If you read my blog post about new tools for Twitter users then you may already be aware of Buffer, a fine productivity app that helps me to schedule the content I choose to share on Twitter. It’s well worth a look.

I caught up with co-founder Leo Widrich, who focuses on customer experience and support at Buffer. He is also the marketing head who works on spreading the word about Buffer through blogging, social media and “other forms of hustle”. 

In one sentence, what is Buffer?

Buffer is a smarter way to share your Tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn posts, just drop them into your Buffer queue and it will automatically be schedule for you at a better time.

What problem/s does Buffer solve?

The key problem we want to solve, is that it is very hard to stay active consistently day in day out on social media. Instead of spending all day on social media sites to post great links and content for your followers and friends, just add them to your Buffer. Buffer will take care of the scheduling, posting and also analytics.

When and why did you launch it?

Buffer was launched in December 2010 out of Joel’s bedroom. After just three days, the first person started paying for it, that’s when Joel knew something was working and solving a need. 

The reason Joel initially built Buffer was to scratch his own itch. He was looking for a better way to post the great articles he read to his Twitter followers, that wouldn’t involve cumbersome individual scheduling with picking the date and time. That’s when he came up with Buffer, built it in seven weeks, launched it and then went from there.

Here is Joel’s story of how he did it.

Who is your target audience?

The people we found to make the best use of Buffer are consumers and small businesses. 

So, if you want to maintain your Facebook fan page with consistent postings in a hassle free way or just post regularly to your personal Twitter, Buffer seems to work extremely well. 

In short, if you just can’t afford to spend hours and hours on social media, just take 10 minutes every morning and fill up your Buffer and you are good to go. 

What are your immediate goals?

Right now, we are working on a lot of new integrations. A lot of our awesome users have approached us and said “Hey, I want to Buffer from inside this app, and from here also, and from this page as well”. 

So besides our browser extension for the web, which is our most popular feature, we are working with lots of other apps to get Buffer as a sharing option in there.

We are also keen to add other social networks, like G+ and Pinterest as soon as they release their APIs.

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Buffer?

I think the absolute biggest challenge was to test all of our assumptions from the start. Instead of just having the idea, coding it up and pushing it live, Joel said to himself “How can I validate this first?”. So instead of programming it up, he spoke to hundreds of people, whether Buffer would be something they would use. 

Validating and testing an idea, before you build it is one of the most important things and biggest challenges I believe.

How will the company make money?

The vast majority of our users are using our free version of Buffer, which we are very happy about.

If someone needs more than three social accounts or a large Buffer queue, then we have our $10/month Pro Plan, which anyone can buy.

Who is in your team?

We are a team of six right now with Joel (@joelgascoigne), Tom Moor (@tommoor), Andy Yates (@Andy383) Tom Ashworth (@phuunet), Alyssa Aldersely (@alyssaaldersley) and me (@leowid).

Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?

Our vision with Buffer is to become the most widespread social sharing app on the web, so you can share across all sharing sites, and from any device or location. 

Anytime you find something worth sharing on your favorite social network, we want to be the best solution for you to do so!

Other than Buffer, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

I’m using HelpScout.net for giving our users the best support possible. Others:

  • Ifttt.com (A great way to connect any 2 web services together, like Dropbox and Instagram)
  • Tweriod.com (It tells you the best times to Tweet based on an algorithm)
  • Getpocket.com (Formely ReadItLater, this awesome app lets you just add things to a list for reading offline or later)

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