This week’s app is Buffer for iPhone, which allows you to schedule posts to your social networks so that they are posted at regular intervals throughout the day.
Buffer currently supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages and app.net, and posts can be sent to all, some or one of these. Where it differs from other cross-posting apps is that new posts are not posted immediately. Instead, you can set up a schedule, and this can be different for each social network. That way, you can fill up your Buffer with several posts at once, when you have a moment of inspiration, and have Buffer post these for you automatically according to your schedule. Posts can also be set to be posted at a specific time in the future, which is similar to how Twuffer works.
Whilst it’s mainly aimed at those managing brand pages, where regular engagement is important, it’s also good for personal users like me. I mostly use Twitter on the train into work on a morning, and again coming home in the evening – Buffer means that I can queue up tweets in the morning and have them appear during the afternoon.
Usefully Buffer also provides analytics for your posts – how many likes, favourites, retweets or +1s they get, and how many times any included links are clicked. These are available on the second tab in the app.
Outside of the iPhone app there are plenty of ways to get information into Buffer, as it integrates with IFTTT. So any new bookmarks saved to Delicious will also be queued up to post to Buffer. I can also add items through Reeder. Many other third-party apps are listed on Buffer’s web site.
Buffer is a freemium service, which means that free accounts are limited. Only five social network profiles are permitted, and there is a limit to how many posts you can queue up. The ‘Awesome Plan’ costs around $8/month to get around these limits, and a recently launched ‘Buffer for Business’ provides collaboration tools as well.