Buffer began its development in October 2010 in Birmingham, United Kingdom by Co-founder Joel Gascoigne. Once he developed the idea he created a landing page to see if enough people were interested in the product to make it a profitable venture. After reaching a critical mass of registrations, Gascoigne built and designed the first version of the application software over a span of 7 weeks.
On November 30, 2010, the initial version of Buffer was launched. It contained limited features which only allowed access to Twitter. Four days after the launch Buffer gained its first paying user. A few weeks after this, the number of users reached 100, and then that number multiplied to 100,000 users within the next 9 months. Over 4 million people have now signed up to use it’s suite of publishing, analytics and collaboration tools, all of which are carefully-chosen and highly-refined in order to help social media marketers and teams work more efficiently and effectively.
Can you tell us about what you are working on ? What is Buffer?
Buffer helps brands, businesses, and marketers make the most of their presence on social media. We have a set of intuitive publishing and analytics tools that help you save time with your social media marketing by scheduling your content and easily iterating on what works best.
I started out as an individual user of Buffer for managing my personal brand, and I loved it. I’ve since used it to run Buffer’s social media, and I’ve had the pleasure to chat with a bunch of customers who get a ton of value.
Why are you building this? What problem are you trying to solve?
We’re hoping to help people with their jobs of working collaboratively on social media, maintaining a consistent social media presence, and easily analyzing what’s working (so you can do more of what works). 🙂
Who are your top competitors & how is Buffer different from what’s already exists in the market? What’s unique about what you are building & why do you think companies should use Buffer?
We have a lot of great peers in the social media management space — tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Meet Edgar. Funny enough, one of our chief competitors is spreadsheets. People love to plan their social media in Excel and Google Drive!
What we believe we do well is that Buffer is simple and intuitive to use. We focus on delivering the very best publishing and collaboration tools, rather than aiming to be an all-in-one solution.
Also, we put a premium on our customer support and our people-centric approach to marketing and business-building. We’re a company founded on a series of values that we all aspire to, and it’s our hope that these are evident in all the interactions we have with our customers and community.
Who uses Buffer? Can you tell us a bit about the different customer segments using Buffer? What types of roles do your customers have at their companies ?
People who use Buffer are typically social media marketers, either doing it solo for a company or working in tandem with a social media team or large marketing team.
We also have a good group of personal brands who use Buffer and individual users who gain a lot of value from how Buffer can help them maintain a consistent social media presence.
How are your customers using Buffer? Could you share a few different use cases?
- Some use it as part of a content curation flow. They browse the Internet, reading stories, and when they find a good story to share, they can add to their social media queue via the Buffer browser extension. The post then gets shared automatically to their social profile according to the custom schedule they’ve set.
- Some use it to plan a campaign weeks in advance by scheduling content for the specific dates and times so that they’re sure it will go out then (whether they’re around or not).
- Some use it to fill up a content calendar ahead of time so that they’re set with content for the day or the week. On networks like Twitter where you might share 10x per day or 50x per week, it can be really useful to be able to batch this part of your social strategy by doing it all at once.
Have there been unique use cases for Buffer that you hadn’t thought of or expected?
Someone used Buffer as an alarm clock. They would schedule a somewhat-embarrassing tweet to go out early in their morning, therefore giving them the motivation to wake up before it gets published so they can delete it.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
Our biggest growth channel has been content marketing. Our co-founder Leo Widrich had an epic guest posting strategy that put Buffer’s name in front of some really key audiences. Then he coupled that with a really remarkable blog that we’ve since pivoted to focus exclusively on social media marketing tips and strategies. The blog gets nearly 1.5 million visitors each month.
What have been some of the most interesting integrations you’ve added? Are there any that have been particularly impactful for you?
What are the top products that you depend on to run the company & how do you use them?
These are some of the marketing products that we use on a daily basis:
Dropbox Paper: We use this for project collaboration, note taking, and brainstorming. It’s great to be able to share with inline comments and to asynchronously edit a document together.
WordPress: Our blogs run on WordPress, and we’re in there every day. We like to be nimble with edits to the blogs, so we appreciate that we can add functionality via plugins without having to code a solution ourselves.
Trello: We use Trello in a number of ways, including as the tool for our editorial content calendars. Each content calendar uses the Trello calendar feature so that we can see the content laid out day-by-day.
Buffer: We use Buffer to plan all our social media content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. It saves us a ton of time because we’re able to batch our social media marketing all at once, freeing us to get stuff done on other channels throughout the week.
Canva: This is our go-to tool for image creation. We create images for blog posts, social media posts, videos — basically any time we need an image we turn to Canva. (A close second is Pablo, the image creation tool we’ve built at Buffer. It’s great for quick images and quotes.)