Social Media Tools

Holy Twit – Increased Tweet Volume Drives Results

Dashboard - BufferOne of my favorite Twitter add-ons is Buffer, an easy-to-use service that allows you to quickly queue up many tweets at one time, with those missives and bon mots then automatically parceled out one at a time on a schedule you determine.(Buffer also works for Facebook)

For people like me that do a lot of curation via Twitter, this is a real workflow advantage. Instead of finding and tweeting interesting content several times daily, I can scan dozens of blogs and email newsletter and RSS feeds in one sitting in the morning, and then use the Buffer browser app to set up tweets throughout the day. Doing so allows me to focus my other Twitter interactions on engagement and response, rather than curation.

I’ve used Buffer off and on for a while now (and I REALLY want Buffer to get together with my guys at Argyle Social, which I use most often for social media marketing due to their extraordinary statistical capabilities).

When I’ve used Buffer consistently, I’ve seen my clicks and retweets increase, and new research of 2,000 users finds that effect isn’t isolated. Buffer’s data shows that within 2 weeks of starting to use the system, users’ clicks increase by 200%, and retweets by 100%.

There are two seemingly plausible hypotheses for this impact (but a fully controlled study has not been conducted to isolate or confirm, so please take all of this with a degree of skepticism).

People That Use Buffer Tweet More Often

After signing up for Buffer ($0 – $30 per month), users send 150% more tweets than they did before using the application. More tweets will almost always yield more response because unless you are very new to Twitter or particularly maladroit at it’s norms and customs, every tweet you send should generate some response.

This makes me feel good about the Buffer stat of 200% more clicks, but less happy about the 100% more retweets. If you’re sending 150% more tweets, shouldn’t your retweets go up by at least 150%? If not, then it would appear that the likelihood of a retweet on any given tweet actually goes down after signing on to Buffer. This actually makes some intuitive sense, however, because if you start tweeting substantially more, your followers won’t necessarily want to retweet you multiple times daily to keep pace – it looks too stalkerish. Except when live tweeting an event, I don’t think I’ve retweeted the same person twice in one day, ever.

People That Use Buffer Tweet in Prime Times

There is a lot of research around the “optimal” time to tweet, but these types of broad generalizations are difficult and somewhat dangerous, as they typically do not adjust for time zones and other circumstantial factors.

The idea that there are universal “best” times to tweet reminds me a lot of the long-ago rule in email marketing that you didn’t want to send on Monday or Friday because many people were on vacation. So, everyone started to send T-Th, and the volume on those days spiked so high that response rates fell through the floor. So in response, the new best practice became to indeed send on Mondays or Fridays. Madness!

Yes, you should pay attention to optimization research and social media science. But also recognize that slavish devotion to conventional wisdom 100% guarantees that you will never be extraordinary at anything. Average people worry about averages.

The fact remains, however, that Buffer automatically sets up your tweets to be sent when more people tend to be using Twitter, naturally increasing potential audience for many Buffer users. You can override the Buffer default settings (as I do) to Tweet more often, on a more diffuse pattern, to include nights and weekends, and/or to Tweet closer to the top and bottom of the hour. By the way, I’m working on a super cool Webinar with Argyle Social to reveal some very interesting, thorough research on social media timing. Join us for free on October 27.

The other issue is that while clicks and retweets are psychically satisfying in the same way a perfectly cooked In-N-Out Burger hits the spot, that’s not really your goal is it? Remember, the objective is not to be good at Twitter, the objective is to be good at business because of Twitter. And that usually means some sort of conversion event, and data on that point isn’t available yet.

Buffer saves me a ton of time. I recommend it constantly. I very much like their team personally (Leo Widrich is a one-man clinic on community management). And I like what it’s done for my Twitter results – and it appears the results of a bunch of other people. But let’s keep all of this in the proper perspective. Ultimately, it’s not about timing and volume and software. It’s about people, what you tweet, and how you treat.

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    So my problem with buffer initially was I had to choose how many times to tweet per day. Now… if I was consistently loading hundreds of tweets all the time that option could be a good thing. If you’re not, the amount you choose to send per day, regardless of the amount you have queued, alters the times at which the tweets would be sent. So if I set 6 per day and only loaded 2, those two tweets would be sent earlier and at less optimal times than if if just knew to send the two I had in queue at the best times.

    I’m being picky but I can manage sending tweets at optimal times myself or by scheduling them in Tweetdeck w/o having to pay for the service. Essentially they had a very basic algorithm, (think table-based shipping instead of an api) to handle tweets. If it were smarter and I wanted to schedule more per day. For now I do it myself.

    • bradleyjoyce says

      Chuck, you may want to check out … it’s very similar to buffer, but a lot smarter. We’ve developed a smart algorithm that optimizes tweets for you automatically. Once click and you’re done! Cheers.

    • LeoWid says

      @chuckreynolds Hi Chuck, thanks for the great feedback on here. Yes, I totally agree that in case of using it the way you described there might be a few issues. What we saw is that if those times are spaced out enough, it won’t be too big of an issue. Oh yes, definitely we are constantly improving how we determine the best times to Tweet. :)

  2. InspiredAnnette says

    There are other programs and apps that are far more useful with additional features (reports, discovery, that can benefit your clients (and you). I have tried Buffer and this is going to sound like a paid commercial haha, but my program of choice is SPROUT SOCIAL :)

    • LeoWid says

      @InspiredAnnette Hi Annette, thanks so much for the heads up on this. Absolutely, I am sure Sprout Social is a great solution, will check it out myself too. I think Buffer might go well with your Social Media dashboard of choice.

  3. natmich says

    Love Buffer! Definitely super convenient for anyone who does a lot of browsing around and sharing. Very user friendly :)

    • LeoWid says

      @natmich Awesome, so glad you like it Natalie. Yep, exactly what I use it for, to make browsing more productive. :)

  4. SproutSocial says

    @InspiredAnnette Thanks for sharing Sprout Social with @jaybaer. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

  5. SproutSocial says

    @InspiredAnnette Oh yes, we saw the blog comment. Thanks for that as well. Putting you on the list.

  6. LeoWid says

    Jay, thanks so much for publishing our research here, I greatly appreciate it! It is just like you explained, we want to do everything to make it easier for anyone to achieve better results on Twitter. If I can help with any questions here, just let me know @leowid

  7. says

    To me, it seems apparent that more Twitter activity spaced around the clock will yield higher results. I’ve seen it, independent of any particular Twitter app. However, I am interested in the click-through rates of the specific content. I’ve seen that the more frequent the Tweets, the less ‘relevant’ it is to an audience at any particular time.

    For the past several months, I’ve had great success with Timely, but haven’t used Buffer yet. I’m interested in the advanced analytics that Buffer has to offer along with the fast-paced innovation that is native to the team.

  8. IsaacBrake says

    I just found Buffer, I love it. It allows me to post things that I normally wouldn’t take the time to post and keep my company in front of folks without flying the “buy me” banner. And then slip some “buy me’s” in here and there

    So far I love it!

  9. andycapaloff says

    I will definitely look into Buffer. I do have one thought regarding another possible aspect of why retweets may not keep pace with the increase in the number of tweets put out, beyond what you mention here. If you typically tweet 10 times in a day without Buffer and increase your output 150% to 25 tweets, it is likely that the overall quality of those 25 tweets will be somewhat diminished, at least with regard to how they will be received by your followers/audience. You can’t expect to ‘hit the mark’ 150% more frequently simply because you tweet 150% more.

  10. says

    I love Buffer. One of the things I like most about it is that you can schedule your tweets to buffer at times when you’re going to be online anyway. I’ve used other tools in the past that try to space out tweets, but they often wind up sending them at times you’re not online and can’t engage.

  11. carmenhill says

    I agree Jay, and I thank you for the Buffer reco. It’s extremely easy to use and is a great way to consolidate the time you spend reading and curating content without flooding your stream all at once. It’s definitely made my life easier! I also agree that the Buffer team is awesome. Every time I’ve had a question they’ve gotten back to me super fast…even though they’re in a very different time zone!

  12. chiprodgers says

    I’ve used Buffer for a few weeks and I like the concept, but ultimately, I’ve gone the way @chuckreynolds has gone which is just going back to scheduling my tweets in Tweetdeck. The only value Buffer offers is taking away the thought process of when to send the next tweet. But on the other hand, you don’t have the flexibility to move them around to target timezones (i.e., tweets for East or West Coast, EMEA, or India.) Each tweet just goes to the next slot. Also, it requires keeping a Buffer window open and copy/pasting the tweet into the Buffer tweet window, rather than just using Tweetdeck where I’m seeing my stream and columns of lists or hashtags (i.e., an extra step.) Anyway, I like the idea, but not sure it’s required.

    • says

      i agree. if you’re already using tweetdeck then @bufferapp is probably redundant and adds extra steps. If you mostly use the web for twitter – like I have been lately – buffer and the chrome extension are awesome together.

  13. snouraini says

    O.K. Jay, you talk, I listen. I am giving buffer a try as I love time saving tools that come with good metrics.

  14. letstalkandchat says

    tweeter is a great social media tool to drive traffic to your site. so i tweet more often and i kinda need to try this buffer that you are talking about and see if its great. thanks!

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out:

  15. says

    I’ve used Buffer for about a month now and no, you don’t have to paste into the Buffer window. All you have to do is load the buffer button onto your browser. I’ve used in on Firefox and Chrome. You can browse, click the buffer icon, and add your own little commentary. It’s so cool and easy. And I have to say, Joel and Leo were spot-on attentive to some little issues I had at he beginning — EVEN before I upgraded from their free account (when does that ever happen?) Impressive.

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