Buffer vs Hootsuite: A Comparison of the Best Social Media Management Tools
June 21, 2021 Rudra Kumar
Having a social media presence is a de-facto requirement for any business today. Be it Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter – it makes a world of difference if your company has an online presence on these platforms. But managing multiple social media accounts and manually posting on these platforms can prove challenging and time-consuming. Time is of the essence here, and you should not be wasting any. Using the best social media management app can help.
By providing you with an integrated platform for scheduling and publishing content across different social media platforms, tools like Buffer and Hootsuite have simplified the struggles of handling social media. Both are excellent tools and come with their features, benefits, and unique value propositions.
In this blog, we will examine the pros and cons of using Hootsuite and Buffer, then execute a feature comparison between the two social media management tools to help you identify the one that works best for you. Let’s begin.
What is Hootsuite?
HootSuite is a social media marketing and management dashboard. Using this tool, marketers can manage multiple social media accounts in one place and curate & schedule content for publication on different social platforms. Hootsuite also features an easy-to-use dashboard that marketers can use to manage team members and measure return on investment (ROI).
What is Buffer?
Buffer brands itself as a simple social media tool for authentic engagement. It is a content publishing platform that allows users to publish media on different social media sites. If you’re looking for a free social media posting tool, then there’s no app like Buffer.
Pros & Cons of Hootsuite:
You won’t find free social media management tools that are half as good as Hootsuite. Even the free version comes with excellent functionalities and integrations with ten prominent social sites, making it one of the most versatile social media management software in the online space.
Read on to uncover the potential benefits and drawbacks of using a tool like Hootsuite.
Pros of Hootsuite:
Listed below are the benefits of using the Hootsuite social management tool:
- Unique App Directory: Unlike other integrated social media management platforms, Hootsuite features a unique app directory providing access to more than 100 apps, including Google Drive, SoundCloud, YouTube and SalesForce that are not available in the default list.
- Access to many social networks: From Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to Foursquare, WordPress, and lesser-known sites like Mixi; Hootsuite gives you access to uncountable social media platforms in one single integrated platform.
- All-in-one Interface: Hootsuite has an easy-to-use, all-in-one interface which is neatly organized using tabs and streams. Using streams, you can segregate content within each social network. You can have one stream for posts, another for home page, and yet another for direct messages.
- Posting/Publication Interface: Publish content anywhere, anytime. In Hootsuite, you can easily browse over to the ‘Compose message’ or ‘Send to’ fields, click on the social media website you would like to post in and schedule the content for publication.
- Advertising Feature: Executing your organization’s social media management strategy becomes effortless with Hootsuite’s advertising feature. You can bring your marketing visions to life by deploying its ad creation and management capabilities.
Cons of Hootsuite:
Listed below are the drawbacks of using the Hootsuite social management tool:
- Confusing Interface: While the multiple app success is a boon for many, it can also prove to be incredibly confusing and overwhelming to work with. The presence of too many social networks and profiles on the interface can throw you off if you’re not well-versed with the platform.
- Optimal platform usage is challenging: Amongst others, Hootsuite offers various features such as app directories, analytics, contact integrations, and assignments. Understanding all of its features may take time and prolong optimal usage of this platform.
- Increasing Costs: Adding more than one member to your team and accessing several analytics reports and apps in the app directory may require additional payment. As a result, the overall cost of using this platform may increase over and above the monthly subscription charge.
Pros & Cons of Buffer:
There are a lot of free social media scheduling tools online, but there isn’t one like Buffer. With the free version, you can schedule and publish posts on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – which is more than enough if you’re a small organization with a limited social presence.
But don’t let us decide for you. Read on to learn the pros and cons of using Buffer.
Pros of Buffer:
Listed here are the benefits of using the Buffer social media management tool:
- Great for Analytics: Buffer Analytics helps you track your best and worst performing posts based on engagement, reach, and post type. You can also export this data for further analysis.
- Easy Link Tracking: Tracking traffic generated from social media shares using bit.ly links, and buff.ly & j.mp files is effortless with Buffer.
- Simple UI: You don’t have to be a distinguished social media manager to know how buffers work. The platform has an incredibly user-friendly interface that makes it incredibly easy to work with.
- Easy Scheduling: One click is all it takes to schedule content and share posts on different social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.
- Free Image Creation Tool: Buffer has an in-built image creation tool called Pablo, which is a great add-on feature for people looking for quick creatives to post alongside their content.
- Multiple Post Scheduling/Day: Schedule multiple social media posts in one day for different social media platforms becomes a hassle-free possibility with Buffer’s paid version.
Cons of Buffer:
Listed here are the drawbacks of using the Buffer social media management tool:
- Failed Publications: You might find that your scheduled posts might bounce, resulting in failed posting. This problem may be because of the social platform itself. But it becomes extremely challenging to troubleshoot this problem, making manual posting a lucrative approach.
- No Tool for Tracking Mentions: Social media is all about engagement and quick responses. Since Buffer does not monitor mentions, time-appropriate engagement is not possible with this platform, requiring you to directly access relevant social media platforms.
- Minimal App Integrations: The choice of publication on social media sites is a bit limited with Buffer.
Buffer vs Hootsuite: A Comparison
Whether you choose Buffer or Hootsuite primarily depends on what features and functionalities you are looking for in your social media management software.
While some organizations will prefer a simple social media managing software with essential functions, enterprise-level businesses with multiple social accounts might desire a more expansive and versatile social media management software for their requirements.
Here’s a table encapsulating the unique features of both platforms:
|Pricing||Buffer’s Business Plan stands at Rs.7,400/- per month.||Hootsuite’s Business Plan stands at Rs.45,000/- per month.|
|Supported Social Networks||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest.||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress, and YouTube.|
|Advertising||No scope for creating or managing ads on Buffer.||Hootsuite allows you to create and manage ad campaigns.|
|Ease-of-use & Dashboard Experience||The Buffer dashboard is UI-friendly and easy to use and operate.||Multiple options, tabs, and social app integrations make Hootsuite a bit complicated for the average user.|
|Team Management||Buffer allows you to manage teams and give access to team members.||Ideal for larger organizations, Hootsuite allows you to create teams, team members, and organizations. You can also give access to some of your social accounts to users outside your organization.|
|Conversation Management||Buffer’s messaging app called Buffer Reply integrates with Slack and provides instant notification. It allows you to reply to messages instantly from one collaborative team inbox.||The Hootsuite dashboard comes with in-built tabs that allows you to monitor replies, mentions, and messages.|
|Tracking & Analytics||Analytic features come with a paid plan. No analytics for free users.||Hootsuite offers basic analytics for its free users.|
|Security||2-step authentication via an SMS text and a Google Authenticator for double security.||SSO (single sign-on) that allows automatic log-in from a company device, thus preventing unauthorized access from unrecognised personal device|
Supported Networks & Social Media Platforms
Here, we will evaluate the number of social media channels you can manage with both tools.
- Buffer: Using Buffer’s free version, you can publish content on four platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Using the Pro version, you can integrate eight social media accounts and publish content on these platforms.
- Hootsuite: Major social media apps like FB, IG, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc., are natively integrated. Moreover, you can integrate multiple premium apps by paying extra. Use Hootsuite if you want to manage all social media in one place.
The verdict: In terms of the number of supported networks offered by both platforms, Hootsuite emerges as the versatile platform with more options. However, if your online presence is limited to the social networks supported by Buffer, it does not make sense to use a complicated tool like Hootsuite.
Additional Read: Advantages & Disadvantages of Social Media
Scheduling and Publishing
The publication and scheduling feature of both social media post tools will be assessed here.
- Buffer: Scheduling content in advance of publishing it right away is possible with Buffer. You can also post content to multiple channels at once.
- Hootsuite: In addition to advanced scheduling and real-time publication, Hootsuite also offers other features like retweet, favorite, or respond to content. It is also one of the best apps for managing Instagram – making Hootsuite a highly potential platform for social media managers.
The verdict: When we consider the publishing and scheduling features of both these social media planning tools, Buffer and Hootsuite show similar capabilities.
Here, we will assess the reporting features offered by both tools.
- Buffer: Buffer shows you analytics of the posts you have published using Buffer. Content you post natively on individual social platforms or through other tools will not appear on Google.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite offers analytics of all your integrated social networks. It shows you the overall performance of your social networks and the individual content performance within each network. It will also help you track your social traffic through the Google analytics integration.
The verdict: If managing social media and tracking the success of each network is your goal, Hootsuite is a better choice. It emerges as the uncontested winner for on-platform analytics.
Plugins and Extensions:
A comparison of the list of additional tools, apps, and applications these platforms integrate with.
- Buffer: Buffer offers a long list of third-party app integrations, tools, and add-ons. Of the 29 extensions that you can use with Buffer, popular apps like Zapier, Sharpring, WordPress, CoSchedule, PicMonkey, etc., clearly stand out.
- Hootsuite: The Hootsuite App Directory currently hosts approximately 140 extensions and apps that you can use within Hootsuite. These applications help you track, monitor, and manage multiple from within the Hootsuite interface. Hootsuite’s main plugin Hootlet allows you to share content from anywhere on the web.
The verdict: Offering more plugins and extensions than Buffer, Hootsuite stands as the leading platform w.r.t. the number of plugins and extensions offered.
Here we will assess and compare the sign-in and platform security of Buffer and Hootsuite.
- Buffer: Buffer’s 2-step authentication via an SMS text and a Google Authenticator app tightens up security and deflects unauthorized sign-ins. Only you and the people you have approved can access your buffer account. Additionally, you can easily revoke sessions and APIs that you do not recognize to restrict access from devices you don’t remember using.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite supports SSO (single sign-on) that allows automatic log-in from a company device, thus preventing unauthorized access from unrecognized personal devices. Features like a double approval system for content publication and HTTPS setting control for securing user access and passwords keep the Hootsuite platform safe from security breaches.
The verdict: Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer unmatched sign-in and platform security that helps small and enterprise-level teams to manage their social media effectively.
Team Working Management
In this section, we will assess the team management functionalities that are offered by both platforms.
- Buffer: Considered ideal for smaller organizations, Buffer allows you to share your Buffer account with your team members. You can choose which social media accounts they have access to, allow them full posting rights, or even approve their posts before publication.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite is ideal for larger organizations and offers better options for team collaborations. You can create Team Members, Teams (groups of team members), and Organizations (groups of teams) on this platform. You can also give outside agencies access to one set of social media handles while your in-house team continues to manage the rest.
The verdict: Hootsuite is ideal for big businesses, whereas Buffer is suited for smaller organizations.
Ease-of-use & Dashboard Experience
We will deep dive into the ease of use functionality and dashboard experience of both platforms.
- Buffer: The clean and organized layout and easy-to-operate user interface make the user experience a delight with this platform. Even a beginner with no experience in using or managing tools will be able to use Buffer without much guidance.
- Hootsuite: That Hootsuite offers more integrations, and app integrations also means a more crowded dashboard. Getting to the content creation pages alone takes longer. All things considered, Hootsuite is not easy to use as it can potentially be.
The verdict: When compared to Buffer, Hootsuite is more complicated and harder to operate. So if you’re looking for a platform that is easy to use, we’d recommend Buffer.
Ad hoc posting options
Ad hoc posting can be defined as the option to post on the spot. Since social media is about creating trends and swiftly following up, we will now evaluate both platforms’ ad hoc posting functionality.
- Buffer: You can use Buffer’s chrome plugins to share or post content directly from your browser. Posting made simpler; all you have to do is click on the content to post it.
- Hootsuite: Similar to Buffer, you can post content using the Chrome plugin.
The verdict: Many blogs come with a native ‘share via buffer’ integration that makes it effortlessly easy for users to share content easily.
An analysis of the advertising features of both platforms will be considered here.
- Buffer: As of now, Buffer does not have an advertising functionality. You cannot create or manage advertisements using this platform.
- Hootsuite: As one of the only social media management tools that allow you to run advertisements. You can create and manage ad campaigns across multiple social media platforms using one integrated dashboard.
The verdict: If you want an all-in-one dashboard that allows you to manage your social accounts and run advertisements, then Hootsuite is the ideal social media management platform for you.
Conversation Management Options
In this section, we will compare the option for in-app response options provided by both platforms.
- Buffer: Buffer has a unique app called Buffer Reply that allows its users to respond to social conversations and resolve customer requests quickly. You can respond to support requests and social conversations from one collaborative inbox. Moreover, its unique Slack integration facilitates chat notifications when you receive a message or reply on your social accounts.
- Hootsuite: Coming to Hootsuite, you can easily create a unique tab with a column for your Twitter mentions, Facebook messages, and Youtube comments – and reply to all of them from one spot. However, most users have found Hootsuite.
The verdict: Buffer is an ideal choice for managing social media conversations in one integrated platform. The Buffer Reply is easy to operate and facilitates seamless communication.
We will now evaluate both social media management tools from the pricing perspective:
Buffer: The paid plans in Buffer has 3 options you can choose from, namely:
- Pro Plan: $15/month i.e. approximately Rs.1,120/month. It includes 1 user access, 8 social channels, and 100 scheduled posts.
- Premium Plan: $65/month i.e. approximately Rs.4,860/month. It includes 2 user access, 8 social channels, and 2,000 scheduled posts.
- Business Plan: $99/month i.e. approximately Rs.7400/month. It includes 6 user access, 25 social channels, and 2,000 scheduled posts.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite offers 4 plans with different pricing.
- Pro Plan: Rs.1260/month. It includes up to 10 social media profiles, unlimited scheduling, and one user access.
- Team Plan: Rs.6600/month. It includes everything in the Pro plan, 20 social media profiles, unlimited scheduling, and up to three users.
- Business Plan: Rs.45,000/month. It gives access to 5+ users, 35 social media profiles and many add-on benefits.
- Enterprise Plan: The price is not available on the website. After requesting a demo, the pricing information will be revealed to you.
The verdict: Analyzing both platforms from the pricing POV, Buffer proves to be considerably cheaper and more budget-friendly than Hootsuite.
Conclusion: Should you choose Buffer or Hootsuite?
In this blog, we have done a comprehensive analysis and comparison of Hootsuite and Buffer. Looking at both tools closely, we suggest that you go for Hootsuite if you are an established and enterprise-level business with a vibrant social media presence. Multiple app integrations and analytics are some of the options this platform offers to its users. On the contrary, if you are a startup, and looking to promote your business with social media marketing with negligible social media requirements, Buffer will more than suffice.
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