulk Message Uploader. Hootsuite provide you with a sample file to use which you fill in with your tweet, time and date and any URL's.

Add Apps - Hootsuite allows you to add various apps into the dashboard. This is ideal if you want to track other things for your client such as news in their industry or their YouTube channel, for instance. Various apps are offered for free and some are paid for.

Twitter Images - Images are growing in popularity on Twitter now. Hootsuite's default option when you schedule an image however, is to only show it as a link. To change this, it needs to be set as a Twitter Pic. To do this, click on your Avatar in the top left, navigate to the settings of the social account you want to change, and select which image upload service you want to use. Select pic.twitter.com

The Hootsuite Hootlet - If you find an interesting article as you're searching the web but aren't in Hootsuite at that moment, use the Hootlet to send it to Hootsuite for your client. It is a setting for your browser toolbar, and by clicking it the title of the article and its URL are pulled automatically and become ready for you to share.

Multiple Clients - Some clients may want you to work within their own Hootsuite account, but if you have multiple clients there is an option to have everything in one place. You can be added as a 'team member' in your own Hootsuite via the clients account, which makes everything much easier. To use most of Hootsuites advanced features, you and your client will need to be part of the Pro Account.

Other Comparable Tools

Buffer (above)

Edgar

Sprout Social

 


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