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Buffer: Social Media Secretary at Your Service

For Joel Gascoigne, code comes naturally. Making money from his hobby—web development—is practically second nature. With university and one short-lived startup behind him, Gascoigne has set his sights on scalability. Lately, his commitment to the development of his latest app has been paying off in a big way.

By Derek Bullen | Feb 09, 2012

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  • Buffer: Social Media Secretary at Your Service

Buffer is for people and organizations that want to make social media work for them. It’s all about most effectively timing your online contributions. Time is money after all, and Buffer optimizes the times at which your online posts are published, according to your specific instructions.

For example, let’s say you have a Twitter account and a lot to say. If you tweet six messages in a row, like a Gatling gun, the message and effect of each tweet will be greatly diminished. Or, say, if you discover something interesting in the middle of the night, but you know your followers won’t be up for a good twelve hours, just throw it in your Buffer line up and schedule it for release when it would be most relevant to your audience. At its basest, Buffer allows you to maximize the impact of each tweet by queuing individual tweets for time specific publication. Getting attention is not so difficult—it’s keeping it that has generated such a broad base of interest in Buffer.

“There’s this need for businesses to be on Twitter all the time—responding to people, posting interesting things—and on Facebook as well, so you get likes on Facebook and follows on Twitter" says Gascoigne. "But it’s really hard to keep doing that 24/7. With Buffer you can spend ten minutes in the morning, and you can write ten posts, or ten tweets, and then Buffer will post them, say, one hour apart, or two hours apart throughout the day, so that time is managed for you.”

For online marketers, this kind of tool is a godsend. Unless you have the resources to be online all the time, you have to be receptive to the fact that potential consumers may have very different browsing habits and schedules.

“There’s a lot of confusion in this [social media] space,” Gascoigne adds. “People don’t know what to do—they know that they need to be on Twitter, that they need to be on Facebook, but they don’t know how exactly to best do that. Especially businesses.”

That said, Buffer is not some exclusive corporate service: anyone can utilize Buffer. While there are some parts of the service that are reserved for paying customers, anyone can schedule up to ten posts a day for release at regular intervals for free.

“I originally thought I would finish up university and keep doing freelance web development: build websites for people, build up some clients, eventually hire another person to help me out. But I soon realized I wanted to do something a lot more scalable,” says Gascoigne. “I basically wanted to escape the hourly wage—where my time was directly correspondent to the amount that I make—which is what we’ve managed to do with Buffer. The first month we made maybe twenty dollars and that was it, and now we’re putting in a similar amount of time and we’re making about $25,000 a month.”

Not bad if you consider that Buffer turned profitable from the ground up in eight months, started with zero outside investment, and hooked more than US$400,000 from very interested backers within a mere four months of inviting investment.

Gascoigne and his co-founder Leo have made a rule of enjoying their work, and this pleasure shows in their product. Buffer provides a very specific service, and that service—for those who recognize its immense value—is in very high demand. What’s not to like?

“Oh… and I always like to add that I’ve had so much help along the way… so I’m always happy to help other people. If anyone needs help or has questions you can contact me at, so just email me anytime really.”


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