Automate is an evil word, right?

In a world full of greasy spammers (that’s how I picture them, sorry) and people pushing their content mindlessly on their fans without any kind of filter, you’d think I’d be against automating social media.

Well, the key is to do it tastefully and offer some value.

I’ve personally used this on multiple websites social media profiles (you can schedule Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest) and gradually watched their engagement grow and with it – traffic to those websites. 

I just set up 100 posts for each social network, it automatically posts and it’s really easy to do.  So I thought I’d show you how you can do it using a magical tool I been using for years – Buffer.

So below I’ve created a video you can watch to see how it all works! t I’ve also written out the information beneath it.

Watch on YouTube

First of all, how to not be a spammer…

Spammers are people who just push links constantly without fear of annoying their audience.  It’s easy to spot and you’ll know when you’re a spammer, because you should feel bad doing things in such a way.

Really, you should.

Automation isn’t evil if you’re adding your personal touch to each post and keeping up the variety.  I tend to break things up into percentages, for example, you might be able to break things up into a percentage structure like below:

(This is just an example):

  • 35% links to your content
  • 20% catchy images or videos
  • 10% links to posts other than your own
  • 10% ask a question
  • 10% short, informative post (like a mini blog post)
  • 10% personal
  • 5% quotes

This is an example structure you could follow which would give you the ability to post your links regularly to your audience but also offer them some social interaction, valuable information and entertainment along the way.

Of course these percentages depend on your audience and niche, so you need to test and figure out what works for you..

If you look past the 35% of links to your content then it’s easy to see that what you post is social interaction, entertainment and value outside of the whole “look at my site – me, me, me” statuses that a lot of people post.

You want the majority of your social media content to be social, fun and interesting.  You’re thinking about your website but your followers are thinking about their feed.

So populate their feed mostly with what they really want to see and weave your links in between and everybody wins. So come up with a break down and get to work!

Now, just add your profiles down the left side of the page (easy and self explanatory) and you can start. Before getting to into things, you have to set the times you want to update.

What Social Media Networks can you use?

Buffer have covered the main bases here pretty well, covering various aspects of Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus & Pinterest.

What social media platforms can you add?

Set Your Times

You can set up your schedule very easily with Buffer App.

Just click on a social media profile then the settings tab and again onto posting schedule. Below thatyou’ll have your schedule.  You simply set certain times and which days you to post on.

Schedule Posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

You can hover over a time and delete it, or add a posting time using the button below.

Delete your Schedule time

You can then apply these times to certain days, or even add a new posting schedule to share at different times on different days. Once your schedule is set up, you can just start adding posts into your content tab and Buffer will share those posts at the times set.

But how often should you post?

I highly recommend reading Buffer’s Frequency guide  & this post by CoSchedule. But to sum things up, here’s what the Buffer team schedule :

  • Twitter: 14 times a day on weekdays & 7 times a day on weekends (3 per day is considered low)
  • Facebook: Once or Twice per day (no less than once or twice per week)
  • Instagram (feed posts): Once or Twice a day (no less than once or twice per week)
  • LinkedIn: Once a day (once per week is considered low)
  • Pinterest: 10 or so per day (3 is considered low)
  • YouTube: Once or Twice per week

Using the frequency above allows you to be consistent and reach as many people as possible.  But you can choose to water this down a little bit and be less aggressive – this plan is very close to what I follow – but the choice is yours!

You can also set the time and date individually.

When entering a post to share, if you’d rather not throw it into the queue, you can set the date and time specifically to post.

Set a date and time to post on Social Media with Buffer

This is perfect if you’re celebrating a particular day or event and want to get it at just the right time. You can also review and add posts by scrolling through your caledar also. Just head to Content tab, and click ‘Calendar’, next to List. You’ll then see a fullscreen calendar simialr to above, so you scroll through to add, rearrange or remove posts.

Start by gathering your posts

So, you’re going to dig up 100 posts to share.  You can share all of the same stuff on different networks, it’s ok.  Or you can come up with 100 different, individual posts of each network.  It’s up to you.

Open a spreadsheet, you’ll need Microsoft Excel, Open Office Calc or open Spreadsheet in Google Docs. Ir you can go line by line in a simple text document using Notepad.

spreadsheet

Track down images and quotes, think of questions and informative posts you can write, gather the links from your websites and from other websites and record them into their own categorized spreadsheets (except for images, perhaps just save the images in a folder on your computer and upload them individually later)

Once you have your 100 posts, you’ve got enough to keep you going for some time. Now save it as a CSV file (under Save As or Download As – depending on which program you’re using).

If you  are having trouble thinking of social media posts, here’s a detailed list of ideas you can try.

Now time to upload!

Before we even get started uploading, there’s something you need to look at – what plan you’re on.

If it’s a free plan you’re on, you can ‘buffer’ 10 posts at a time (not a lot, really). So you’re CSV should be no more than 10 items long. But I personally recommend the ‘Awesome’ Plan which allows 100 for only $10 a month. Then make sure sure your CSV is 100 items long!

Make sure you’re logged into to Buffer and then also visit (in a separate tab), BulkBuffer.  Once there, upload your CSV file by clicking ‘Start Upload’ (and allow access). You’ll then get a screen just this:

bulk buffer

Just click on and then drop and drag your file on to the Blue box at the top that says “Click or drop a file on me to import updates” – pretty self explanatory. Choose the profile(s) you you want to update and then click ‘Send to Buffer’

Now you’ll be able to watch your updates appear in your buffer one by one, without you having to type them all up.  The exception of course is images, you will have to upload and type up each status by hand through the normal Buffer application (under the content tab).

shuffle social media queue

Once all of this is done, you also have the option ‘shuffling’ your Buffer just like you would your iPod playlist by going to settings and then hitting ‘shuffle queue’.

Now you can sit back and let the Buffer App update your social media profiles, but your job isn’t done just yet…

Check your profiles at least once a day and then engage

If you’re going to send updates out into the world one a frequent basis, you should be engaging people as they comment and reply to the things you say – or be labelled a “fat greasy spammer“.

Log into Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (and LinkedIn if you went that route), check for notifications such as replies and comments. Engage and create that personal experience for your fans and followers.

If you have a phone or tablet, this becomes exceptionally easy for Twitter as you can add multiple accounts to your Twitter app and switch between them in seconds – no logging out and back in like you would on your browser. Facebook is pretty easy to switch between pages, as is Google+, so it shouldn’t take up too much time.

Now you just need to monitor your Buffer and enter more updates every few weeks!

A few nifty tricks that make things easier

To take full advantage of the BufferApp, I recommend installing the BufferApp on your Tablet, Smart Phone and Google Chrome.  You get some nifty features and also have the ability to add anything you think of from anywhere.

Here’s a few tips to enhance your Buffer use, some requiring the app extension to be installed on your browser

Link Facebook to Twitter and save on Twitter posts
ou can link your Facebook pages to your Twitter and other social media accounts and vice versa. This means that every post you release on Facebook shows up in Twitter, including your scheduled Buffer posts. Do this by using tools like IFTTT to automate other accounts to repost content you promote through buffer.

This is one way you can maximize your Buffer plan and create a list of posts that have a longer life since whatever you post to one platform will appear on others.  You can then set up a separate and different list for those additional platforms also –  just remove posting times that are identical to those you are already using.

Combined with Revive Old Post (mainly for Twitter)
If you plan on posting a lot of links to your website on Twitter, you can automate that portion of the process using Revive Old Post, a plugin which automatically tweets links to your Twitter as frequently as you’d like.

This can be handy if you’re posting every 5-7 hours and using Buffer to post your images, external links and more ‘social’ aspects of your social media profile – giving you more life out of the 10 or 100 posts in your buffer.

Manage Multiple Twitter Accounts & replies with Tweetdeck

TweetDeck is a very powerful tool, you can check it out at here.

Use ‘Share next’ for your latest blog posts
I’m personally finding it very easy to simply share my latest post through Buffer instead of logging into all of my profiles.  You can highlight as many profiles as you want to share to, then click the small arrow beside ‘Add to Queue’ and click ‘Share Next’ – that way your post gets shared on schedule and across platforms you selected in one hit!

Alternatively, you can also hit ‘Share Now’ to share straight away :)

Buffer your Retweets from within Twitter
If you have the BufferApp Chrome Extension you can buffer retweets from within Twitter! Just by pressing the button as illustrated below!

Buffer retweets!

This is a powerful way to create more engagement through your BufferApp on Twitter.

Buffer Images from within your browser
Once again, with the plugin installed you get some nifty features, like this share button below.  Just click and buffer!

buffer images in your browser

This means you could just be surfing the internet and buffering images in your spare time!

Rearrange your Buffer
So you’ve got all of you posts ‘buffered’, but don’t like the order – here’s a few things you can do! You can simply click ‘shuffle’ to randomize the list (as shown earlier):

shuffle queue

Or ‘drag and drop’ them into order by clicking on the left icon and moving them into place.

This can be a great way to time certain posts and post types as you can see the date and time they’ll be posted in your content stream!

Don’t Ignore your Analytics!

Buffer also giv eyou the option to check out the analytics of each profile you add. You can scroll down the list of previously (recently) buffered posts, see which performed the best and even rebuffer them to take advantage of their popularity.

Buffer Analytics

If you post frequently, this can also give you an indication of what your audeince responds best to – so you can act on it and gain more traffic to your website.

It’s extremely powerful!

I highly recommend you check it out, I make no money out of this recommendation it’s purely the excitement I’ve had using this program that has me raving about it.

Check out the official Buffer website for more info and to try this awesome tool out.

If you found this useful, please share this post with anyone else who you think may find good use from it.  Also, please  subscribe to my email newsletter for more information just like this to be sent straight to your inbox!  Thanks for reading!