[Publish] Getting Started with Buffer Publish

IN THIS ARTICLE

Introduction

What is Buffer Publish? Buffer Publish is a scheduling tool allowing you to create, schedule and publish your social media content with ease. Posts in your Queue will be automatically published by Buffer, according to a Posting Schedule that you put in place. Analytics and reports are available, allowing you to track engagement and interactions on the posts you've shared, which means you can see how your content is performing and which resonates most with your audiences.

Buffer Publish has a number of plans available, which largely depend on the number of social accounts you’re looking to manage and the number of team members (if any) you’d like to invite. You can find guidance on choosing the best plan for you  here.

Connecting your social accounts

Buffer Publish is currently integrated with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Please note that Pinterest is not currently supported on the Individual Plan. More information on our plans can be found here.

Connecting your social accounts is the first step in getting started with Buffer Publish. The steps to connect your social accounts are slightly different depending on which plan you're subscribed to.

📌   Click here for instructions on connecting social accounts on the free Individual Plan →

1

Click on Connect More at the bottom left of your Buffer dashboard.

2

Click on the type of social account you'd like to connect to Buffer. With most social networks, if you’re already logged into that specific social account, you'll only need to authorize Buffer to use your account. If you’re not already logged in, you'll need to enter your login details.

On the Individual Plan, you're able to manage 1 social account per network. For example 1 x Twitter, 1 x Facebook, 1 x LinkedIn, 1 x Google+ and 1 x Instagram. Please note that Pinterest is not currently supported on the Individual Plan.  Feel free to hop over here to check out our plans and pricing.

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1
Click on Add a Social Account at the top left of your Buffer dashboard or click on the Admin link at the top of your dashboard and then click on Social Accounts.

2

This will bring you to the  Org Admin tool. Click on the type of social account you'd like to connect to Buffer. With most social networks, if you’re already logged into that specific social account, you'll only need to authorize Buffer to use your account. If you’re not already logged in, you'll need to enter your login details.

Inviting your team members

Team members can only be invited on the Business Plans.

Having a team of people helping with your social media strategy can be a crucial asset in achieving your social media goals. You can invite team members to contribute to the content that you're sharing on social media.

📌   Click here for instructions on inviting team members →

1

Start by clicking on the Admin link at the top of your dashboard and then clicking on Team Members.

2

From there, click on  Invite a New Team Member and then enter their name and email address.

3

If your team member should have access to connect social accounts and manage team members on your Buffer account, you can provide them with full  Admin Access by switching the toggle to Yes. Please note that team members with Admin Access will have full control over all of the social accounts you’ve already connected.

Admin Access is only available on the Business Plan. It is not possible to designate other Admins on the Awesome Plan.

4

You're then able to decide which of your social accounts the team member should be invited to. Click inside the box to below "Let’s assign a social account to your new team member" and start typing the first few letters of the social account you'd like to invite them to. Once a social account has been selected, you can set the level of access the team member should have.

  • If a team member is invited with Approval Required Access, they will be able to create posts in Drafts, and once ready, move them to Approvals, pending review.
  • If a team member is invited with Full Posting Access, they will be able to create posts both directly in the Queue and within Drafts. They are also able to approve posts submitted by team members with Approval Required Access.

Approval Required Access is only available on the Business Plan. All team members on the Awesome Plan will have Full Posting Access, which means they're able to create posts directly in the Queue, and there is no approval process available.

You can then continue assigning the team member to as many social accounts as you’d like.

5

Finally, click on Invite Team Member. They will receive an email invitation and will be required to create their own Buffer login. Once logged in, they will have access to any of the social accounts you've invited them to and they'll be able to start adding posts right away.

If you are managing lots of social accounts, you may prefer to assign permissions in bulk. This can be done by visiting the team member's profile and clicking the assign in bulk link. From there, tick the social accounts the team member should have access to on the left hand side and then choose the level of access they should have. Finally, click Save Changes.

Setting up your posting schedule

Each of your connected social accounts will have its own Posting Schedule. Each time that you configure there, becomes a time slot in your Queue. Then, when you're scheduling posts, you don't need to think about the date and time it should be published, all you need to do is add it to your Queue and it will automatically be placed into the next available time slot and published as part of your usual posting flow.

📌   Click here for instructions on setting up your Posting Schedule →

At the moment (October, 2017), we have two versions of the Posting Schedule. This is because we've been working hard on a new version, which makes it quicker and easier to configure the days and times you'd like to be sharing content. When features are updated, or new features are released, we roll out to certain percentages at a time, to ensure we're delivering a quality experience and ironing out any early issues that may arise.

If you are still seeing the old Posting Schedule, don't worry, the new Posting Schedule will be landing in your dashboard in the next few weeks! In the meantime, we want to make sure you have the information you need, so we've included instructions for both versions in this guide.  Please look at the screenshots below to determine which version you have and then jump to the right section of this guide.

This is the old/existing Posting Schedule

This is the new Posting Schedule

📌   Click here for instructions on using the old Posting Schedule →

Select the social account you'd like to customize the posting schedule for on the left hand side of your dashboard and then select the Schedule tab.

The first step is to select the days you'd like to include in your schedule. You can then click on Add Posting Time and change the hours and minutes drop downs depending on when you'd like your content to be shared. Multiple posting schedules can be created if you'd like to share content at different times on different days. Click New Posting Schedule and repeat the steps!

Once a time has been added to your schedule, it can be modified by changing the hours and/or minutes. Times can be deleted from your schedule by hovering over the time and clicking the  X icon.

Each of your social accounts will have it's own Posting Schedule. Don't forget to configure your perfect schedule for each one!

📌   Click here for instructions on using the new Posting Schedule →

Select the social account you'd like to customize the posting schedule for on the left hand side of your dashboard and then click on Settings > Posting Schedule.

From the drop down menu, underneath "Add a new posting time", choose the day or days you'd like to add the time to. In addition to being able to select specific days, you can also choose to add a posting time to "Every Day", "Weekdays" or "Weekends". Then, select the time you'd like to add and then click Add Posting Time.

Once a time has been added to your schedule, it can be modified by changing the hours and/or minutes. Times can be deleted from your schedule by hovering over the time and clicking the X icon.

Each of your social accounts will have it's own Posting Schedule. Don't forget to configure your perfect schedule for each one!

Scheduling your posts

Each of your connected social accounts will have its own Queue, which stores all of your posts that are waiting to be published. This section of the guide walks through how to schedule posts within your Queues and the various options you'll have access to.

📌   Click here for instructions on scheduling your posts →

The composer is the heart of Buffer Publish. It's where you're able to create and schedule your posts.

At the moment (October, 2017), we have two versions of the composer, known as "Simple Composer", which is the existing/old version, and "Tailored Posts Composer", which is the new version (already available within the  Buffer Browser Extension). The new Tailored Posts Composer allows you to create a completely unique message for each social network that you're sharing too. Keen to learn more about the benefits of this? Check out these articles:

When features are updated, or new features are released, we roll out to certain percentages at a time, to ensure we're delivering a quality experience and ironing out any early issues that may arise. If you are still seeing the Simpler Composer, don't worry, the new Tailored Posts Composer will be landing in your dashboard in the next few weeks! In the meantime, we want to make sure you have the information you need, so we've included instructions for both versions in this guide.

Please look at the screenshots below to determine which version you have and then jump to the right section of this guide.

This is the Simple Composer 👇

This is the Tailored Posts Composer 👇

📌   Click here for instructions on using the Simple Composer →

1

Open the composer

To get started, click inside the box at the top of any of your Queues, which says "What do you want to share?"This will open up the composer, which is where you can craft your post.

2

Choose your social accounts

Select or deselect the social accounts you'd like to include by clicking on the avatars at the top of the composer. The post you schedule will be added to the Queues for any social accounts that are highlighted within the composer.

Notes:

  • Default social accounts: The check marks next to your social accounts on the left hand side of your dashboard, indicate that they are set as defaults. If a social account is set as default, it will automatically be selected whenever you open the composer to schedule a post. For more information on default social accounts, please click here.
  • Posting Groups: If you're managing a larger amount of social accounts, and you're on one of our Business Plans, you might like to set up some posting groups. Groups are a great way of bundling social accounts together, which helps keep things simple as well as preventing sharing content to the wrong accounts. With one click, you can select multiple social accounts at the top of the composer. For more information on posting groups, please click here.
3

Create your post

Type in or copy and paste the text you'd like to use. Bear in mind that each type of social media account has its own set of character limits, which you can  see here. If you're sharing to multiple types of social accounts, you will be capped at the most restrictive social accounts character limit. For example, if you're sharing a post to Twitter and a Facebook Page, you would be capped at 140 characters.

For Twitter and Pinterest, if you include a link in your post, Buffer will scrape the page and offer you some thumbnail images to choose from, or you can choose your own image or  video.

For Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, if you include a link in your post, a link preview will be auto-generated. You can keep this or replace it with you own image or  video.

Notes:

  • Link shortening: Any links you paste into the composer will be automatically shortened, using the link shortener of your choice. For more information on choosing a link shortener, please click here.
  • Mentions: Buffer Publish supports mentions for Twitter. Simply type in the @ symbol and start typing the first few letters of the Twitter account you’d like to mention. Matching results will be returned. Support for Facebook Page mentions is included in the Tailored Posts Composer. If you don't already have this, you'll have it very soon! Mentions are not currently supported on LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram.
  • Hashtags: You're able to include hashtags in your posts for any social network and they will be hyperlinked once published. Keen to learn more about using hashtags effectively in your social media marketing? Check out this blog post!
4

Schedule your post

Once your post is ready, there are a few options for you to choose from:

  • Add to Queue (default): Your post will be saved at the bottom of your Queue, in the next available time slot from your Posting Schedule.
  • Share Next: Your post will be saved at the top of your Queue and be the next post to be published. Other posts in your queue will all be bumped down one slot.
  • Share Now: Your post will be published immediately, essentially skipping the Queue.
  • Schedule Post: You will be able to choose a custom date and time in the future for the post to be shared. These posts will be locked in place and won't be affected by anything else happening in the queue. For more information on custom scheduling posts, please click here.

📌   Click here for instructions on using the Tailored Posts Composer →

The new Tailored Posts Composer allows you to create a completely unique message for each social network that you're sharing too. Keen to learn more about the benefits of this? Check out these articles:

1

Open the composer

To get started, click inside the box at the top of any of your Queues, which says  "What do you want to share?". This will open up the composer, which is where you can craft your post.

2

Choose your social accounts

Select or deselect the social accounts you'd like to include by clicking on the avatars at the top of the composer.

Notes:

  • Default social accounts: The check marks next to your social accounts on the left hand side of your dashboard, indicate that they are set as defaults. If a social account is set as default, it will automatically be selected whenever you open the composer to schedule a post. For more information on default social accounts, please click here.
  • Posting Groups: If you're managing a larger amount of social accounts, and you're on one of our Business Plans, you might like to set up some posting groups. Groups are a great way of bundling social accounts together, which helps keep things simple as well as preventing sharing content to the wrong accounts. With one click, you can select multiple social accounts at the top of the composer. For more information on posting groups, please click here.
3

Create your post

The Tailored Posts composer allows you to customize your post for each social network that you're sharing to. Read more about why this is important here. If the post is going to be similar for each one, start by typing in or copying and pasting the text you'd like to use as your base.

From there, click Customize for each network. A separate box will appear for each type of social network that you've selected. For example if you're sharing to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, you'd have 4 boxes available. If you're sharing to multiple social accounts of the same network, e.g. multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts, you'd still only have 1 box per social network. You can read more about that here.

For Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, you'll see some  Suggested media below the message box. These images are being scraped from the page that you're sharing and you can click on any of them to include them with your post. Up to 4 images can be included for Twitter, while only 1 can be included for Instagram and Pinterest. Alternatively you might prefer to upload your own image or video, which you can do by clicking on the upload button on the left hand side.

For Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, you'll see a link preview, which mirrors what you would get if you were sharing a link on one of those networks directly. You can choose an alternative image for the link preview by using the arrows to the left and right of the image, or  replace the link preview with an image or video only by clicking Replace link attachment with image or video.

Notes:

  • Link shortening: Any links you paste into the composer will be automatically shortened, using the link shortener of your choice. For more information on choosing a link shortener, please click here.
  • Mentions: Buffer Publish supports mentions for Twitter and Facebook Pages. Simply type in the @ symbol and start typing the first few letters of the Twitter account or Facebook Page you’d like to mention. Matching results will be returned. Mentions are not currently supported for LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram.
  • Hashtags: You're able to include hashtags in your posts for any social network and they will be hyperlinked once published. For Twitter specifically, we offer hashtag suggestions. Simply type in the # symbol and start typing the first few letters of the hashtag you'd like to include. Matching results will be returned. Hashtag suggestions are not currently available for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram. Keen to learn more about using hashtags effectively in your social media marketing? Check out this blog post!
4

Schedule your post

Once your post is ready, there are a few options for you to choose from:

  • Add to Queue (default): Your post will be saved at the bottom of your Queue, in the next available time slot from your Posting Schedule.
  • Share Next: Your post will be saved at the top of your Queue and be the next post to be published. Other posts in your queue will all be bumped down one slot.
  • Share Now: Your post will be published immediately, essentially skipping the Queue.
  • Schedule Post: You will be able to choose a custom date and time in the future for the post to be shared. These posts will be locked in place and won't be affected by anything else happening in the queue. For more information on custom scheduling posts, please click here.

Approving posts added by team members

The approvals process is only available on the Business Plan. More information on our plans can be found here.

Posts added by team members with Approval Required Access will automatically be added to the Drafts area. From there, they can request approval on their post, which will move it over to the Awaiting Approval area. Both the account owner, and team members with Full Posting Access, will be able to review and approve such posts.

📌   Click here for instructions on approving posts added by team members →

Any posts from team members who have requested approval, will appear in the Awaiting Approval area. To approve a post right away, simply click Approve and it will be moved into the next available time slot in the Queue.

If you want to make modifications to the post, you can click Edit, make any changes you like and then click Save. From there, you can click Approve.

You’ll also have the option to Delete the post or Move to Drafts to allow the team member to continue working on it.

Faster sharing with the browser extension

The Buffer Browser Extension makes sharing content even quicker and easier! It allows you to open the composer on any web page and add posts right to your Queue, without having to go back to your dashboard.  You can grab the extension for your browser by heading to this link. It's currently supported on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

📌   Click here for instructions on using the browser extension →

1

Find an article or blog post that you’d like to share and click on the Buffer icon at the top of your browser.

2

The composer will open up on the page. The browser extension uses the new Tailored Posts composer, which allows you to create a completely unique message for each social network that you're sharing too. Keen to learn more about the benefits of this? Check out these articles:

Select or deselect the social accounts you'd like to include by clicking on the avatars at the top of the composer.

3

A separate box will appear for each type of social network that you've selected. For example if you're sharing to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, you'd have 4 boxes available. If you're sharing to multiple social accounts of the same network, e.g. multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts, you'd still only have 1 box per social network. You can  read more about that here.

The title of the page along with a link, will be automatically pulled into each box ( excluding Facebook), which you can then use to form your message. We recommend customize the message for each social network that you're sharing to and you can read more about that here.

For Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, you'll see some Suggested media below the message box. These images are being scraped from the page that you're sharing and you can click on any of them to include them with your post. Up to 4 images can be included for Twitter, while only 1 can be included for Instagram and Pinterest. Alternatively you might prefer to upload your own image or video, which you can do by clicking on the upload button on the left hand side.

For Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, you'll see a link preview, which mirrors what you would get if you were sharing a link on one of those networks directly. You can choose an alternative image for the link preview by using the arrows to the left and right of the image, or replace the link preview with an image or video only by clicking Replace link attachment with image or video.

Notes:

  • Link shortening: Any links you paste into the composer will be automatically shortened, using the link shortener of your choice. For more information on choosing a link shortener, please click here.
  • Mentions: Buffer Publish supports mentions for Twitter and Facebook Pages. Simply type in the @ symbol and start typing the first few letters of the Twitter account or Facebook Page you’d like to mention. Matching results will be returned. Mentions are not currently supported for LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram.
  • Hashtags: You're able to include hashtags in your posts for any social network and they will be hyperlinked once published. For Twitter specifically, we offer hashtag suggestions. Simply type in the # symbol and start typing the first few letters of the hashtag you'd like to include. Matching results will be returned. Hashtag suggestions are not currently available for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Instagram. Keen to learn more about using hashtags effectively in your social media marketing? Check out this blog post!
4

Once your posts are ready, there are a few options for you to choose from:

  • Add to Queue (default): Your post will be saved at the bottom of your Queue, in the next available time slot from your Posting Schedule.
  • Share Next: Your post will be saved at the top of your Queue and be the next post to be published. Other posts in your queue will all be bumped down one slot.
  • Share Now: Your post will be published immediately, essentially skipping the Queue.
  • Schedule Post: You will be able to choose a custom date and time in the future for the post to be shared. These posts will be locked in place and won't be affected by anything else happening in the queue. For more information on custom scheduling posts, please click here.

Hop over to this article to learn about more ways to use the browser extension!

Setting up your content inbox

The Content Inbox is available on the Awesome and Business Plan. It is not available on the Individual Plan. More information on our plans can be found here.

If you're keen to have fresh content at your fingertips everyday, we recommend checking out the Content Inbox, which is available to Awesome and Business Plan customers. Here, you'll be able to add your favorite RSS feeds and choose which articles to share with your audience. This is a wonderful way of keeping your Queues topped up with great content!

📌   Click here for instructions on setting up your content inbox →

Each of your social accounts will have it's own Content Inbox, meaning you can choose different RSS feeds (up to 15) for each one. For example, if your Twitter profile focuses on social media tips, you might choose to add social media feeds like the  Buffer blog or Kiss Metrics. While if your Facebook page has a different focus — tech and gaming news, for instance — you might prefer to connect feeds from The Verge or TechCrunch.

Choose a social account you'd like to set up the Content Inbox for, by selecting it on the left hand side of your dashboard. Then, head into the Content Inbox tab. Start typing in the first few letters of the feed you'd like to add and Buffer will pull in matching results. Click on the feed you'd like to add. Alternatively, copy and paste the URL of the feed you'd like to add and then hit return/enter ↵.

Once a feed has been added, Buffer will pull in the latest 10 articles from that site. To add more feeds, click on the Add & Remove button at the top of the list and then repeat the steps above. Feeds can also be removed here.

If you've added a number of feeds, you might like to filter the list to find specific articles. You can do this by clicking the Viewing All Feeds button at the top of the list and then selecting the specific feed you'd like to see articles from.

When you spot an article you'd like to share, all you need to do is click on the Add button to the right of it. This will open up the composer where you're able to customize your post before adding it to your Queue, ready to be shared with your followers.

Analyzing how well your posts are performing

Buffer Publish enables you to track engagements and interactions on the posts you've shared, so you can see how your content is performing across all your social accounts.

📌   Click here for more information about anlaytics and reports →

Reports can be accessed by heading to the Analytics tab.

The table below highlights which reports are available on which plans. Click on the links in the Report column for more information.

Report Individual Plan Awesome Plan Legacy Business Plan (more info) Current Business Plan  
Posts Report
Available for all social accounts
✓ (limited) ✓ (limited)
Overview Report
Available for Twitter and Facebook Pages
Analysis Report
Available for all social accounts
✓ ( excluding Twitter)
Influencers Report
Available for Twitter

Buffer on-the-go with the mobile app

If you’re keen to Buffer on-the-go, why not grab the Buffer mobile app from the  Apple Store or Google Play. From connecting social accounts and customising your posting schedules to creating your posts and tracking engagement, Buffer’s mobile app is feature-rich, allowing you to do almost anything you’d do on the web version!

And if you’re planning to use Buffer’s Instagram Reminders feature, the mobile app is a must-have to complete the posting process. Feel free to check out our in-depth guide on  Getting Started with Instagram Reminders.

Do even more with integrations

We’re thrilled to integrate with 60+ different services and we’d love to share some ideas with you here!

You can find a full list of integrations  here.