Social media sites are superhighways that are perfect for connecting with others, advertising, and building brand awareness. Most business owners will tell you that having a robust social media presence aids expansion and growth. I value social media platforms tremendously such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter because of the traffic flow to my website.
In 2013, I went on a hunt for a tool/service that would allow me to manage my social media activities efficiently. I didn’t want to operate from each profile or platform in isolation. Instead, I wanted to conduct my activities from a single dashboard. I found Hootsuite and have been using them since. The following year, I discovered Buffer and used them for awhile because of a content curation feature they had.
Hootsuite – Crunchbase description
- Hootsuite is the world’s most widely used platform for managing social media. Over 15 million users, including 800+ of the Fortune 1000.
Buffer – Crunchbase description
- Buffer helps users share social media content by scheduling online posts throughout the day.
Hootsuite and Buffer make the shortlist for top social media management platforms. Both tools enable and empower users to manage activities across multiple platforms from a single dashboard. Both companies offer free accounts with limited features. For this comparison, I’ll assess which company offers the best value for their lowest priced plan, that is, Hootsuite Pro and Buffer Pro.
1) Number of Profiles You Can Connect – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: up to ten profiles
- Buffer: up to eight profiles
2) Supported Networks – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+
- Buffer: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+
3) Apps and Integrations – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: 150+ apps through its app directory including Tumblr, VK, and other well-established software applications.
- Buffer: 70+ apps with Zapier doing most of the heavy lifting.
4) User Interface – Winner: Buffer
- Hootsuite: bulky and can get confusing
- Buffer: clean and minimal
5) Content Curation – Winner: Tie
- Hootsuite: share on the fly by creating search streams by hashtag, location, or keyword. Use the “Hootlet” browser extension to instantly post or schedule content from any webpage as you surf (without having to log in to your social accounts). RSS feed posting available.
- Buffer: easily add content to your queue with their browser extensions and mobile apps. RSS feed posting available.
6) Scheduling and Automation – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: keep your social presence active 24/7 by automatically scheduling posts to fill the gaps in your scheduled content. Bulk scheduling–save time and effort by uploading, editing, and scheduling hundreds (up to 350 posts per profile) of social media posts at once, in CSV format.
- Buffer: schedule posts for all of your social accounts and Buffer will publish them automatically, according to the posting schedule you put in place. Bulk scheduling–Buffer allows users to bulk schedule through an external app, but the maximum number of posts per profile is unclear.
7) Social Monitoring and Listening – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: find and filter social conversations by keyword, hashtag, and location—in multiple languages—to hear what people are saying about your brand, competitors, and industry. Capture more conversations with a wide selection of monitoring apps, letting you do everything from reviewing site ratings to tracking the tone of voice being used for your brand.
- Buffer: not available in pro plan. However, they do offer social monitoring through Buffer Reply, a separate product.
8) Analytics & Reporting – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: create and export custom reports that show your results with our social media analytics. See a clear, concise snapshot of your key Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter activity to track trends and measure growth. Access the largest collection of social analytics integrations and apps available, including LiftMetrix, Klarity Analytics, Crowd Analyzer, and others.
- Buffer: basic social analytics included. Users must upgrade to access advanced social analytics. Track engagement and interactions on the posts you’ve shared, so you can see how your content is performing across all your social accounts. App integration with Rival IQ.
9) Team Members – Winner: Tie
- Hootsuite: must upgrade to add users.
- Buffer: must upgrade to add users.
10) Ad Integration and Campaigns – Winner: Tie
- Hootsuite: must upgrade to access Hootsuite Ads and Adespresso by Hootsuite. You can create, manage, and optimize your Facebook and Instagram advertising.
- Buffer: not available.
11) User Training – Winner: Tie
- Hootsuite: blog, courses, webinars, resources, team training, and research
- Buffer: blog, guides, tutorials, case studies, webinars, and FAQ
12) Pricing and Free Trial Period – Winner: Hootsuite
- Hootsuite: from $19 monthly and a free 30-day trial
- Buffer: from $15 monthly and a free 7-day trial
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Hootsuite Pro is a powerful, all-in-one social media management tool whereas Buffer Pro is limited to fantastic scheduling capabilities. For a few extra dollars a month, you will get much more with Hootsuite. For more features, both companies offer small business and enterprise plans.