The Buffer Suggestions Phase

The Buffer Suggestions Phase

I first started using Buffer in late 2013 for a startup I was working on. My team and I saw amazing increases in engagement on Twitter and other channels.

When I heard a few months ago from a friend that Buffer was phasing out their suggestions feature and I instantly started pushing content through the SteveIQ Twitter accounts to collect as much data as I could.

Over the course of August and October, I collected each Social Media Report Card sent while using Buffer’s “awesome” plan.

Social Media Report Card from August 24 – August 30

1

Increasing the engagement of the SteveIQ following by 5,000% is impressive.

10,000% is basically unheard of. This was at the beginning of the push so the growth rate was much higher. When going from 0 to super engaged the beginning will always have high growth rates. The true test is if you can maintain it over the following weeks.

I wanted to test what would happen if I slowed the quantity of suggestions I was pushing out by 10% for the highest performing accounts.

After decreasing the amount of content by roughly 10% on certain accounts.

Social Media Report Card from August 31 – September 6

3

Note the engagement numbers are still extremely high but the percentage isn’t through the roof.

This is healthy.

This healthy rate was maintained through the month of September.

The Social Media Report Card for September 7 – September 13

2

Social Media Report Card September 21 – September 27

Final push at the end of September given Suggestions was scheduled for death in October.

5

Social Media Report Card October 12 – October 18

This is the week that Buffer suggestions was completely phased out.

4

Buffer is an amazing company that cares deeply about transparency and their customers.

The move to phase out suggestions was a bold one. I say that because 100% of the Buffer users and fans I know only used the service for the suggestions feature.

However, this is a great display of what Buffer believes in and they’ve mentioned that the suggestions feature doesn’t align with their long-term mission.

So that bring the question of “Does Buffer’s cult-like following stay with the service?” Of course they do. 

People don’t use Buffer just because it’s a great product that can provide 10,000% increased engagement. There are dozens of products that have similar functionality in the market.

People use Buffer because of the beliefs and values the company maintains behind the product.

To show you, Buffer stands behind here’s 10 values:

1. Choose Positivity and Happiness
  • You strive to approach things in a positive and optimistic way
  • You avoid criticizing or condemning team members or users
  • You avoid complaining
  • You let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong
  • You are deliberate about giving genuine appreciation
2. Default to Transparency
  • You take pride in opportunities to share our beliefs, failures, strengths and decisions
  • You use transparency as a tool to help others
  • You always state your thoughts immediately and with honesty
  • You share early in the decision process to avoid “big revelations”
3. Have a Focus on Self Improvement
  • You are conscious of your current level of productivity and happiness, and make continual changes to grow
  • You have a higher expectation of yourself than Buffer does of you
  • You regularly and deliberately do things that make you feel uncomfortable
  • You practice activities and develop habits that will improve your mind and body
4. Be a “no-ego” Doer
  • You don’t attach your personal self to ideas
  • You let others have your best ideas
  • You approach new ideas thinking “what can we do right now?”
  • You are humble
  • You always ship code the moment it is better than what is live on our site – no matter what
5. Listen First, Then Listen More
  • You seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • You focus on listening rather than responding
  • You take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong
  • You are suggestive rather than instructive, replacing phrases such as ‘certainly’,’undoubtedly’, etc with ‘perhaps’, ‘I think’, ‘my intuition right now’
6. Have a Bias Towards Clarity
  • You talk, code, design and write in a clear way instead of being clever
  • You over-communicate, repeating things more times than you would intuitively
  • You use more words to explain, even if it feels obvious already
  • You don’t make assumptions, you instead ask that extra question to have the full picture
7. Make Time to Reflect
  • You deliberately find time for reflection, because that’s where your life-changing adjustments come from
  • You have a calm approach to discussions and ponder points in your own time
  • You find time to jump out of the trenches into the higher level thinking that will move the needle
  • You understand the value of patience and treat it as a muscle which needs practice to grow
8. Live Smarter, Not Harder
  • You value waking up fresh over working that extra hour
  • You always aim to be fully engaged in an activity, or resting
  • You single task your way through the day
  • You are at the top of your game, as you focus on expanding capacity of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy
  • You choose to be at the single place on Earth where you are the happiest, and most productive, and you are not afraid to find out where that is
9. Show Gratitude
  • You regularly stop and are grateful for your circumstances
  • You are grateful for the work co-workers do to push the company forward and help you move faster
  • You approach customer conversations with humility and the knowledge that it’s a privilege to serve these people
  • You have gratitude for platforms, tools and open source that laid the foundation for the possibility of the company: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton
10. Do the Right Thing
  • You choose what’s best for customers and the company in the long-term
  • You correct the mistake even when no one would notice
  • You strive to provide the best solution, even if that means foregoing profit
  • You get excited about opportunities to help others

I hope the data I collect mixed with the values above drives you to use Buffer.