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These first few months of 2018 have been very active for everyone in the social media space, and that was especially true at Buffer. In this report, we’ll go through how we’re dealing with API changes from Facebook and Twitter on our Product and Engineer teams.
On the financial side, the last month of Q1 was one we particularly celebrated. March was our highest monthly growth in over a year, our churn rate went down, we broke past $250k revenue per team member, and finally, it was our first month with EBITDA margin over 30%.
Another huge celebration was our first ever Webby award! A massive achievement by our mobile team as our iOS app won the award for best practices.
I’m excited to keep the momentum throughout 2018 and welcome new teammates to Buffer as we continue to grow. Although I’ve been working on Buffer for seven and a half years, I still feel like we’re just getting started.
Let’s dive into updates from each of the areas at Buffer to see how each of these teams kicked off 2018.
Finance: Focused on forecasting, projections, and updating our hiring plans
From Director of Finance, Caryn Hubbard
We’ve kicked off 2018 and wrapped up Q1 with no shortage of momentum, opportunity, challenge and success. Our key focus this quarter in Finance has been forecasting, cash flow projections, updating hiring plans, federal and state tax payments, pricing assessments, operational metrics and growth analysis with our data team.
In addition, we’re focused on compliance with data protection privacy laws being implemented in the EU. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) significantly restricts the abilities of companies to process personal data and generally provides for stricter rules as compared to existing law. We have a team focused on the internal changes necessary for compliance and view this as a positive change for our customers.
Advocacy: New teammates, working in segments, and customer engagement
From Director of Advocacy, Åsa Nyström
In early January Nate joined the Advocacy team working in the support inboxes. Nate has ramped up super fast and is a huge volume contributor. Then at the end of Q1 we had Heather-Mae join our team in the Customer Engagement area which grew our Advocacy team to a total of 19 people, we’re so grateful to have these two new teammates!
Hiring for the Customer Engagement area helped us finalized the new area structure where we used to have an area for Customer Onboarding in addition to Customer Account Management, we’ve merged them both into Customer Engagement
We changed our team structure slightly and went back to working with different segments of customers in January rather than based on timezone. This has had a wonderful impact and for the majority of Q1 100% of Business customers got a reply within 6 hours over email and Free / Awesome customers could count on getting a reply within 24 hours.
Here’s a little love from the Customer Engagement team:
Engineering: We’re hiring engineers, navigating API changes, and moving to Jira
From Director of Engineering, Katie Wormersley
In Q1 2018 on the Engineering team, we kickstarted hiring in several open roles to better invest in the team. We also made an offer to our new Marketing Engineer, Gisete, and she’ll be joining us in May!
Navigating changes from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook APIs has allowed us to release more features like Instagram Direct Scheduling that add value to our customers and increase the authenticity of our product.
Using data modeling, upping our spam detection tools, and fully embracing GDPR are some changes the engineering team has been excited to carry out.
We’ve also improved the transparency and effectiveness of how our team collaborates by moving all our engineering and product work into Jira.
To see some highlights of what the team has been up to, our Engineering Lightning Talks are up on YouTube.
Product: Instagram direct posting, Analyze is in Alpha, and a Webby award!
From Chief Customer Officer, Carolyn Kopprasch
We launched support for direct posting to Instagram for the first time! This feature works for anyone with a business profile on Instagram, and it rounds out our direct-posting abilities for all networks.
Over on the Reply side, we’ve added several features to help teams respond faster and engage more on social media. One such feature is allowing customers to “undo send.” If you’ve ever caught a typo a split second too late, you’ll understand why this was one of our most requested features!
Our brand new product, Analyze, has entered the “alpha” state. A huge thanks to those early testers who have given great suggestions along the way. Most recently, we’ve added a tool to help customers compare their results across profiles and networks, which has been well received. We look forward to opening our doors to more folks over the next quarter.
Our mobile team continues to drive us toward more context-aware products. Our iOS app even won a 2018 Webby Award for best practices thanks to their hard word!
Marketing: How our content is performing plus the new team setup we’re excited about
From Director of Marketing, Kevan Lee
This quarter was the successful launch of Instagram Direct Scheduling for Buffer! We measured success through a lower churn rate and 2,000 new sign-ups in addition to users taking advantage of the new feature by connecting their Instagram profile we had over 4,900 new profiles connected in first seven days.
On the content side of things, we released our first ever State of Remote Work and reached 70,000 people. Also, our podcast, the Science of Social Media, is averaging 14,000 downloads per week and lots of positive sentiment. Finally, our social media blog had two of its highest weeks ever in terms of sessions, it reached over 370,000 each week!
This was also the first full quarter where we’ve switched the whole marketing team to a two-squad setup: awareness squad and acquisition squad. There has been of positivity and momentum through the squads so far! Each squad is also responsible for high-level marketing metrics for awareness and acquisition, which we’ve been tracking all quarter.
People: Giving teammates feedback, stress reduction tools, and lattes!
From Director of People, Courtney Seiter
Early 2018 was a super productive time for the People team. On the horizon throughout has been our team retreat to Singapore, and a huge amount of care has gone into every element of the trip. Meanwhile, we continued to support the team in fun new ways!
We partnered with Joyable, an app that offers stress reduction tools, coached digital programs and can match teammates with a nearby provider.
Buffer now covers lattes! We expanded co-working benefits to include a coffee shop stipend.
With many new Buffer babies (yay!) we’re experimenting with family leave buddies, to provide returning parents with a peer who’s been there before and can discuss challenges and provide support.
We’re growing the team again! Two awesome new teammates – Nate and Heather-Mae – joined us in Q1, and we have many open roles on our Journey page now.
Photo by Bryan Minear