How to Grow a Startup from $0 to $5 million – Buffers’ Digital Marketing Strategy Exposed
How to Grow a Startup from $0 to $5 million – Buffers’ Digital Marketing Strategy Exposed

m sure most of you are familiar with Buffer, the tweet scheduling app that evolved into a social media scheduling app. Now the tool is viewed as a necessity, not only for startups, but for every business which aspires to do great content marketing and build a tribe for itself. With a yearly income of nearly $4 million, Buffer managed to become one of the best platforms to schedule, analyze and create social media strategies on all social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

What follows below is the reverse engineering of Buffer’s digital marketing strategy. We’ll try to uncover what strategy they used as a new startup and how they adapted it while growing their company and becoming a necessity for digital marketing agencies around the world.

 The BufferApp Story

Just like many other startups, the story starts in the college rooms of the United Kingdom, in which Leo Widrich and Joel Gascoigne set the building blocks of Buffer. Joel writes the code for the twitter scheduler and soon after that tells Leo about it. The idea seemed great to both Leo and Joel and so the partnership began. The marketing side of the business would fall in the hands Leo Widrich.

Being new to marketing, Leo started using content marketing as a way to promote the business. Buffer focused on blogs and social media with its marketing efforts. The first step was to gain an audience and win some notoriety for their tool.

As a result, Leo started to produce the content on his own and publish it on their newly created blog. During the first 10 months he wrote about Twitter, how to get more followers and how Twitter could be used for SEO purposes. He then started publishing with a frequency of 2-3 articles per month, but soon wrote 3-4 articles each week. After he produced some great pieces of content he reached out to other blogs and asked if their audience would be interested in similar articles.

The BufferApp SEO Strategy

Buffer didn’t use a traditional form of link building in order to reach the success they encounter today. What they’ve done is pure organic growth through content marketing and growth hacking. In this chapter we’re going to reveal the SEO metrics related to the digital marketing strategy in which Buffer has engaged.

What Kind of Content Does Buffer Publish

The types of content published on the buffer blog also changed as time went on. It had two important switches throughout time. I did mention above that initially the blog content focused on articles about Twitter. Being a Twitter scheduler app it was Buffer’s way of creating a reliable and relevant tribe.

The first switch appeared with the integration of Facebook and LinkedIn in the scheduler. The blog focused then on a variety of topics from the social media world. This isn’t to say that other Twitter articles weren’t published, but the authors also tackled some business development and growth on social media topics as well.

The last content switch happened with the publication of the Content Marketing Manifesto. This made Buffer’s writers to target influencers also, rather than only relevant users. The topics now were more focused on business, psychology and overall light topics. This quadrupled the social response, articles that usually averaged 250 twitter shares, managed to reach 1,000.

Social Signals vs. Links Correlation

When a company engages in a content marketing strategy it has a variety of metrics to follow: the social traction a piece of content generates, the amount of backlinks the articles produce and even the comments produced for each piece. Each of these metrics is worth following individually but when you have multiple data points from each one you can study how they correlate on each social platform.

Let me first explain what the charts below represent. It’s a correlation between the social media activity for a blog post and the amount of links pointing to that article. It’s a very important metric to study in order to find out if the increased social sharing leads to gaining more backlinks for the website. The data are also used to see which type of content generates more backlinks and which type of content generates the most traction in social media.