Social media companies are always trying to find ways to drive growth in social media audience, engagement, and reach faster. Searching thru online tools to help run social media campaigns more efficiently can almost be a part-time job for a social media marketing agency.
There are over 280 social media management apps featured on social media tool rater G2 crowd alone. Once you sift through all the blogs and pitches to try out a social management tool that seems to have all the capabilities you need, you might be quick to find frustrating limitations.
Read this social media tool comparison to get an expert’s inside glance on two of the most popular social media management tools on the market: Hootsuite and Buffer. You’ll learn a valuable insight on what to expect and what to analyze when choosing the right social dashboard to manage your business’ social campaigns.
Buffer vs. Hootsuite: Which is Better?
Social Media Scheduling Features
Buffer’s scheduling feature allows you to preset posting times for each day so you only need to pick out the days you want you content to go out. As you fill up each day with content, Buffer will automatically fill each of the preset times with the content.
While this saves time from Hootsuite’s manual time scheduling, you still have to schedule the day for each social channel connected in Buffer. Once you schedule a piece of content in Hootsuite to post on multiple channels, you can change out the content posting time in one group instead of each channel.
While buffer’s scheduling saves time researching what time to send content out on any given day, the optimal times to schedule content for maximum reach can change every week. Which means Hootsuite wins this scheduling round with its efficient flexibility.
Social Media Content Curation
With Buffer, you can fill up your content queue manually or you can use the uniquely convenient “Feeds” tab. The “Feeds” tab allows you to add a link to a blog that posts content that would most likely appeal to your audience.
Whenever that blog publishes new content, a post of the content will pop up in the Feeds field ready for you to add to your queue for scheduling. As customizable as you can make this “Feed” field, curating your audience’s content to the mercy of a few blogs can put a limit on what your audience can be exposed too.
Hootsuite’s “Suggestions” tool allow you to search thru social media for a wide variety of blogs that feature engaging content that fits keywords of your choice. This feature saves a lot of time reading through news sites and blogs to give your audience content that relates to your industry. While it might take a couple of keyword searches through the suggestion tool to find some content winners, this tool still gives your audience the widest variety of engaging content
Social Media Analytics
What makes Buffer’s analytics shine is its focus on content performance. In addition to giving you the essential analytics like follower growth and reach, Buffer segments your past content to find out what content had received the “most clicks” or “most comments” over a certain span of time.
This allows you to hone in on what content and scheduling time is working for maximum engagement and reach. Hootsuite gives you more analytics and even more ways to view it but at a cost. And a complicated one at that. You can still view the free, brief (and not always accurate) “Overview” reports but a “points” purchase is required to get the in-depth reports like Google analytics.
The customizable reports give you the option to pick and choose what information you want on the report, but its choices are overwhelmingly complicated. And as complicated as analytics can already appear to decision makers, it’s important for the numbers to be as simple as possible. Buffer simple but thorough analytics gets this round.
Social Channel Integrations
With fewer choices, lies simplicity and limitations. This is where Buffer finds its biggest strength and its largest weakness. By limiting its integrations to the 4 core (Buffer also recently added Pinterest) social media channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, Buffer saves you from sifting through integrations just to add niche social media profiles like FourSquare.
However, there is strength in numbers when it comes to integrations and Hootsuite remains strong in this regard. Hootsuite has yet to add Pinterest to its growing catalog of integrations, but it has added beta integration for Facebook ads, WordPress, and recently released Instagram integration. You can be sure if your choice of social channel has not yet been added to Hootsuite’s integration, it’s coming. And it will probably get here much faster.
Content Posting Reliability
Thru all the fancy integrations, dashboards, and capabilities that these two tools feature, the real question for many business owners is: How reliable are they?
If someone takes the time to find a social post, optimize it, and schedule it out at a certain time, how confident can that person be in making sure the content will post at the right time and in the form intended. Well, the answer is: sure enough.
As rare as they might be, Hootsuite errors can prevent content from posting completely or not at all. The cause of errors could vary from coding changes, to reverifying social accounts, and to content posts being too long (post to Twitter can’t exceed 140 characters).
However, I have yet to have any content posting problems from Buffer. Which makes Buffer the most reliable social tool in this round.
Where Hootsuite makes up for a lot of mistakes is its decent support team. The Hootsuite team is quick to address any questions and concerns from its customers through the power of social media and email.
If you have an issue, you can receive a response in a day through email or a response in a few minutes just by tweeting the problem to @Hootsuite_Help on Twitter. Buffer offers email support and support via Twitter but is typically a lot slower in response. Hootsuite wins as the most supportive friend.
And the trophy goes to…
If there were ever a social tool aimed to make social media management as simple as possible, Buffer would be it. From signing up for a free account to connecting social accounts, every step in Buffer seems to be a breeze with the app taking care a lot of the work for you.
Buffer clears the clutter of the social dashboard by boiling down it’s capabilities down to “Content”, “Analytics”, and “Scheduling”. While this makes Buffer quite appealing to business owners who are just managing a few core accounts for their business, this simple tools model can easily be a limit on growth.
Hootsuite is badly in need of simplifying its analytics, but the tool’s combination of efficiency and supportive flexibility makes business growth easier. The growing integrations give less need to flip thru multiple social channels, and a more dynamic content curation ensures your content to be freshly trending.
And you can always forgive Hootsuite’s errors with an attentive support team and promising innovation to get better. (Just keep a free buffer account just in case).
Still not sure which dashboard to run your business’ brand social media? Click here or call 817-642-9686 to consult with one of Thrive’s social media consultants.
Reginald Chan says
Great article! I use both Hootsuite and Buffer for various reasons. If I have to choose one, Hootsuite seems to be more of a whole rounder compared to Buffer.
Sure, Buffer is great for scheduling (power schedule is awesome by the way)!
Thanks for sharing!