One of the services I believe marketers should provide their followers and community members these days is that of filtering and aggregating good, relevant content.
I subscribe to over 100 blogs and I hear over and over again how much some of the folks that choose to follow me on Twitter and Facebook appreciate that I share what I think some of the best reads from each day.
I share other things in those platforms as well, but I generally find 8-10 blog posts daily that I think people will appreciate.
The problem is that when I scan through my RSS Reader, something I do before most of my readers have had breakfast, I don’t want to Tweet all 8-10 at one time because it kind of overwhelms a handful of people and leaves little for those that get on social networks at other times of the day.
To solve this problem I started using a free app called Buffer and not only am I hooked, I’ve seen its use by many other publishers skyrocket of late as well. (The free version only allows you to have 10 updates in the buffer and is limited to one user.)
Why I use it
The Buffer app is a tool that allows me to easily bookmark and schedule Tweets or Facebook updates from any browser or mobile device. This way I can effectively spread my Tweets out over the course of a day, whether I find something in my morning reading or as I surf around throughout the day.
The times that Buffer posts the updates are preset by me so I simply fill up the Buffer and it does the rest. You can hit the post now option to immediately post and you have total control over when it posts. I have a pretty good feel for the best times to post for my readership but you might want to use a tool like SocialBro to gather some research into the best times for you.
Buffer also produces statistics so you can see how many people clicked on links you shared, the estimated reach and the number of Retweets.
There are some other tools that can accomplish much of what Buffer does, for example TweetDeck allows scheduled Tweets, but Buffer just works much better with the way I work and makes it much easier for me to be more active in sharing.
How I use it
While there is an iPhone app for Buffer the way I choose to use it is a little different than some I suspect.
I do most of my feed reading using the Reeder app on my iPhone. (Note this is different than Google Reader) The reason I love this app is that it allows me tap into my Google Reader account and have all my feeds that I organize there. (You can install Buffer as an option in Google Reader too)
The real feature I love though is that it gives me a handful of options for sharing and handling the posts right from the within the app. I can bookmark and tag it to Delicious or Pinboard, add to Facebook or Twitter, paste to Evernote, copy the link or email the title and link.
To use this app with Buffer I use the fact that Buffer gives every account holder a unique email address that will post items to the their Buffer account. So, as I read my posts I simply hit the “mail link” function in Reeder and it sends the title and link to Buffer. Anything that I put in the subject of the email will be posted as the body of the Tweet.
Buffer then puts all my emailed updates in the queue based on the times I’ve picked and viola – nice bit of posting scheduled throughout the day. Buffer also allows me to connect my branded linked shortener that set up with bit.ly so my Buffered links are shown as ducttape.me – a nice bonus in the scheme of things.
Look around and you’ll see a number of blogs adding the Buffer button to their posts to make it even easier for people who use this tool to share.
You should also grab the Buffer extension for your browser of choice or drag the Buffer bookmarket to your toolbar so that you can add items to Buffer as you surf throughout the day. I use the extension for Firefox and it puts a little Buffer icon at the bottom of the page and gives my one click posting to Buffer.