Social network scheduling startup Buffer continues to grow, and is now on track to make over $1 million in annual revenue with over $100,000 coming in from clients per month. The company now has over 600,000 users, and over 10,000 paying users as of this month, signalling significant growth from December of 2012, when it had 400,000 total users, and a third of its current social shares per month.
The bottom line is that providing a service that makes it easy for brands to schedule and deliver their messages via social networks like Twitter and Facebook is fast becoming big business, especially as social media becomes a more widely accepted and important arm of any company’s public communications. I spoke to Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich, now back in San Francisco after a temporary visa issue sent him and his team back to Austria temporarily last year, about how the market has evolved.
Widrich says that they’re definitely seeing a big increase in the number and range of companies who want to have an active social media presence, and scheduled sharing is a key component of those efforts. The company also recently introduced a brand new integration with Feedly, which makes Buffer the default sharing method for content collected through your feeds. It’s a big integration win for Buffer, especially as Feedly moves into position as one of the top potential replacements for Google Reader, which could result in a very sizable new user pool.
Scheduled social media updates recently received a bit of scrutiny as brands dealt with the repercussions of having banal and sometime inappropriate content go out over Twitter and Facebook during the Boston Marathon incident. During any crisis, scheduled updates can appear incredibly insensitive, and that’s something Buffer is cognizant of and is working to help with.
“We’ve started to implement a universal pause switch,” Widrich says. “Before that, we would just tweet to people and explain how to turn it off, and people are always really appreciative of that, but we’ve heard a lot of feedback and we want to make that easier.”
Development on a one-click pause solution is underway, but Widrich says that regardless of whether you stop your scheduled updates or not, the key to helping make sure you’re being sensitive to anything going on is by acknowledging any mistakes on your part and doing your best to apologize for things that have gone out that maybe shouldn’t have. Generally speaking, he says users are understanding, so long as someone at the company takes some kind of responsibility for anything with potential to offend.
While Buffer is working away at that pause feature and other product developments, the company is happy with the relatively modest $400,000 seed round it raised in 2011, and Widrich says most of that is still in the bank. The startup’s revenue-generating powers are doing enough to help the company stay away from more outside funding, and that’s an ideal situation for Buffer for now.