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Helping Your Whole Team Share Your Content on Social Media: Buffer for Teams

The short history of how social media developed is still nothing short of incredible. When Facebook started in 2004, strictly for colleges, and Twitter in 2006, mostly for techies in the Bay Area, it was all about individuals connecting with each other.

About a decade later, a lot of that has shifted. While the personal use case is obviously still very strong, the influence of brands is fascinating. We’re now talking with big brands like Nike or Coke on Twitter or Facebook in a way that we originally only did with friends.

I believe we might be at the beginning of a third way of using social media—a new way of bringing individuals, and the brands they represent, together.

This is really interesting from a marketing perspective. It’s even more interesting from a human-to-human perspective—for example the focus of what an individual, who is a team member of Coke, has to say about the company. And people looking towards them, instead or in addition to the main brand account sharing news and announcements.

News publishers and tech companies at the forefront of this trend

The best example I can think of is news publishing. Over the last years, many reporters for many of the top publications have built up a sizable social media following through their writing. Many of them share their own stories or other stories from writers on the site.

It seems like a logical step that there be a way for them to suggest to their other fellow reporters news stories to share on their social accounts. Or for editors and social media managers, who know which stories are doing particularly well, to suggest that a story be shared by more team members in the organization.

At Buffer, we’ve gotten a hint of a potential big need for a tool like this from some of our customers already. A visionary example is the New York Daily News, where we’ve worked with Brad Gerick on creating this setup for the whole organization: Letting editors and social media managers suggest content to all team members of NYDN is one of the most exciting pilot projects we have running right now.

We also wanted to experiment with this ourselves, so we created a first “Buffer for Teams” setup:

A first experiment in connecting individuals and brands: Buffer for Teams

At Buffer, we’ve recently started a simple experiment to see if there’s a good use case around social media advocacy. It started with a simple email to the team:

Screenshot 2015-03-16 16.20.34

Quickly, a lot of people were interested in getting some suggested content from me for their Buffer account. The next step for me was to make it super easy to share these stories with other people’s social accounts. So I went ahead and used Buffer’s group feature to create a new group for the Buffer team only:

Screenshot 2015-03-16 16.27.29

This was absolutely amazing—with the click of a button I could now suggest content for all these people that were interested in getting curated content for their social accounts from me.

When we announced that we acquired the Buffer.com domain, I thought this was a great example of something that everyone on the team might want to share:

suggest

I felt totally superhuman to be able to potentially amplify the buffer.com story by the power of the whole Buffer team, with the click of a button.

I’m also playing around with creating different groups of people in the company that could find things particularly interesting, like just the marketing team, just the sales team, just the engineering team for example:

Screenshot 2015-03-26 11.04.38

Experience of this for the team and colleagues

Making it super seamless and easy to share the suggested stories makes a big difference here. We have 2 ways that the user can go about adding stories to their queues to be shared on their social account.

Here is how it appeared for team members in their Buffer account, easy to approve or edit:

Screenshot 2015-03-16 16.37.01

Carolyn now had 1 new contribution from me in her Buffer account that she could easily either “approve” or “delete”.

She’d also get an email with a new contribution being available for her:

Screenshot 2015-03-16 16.42.10

Overall, this has felt like an amazing way to help everyone at Buffer save time and still share some great company news or announcements if and when they feel like it.

Want to try this out at your company?

We’re right now at the very early stages of learning about whether this use case is something that could be great for many other companies out there. We think that is the case, and some of the early demand seems to hint at that.

I think that this might be the beginning of a very exciting trend that could make social media a lot more personalized, with content and announcements from big brands also represented and shared by individual team members.

We’ve already started working with some select publishers and brands who wanted to use this new version of Buffer for Teams – if you’d like your company to be part of it, too, you can just share your interest here and we’ll reach out to you asap:

Screenshot 2015-03-26 10.54.20

We’re excited to work closely with teams early on to learn how to best go about building this out further. You can just register your interest for Buffer for Teams here and we’d love to reach out to you.

  • This sounds like a great idea! An easy way to make more teammates feel like they have a place in the social strategy process. Plus, this will help coworkers feel more like “brand advocates.” Really helps boost the potential for earned media.

  • Great, congratulations! I think this will be really a powerful tool, especially for bigger organizations. I think it might be a good idea to add a third option: “edit” to the existing two ones, so each of the team members could bring in a more personal touch. Or at least bring in the option to add an option (so the company could decide if it will allow to edit its brand message).

    • ImAndreaGlass

      That was the first thing that popped into my head, so ditto to an editing feature.

    • Same here. Personally, I won’t like to see tweets lose personal touch due to automation :)

  • carokopp

    Thanks for helping to keep my Buffer full, Leo! :) https://twitter.com/CaroKopp/status/580535577386332161

  • This feature looks awesome Leo. Big Yes to this from us @Bench!

  • This comes at the perfect time! We actually just got an email yesterday that the advocacy software we use now is raising their prices, so it’s time to start shopping around. The only thing that might have to keep us from using it is an autoshare feature, since a lot of people in other departments rarely log in or read notification emails from the tool. :/ Regardless, form filled out!

    • LeoWid

      Hey Brittany, thanks so much for stopping by here – yes we do have an “auto-share” option available too and people don’t have to approve. Alternatively people can approve by clicking on an email, without logging into Buffer. So hopefully both things should work for you here! :)

  • I can see how very useful this will be! Great stuff!

  • Love this concept! Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

  • Mathias Luz

    @LeoWid:disqus I am really grateful for this sharing. Beyond the power of bringing this inclusive concept to social media, something has really drawn my attention. That was the effort you made through your email to build a safe environment around which the team members could contribute if they really wanted to. I really appreciated this approach which encourages people to behave naturally, in lieu of a language of coercion we often see out there. This is genuinely inspiring to me! #gratitude

  • Chris Sheen

    What happened to this feature guys? We love Buffer but might have to move to Hoosuite Amplify as this is a feature we really need :(

    • Hi Chris, so sorry to create confusion here. I think we haven’t quite been able to put the resources into this feature that we would need to; I would say it is on indefinite hold right now. I am so sorry I’m not able to give you a better answer; I totally understand that you might need another tool to help you out here!

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