The Beginning Wow: 3 Things You Can Learn from Buffer


Buffer facilitates sharing. Its tagline – “A Smarter Way to Share” – reveals its mission. If you are (or want to be) a thought leader, have a multi-pronged social media presence, or just seek a pretty way to share information, Buffer can help with that.

Recently, I read about Buffer and  signed up for it. This is not uncommon – I sign up for stuff all of the time. Mostly, it’s like Aunt Helen’s fruitcake and I keep it around just long enough for survivor guilt to diminish. Then I forget all about it.

Buffer is different. Since I signed up for it earlier this week, I’ve installed the Chrome extension, read and subscribed to their blog, watched multiple tutorials on it, and {gasp} actually used it. What makes this worth writing about is the why behind that. Buffer has the beginning wow down, and we can all learn something from the way they do things.

1. Make onboarding simple.

Whether you are trying to get a student interested in a new course, a child interested in a new family venture, or a client interested in a new product, one key is to make getting on board as simple as possible. This is not just the actually signing  up – lots of people have figured that out. This means making it clear what they can expect from it, and it means creating the culture of the thing right off the bat.

Everything has a culture – families, schools, and businesses. In general, people do not like a cultural bait-and-switch where we think we’re going to get a kinder, gentler culture, and we end up with something unwieldy and unfriendly.

When you visit Buffer, you see this screen. Notice the calming colors, the use of white space, the ocean scene. Everything combines to make you think this will be simple, yet powerful. And it is.


Take Away: If you want someone to buy into something, make it easy and attractive to join in, and then have integrity of product. Don’t promise one thing and deliver something else. Even if your something else is good, it will alienate your client, student, or kid.

2. Be Above and Beyond Welcoming.

When I signed up for Buffer, I got this email:

I’m guessing it’s not every day that you sign up for a new service. That’s why I want to make sure everything is in place for you to feel welcome and at home. On the slightest whim, please drop us a line or Tweet us @buffer.

I hope you have already got the gist of using Buffer. If there is just one single tip for getting the most out of it, I’d say try the browser extension. I think you’ll love it. It’s a terrific way to amaze your friends and followers with awesome content you find on the web. Whenever you find something you want to share, click the Buffer icon in your browser. That’s it.

One last thing I want to say is that the whole team are always around, almost 24/7, to reply to your emails. In fact, you can just hit reply to this email or any others you receive from us. Whether you need help, have ideas or just want to say “hello,” we’ll get back to you within a few hours.

 Joel and the Buffer Team

Don’t you love that? Okay, I get it. In today’s world, anyone can make even the most canned of responses seem fun and quirky, but here’s the secret: very few people do. You can really stand out (in a good way) if you are willing to go the extra mile on welcome. Like Joel and the Buffer Team here. (But Joel, let them go home.)

Take Away: Think about how you welcome people, and then think about how you can Buffer-ize that welcome. Can you add some humor? Can you make the impersonal personal? Can you add a user tip? Can you get rid of the “this email doesn’t accept replies” mentality?

3. Be a Happiness Hero.

So I actually wrote to Buffer, sharing how much I appreciated their welcoming letter. And I got this back:

Hi there Lisa,

Wow, it’s so awesome to hear from you, thanks for taking the time to reach out to us! It makes me really happy to hear that you’re enjoying Buffer so far. I loved getting to learn a little about what you do and your mission with reading, writing, and thinking! If there’s anything we can do to help or if if you have any thoughts on how we could make Buffer a more powerful tool for you, we would love to hear from you. 🙂

I hope you have a great day and an awesome rest of the week!


Patrik Ward

Happiness Hero

Here’s what Buffer did right: they followed through. They were aligned with the message they sent in their opening volley. They actually meant it. This is the thing called authenticity. The word is overused, but unfortunately the trait is not.

Cool titles are popular right now (even my day job title “Youth & Education Ambassador” is a little frou-y), but who can’t get behind the idea of a Happiness Hero? And here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter what Patrik’s on-paper job elements are, he’s there to make people happy. And I think you can tell that makes Patrik a little bit happy, too.

Take Away: No matter your role, decide that your new title is Happiness Hero. Broaden your idea about who you are there to make happy. Try it in a small way first if you like. The next time you go to a store, imagine that you are the store’s Happiness Hero. Smile. Share. Reach out. Guess who gets happiest? Aw, you guessed.

So thanks, Buffer, for reminding us how to Wow and the importance of the Beginning Wow.You gained a fan.

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