Buffer vs Hootsuite: The Social Media Scheduling Showdown
Anyone who uses social media understands that your brand is only as relevant as your most recent post. It is important for companies to post regularly to ensure that they are on their customer’s radar as they scroll through their streams/newsfeeds/timelines daily. However, requiring some poor individual to stay glued to a device to post content is not only cruel, its unnecessary. There are plenty of tools available that not only help you post content, but also analyze how it performs. There are a wide variety of options available, but I am focusing on the most popular. Our showdown: Buffer vs Hootsuite.
Social Media Channels
While both platforms can post to the standard social media websites there are some differences. Buffer can post to Pinterest, while Hootsuite can post to WordPress, which depending on your business could influence you to pick one over the other. Hootsuite’s website boasts that it can connect to over 35 popular social networks through apps and extensions.
Instagram is marked with an asterisk for both, because their strict restrictions, prevent the use of any 3rd-party applications. This means that instead of posting on a schedule, the platforms send a notification to remind you to post your content. It is kind of a pain, but has become increasingly simple with Instagram’s new draft feature.
Both platforms support the most commonly used web browsers through extensions (Buffer or Hootlet). In addition, Hootsuite has a plethora of apps that can also tie into the platform.
Both programs offer a variety of features. I have broken these down into comparable categories: publishing/content, analytics, teamwork and extras.
In our Buffer vs Hootsuite showdown this section is an even tie. Both applications can schedule posts easily. Hootsuite, however, has more content generation software, while Buffer focuses on scheduling.
Even though Buffer can only analyze the content posted through the platform, the analytics are easier to understand. Simple but clear is preferred over extensive and confusing. Plus, their analytics are included in the subscription price. While Hootsuite can analyze more aspects of your social networks, users find the analytics to be confusing. Besides, Hootsuite limits the number of reports you can receive and uses a complicated point-system to order more. A set number of reports and points are included in your monthly subscription, but additional cost extra.
Hootsuite is better if you have a large group of people that need access to your social media channels. Hootsuite offers customizable permissions that can be set based on role, team, or members. In contrast, Buffer only offers manager and contributor permissions. So certain users can only contribute to the Buffer feed, and then every post must be approved by a manager.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite have free packages that include limited features. They restrict it to one user and a select number of profiles (Buffer at one per platform, Hootsuite at three profiles total). Buffers packages include most features at all price points. The price increases based on the size of the team and the number of profiles you need to attach. Hootsuite includes more features, users, and profiles as the price goes up. The price caps at $99.99, but there is a customizable enterprise option which sets its price based on the features you customize.
Buffer has two additional programs available. Pablo is an image generating tool. It lets you search for images that can be used on social media without worrying about copyright infringement. It also allows you to customize the image based on the channel it is being shared on, plus you can add and format text. It is a really easy way to create some quality images with stats or quotes to draw attention to your content.
Buffer also recently launched a program called “Respond,” which is a “social customer service software for support teams.” It is clear that social media is becoming central for all communication. Therefore, it is important that your support team can also use these networks to communicate with customers. Respond gathers mentions, direct messages, and hashtags regarding support requests. Your support team can then assign conversations and view the profile of who they are talking too, for a comprehensive overview. However, this is a separate package with an additional subscription fee.
Hootsuite offers “Campaigns,” an easy-to-use growth marketing program. It can be used across multiple platforms and enables brands to build themselves with user generated content and easily host contests. It can also help generate leads while engaging and growing your existing audience. It is included in the price for some but not all of the available packages.
Hootsuite also has “Amplify,” a program aimed at company social media growth through employee advocacy. The platform on-boards employees easily so they can share your content with their friends. Plus, these employees add credibility to your brand and their sharing extends your reach to new audiences. They also offer a program called “Insights,” a tool to help companies understand the attitudes surrounding their brand. It also tracks trends and conversations on a variety of websites. Of course, while Amplify and Insights are both great products, neither are included in subscription costs.
Buffer vs Hootsuite: The Take-Away
Buffer and Hootsuite are both great tools for companies looking to take control of their social media. In the end, deciding which is the best depends on your company’s needs. Buffer is a simple content publishing platform that includes some useful analytics. In contrast Hootsuite is a complex all-encompassing social media management platform. Both offer a variety of price points based on the number of profiles you need to attach, the size of your team, and the features you want. It is important to consider all of these things when deciding which program is right for your company.
In regards to our buffer vs hootsuite showdown, I prefer Buffer because it is easy to use and includes all the features I need. Working at glassCanopy we use other programs to track analytics and having the ability to keep our own tracking in Buffer makes it easier to integrate with those other programs. Plus, I like to easily be able to tell which streams need more posts scheduled on the dashboard.
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