If you follow me on Facebook, you might have already seen (or contributed to) the discussion of buffer vs. Hootsuite.
Are you self-employed? If so, keep reading. If not, I’ll post about something else in the next few days, please come back then! Seriously, if this sort of thing doesn’t interest you, you are going to (a) get bored and then (b) offer me the advice that this is all too confusing and I’m doing too much and trust me, I don’t want that advice because that’s not what this post is about.
OK. So, for work, I need/like to post multiple times a day on multiple social media sites, because (1) it keeps me in the public eye, (2) putting myself out there at different times of day puts me in front of different people who are online or on different media at different times a day, (3) I don’t do wholesale, I do retail, and that means I need to advertise/engage customers. There are about a bazillion social media choices out there, and I’ve narrowed what works for me down to Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Ravelry, and the occasional Twitter. I also blog, and it’s been suggested to me repeatedly that Pinterest is the bomb-diggity for online referrals so I should get better at that. Ideally, in my dream world, I’d blog three times a week, I’d post a paragraph of a simple “what I’m doing today/how are you” once a day on both Facebook and G+, I post on Ravelry 2-3 times a week, do an in-progress or other work-related photo two to three times a day on Instagram (making one of those a more personal/less work-related photo two or three times a week), and would have a stack of brilliant short things to say on Twitter that I’d pull from and post. Also ideally, Twitter would cross-post my Instagram photos and my blog posts, and my blog posts would also automagically be pushed to Facebook and G+ as links to entice. Lastly, I’d also be able to post two or three times a day on both Facebook and G+ either about new things for sale, things restocked, or links to art/craft/maker stories I find on the web that I think my customers would find interesting and so I share.
If you’ve read all that, you probably think that I must spend most of my day online, and good lord, when do I have time to MAKE STUFF? To which I say, NO SHIT. That’s why I need some sort of auto-post magic thing that will allow me to fill up a day, maybe a day-and-a-half worth of posts on all those social media accounts, things that I can put together as I’m having my coffee in the morning, and then I can go on about my business doing actual work behind the scenes for the rest of the day. Maybe I can check in a few times a day if my phone tells me I have new notifications, but for the most part, unless I’m taking a short break or am just sitting around waiting for paint to dry, I stay offline for the majority of the day while working — and this magic thing auto-posts all the stuff I’ve fed to it in the morning, throughout the day at different times on different accounts.
IMAGINE IF THERE WAS SUCH A MAGIC PROGRAM!
Well, I’d mostly found all that, with a combo of buffer and IFTTT.
I tried buffer for a few months, and then signed up for buffer pro – it was allowing me to post to my work Facebook, my personal Facebook, my work Twitter, my personal Twitter, and my work Google +. My personal and work blogs, both run on WordPress, had a buffer plugin that would push the post as a link with a photo to wherever I wanted it on buffer (I shuffled work to my work FB and Twitter accounts and G+, and personal to my personal FB and Twitter accounts). Instagram will automagically post to both Twitter and Facebook, but I found that I was overloading Facebook and on picture-heavy days combined with other things I’d post… Facebook would sometimes have 7-9 posts a day. But buffer had this neat thing where I could copy from one account to the other on the web interface, so I would crosspost Instagram to my work Twitter, and I had an IFTTT recipe set up to crosspost to my G+ buffer account whenever I published a photo to Instagram – then I’d just copy it to my work Facebook. I had everything autoscheduled and would post to FB and G+ four times day — yes, this means sometimes there were a few days backlog of posts, but I actually WANTED that! It gives me some breathing room!
However… once we moved out here to the property, buffer just… well, it kind of stopped working. Once or twice a week I couldn’t access the page – I’d get a weird “this page not available” error, saying that I must have some sort of firewall issue and to talk to my administrator. Except, you know, I work at home, don’t have a firewall, and am my own administrator. I tried contacting buffer; they’d never had anyone have this error before. I tried it all – rebooting the router. Rebooting the modem. Rebooting my computer. Clearing my cache. Unplugging everything and waiting 15 seconds and plugging it back in again. Sometimes those things would work. Sometimes they wouldn’t. I was telling a friend on Facebook that I haven’t tried sacrificing a goat yet, but…. I’m close.
ENTER… Hootsuite. I had originally looked into them, but after comparing them to buffer I decided that buffer seemed a little simpler, which is what I wanted (nice and easy! that’s my style!). Some friends on Facebook had recommended some other things (Pagemodo, Sprout Social, and CoSchedule) but they either didn’t do what I need or were far out of my price range. Hootsuite looks like it’ll do what I want (especially if I want to pay it $10/month). Right now I’m still on the free version because funds are tight, but hopefully after Fiber-In this weekend I’ll be able to upgrade, because that’ll open up some other things for me. So with the free version, I have it posting to my personal FB, and my work FB and G+. There seems to be an Instagram option, which I’m interested in (then I could upload a photo to Instagram, Facebook, and G+ all at once), but again – girls gotta get paid, first. Then I can also add my Twitter accounts. Allegedly I can auto-post to my free accounts when I publish a blog post (we’ll see). If not, worst case scenario for that is that I keep that attached to a free buffer account with the recipe that’s already in place, and buffer will still auto-post for me just for that (but we’ll see – this blog post is also kind of a test for Hootsuite).
I’ve disconnected this blog from buffer, and disconnected my IFTTT recipe that autoposts my Instagram photos to buffer/G+. (I am keeping my IFTTT recipes that autopost my Instagram photos to Pinterest, because that’s helpful — one less thing I have to remember to do!) Starting over the weekend at Fiber-In, I’ll use the Hootsuite app to upload anything I send to Instagram, to both Facebook and Google +. Hmm. It would be nice to send them to all three at once, though. Maybe I should shell out for the upgrade today, after all…
Oh, technology. When you’re a one-person show, you have to wear ALL THE HATS. Today is my tech/social media hat, apparently.
Are you still reading this? Do you use something other than buffer or Hootsuite? What do you use? What do you like/not like about it?