I joined Buffer Pro in February 2012. And it looks like I’ll be leaving them in October when the new price tiers kick-in.
Buffer is a social media management system. I use it primarily to schedule my social media accounts and to create content. The Buffer blog is renowned for its excellent information.
I learned about Buffer from Beth Kanter and used it for The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project. After that ended, I decided to keep the service to help me manage my various social media projects, the blog, and more. At that time, it was $10/month, a good deal.
In 2014, the price increased to $50/month which was a huge leap for me, but the service was incredibly useful to me in managing all these projects and I had some occasional paying clients to help offset the expenses.
Then, the price increased to $99/month. There were lots of new benefits, but it was out of my price range. Fortunately, Buffer decided to create a legacy plan and kept many of us at the $50 price point without some of the additional bells and whistles.
It proved a good fit for me – I can manage my own projects, projects for others that I support, and community projects I support. I’m not using all of the bells and whistles, but I can do a nice job at this price point.
Like all good things, this will come to an end in October when the legacy plans are eliminted, forcing us to pay either $99 or to go back to the free version which has no bells, no whistles, and nothing shiny attached. I’ll stay until the bitter end, but I can’t justify $1200/year for social media software. There’s a low-traffic option that serves 8 accounts and up to 100 preloaded links with 1 user and a second tier at $65 that also allows 8 accounts but 2 users and 2,000 posts BUT it is still more expensive than my current plan. That might help me limp along, but not comfortably. No one feels good about losing resources, while paying more.
I’m very sad about this. The folks at Buffer have been a genuine pleasure to work with over the years – I’ve had countless challenges with both the website and the app, but they always respond and figure it out.
Using social media to schedule shared links is immensely valuable to me. I use the tool almost daily to distribute content that I think will be valuable to others, content that I could not share robustly without the tool. The convenience of using one tool is profound. The simplicity is actually beautiful and I can measure my impact with the analytical tools.
I’ve also used Buffer to teach many other people how to add social media sharing to their business or community project. It is flexible to allow for team work and collaboration. The reports about impact are very easy to understand.
I can’t find an elegant solution to replace Buffer so most likely I will simply stop sharing the vast majority of the content I typically post. I could put them in a blog post, of course but I’d still have to share that and find a hook to get people to click to the post and then click to the link – that seems cumbersome and is certainly far too time-consuming. I am not interested in drawing people to the blog with some sort of click-bait tactic; I want to disseminate and signalboost valuable information directly from the source.
So that this looks like for me is going down to just sharing links via Twitter. Instagram is almost useless with the word lesbian in my user name and URL. Facebook is immensely valuable, but I can just share a few links by hand.
I don’t really blame Buffer for shedding the small folks. They were gracious to give us any sort of grace period, but I can’t help but grieve that social media sharing will become the exclusive realm of the monied and corporate folks. Community groups and grassroots projects will be left to shift for ourselves until someone else sees our untapped market potential. I hope.
I’ve used HootSuite and Tweetdeck. If you have a suggestion for me, let me know please.