Managing one social media account is challenging enough. You have to find the right times to post, engage your audience, create and monitor ads, and a whole lot more. And, that’s just for one network. You then have to do the same thing for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you have a social presence.
Doing this for even one brand can be a full-time job. But if you’re a solopreneur or an agency handling multiple brands, then you’re going to need some help.
Over the last few years, many social media management solutions have promised just that. Buffer is one of the leading options you can choose from. In this review, we’ll explore what you need to know about Buffer, including its main features, how to get started, as well as its pricing and competitors.
Buffer’s goal is to help you publish, engage, and grow your social media platform. Is it up to the task? Find out below.
Buffer is a complete social media management solution that allows you to schedule, manage, and publish social posts from its dashboard. Unlike other tools that may be limited to one or two platforms, Buffer includes support for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and Google.
Buffer is more than just a social media tool. It is also famous for its Open Blog, which regularly includes conversations about work practices and new technologies scaling well-beyond social media strategies.
If you’re looking for one convenient place to create posts, schedule them, and upload with one click, then Buffer is worth looking into. It also includes a browser extension for integration with WordPress and Chrome as well as content research tools.
- Multiple posts and tweets
- Social profile sharing
- Profile management
- Multi-media format sharing
- Agency/business planning
- RSS feeds connectivity
- Informative social analytics
- Analytics and insights
- Stats comparison
- iOS and Android support
- Team collaboration (via administrator rights)
- 2-step account login
- Customized scheduling
Getting Started With Buffer Social Media Tools
Buffer is incredibly easy to get started with. They offer a 14-day free trial, so you can preview the software and see if it is a good fit for you or not. You don’t even have to provide a credit card. Just sign up with your name, email, and company information, and you can get started right away.
Unlike SEO tools, where you can try out the software by entering any website name, you will need to connect at least one of your social accounts to get started.
After you do this, Buffer gives you a brief tour of where to find key features and how to get started with your first post. If you’re new to social media management, you definitely shouldn’t skip this. It will save you hours of trying to figure things out on your own.
Buffer does offer a free plan that you can downgrade to after the 14-day trial is over. However, it is incredibly limited and only includes 3 social accounts and 10 posts per month. To unlock what Buffer can really do, you’ll likely need to subscribe to the Premium or Business Plan:
|8 social accounts||8 social accounts||25 social accounts|
|1 user||2 users||6 users|
|100 schedule posts||2000 scheduled post||2000 schedule posts|
|Calendar view of each queue||IG Hashtag manager||IG Hashtag Manager|
|30-day post reports||Create and manage draft posts||Create and manage draft posts|
|Full history post reports||Full history post report|
|Team management||Team management|
|Analyze access||Analyze access|
|Social analytics||Advanced social analytics|
|From $15/month||From $65/month||From $99/month|
*Buffer has additional business and enterprise plans that include more users and social accounts ranging from $199-$399/month or custom-tailored for enterprise needs. Contact them for more details and for a personalized demo.
What Are The Essential Buffer Features?
Buffer may be a complete social media management tool, but it is not overloaded with too many unnecessary features. Everything is streamlined to make managing social more efficient and straightforward. Here are the main things you can do with it:
1. Social Scheduling
This is the foundation of what Buffer does and its greatest strength. Using a simple drag and drop editor, you can easily schedule and edit posts.
It’s easy to do from the dashboard. Select what network you want to schedule a post or choose to group multiple platforms. Then create your posts and links. Unlike other tools, you can customize your post appearance to fine-tune how you want the post to appear.
You can also upload videos and GIFs for your posts.
Then you head over to Schedule to choose precisely when you want to go to live to your account. This can be your default time set from now on or specific for just one post. Buffer also features an Optimum Scheduling tool that recommends the best times to post on each platform based on your user engagement.
Once your posts are scheduled, you can keep track of them in the calendar and preview what they will look like live as well as notify team members to take one final look before they’re published.
Pablo is a post curator tool that provides you access to a library of images along with size tools to match different platforms, text overlays, and backgrounds to make your posts look amazing.
Pablo is especially helpful for agencies that don’t have in-house design teams or who need to get an attractive post out quickly. It’s straightforward to use just select from the template, choose an image or upload one then create your post.
3. Buffer For Instagram
If you’ve used social media management tools in the past, then you know how it is to publish on Instagram from outside the app. Buffer has found a way to bypass this. You can schedule single-image posts to any business account, and Buffer will automatically publish it instead of sending you a notification reminding you to post as other apps do.
Buffer is one of the only apps that can do this and can save you a lot of time, especially if you’re publishing to different time zones. Unfortunately, it cannot schedule multi-image or video posts yet, but Buffer can automatically load these posts for you in IG, then you just hit “Publish.” There’s no copying/pasting involved leaving you formatting and hashtags intact.
If Instagram is one of your main social channels, this feature alone makes Buffer worth it.
4. Team Collaboration
Successful social media is a team effort. You have designers, writers, and marketers all working together to create the best posts possible. Depending on which plan you subscribe to, you’ll be able to add more users to your Buffer account.
You can build your team when you “Invite a New Team Member,” and Buffer automatically send out an invitation to collaborate. You can set projects to work through entire workflows, create approval privileges, and more.
5. Buffer Content Tools
Although Buffer is primarily intended for your social accounts, it has features you can use to do better research for your blog too.
You can add your favorite blogs and their RSS feeds directly into the Buffer and easily share the content on your channels.
Buffer also has browser extensions to save content for later. It also includes:
- Image overlay – save images directly to Buffer when clicking on them
- Power Scheduler – schedule multiple messages across accounts for both the same and different times
- Keyboard shortcuts
You won’t subscribe to Buffer for these alone, but they are really handy additions.
Once you’ve synced your social accounts, Buffer will provide you with basic analytics about performance, including likes, comments, reach, and shares. This is all information you can see on Facebook anyway, but it’s handy to have in the app to keep things better organized.
If you really want to see what Buffer can do, then you’ll need a plan that features Analyze. Analyze unlocks detailed data including engagement rates, post reach, audience, and more.
Buffer also offers reporting tools so you can share this information with clients easily while making more informed branding decisions.
Who Should Use Buffer Social Media Management?
Anybody involved with social media marketing can benefit from using Buffer. While it may not include the most features compared to its competitors, it does an excellent job at its main task—more efficient post creation and scheduling.
Pablo is an excellent tool for creating amazing posts, and there are enough other benefits to justify the $15/month for most users.
The one area Buffer is lacking in is advanced analytics. The basic analytics you receive aren’t even as good as what you’ll see directly on Facebook, Instagram, etc. You’ll need a minimum $65/month plan to obtain access to the handy advanced analytics. While agencies and larger brands can afford this cost, it may be a bit much for freelancers and small businesses on a budget.
Is Buffer Worth It?
Buffer is one of the more affordable social media scheduling solutions. Even though you can’t do much with the free plan, the Pro option starts at just $15/month and integrates you with all the largest platforms. Unfortunately, you don’t unlock everything Buffer can do until you’re on the Premium plan at $65/month.
Looking at it from that angle, you’ll have to ask yourself how important social is to your overall brand strategy. One area you can justify the cost is better analytics so you can understand more clearly how well your Ad-spend is working versus the built-in Facebook, Instagram, etc. tools.
But if you’re investing in an ad budget along with team members to create the content you need, then you’ll want a better way to manage it all, and that’s where Buffer really shines.
- Content templates
- Direct posting to Instagram
- Free plan available
- Works with all major platforms
- Optimum Time to Post feature
- Easy to use
- Collaboration tools
- Advanced analytics provide helpful suggestions
- Tutorials to make onboarding process easier
- Mobile app
- Basic analytics aren’t really helpful
- Pricing structure of plans is confusing
- Needs online storage of previously used media
- No social listening or brand monitoring
There are many other players in the social media management space. You can find options that also include SEO and web tools as well as ones that provide similar post scheduling and other basic features. Two of the leading alternatives to Buffer are Promo Republic and Sprout Social.
What Is Promo Republic?
Promo Republic has many overlapping features with Buffer. You can use it with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and Instagram to schedule posts, create posts with the content editor, and do basic automation.
Although they do not offer a free plan, they do have an entry-level option that rivals Buffer’s $15 plan features for just $9. It’s a strong competitor to Buffer and geared towards freelancers and smaller enterprises who don’t have the same resources as agencies.
What Is Sprout Social?
Sprout Social is an all-on-social social media management, scheduler, custom success, analytics, and marketing app. If you need a solution that truly does everything and can afford the starting price of $99/month, it’s hard to beat the amazing features and functionality of Sprout Social.
|Share content across10 Social Profiles||Built-In Graphics Editor||Analytics|
|Team Members||White Label platform||Automated Publishing|
|Analytics||Content approval flow||Contact Management|
|Up to 100 social posts||AI-driven scheduling||Content Management|
|Browser extension||Social media reporting tool||Conversion Tracking|
|Pablo||Post Ideas library||Customer Targeting|
|Team management||Statistics||Keyword Filtering|
|From $15/month||From $9/month||From $99/month per user|
Buffer: The Bottom Line
If you want to publish more efficiently and increase your social ROI, Buffer is the tool that can help you achieve that goal. It’s straightforward to use and includes enough features to be well worth the monthly subscription fee. Whether you’re an agency or a solopreneur, if you want to improve social scheduling, then Buffer is a useful addition to your marketing tool belt.
- Ease of Use
If you need to manage your social media you know the right tool can be key. Buffer is a social media management tool that offers users the ability to schedule, manage, and publish social media posts for multiple different platforms. Does Buffer have what you need? Read our in-depth review of Buffer and see if this social media management solution is right for you.