Powered by Happiness – That is Buffers mission statement & it is apparent throughout every aspect of their business that they value HAPPINESS!
When your company represents your founders, embraces transparency, provides value to its customers & has amazing customer service they deserve to be celebrated! I don’t work for buffer; have no incentive to promote them other than the fact I believe they are setting the bar that all startups, companies and brands will follow….
Here are the 5 characteristics that most startups talk about doing while Buffer is actively doing them and transparently leading the way!
5 characteristics of Buffer:
- Passionate, Engaged Leadership
- Transparent culture, business plan & employee salaries
- Thought leader content & promote others content
- Customer Service & Social Listening Team that is part of the community
- Lastly, offer a great product/service
1. Passionate & Engaged Leadership
Joel Gascoigne & Leo Widrich are not only active in the buffer community but they both contribute to the Buffer company blog as well their own blogs while also engaging & answering questions across all social media platforms. They are creating content & engaging while also leading a bleeding edge startup in the competitive world of social media software. As a customer and fan you can tell that Joel & Leo are leading by example! I recommend subscribing to their email feeds and following them across all social networks.
2. Transparent Culture & Business Plan & Employee Salaries:
Times are changing and “Transparency” is currently the buzz around culture, personal branding and leadership and more companies will start to embrace it as more employees and millennial’s demand it and take over the workplace. Transparency is a scary thing for many companies but it allows for authentic collaboration without the need to lie or hide facts about the company or employees that might create barriers and slow down innovation. If you want your employees to believe in your company and share the passion of your founders than you must show that you trust in them and remove all barriers by opportunity in a completely transparent way.
Buffer not only embraces and preaches transparency but they are constantly finding new ways to share everything and anything they can about all aspects of their company. Not only does this prove that they are not afraid to be different but they are also pushing the boundries of what companies are willing to do to create a culture of collaboration and authenticity which are the values most job seekers are looking for in today’s world of work.
This business model doesn’t come with some scrutiny and growing pains for Buffer I am sure, but the end result must be worth it as Buffer is transparently living out their vision showing us that they are truly powered by happiness!
3. Thought leader content & promote others content
In 2014 “Content is King” but with every brand and company having company blogs and branded social media accounts there is a flood of content. The key to standing out from this flood is creating compelling content and making it relative to your audience; thus providing them value. Buffer content covers a wide range of topics: product focused content, guest bloggers insights, inspiring life hacker pieces, world of work & company culture tips as well as sharing and posting content from thought leaders and industry experts outside of the Buffer company.
Buffer is one of the few brand accounts I follow on social media & their blog is one I check daily!
On top of this great content being created by all employees including the founders they added a feature to their browser called “Suggested” that is 5 tailored posts that you can easily add and share and I have yet to find a day where I didn’t find one of the posts worth sharing!
4. Customer Service & Social Listening team that is part of the community
At Buffer they say its all about HAPPINESS and they don’t hide it.. Their customer service team members have titles with the word happiness in them but every engagement is upbeat and happy & like all companies they are asking & listening for feedback but every person in the company make you feel like they care about the good and bad feedback & they are always happy!
On top of the “company employees” they have empowered guest bloggers and community advocates to share tips, provide third party feedback and promote all aspects of Buffer. While your reading this my guess is your thinking to yourself “Wow I wish my company did this..” well Buffer is hiring by the way..
An example of how Buffer the leader in customer service on social:
I had planned on writing about Buffer for awhile but today I was inspired to finish it thanks to the AMAZING example of Social Media customer support I experienced with Mary one of Buffers’ “Happiness Hero’s.”
See the picture to the left, I tweeted a recommendation to the Buffer twitter account about their product and within 1 min (see time stamp) Mary replied with a happy response. I then added a second recommendation because like all customers I am not shy with my opinion. Mary immediately responded with a link to a guide that she thought might help me. Mary sent me a link for a guide but she also knew me well enough to say that the guide was “Not super intuitive” showing that she understood the problem & knew the guy was just a temporary solution. I am not a huge fan on “Best Practice Guides” or “FAQ’s” but this guide “Guide from Buffer: Email to Buffer” was extremely helpful and was customized with my handles and information within the screenshots! Now that is what I call a useful guide!
This is just one example of the real-time, friendly, informative customer support conversations I have had with the Happiness team at Buffer over the last couple months.
Buffer is doing customer service the right way by being engaged and part of the community showing that they care, they are listening and they value feedback!
5. Lastly offer a great product/service
Every startup wants to have a great product and/or provide a great service but many startups and enterprises forget the simple fact:
Your product is nothing without customers & a community. In the digital world we live in today passion, culture, content, customer service & social engagement separates the good startups from the Great ones!
Buffer TRANSFORMED my social media engagement level when they released their Social Media Scheduling app; as it allowed me to schedule posts across all social networks at specific times, that I determined were best for my audience. Before Buffer I would share my thoughts and links whenever I was reading the content, which was usually between 11pm-2am Arizona time. With buffer analytics I was able to monitor and tweak my posting to test different headlines, times and content that I shared. This was a game changer for me as my community grew and I was able to understand what did and didn’t work for my audience.
By incorporating buffers iPhone app & browser plugins into my workflow; social sharing became an integrated step in my day-to-day consumption of knowledge.
In a future post I will share how I have integrated Buffer into my personal branding workflow as well as my enterprise social account management workflow. I also will provide tips and tricks including how I configured a recipe with the IFTT app allowing me to add content to my “read later” (Pocket) and then have it added to my buffer without spamming my followers!
It wasn’t by accident that I put “Buffer the product” as last on the list because in my opinion they have created a brand and community that is far more than the product they created!
Lastly if your reading this as a startup or someone who is thinking about creating a startup I recommend you try to mirror the values of Buffer: