The Day Buffer Lost Their Title of King of Awesome

In the world of social media and cool startups, while all battle for buzz and hype, the king reigns supreme. Buffer, with their transparency, “true remote” jobs and overall spotless community management — and engagement — are sitting at the top.

What makes a startup try to be awesome?

Being awesome is not part of the business plan. Or is it?

Startups are businesses and, as such, need visibility, prospects and customers. This is achieved, partly through “swag” and community management which Buffer have brought to a new level from day 1.

Beyond the swag (which startup does not have a branded T-shirt on offer nowadays?), social media have also created a new way for companies to communicate and, more importantly, to engage with their community and more — with the whole world.

Buffer’s example

Buffer came out of the woods having understood social media better than most by having conversations with people, caring and replying to them.

Joel and Leo, the co-founders have built a company which looks like them and put together the template of what a startup culture should be — in my opinion, at least.

From a sheer swag point of view, the standards are also very high. Their T-shirts are not basic. The Buffer name and logo are clean and fit a tee quite well. The very fabric of the tees is also a solid 100% cotton making the perceived (and actual) quality high. Stickers follow the same idea. IF not original, they are of quality and go hand in hand with the tees.

Yet, Buffer’s best feat resides in the message. Not any catchphrase or marketing piece. Just in the actual hand-written message that you get with the swag, thanking you for supporting the brand and people behind it.

Humans to humans

Regardless of the brand or person, when it comes to engaging a community, delighting customers or just improving products, nothing beats a dialog. People are meant to speak to people. Or, at least, are looking for it.

Twitter, for example, is the best picture of it. A worldwide village square where to meet, greet, chat and engage with friends, acquaintances, colleagues or any random stranger “passing by”.

All hail the new king!

Buffer have been dethroned. Back to my main line, on this day, they have lost a battle. In a positive way as they have been beaten by a better opponent in the game of handwritten notes.

By the way, if that had not yet transpired, I am a believer of small tokens of appreciation and an advocate of handwritten notes by founders as much as possible (while not being stupid enough to think that you can still do it for each and every customer once your company is a worldwide success).

Let me let a few pictures do the talking for now.

Buffer’s card — front page
And the handwritten message from Buffer

Quite nice already and I really appreciated that it is not an “automated” typed note.

Then came the following:

Awwwwwwww.. Teary eye. Dust, only dust

With this Social Quant just beat Buffer to a pulp.

This is the single most amazing handwritten card I have ever received from a company. And I am still lost for words to express how nice this is.

While I reckon not every startup founder has 2 little angels on hand to spread some magic, Mike (Kawula — CEO of Social Quant) and the family have really gone the extra mile with creating a truly magic and unique card — and an even more amazing experience for me.

There is inspiration to be drawn from this awesome card but also a reminder that the shiniest swag may not do the job. What matter when it comes to managing and engaging the community (users, non-users and random strangers) is to actually care. And show that you care.

That is what Buffer do. That is what Mike and Social Quant have done in awesome fashion. And that is what every serious startup out there should strive to do.

On to you, impress me and try to beat the new King!