Starting a business has never been easier than it is right now, but it also has never been harder to succeed in today’s super competitive world.
A strong online presence has quickly changed from being a good thing that your business can succeed without needing it, to becoming a strong advantage that can bring in success, to a must that your business will most probably suffer without.
All of that happened so quickly and so swiftly, thankfully, a number of Social Media Marketing tools have popped up to help businesses manage their online presence. Hootsuite and Buffer are two of the best, and today we are going to put them in a head to head comparison to help you figure out which one is the best for you.
Buffer VS Hootsuite – a Quick Overview
You are probably familiar with what Buffer and Hootsuite are, but just in case you need a refresher, let’s quickly recap what each of these are, who is it for, and what does it do.
I’m sure you know that both Buffer and Hootsuite are excellent online social media management tools. They both take different approaches with the same goal: allow you to manage your social media presence and share content on different social media sites.
- Buffer is mainly a content publishing platform that allows you to publish and schedule content sharing on multiple social networks easily and efficiently
- Hootsuite is a social media management platform. It allows you to manage the difference social media channels you have and delegate tasks to your team members.
Technically speaking, Hootsuite is considered a more comprehensive tool than Buffer. It offers more features, more integrations, and supports more platforms. Hootsuite also offers more analytics. However, everything has its price and, as you probably already know, they both have different pricing plans with different features.
1- Ease of Use
Buffer has a simple interface and acleaner-looking layout that makes using it pleasant. The solution uses a modern design language that makes it more pleasing to the eyes.
Hootsuite is also easy to use and clean-looking.
Even though both solutions are easy to use, and both don’t have a sharp learning curve in order for the user to make the most out of them, Buffer still wins this round.
The reason Buffer wins this one is that, at least at the time of writing this article, Buffer has a slightly cleaner layout and more pleasant visuals.
However, you would be happy with either, so this shouldn’t play a huge factor in your decision-making process.
This one is a bit tough. You see, both of them offer very similar features, but we are going to do our best to illustrate the differences.
Buffer offers plenty of useful features. You can customize scheduling by platform, profile, or day. You can post multiple posts, tweets, and other formats of media online. You can easily manage your profile and share it.
Buffer also gives you excellent Social Analytics and deep insights that should help you make better informed business decisions. Stats comparison is another great feature that should help you benchmark your progress against competitors.
You also get standard features such as team collaboration, content sharing via a plugin, standard buffering, and more.
Hootsuite focuses more on the delivery of content rather than the customizability you have. You still can manage multiple campaigns and contributors, and Hootsuite campaigns allow you to build your campaigns and add some fun to it.
Tracking and analytics are excellent here as well, and it can even monitor mentions of your brand in discussions on different social media sites. Tracking trending topics by geocode is also very useful, and all of the data
Winner: Tie– Both offer very similar features and that makes it hard to choose a winner. Posting content and executing social media strategies can be done efficiently on both but a little bit differently.
You will have to decide what features do you really need and choose the best for you based on that.
3- Supported Social Networks
Thankfully, this one is easy. Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn support. However, Buffer support Pinterest while Hootsuite supports Pinterest
Also, Hootsuite offers additional integration with applications to add even more Social Networks such as Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, Vimeo, FourSquare, Flickr, VK, and more!
For the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) both will do fine, but with visual social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube rising so quickly (especially Instagram as YouTube has been atthe top for a while now), support for these networks can play an important role in the success of your business.
4- Social Monitoring & Listening
Buffer doesn’t directly offer social monitoring and listening, but it does offer it in a separate product called Buffer Reply.
Hootsuite does offer Social Monitoring and Listening.
You can find and filter conversations on social media by keyword, location, hashtag, and languages.
This allows businesses to learn what people are saying about their brand, industry, and competitors.
You can listen to more social conversations with the use of a wide offeringof monitoring apps that give you plenty of features.
These features give even power users everything they need from the solutions, it even allows brands to track the tone of brand voice on different social media networks.
Winner: Hootsuite.I think you can easily see why.
5- Reporting & Analytics
Buffer gives you all the data you need, but you have to know how to get to them. Unfortunately, you will need to click on each network to view them individually.
The reporting feature is okay with Buffer, but power users will find they need more data than the basic data offered by Buffer. The dashboard presence is also kind of weak.
Hootsuite delivers powerful reporting. It allows users to view the analytics of social media networks in the same view.
Hootsuite also offers more in-depth reporting features that will leave power users and numbers-drivenprofessional satisfied.
Hootsuite wins this round thanks to more powerful and in-depth reporting capabilities.
Buffer offers 5 different pricing plans that range from 0$ per month up to $399 per month. The main differences between those plans are the number of total social accounts available, the number of team members who can use the solution, and the allowed number of scheduled posts.
Their Individual plan is the free plan and it only gives you up to 3 social accounts and 10 scheduled posts, but you still get the browser extension, the video and GIF uploader, the Pablo Image creator that allow you to easily create customized contents, and more.
Unfortunately, there are still features you need to pay to get. For example, to get the very useful calendar, social analytics, and link shortening and tracking features you need to upgrade to their ‘Awesome’ plan which costs $10/month.
The three plans remaining only offer more social accounts, team members, and scheduled posts, as well as more advanced social analytics. So, if you are a small business who is just beginning, I think you will do just fine with their ‘individual’ free plan or their ‘awesome’ plan.
Hootsuiteoffers 4 pricing plans: Hootsuite offers 4 pricing plans, none of which is free, unfortunately. However, there is a 30-day free trial available for their professional and business plans, so you can test out the software and its features before making a commitment.
Unlike with Buffer, Hootsuite also limits the features you get according to which plan you choose. Even though their first paid plan – the ‘professional’ – plan costs $19/month, it still gives you only 1 user and 10 social profiles.
It does offer Bulk Scheduling and real-time analytics, but you don’t get team assignments, custom URLs, or publishing approvals. You also don’t get any of the ‘premium’ app integrations until you upgrade to their $499/month ‘Business Plan’, which is just disappointing.
Winner: Buffer. Even though they are close in pricing, Buffer’s free and ‘awesome’ plans are better for small businesses.
However, when it comes to the number of employees, you will need to pay a premium to add more users.
So, small businesses and startups should consider how many employees they are going to need using the program and which solution offers the moreeconomicalplan for them.
7- Devices Supported
Bufferis web-based and works on devices running Windowsand Mac OS.
Hootsuite is also web-based and works on devices running Windowsand Mac OS. However, they also offer mobile apps for devices running Android, iOS, and even Windows phone OS.
Winner: Hootsuite. The mobile applications make it easier to use the solution, especially on newer devices that can take full advantage of the features the apps provide.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite integrate with a wide variety of 3rdparty applications and services for added functionality, here are some of them in a quick side-by-side comparison
Buffer offers more than 70 integrations with third-party apps and services. This includes things like Twitter, WordPress, Feedly, Flare, Social Bro, Neatly, and many more. The number of integrations is okay, and the integrations themselves are fine.
The number, functions, and features of those integrations should be plenty for a small business, and we think most small businesses will do just fine with either solution, unless you want something very specific that Buffer doesn’t offer.
In this case, we think you should go with Hootsuite.
Hootsuite takes the cake here with more than 250 available integrations. This is large number by any measure, and it means that whatever other services or apps you need, you can probably find an integration for it with Hootsuite.
Hootsuite’s integrations involves those with Facebook, Evernote, MailChimp, Instagram, Reddit, Zendesk, SugarCRM, Pocket, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Marketo, Constant Contact, SurveyMonkey, StumbleUpon, SocialFlow, Vimeo, SocialPro, and WordPress.
Hootsuite is also always working on adding more integrations to meet the needs of their users and offer them extended functionality and extra features with these integrations.
Hootsuite not only offers more integrations, but also those integrations are more easily accessible. The integrations in Hootsuite are accessible through the app directory, which they are only accessible externally in Buffer.
However, it should be noted that IFTT gives Buffer more flexibility and a larger number of free integrations, which can be valuable for small businesses that are limited in-financial resources but has a skilled workforce.
9- Customer Support
Buffer only offers customer support via E-mail.
Hootsuite offers live support, a Ticket system, and training.
Winner: Hootsuite. It just offers more when it comes to customer support.
How to Choose the one for you?
As you could see, the two are quite different with different pros and cons.
Why Choose Hootsuite?
Hootsuite’s main strengths are the large list of supported social network, the huge list of available integrations, the social ads management features, and its stability and support for larger teams.
This makes Hootsuite a better choice for larger teams that already have a structure in place and know what they are doing.
Why Not to Choose Hootsuite
Their pricing is not very friendly to small businesses and neither is their dashboard.
Why Choose Buffer?
Buffer is more intuitive, more streamlined, and has a more friendly interface. Buffer is also more affordable and integrates with Pinterest. Their mobile support is also excellent.
We think these make buffer a better option for small teams that are just starting and are still trying to figure things out.
Why Not to Choose Buffer
Because buffer is considered as a ‘smaller tool’ than Hootsuite, it comes with limitations. Yes, the solution is intuitive and very easy to use, but it lacks some features, doesn’t support all the networks Hootsuite does, and its search functionality leaves much to be desired.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, share it with others who may find it useful as well!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
One more thing before you go. You may find this hard to believe, but even though we are in 2018 and social media have pretty much taken over the world, Email Marketing is still considered essential to most businesses. In fact, it is still the most effectivemarketing method. If you don’t already use an Email Marketing solution, we highly recommend taking a look at MailChimp.