Why I’m on board with Buffer

Buffer and Hootsuite are two of the most well-known services for orchestrating communications across multiple social media accounts, and assessing their effectiveness through analytics.

Both are excellent offerings in their own right. Hootsuite is considered the larger of the two, with apparently more traction with large businesses.

But of the two, I’m squarely on board with Buffer. Here’s why.

An entirely different startup

Let’s cut to the chase. This article penned by their CEO made me a fan overnight.

In it, founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne elucidates in great detail and transparency the company’s financial path since its inception, noting that they’ve only gone through a single VC funding round, and a modest one at that. The total amount raised has been just shy of $4 million.

Compare that to Hootsuite, which has raised about $300 million to date over six funding rounds. Hootsuite is also over ten times larger than Buffer in terms of workforce size, according to Crunchbase.

But what Buffer has done as a business has been really remarkable. They’ve achieved consistent profitability through a delicate balancing act of moderating growth while maintaining financial prudence. They’ve gone well against the grain of typical startup behavior – raise big, spend big, grow big, lose money big – and then go back to investors for more cash to burn.

However, this also put him on a collision course with many of his investors with much more aggressive growth ambitions. It also led to the departures of his co-founder and CTO.

In the end, Gascoigne made the carefully thought decision to build up enough cash through Buffer’s earnings to buy out many of his investors, and ensure control of Buffer’s destiny. (Getting investors to agree to a buyout is no easy task given expectations for huge returns through an acquisition or IPO.)

Today, Buffer continues on a sustainable growth trajectory while being successfully profitable.

In this day and age of prominent online companies that are highly successful but rife with questionable integrity, it’s really refreshing to run into a company like Buffer.

Great customer interactions

Though I’m an active user and on their email list, I haven’t heard much from Buffer. That’s because they don’t spam you with e-mails. When they do reach out to you, it’s generally just a courtesy transaction email once you’ve scheduled or executed a social media post through their platform.

They’ll maybe reach out to you on occasion with something promotional, but nothing near what typical marketing companies send out (several times a week).

Here’s an email sent to me to inform that one of my attempted social media posts wasn’t successful, and a way to resolve it quickly. It’s a rare example of outstanding customer communication.

…but not a paying customer yet

I’m a little embarrassed to effuse praise while only on their free, limited service plan. The only reason is that I’m not yet working with paying clients to make a paid subscription worthwhile. But if and when that time comes… I’m all ready to jump onboard.