The 3-Minute Buffer Hack That Can Save Your Brand’s Bacon

The Buffer Hack That'll Save Your Brand's BaconYou’re stuck in a 9 am meeting, when you grab your phone to check social media to break up the monotony. Upon opening Twitter your eyes go big and you deliver an expletive-laden sentence under your breath.

The culprit? An egregious grammar faux pas tweeted out to your 4,000 followers. You rush to delete the errant message, only to realize it’s too late. Someone has already retweeted it, meaning it’ll live on forever, even if you do decide to kill it.

If the above scenario has never happened to you, count yourself lucky.

With social media messages and updates numbering into the billions daily, it’s a given that errors will occur, even for the best grammarians among us. But such errors should be kept to a minimum, especially for those folks representing brands on social media.

It’s one thing for an individual to make a once-weekly mistake. For brands, however, followers and fans are far less forgiving, as evinced by the graphic below:



Making mistakes on social media, as we see, is no laughing matter.

Buffer Can Prevent Your Business From Looking Unsophisticated

I don’t represent a brand on social media, but, as a lover of words, language and all things content related, it irks me to no end to see mistakes I’ve shared, including these two recent gems:



The beloved Buffer app is making my life easier in this regard.

I’ve loved Buffer from beginning, finding it intuitive, accessible and ideal for time-starved professionals, many of whom lack the resources to spend hours upon hours learning how to use the latest, greatest tools. It works well “out the box,” making it one of the primary platforms I recommend to clients.

Let’s face it: For most small and mid-size clients, being active and visible on social media all day is not in the cards. Buffer allows them to “set it and forget it,” meaning they can create and schedule social media messages without having to monitor Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the like all day.

But what if errors occur? How will they know before it’s too late? Would the threat of errors lead them to leave social media altogether?

This line of reasoning haunted me for weeks, largely because, as a content strategist for clients large and small, seeing clients make mistakes behind recommendations I’ve made is not a good feeling.

For clients who have and/or can afford a full-time social media person or staff, errors such as these are far less of an issue. But, those clients for whom set it and forget it is the only viable option, knowing the often-messy end result was discomfiting.

In recent weeks, however, I’ve done a lot less worrying, for I’ve been toying with a system for using Buffer that all but makes the grammatical faux pas a thing of the past.

Here’s how I’m using it and recommending my clients do the same.

1). When I awaken—usually at 3 am to 4 am—I spent the first 30 minutes reading blogs saved in Pocket. I create snippets of text from each blog and save it to buffer, manually scheduling the messages to go out at hourly intervals, beginning at 8:01. (This timeframe is based on a message shared by Jay Baer, who reasoned that people often check their phones directly following meetings, which typically end on the hour.)


2). I continue reading blogs, but only those where I craft the text—instead of using the “Buffer Selected Text” tool—do I manually schedule. The other messages are sent to Buffer, where they can go out as part of the autoschedule feature, which I’ve set for every 15 minutes, beginning at 7 am and going to 10 pm.


3). When my 30 minutes of social browsing and sharing is up, I once again open the Buffer queue, but this time I have on my proofing/copy editing cap. I’m only looking at the messages that are manually scheduled (e.g., those with times such as 8:01 or 9:02, not 9:15, 10:30, etc.) since these are the messages written by me, not copied and pasted from blogs. Often, I’ll spot a couple of errors, which can be quickly corrected.


When this is done, I can go about my business feeling confident social media grammatical blunders have been held at bay for the day. (If I do add messages to the Buffer queue later in the day, I use only the “Buffer Selected Text” tool, which means I’m only copying and pasting, not rewriting text, making errors far less likely.)

The great thing about this system is it takes very little time each day but prevents most, if not all, of the embarrassing grammar errors that plague brands online each day.

My clients love the system as well, since it makes it possible for them to automate social media without a great deal of time or expense but still ensures embarrassing errors are largely a thing of the past.

Give the system a try and let me know what you think. It’s far from fool-proof but has been shown to be highly effective.

TV Goes Social: The Rise of the Second Screen [Infographic]

Television is changing right before our eyes. It is not just about the programming – that is obvious. But rather it is about the way we wacth television. In fact, TV viewers are increasingly watching their favorite programs with their mobile devices in hand, whether that be a smart phone (as I do), tablet or even a good ol’ laptop. These devices are being used to compliment the viewing experience by searching for detailed information on what they are watching, or connecting with others, or even to just generally browse the Internet or check email during commercials. This “second screen” trend is changing television viewing in some surprising ways.

In the following infographic originally published by, see how television is going social with the rise of the second screen. Then be sure to comment and let us know if you fit into this growing trend or that you are more of a traditionalist.



Knowem: One Tool to Rule Them All

One of my favorite tools of all time is one I often find marketers have never heard of. A colleague told me just last week they hadn’t heard of it. Seriously? I can’t figure out how they managed to miss it. This single tool can help you get the ball rolling for all of your social media, brand management and online reputation management campaigns, and assist you with content creation and link building. It alone has saved me countless hours of mind numbing work  and possible carpal tunnel.

It is, of course, Knowem (like “know ‘em”).

In essence, Knowem signs up for all your social media profiles for you. Like, 300 of them. Run an agency and frequently sign up social media accounts for clients? Save your interns from carpal tunnel and sign up for one of their plans. If you work for a large organization with many brands to manage, again save your interns the pain and sign up for a plan.
[Read more...]

Location-Based Data: The Next Frontier for Local Search?

When Google released their new Local search results format in October, 2010, SEOs quickly determined that the number of reviews and overall rating associated with a business were ranking factors. They also predicted that these would be quickly be gamed.

It was an easy ranking factor to launch the new integrated SERPs with, as they already had piles and piles of review data from their own properties as well as sites they’d partnered with. But Google’s algorithms are not static, and it couldn’t be too long before the Local algorithm included other ranking factors.

Now, it looks like they might be starting to think about other options. A paper submitted to the upcoming Very Large Data Bases conference, on Hyper-Local, Directions-Based ranking and written by two Googlers along with two other researchers, proposes a method for using direction queries…say, of the sort a user might enter into Google Maps…to determine interest in particular places that could possibly be used for ranking such places.
[Read more...]

10 Things You Shouldn’t Use Social Media For

Now that I’ve introduced you to the 8 Social Media Tools That Your Small Business Needs to be Using, it is time to discuss some important social media don’ts. In the world of Google Cache, nearly everything you put out there on the Internet is there to stay for all eternity. While some of these suggestions might be common sense, you’d be surprised at the type of information that makes its way to the public courtesy of social media. Without further ado, I present you 10 things you shouldn’t use social media for.
[Read more...]

8 Social Media Tools That Your Small Business Needs to be Using

If you own a small business and you haven’t embraced social media yet, you need to get started now. The world of social media feels like it is in a constant state of change but there are some important social media tools that your small business needs to be using now. This guide will help you get started.

With over 500 million active users, half of whom log on to the site every day, your company absolutely needs to have a presence on Facebook. Facebook has changed over the years but right now, you should get a Facebook Page set up. The process is really quite simple, especially if you already have a Facebook account. The site even has a step-by-step tutorial to create a Facebook Page for your business. I could dedicate an entire post to Facebook best practices but for now, get your page set up and start promoting it.
[Read more...]