Free social media management using Buffer

Social media management and the ability to schedule posts has become an important step in sharing your work with the world.

Users are connecting on a vast array of social media platforms and staying active on them all can be time consuming, frustrating and difficult to achieve. And this is where social media management software can help!

While there is a huge selection of social media management platforms out there to choose from, most come with some hefty costs associated with them.

Bloggers just starting out or not earning from their work need to be mindful of building costs. For this reason I decided to look for an effective but free method to manage and schedule social media posts.

After much research and testing, I’ve found a method that works!

The method we now use for our social media scheduling relies on two platforms. Buffer and Bulk Buffer. This social media scheduling method is free, simple to use and extremely fast.

Using this method, I’m able to schedule a daily post (or more) on Twitter and Facebook for an entire week, in under 30 seconds.

The beauty of this method is it can be easily scaled to suit your needs. While I only post once per day, you can post ten times a day if you wish.

This method does have one downside. Its only really useful for Facebook and Twitter scheduling. However, as we prefer to use Instagram and Pinterest in real time, this method fits our requirements perfectly.

Here’s how to do it.

Setup Buffer account

Buffer is an amazing social media management platform that allows you to schedule social media posts in advance. It’s a very user friendly and simple platform to use.

The first step is to create a free account (this limits you to ten posts in the scheduler) or pay for the upgraded version to share more posts.

The next step is connecting your Buffer account to your Facebook page and Twitter account.

Buffer makes connecting these account very easy. Simply click the Manage Social Accounts button and follow the prompts.

Once you’ve connected Facebook and Twitter, go to the Posting Schedule menu inside Settings, and setup what time and what days you want your posts to be shared. Check your analytics so you’re posting at optimal times.

Once you’ve completed these steps, that’s the Buffer side of the method done.

Setup Bulk Buffer

Bulk Buffer is an uploading platform created by Luke Lanchester that allows you to upload social media posts in bulk to Buffer using text or .csv files.

While not affiliated with Buffer, it does make bulk uploading of posts to Buffer simple and efficient.

Bulk Buffer doesn’t require you to create an account. Simply be logged into your Buffer account and open the Bulk Buffer website.

Click the Start uploading for free button and Bulk Buffer should prompt you to connect to Buffer. Approve this connection and you’ll be taken to the main Bulk Buffer screen.

That’s the Bulk Buffer side of the method done.

Creating a post spreadsheet

This is the most time consuming portion of this method. Depending on how many posts you already have, this could take some time to complete. But once completed. You should be able to schedule a weeks worth of posts in under a minute.

I use Google Sheets to create our spreadsheet because it’s free and has an easy to use randomise range function, which is essential to this method.

Start by creating a new Google Sheets spreadsheet. Ours is named Bulk Buffer Updates, but name yours whatever you desire.

Inside this spreadsheet create two sheets. You can name these whatever you like. Ours are labelled updates and randomised.

Begin listing your posts in the first column on the updates sheet. It’s very important that they remain on a single row. You cannot create paragraphs with this method. The post write up, hashtags and post links have to be on a single row. Examples below.

Posts mustn’t be separated into paragraphs:

Social Media Management.

#socialmedia

https://www.chasingronin.com/

Posts must remain as a single line:

Social Media Management. #socialmedia https://www.chasingronin.com/

Once you’ve created an entry for every blog post you’ve written. You should have a single document, with two sheets named updates and randomised.

Randomised should be blank, and updates should have a list of all the posts you’ve written, with relevant hashtags and a link to the post.

Once you’ve completed the spreadsheet, you’re ready to start scheduling posts.

Social media post scheduling

  1. Open your spreadsheet and select the updates sheet.
  2. Click column A to highlight the entire column, so your post write ups are highlighted.
  3. Navigate up to the Data menu and select Randomise Range. This will randomise all of your selected posts, which allows you to share unique posts every time you update your posts.
  4. Highlight the top ten rows (The Buffer free plans only allows ten posts scheduled at a time. Upgrade to remove this limitation) and copy them.
  5. Paste these ten rows into the blank Randomised sheet. The Randomised sheet should now have ten random posts on it ready to share.
  6. Save this sheet to use in Bulk Buffer. Do this by navigating to File and download as .csv format. Save the .cvs file to wherever is convenient for you.
  7. Open Bulk Buffer and authorise it to connect to your Buffer account. Once authorised, you’ll see a screen that allows you to either navigate to your .csv file, or simply drag and drop the file into Bulk Buffer. I find the drag and drop method to be faster, but the choice is yours.
  8. Bulk Buffer will read the file and begin displaying your posts on screen.
  9. Check the updates are correct, you can edit or delete unwanted posts on this screen.
  10. Once you’re happy with your posts, simply select the social media channels you wish to use. Either Facebook or Twitter, or both.
  11. Click the Send to Buffer button to begin scheduling your posts.
  12. Leave Bulk Buffer and Buffer open until your posts start appearing in Buffer. (Page may require refreshing)

When your queue is empty, simply follow steps one to twelve again.

Optional steps

  1. Use the Shuffle Queue option in the settings menu of Buffer to avoid sharing identical posts on both Facebook and Twitter at the same time.
  2. Once all scheduled posts appear in your Buffer schedule, go back to your spreadsheet and delete the ten rows from the randomised sheet, ready for use next time. While not required, it keeps the spreadsheet neat and organised.

Following these simple steps should have you sharing and scheduling your posts on social media like a pro, absolutely free!

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