[Publish] Is Buffer Publish a good tool for agencies?

IN THIS ARTICLE

Summary

Whilst Buffer Publish was not built specifically for agencies, we have many agencies using the platform who are finding it a great fit for their needs. That said, we understand that Buffer might not be an ideal fit for all agencies. Through this guide, we aim to provide an impartial view of when Buffer might be a good fit, and also when it might not.

We have found that one of the key of the deciding factors is whether or not you need to have client approvals within the platform. If not, Buffer Publish could be a wonderful choice for you. If you do need client approvals within the platform, Buffer Publish could still work for you, but there are more factors to consider (outlined later in this article).

Plans and pricing

We have three Business Plan packages, which include space to connect up to a certain number of social accounts and a certain number of team members:

  • Small Business Plan($99/month): 25 social accounts, 5 team members
  • Medium Business Plan($199/month): 50 social accounts, 10 team members
  • Large Business Plan($399/month): 150 social accounts, 25 team members

We also offer Enterprise Plans for those who are looking to manage more than 150 social accounts and/or invite more than 25 team members. If you would like to learn more about Enterprise pricing, please feel free to email us at onboarding@buffer.com.

What counts as a social account? A social account is each individual Profile, Page or Group you’d like to connect. As an example, you might have 10 clients who each have 5 social accounts (e.g. Twitter Profile, Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, Google+ Page and Pinterest Profile). This would come to 50 social accounts in total, in which case the Medium Business Plan would be the best fit.

What counts as a team member? When thinking about which plan might work best for you, it’s important to consider whether or not you’ll be inviting your clients to have access to Buffer Publish. If you choose to invite your clients, they would have the ability to see the content you’re scheduling for them, add their own posts, and see Analytics, but only for their own social accounts. Each client you invite will require a team member seat on your plan, and therefore you will need to choose a plan that has space to invite both your internal members of staff who are scheduling content for your clients, as well as the clients themselves.

Three key questions

There are three key questions we are often asked by agencies, which we’d love to answer here.

1. How do we connect our clients’ social accounts?

The account owner (or a team member with Admin access) will need to connect each clients’ social accounts. It is not possible to invite clients to connect their own social accounts, without also giving them access to your other clients’ social accounts.

Due to the lack of Admin capabilities on most social networks, you will need to have the clients’ log in details in order to connect the account to Buffer Publish. For Facebook Pages and Groups, LinkedIn Pages, and Google+ Pages, you can authenticate it through your own personal account, assuming you have the required Admin or Managerial permissions.

Social account What you'll need
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram Profiles Client’s login details (username and password)
Facebook Pages Your personal Facebook Profile will need to have either the “Page Admin” or “Page Editor” role.  More information can be found here.
Facebook Groups Your personal Facebook Profile will need to have the “Group Admin” role.  More information can be found here.
LinkedIn Pages (Company and Showcase Pages) Your personal LinkedIn Profile will need to have administrator access to the Page.  More information can be found here.
Google+ Pages Your personal LinkedIn Profile will need to have Manager permissions on the Page.  More information can be found here.

2. Do you have client approvals?

We do not have a separate type of team member or permissions level specifically for clients, but this can work by setting them up with “Full Posting Access”. Let’s dive in and see how this works!

You have complete control over which social accounts each team member has access to. This is great if you have certain team members looking after certain clients - you would only give them access to the client’s social accounts that they’re taking care of. And if you’re inviting your clients, you would only give them access to their own social accounts.

For each social account you give your team member access to, you have the choice of permission level:

  • Approval Required Access: Team member is able to create posts in the Drafts area and request approval on them.
  • Full Posting Access: Team member is able to create posts directly in the Queue, without the need for approval. They’re also able to approve posts created by team members with Approval Required Access.

If posts need approval from clients, you would need to set your internal members of staff up with Approval Required Access and your clients with Full Posting Access. The flow then would be for your members of staff to create posts within the Drafts area and then request approval. The client would then be able to review, edit and approve those posts, at which point they’ll be moved to the Queue, ready to be published according to the Posting Schedule.

Please note, the Buffer Publish account owner will always have Full Posting Access on all social accounts and this is not configurable. This means that if the account owner will be creating posts for clients, they will be added directly to the Queue, without the need for approval. In this case, you might wish to invite yourself as a team member with Approval Required Access (under a different email address). With this solution, you would need to login under your owner account to connect new social accounts, manage team members and customise Posting Schedules. You’d then need to login to your team member account to create posts.

Other factors to consider:

  • If your internal members of staff have Approval Required Access, all posts they add will need to be approved by the client. It is not possible to pick and choose which posts require approval. This can be a drawback for some agencies, who need the flexibility of requesting approval on some posts and not on others.
  • Clients will have Full Posting Access (on their own social accounts), meaning they’re able to configure the Posting Schedule, schedule their own posts, and view/download reports.
  • Your internal members of staff will have Approval Required Access, meaning they won’t have the ability to customise the Posting Schedule, modify any posts in the Queue, rearrange the order in which they’ll be sent, or configure custom publishing times for posts that are already scheduled. These actions would either need to be completed by the client (since they’ll have Full Posting Access) or the account owner.

3. Can we group clients’ social accounts?

All of the social accounts you have connected will be shown on the left hand side of your dashboard. Team members will only see the social accounts that they have been invited to.

Social accounts on the left can be *dragged and dropped into a logical order. Whilst this doesn’t have any functional benefits, it helps to see each clients’ social accounts close to each other for easier access. You will also see a Search at the top of the list, allowing you to quickly locate a social account.

We also have a feature called **Posting Groups, which allows you to bundle certain social accounts together, making scheduling posts to multiple social accounts much quicker. You could have a Posting Group for each of your clients and then, when scheduling posts, you can select all of their social accounts with the click of a button. Feel free to read more about this feature here.

* Dragging and dropping social accounts into another order is a personal choice. Each team member can decide on their own order.

** Posting Groups would need to be set up by each team member. If the account owner creates a Group, team members would not see that Group. Team members are able to create their own Groups.