Being a Buffer Ambassador – the next step on my Buffer journey

**Full disclosure – I have received payment for writing this blog. I will be wearing a pair of Buffer socks with pride, in exchange for a few words about how and why I use Buffer! A fair swap I feel. And part of my growing SaaS sock collection alongside my MailChimp socks.**

Beginning my Buffer journey

I remember when I first heard about Buffer. I was at an event listening to a talk about social media from someone who worked at Hootsuite. He spoke about social in general, trends and ways to grow your audience. Someone asked him about using Hootsuite and this was what he said:

If you only have one account on each social channel then I would use Buffer instead.

I was quite shocked. Did I just hear someone recommend another solution that felt a lot like it might be their rival?

I was also intrigued. At the time I’d been learning everything I could about Hootsuite and playing around with all their functionality, I hadn’t heard of Buffer. What was Buffer? And what did it offer that made people recommend it so highly?

TL:DR – that was the day I became part of the Buffer community. I signed up straight away when I got back from the event and started using Buffer for my own social to start with. It was easy to set up and use, and with their Chrome extension it became part of my social toolkit in no time.

As my business has grown I’ve used Buffer myself, for clients, set up accounts for clients, spent time in their slack community and even been privileged to be part of their Twitter squad and tweet from their own account.

Buffer Values – at the heart of everything they do

So what makes Buffer different? For me it is the fact that everything they do is grounded in their core values. Once you understand this, it is totally natural that companies who others might think were their rivals would be recommending them. And they start with ‘Choose Positivity’ – nothing bad in the world ever started with ‘Choose Positivity.’

Buffer Values - Being a Buffer Ambassador

It sounds strange to speak about a company and go straight to their values. And I’m not sure there is any other business I would speak about in these terms.

So why do these values matter? Setting up my business back then, I decided to freelance and to work remotely. It is great and also greatly challenging. In the early days of my business I often struggled with not being sure where to find ‘trusted’ sources for work and advice, nice people for online watercooler chat, all those things you take for granted when you have the pre-made company environment around you.

The Buffer values helped me cut through all of that. Here was a company that was delivering a great product and growing an awesome community. Knowing the values were there meant I just felt at ease in their community, product and spaces from day one.

Joining the Buffer Community

After I’d set up my account and started to play around with Buffer, I joined in their weekly #bufferchat on Twitter. Following their accounts and joining in the chat I heard about their slack community.

Again, in the early days of my freelancing I was desperate to try out slack and join a community on the platform. Again, being an office of one has its downsides, there was no group to give it a try with. It was the new cool thing and I was keen to try it out.

Enter the Buffer slack community. Or that’s when I entered the Buffer slack community! An online slack community (hooray, my wish fulfilled) full of others looking for a community around social media. During my time in the slack community I set up and ran the Buffer Slack Community Bookclub. We came together to discuss a different book each month and one month I even managed to arrange for us to be joined by the author of our chosen book!

So, wait a minute, how do you actually use Buffer?!

Ah yes, the crucial question. I realise this blog has been much more about my relationship with Buffer. So, what does Buffer actually do?!

It is a tool to help you schedule posts to your social media channels. You can have all the social channels you manage in one account and schedule content and posts in advance to help you save time, see your social posting as a whole, plan campaigns and more. With Buffer Reply (formerly Respond) as part of the toolkit now too, you can also manage Customer Service and Community Engagement across all your accounts.

If you’re starting out with Buffer then you might like to look at it like this.

For my clients I suggest they start by looking at their social a week in advance. How often do you currently post, how often would you like to post, what is coming up that you want to talk about?

First, set your schedule in Buffer. You can customise posting days and times to make sure you are reaching our audience when they are around to hear from you.

Next, think about content. With the Buffer Chrome extension, I encourage clients to just click on it whenever they are reading an industry article or something in their niche that catches their eye. Straight away it comes up, you can choose what channels to share it to, write a quick update about why you like it and boom! Added to your queue in your schedule.

You can share retweets from Twitter, which are then scheduled for you. So, if you have 10 mins to scroll through your timeline on Twitter, you can retweet a bunch of great content you know your audience will love and have it sent out over a longer period of time, rather than a flurry of retweets all at once.

You can even schedule straight to Instagram these days. Straight. To. Instagram. We all love Insta’s mobile first vibe but sometimes you can improve on perfection, and scheduling directly to Instagram is the cherry on the top of that very delicious-looking Sundae in my book.

And this is just the beginning! As part of my role as Buffer Ambassador I’ll be looking at Buffer in more detail and sharing some of my top tips and tricks to get the best from your social using Buffer. Stay tuned!

Being a Buffer Ambassador

I’ll admit that recently my Buffer community credentials have been looking a little cobwebbed. I like tweets from the Buffer crew, but I missed the last ever #bufferchat and I’ve not checked in with the Slack community for a long time.

So it was wonderful to be contacted out of the blue by Arielle and invited to be a Buffer Ambassador as part of their beta for this new programme.

via GIPHY

To me, the ambassador programme is another great step for Buffer, giving something to their wonderful community that they have grown with care and attention throughout their journey.

I’m so pleased to be on board. Thank you for the invite y’all! Check back here soon for more fab Buffer content.

My Reading List

My Reading List Highlights And My Quest For Quality Content

I’ve decided to start a regular(ish) round up of what I’m currently reading.

Yes, there are so many similar lists out there. As content creators and marketers we all know the magic of the list post. Easy and quick to write, looks good with images and numbered bullets (translation: very scannable content) and quick to share.

However, I’ve started to find it harder and harder to discover quality content. When you start looking for content in any given subject you cast the net wide. I find now that over time I’ve stopped reading from one source, stop checking another, a newsletter changes focus and I’ve unsubscribed. I’m left with fewer and fewer ‘go to’ sources.

Now I find that when I’ve set aside time to see what is out there, I’m never quite sure where to look or what to read.

So I’ve taken the time to actively seek out and curate better sources of content. Some relate to what I do: social media and content. Some are just great sources of information for life in general. And if, like me, you are always looking for something new and interesting to read then I hope you find some recommendations in this or future posts like it.

Please make sure to add yours in the comments — I’d love to check them out.

Convince and Convert

I wonder if part of the reason I’m in this situation is that it is very difficult to be invited into my inbox. I am the person that constantly clicks ‘no thank you’ on your well-crafted opt-in box. Sorry about that.

This is a great example of what it takes to actually get into my inbox.

Last year I read Youtility by Jay Baer and loved it. At the time I was just starting out freelancing it really spoke to me about how I thought content should be. Quality, useful content for your audience.

This year I read Hug Your Haters as part of the Buffer Community Book Club. Again, it was a great hit with me. I loved the case studies as well as the values that the book sets out for any business.

So I’ve been in the same space as Jay Baer and the company he founded,Convince and Convert, all this time. I know they are out there. I follow them on twitter. I read the occasional article on their blog. It’s been almost two years like this.

What made me subscribe finally? I was reading a killer article on their blog and had just tweeted about it. I finally thought, I should get these sent straight to me. There and then I found an opt-in box on the website and signed up.

So, now I’m in, what have I found? What I really like about Convince and Convert is the voice they use in their writing. It speaks in a way that instantly gives thanks for your attention and shows why their content is worthy of attention.

Each newsletter includes sponsors under the headline: ‘We love our sponsors. You’ll love them too.’ This little headline says it all — we’ve handpicked these people because we love them. Who usually says that about their sponsors?

Their round-up email comes as ‘Your 5 Favourite Posts This Week.’Everything is centred around you as a reader and why you will get value from the content they are sharing.

Their articles continue to deliver as well. Insightful, relevant and useful information about content marketing. They have quickly become a must-read for me.

I like the articles that I’ve tried from the blog so much I’ve added it to one of my feedly collections so I don’t miss out on any. I’ve put a few quick feedly tips at the bottom of this article if you are thinking about how best to curate your account.

Fortune CEO Daily

Another way to get into my inbox? Come recommended by someone I already like and hear from.

Fortune CEO Daily was recommended to me through Laura Vanderkam’s blog where she did a round up of what she’s been up to, what she’s writing and what she’s reading. I love Laura’s writing and her wonderful approach to time management — I’m a big fan.

And so, through her, the Fortune CEO Daily came into my inbox. I thought it would be good to get some business-focused news every day to keep myself in the loop.

What I wasn’t expecting was the wonderful way in which this newsletter is written. With a long-form intro and few graphics, it doesn’t conform to the usual clickbait templates you see in some newsletters. There are no attention-grabbing headlines or slick graphics here. Long paragraphs full of well-written opinion and analysis await you and they are so worth it.

I’ve been reading about business with real interest, not that I wasn’t interested before, but now I find that it is presented in a way that gives it real relevance.

On Sundays they send out a round up of great articles from the week. These are from a range of publications and each article comes with an intro/commentary on why it makes an interesting read. Again the long-form intelligent writing really gives the articles context. A recommended business read.

Top Tip — Curate Your Content Sources Regularly

Now I’ve identified that I want to work on having great sources of content at my fingertips I’ve also started to think about how I can make that happen.

One thing this had lead me to do is to start using my feedly account more.

When I set it up I just searched for broad topics and followed those. Which is great to start off with but I’ve found that over time I’ve checked it less and less.

Now I’ve realised that actively curating my content sources is a quick and easy way to make sure I can discover as much quality content as possible.

I started with a good clean up of the topics I was following. Some I just took out all together. Others I went through and had a look at each source within the topic. Had I read anything from this publication or blog in the last few months? Did anything on the list from them look relevant? I took out ones that I realised I was constantly skipping over anyway.

I took the super simple step of rearranging my follow list to reflect how I want to browse content when I have a moment to read. I’ve put a collection of my current favourite blogs at the top, followed by news sources and then areas like social media and content marketing.

And finally I’ve developed a new habit. Every time I read a blog article that I like I hop over to feedly and add the blog into my account. This has been great for discovering new content from people whose writing I really enjoy.

Please let me know your tips for discovering new content and what blogs/newsletters and other content sources you can’t live without.