As much as I love all the visually interesting features and capabilities CoSchedule offers social media managers, it does still share the same flaws common to such enterprise-level tools. They can do a variety of complicated tasks, such as planning out long and intricate social campaigns, but they tend to be really sluggish when it comes to completing simpler assignments.
While we would definitely appreciate a one-size-fits-all social media tool that’s packed to the brim with automated follows and unfollows, algorithms tracking your most engaging content, smart listening, and - insert some other bell and whistle you really need here - there is no such thing, and some tools are better at performing certain tasks than others.
When it comes to speeding up your daily social tasks, though, I honestly think Buffer is the perfect tool to pair with CoSchedule’s functionality.
1) Quicker Social Posting
Buffer doesn’t offer any fancy social helper tools, or allow you to save promotion templates for a different event or content types, but what it lacks in complicated functions it makes up for in the simplicity of its posting.
If I wanted to write a single post on CoSchedule I’d have to (1) click on a day, (2) select the social icon, (3) select Social Message, (4) select an account from the drop-down menu, (5) set the time for the post, (6) select the message type, such as video, image, or link post, (7) draft the message, and (8) schedule the post.
To do the same thing on Buffer, I simply (1) select the account on the left-hand side, (2) click on the date/time slot I want to post, (3) draft my message, and (4) schedule the post. That four-step difference might seem inconsequential, but let’s do the math. Let’s say you have a message with hashtags, links, and emojis ready to go, and you’re ready to paste the message and schedule the post.
I started my timer the moment I clicked on my bookmark for each tool, and here were the results on how long the posting process takes for each tool:
CoSchedule: 1 minute, 57 seconds
Buffer: 16 seconds
CoSchedule is 7.3 times slower when it comes to performing this simple part of every social media manager’s day. This is actually a recent improvement: a few weeks ago CoSchedule scaled back the process, based on real-time feedback provided by the community. However, in the single posting game, Buffer will always beat CoSchedule in sheer speed and efficiency due to the massive difference in the relatively small amount of data Buffer has to process, compared to CoSchedule’s complex number-crunching machine, but I will get more into that later.
In practical terms, this is what the speed difference translates to. Let's say you have 10 clients. Assuming you’re running at least three social media accounts for each business, that is 30 social media channels you are managing. Without taking into account the time needed to find or create relevant content to post to each channel daily, and assuming you are posting 1-2 times per day, that is 60 posts a day. On CoSchedule it would take 1.54 hours just to queue up the messages. On Buffer it takes 9.3 minutes. That is a savings of 5.92 productive hours per week, which in my professional opinion more than justifies the added expense of buying this supplementary tool.
2) Faster RSS Research & Utilization
You might be surprised to know a lot of your favorite social content wasn’t actually put together by the influencers and companies you are following. Thanks to such contractor marketplaces as Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork, a lot of the video, imagery, and articles you consume online were ghostwritten/produced by these tertiary service providers. The most obvious example of this practice has been a tried and true standard in professional social media circles from the beginning: sharing relevant news articles.
For example, if your client is in the FinTech space and needs to attract new buyers, it makes sense to post news articles about financial services, APIs, etc on your client’s channels. It’s content that’s already been professionally produced, and at no cost to you or your client. A good rule of thumb: If you’re not creating content, you’re curating content.
Before RSS feeds this task took hours, and in many cases, depending on how niche your client’s market is, RSS feeds may not be a viable option. However, when they are, they save a great deal of time that’s otherwise wasted on googling and scrolling through pages of results, trying to find a headline that fits your client’s target audience.
While you can use CoSchedule to manage RSS feeds, it requires integration with Zapier to do it. This is problematic because after using CoSchedule for seven months, it’s still really difficult to find a lot of the platform’s tools. It has a steep learning curve, and Zapier isn’t any better. It is yet another amazing product that can do a lot for any kind of marketing team, but still challenging to learn. Rather than wasting precious time learning how to use two separate tools to perform a very simple task, I simply use Buffer instead.
Buffer has a super simple feature that lets you select an account, click on “Content Inbox”, and there’s your simple-to-read RSS feed. Once you find a headline you like, click the “Add” button and you can automatically schedule a post, with the headline and a link to the article, for the next optimal posting time. You can also add to or change the message however you’d like.
I thought about running a speed test for posting to CoSchedule using Feedly, a free RSS service, but after my speed test on Buffer turned out to be 2.7 seconds . . . there was no need to compare. Posting the same article on CoSchedule would have taken at least a minute.
3) Platform Load Times
Load times are where CoSchedule suffers the most. When we first started using these tools, CoSchedule was the superior product, but that changed as our number of clients and accounts grew. CoSchedule kept getting slower and slower until today it kind of feels like working with dial-up again.
This isn’t a flaw or something that needs to be fixed, per se. CoSchedule is constantly tracking the engagement rates of every single post on your managed channels, and is compiling that data in its various analytics tools. This takes a lot of processing power, and that demand grows as your business does. Oddly enough, if CoSchedule is really slow, that’s actually an indicator that it's doing its job and you’ve been supplying it with a lot of content. Hopefully its quality content, and that is what CoSchedule is helping you determine.
Buffer offers similar engagement tracking functions, but not to the same extent, and with far fewer special features. Which is why I recommend not using them at all. CoSchedule’s analytics are thorough, interactive, and easy-to-read. You want all tracking data compiled in one program because it gives you a snapshot of your efficiency across accounts, campaigns, and overall. You want to keep the amount of data Buffer processes as low as possible to keep taking advantage of its speed.
Thankfully CoSchedule and Buffer integrate with one another. This means CoSchedule can do all the heavy lifting, such as tracking your Buffer engagements and efficiency, without bogging down Buffer’s . . . buffer.
Buffer’s Recent Update
If you read this article, signed up for Buffer, and can’t find the RSS feed tool and/or find it’s way slower than the numbers I gave earlier, not to worry. Buffer recently gave itself a facelift with a trendy interface and fancy features - the update made Buffer much slower and forces you to do some tab bouncing. However, if you go into your settings you can revert the user interface (UI) to Buffer’s original.
My last overall piece of advice is to start using a variety of tools for your social media management. The last 15 years have proven social is one of the most disruptable spaces that ever existed. There is a constant tug of war between the platforms your audience loves (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and the developers who create automation tools.
As purveyors of social media, we need to be ready to pivot to new tools, and even combine competing tools, rather than settling on one or the other. Enjoy Buffer for what it offers, and we wish you luck on navigating what can be a crazy and competitive social media jungle.