Adults nowadays utilize Facebook and Instagram as their primary social media platforms. In fact, data show that 2.9 Billion people use Facebook and 2 Billion use Instagram. As a result, it's no surprise that social media is the most essential element in many marketing efforts.
Entrepreneurs, creators, marketers, agencies, and freelancers all rank social media highly.
According to Statista, "In 2021, 91.9 percent of U.S. marketers in companies largest than 100 employees were expected to use social media for marketing purposes".
The internet is a dynamic, ever-changing entity that thrives on engagement. We've seen a slew of changes to today's top social media platforms in recent times, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, and many others.
When it comes to social media management, there are a few key players in the market. Two of the most popular are Buffer and Hootsuite.
Both offer a variety of features, but there are some clear differences between the two.
Buffer is the more affordable option, with plans starting at just $10/month. Hootsuite, on the other hand, is much more expensive, with plans starting at $30/month.
Buffer also offers a limited amount of features, while Hootsuite offers a much wider range. buffer's main focus is on scheduling posts, while Hootsuite offers more tools for managing your social media accounts.
So which platform is better? Buffer or Hootsuite? Well, that really comes down to your social media needs and marketing goals.
Buffer is great for those on a budget and who want an easy way to schedule posts.
Hootsuite, however, is better as a comprehensive platform for managing multiple social profiles at once.
What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social networking management tool. It offers more options for businesses from small and medium-size to enterprises.
Hootsuite provides a number of social media tools and integrations, enabling easier access and better functionality.
Hootsuite offers the biggest selection of social networks to manage in their hub. The Hub offers free access, although there may be expensive plans you'll need depending on your needs.
Hootsuite is best for businesses and individuals who want to track all of their social media accounts in one place and have access to a variety of tools to help them optimize their social media posts.
To put it simply, Hootsuite is a social media dashboard and management tool.
Hootsuite was founded by Ryan Holmes in 2008.
Today it continues to be one of the biggest names in social media management with over 18 million users spanning 190 countries and territories around the globe.
The company also hosts 10 million business pages on Facebook alone and has grown to host more than 1 billion user records for its Social Media Management Platform.
The platform includes cross-post scheduling/sync between platforms / mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.
- Manage all of your channels in one place - Get an overview of all of your social media channels, Hootsuite supports 20+ social media platforms.
- Plan and schedule content - Provides an overview of published and scheduled content across all your networks in one calendar view.
- Connect and engage with audience - View and respond to incoming messages from your followers and audience.
- Get every social insight - Learn about market trends and keep up with followers.
- Manage advertising and budgets - Manage ads in multiple social platforms from Hootsuite.
- Analyze your results - Get top analytics from all social platforms and take actions based on them.
- Work in Collaboration - Ensures consistent, on-brand content by getting insights and edits from team members.
- Source content from everywhere - Helps curate content from across your networks searching by hashtag, location, or keyword.
- Integrate with external apps - Hootsuite allows you to integrate with external apps to enhance its features. Connect with 150+ apps including Google, Canva, and Spotify.
Who is it for?
Hootsuite's tools are targeted at social media managers who manage multiple social accounts from one place. It also offers business features such as analytics and social CRM tracking.
Is Hootsuite free?
Hootsuite is also an excellent tool to manage social media with its free version, which lets you use up to 2 social networks and 5 scheduled posts at any given time.
- It has a feature that allows to schedule multiple posts at one time with Bulk Composer.
- Provides easy-to-read graphs, tables, and KPI summaries helping to analyze the data in detail.
- Monitor trends and your posts’ performance across profiles in one place to suit your workflow.
- One of the most commonly reported problems with Hootsuite is that it can be too complex for beginners, especially when you have to manage multiple social accounts at the same time.
- It's also not an ideal platform when you have a limited budget since it's one of the expensive social media management tools.
What is Buffer?
Buffer is a simple but popular social media management tool that allows users to schedule their posts ahead of time. Buffer also provides users with analytics to help them track the performance of their posts.
Buffer provides the simple and most useful social media tools available for posting or scheduling content.
In addition, Buffer offers browser extensions, so you can quickly compose and share a post from any webpage.
What's more, Buffer also lets you see how effective all your social media posts are as it calculates a buffer score for each of your updates as well as for each network.
In simple words, Buffer is a social media management platform that lets you queue up your next post and publish it with the tap of a button.
Buffer was co-founded by Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich in 2011. Both founders were working at the time for other companies, Gascoigne as a software engineer and Widrich as a journalist.
Buffer is a new entrant to the most popular social media management platforms with over 4 million registered users around the globe.
According to Buffer, over 75,000+ budding businesses use the service to develop their brands.
- Manage multiple channels in one place - Get an overview of all of your social media channels, Buffer supports 5 social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn).
- Plan and schedule content - Provides a calendar of published and scheduled content across all 5 channels. Allows automatic repurposing of content for all supported channels.
- Connect and engage with the audience - Prioritize conversations with followers and respond to incoming messages.
- Get social insights and reports - Track performance, create reports and get recommendations for improvements.
- Work in Collaboration - Allows managing multiple team members and approval process.
- Integrate with external apps - Buffer allows you to integrate with external apps to enhance its features. Connect with 30+ apps including Zapier, Quuu, and Feedly.
- Landing page builder - Enables users to create web pages quickly without any learning curve.
Who is it for?
Its tools are targeted at individual users who don't need advanced analytics, can get by with publishing and scheduling features but would like to track their social media marketing performance.
Is Buffer free?
Buffer is also a good option to manage social media with its free version, which lets you use up to 3 social networks and 10 scheduled posts at any given time.
- The most important feature of Buffer is, how it keeps everything simple, uncluttered, and straightforward to utilize.
- Buffer has a function known as Buffer for Instagram, which can be beneficial in increasing our Instagram followers and interaction. Allows you to schedule posts and stories, save and manage your hashtags.
- Has a functionality that allows you to provide assistance to followers and customers more rapidly by labeling and keywords.
- Buffer lacks detailed social analytics tools that would let you track specific campaigns or advanced reporting
- Buffer is limited to 5 platforms and a few external integrations only and chance renders itself to beginners only platform.
Comparing Buffer and Hootsuite
Hootsuite and Buffer offer the same features when it comes to basics such as posting and scheduling of any social scheduling application. But when it comes to any advanced feature, Hootsuite is the only option available.
One is not better than the other necessarily, it all comes down to what you want to achieve. If you use more platforms than Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, then Buffer is certainly not for you.
While if you are just starting out and probably just starting out with Instagram and Facebook, then Buffer is better for you than Hootsuite.
Hootsuite, on the other hand, is great for seasoned social media managers, there are many functionalities, integrations, and options to grow your audience in over 20 social media platforms.
1. Number of social media platforms supported
This is one of the most crucial elements of social media marketing, and business marketers will be paying close attention to it.
While individual users maybe just use and maintain one or two social media accounts. The majority of users — social media managers or midsize companies — maintain social media accounts on multiple platforms.
As a result, when evaluating tools, users will be looking for a social media management solution that allows them to publish on many accounts.
Buffer: You can publish to only 5 platforms i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. While you can have multiple social accounts. For example, you may have two or three, maybe more accounts on each of the social media platforms.
Hootsuite: This is where Hootsuite is a winner, you can post to more than 20 social media platforms and have multiple accounts on each of those platforms. So it primarily depends on which social media platforms you are focusing on, go for Hootsuite if your requirements are more than the 5 social media platforms Buffer supports.
2. User Interface
If you are new to social media management then this is a very important factor as well. Imagine struggling to learn how to use the social media scheduling tool. That would be counterproductive.
Buffer: Buffer is designed to keep beginners in mind and it makes it a breeze to manage the social networks it supports. It's easier to use, with a more tidy and orderly presentation and user interface. Buffer wins this clearly.
Hootsuite: Though Hootsuite is not very complex compared to Buffer when it comes to basic functionalities, it may get confusing due to a lot of features it provides in paid plans. As a seasoned user, you may find no problems.
3. Post planning and scheduling
One of the primary purposes of using a social management tool is to schedule and publish content. Not just that, you should be able to visualize when, what is going live and how it would look, when it gets posted too.
If you are part of or manage larger teams, it will also be crucial that all team members are in sync and there is a defined approval workflow, so that no one can post content which could lead to a public apology later.
Buffer: The scheduling capacity of the 'Buffer' is simple and easy, you have the option of scheduling posts up to a month in advance.
This tool also you to post directly using a browser extension and has some great features of Instagram scheduling.
Hootsuite: As Hootsuite gives you the power to be the tool you'll ever need, they have had a lot of experience in making this functionality foolproof. Hootsuite definitely takes the edge here.
4. Audience Engagement
Conversation with your followers is how you truly engage with your audience. This is a must-have feature, the more your followers or potential followers engage with you, the more success you'll have in the long term.
So, it's key to actively engage when someone comments, likes, or sends a direct message on social media.
If you have engagement, you'll realize it quickly goes out of hand managing all the interactions and you'll need social media management tools to help you out.
Buffer: Buffer earlier released Buffer Reply, a dedicated tool to manage conversations with followers but now they have moved away from it and integrated the functionality right within the main Buffer tool.
This tool allows you to track conversations and assign notes and tasks to team members, push certain information to third-party tools (CRMs, Slack, etc.), and provide support-specific reporting.
Hootsuite: In its platform, Hootsuite provides conversation management capabilities, and while we have used it ourselves, we did not find it to be very well-structured.
Buffer is a clear winner here.
5. Analytics and Reporting
If you don't know how your content or social media effort is performing, you'll never be able to make corrections and would not even know if investing time and money in social media marketing is worth or not.
You be a small business owner or enterprise company and it doesn't even matter how many tools you use if you don't know the outcome.
Buffer: This is not a strong suit of Buffer, analytics and reporting are pretty basic and if you are a small account or a novice, it will be good to start with but it is not feature-rich to compare with Hootsuite yet.
Hootsuite: Hands down Hootsuite takes the podium on this one. You can have advanced more powerful reporting and multiple views which are designed to give you as much bang for the buck.
6. Content management
Content is everything in social media management, after all, that's what is relevant to your followers and audience.
Instagrumpy has a whole collection dedicated to Content Strategy.
You need a social media tool that helps in managing your content strategy so that you can focus on creating content that works for you.
Essentially you'll need a content library for managing content ideas, their development, and posting. Though it may be better to manage the content library in an external tool, Instagrumpy has a suite of templates made in Notion just to do that. Check out Notion Insta OS.
Along with the content library, you'll also need tools to find and search trending content relevant to your brand, and this is when tool-based content recommendations become important too.
Buffer: Currently Buffer does not provide a content library or recommendations at this time. They do not think it's core to their product.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite wins just by having this functionality. But again, as you'll grow, you'll find managing content externally would be more helpful and easier.
There is a lot of content cloud integration as well, which Hootsuite provides with external tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox, to help in this area.
Social media efforts of large businesses are highly dependent on such integrations and hence Buffer is not much of use in this regard.
7. Integrations with third-party apps
No tool is complete in itself, and so there is always a need to integrate it with other tools and applications. You may want to push data to an external analytics tool or get data from somewhere into the social media management application.
Hootsuite and Buffer both provide third-party app integrations with their products.
Buffer: Buffer includes 30+ third-party app integrations, tools, and add-ons. Canva, Google Drive, IFTTT, Zapier, Feedly, and dozens of other popular programs are just a few examples of the apps available for integration.
Hootsuite: Zendesk, Slack, Google My Business, Canva, Asana, and a variety of other third-party apps are all available as Hootsuite integrations. Hootsuite’s list of third-party integrations goes beyond 150, though it gets very expensive and would be only suitable for medium to large enterprises.
Social media management solutions are so competitively priced, still, you will find that it is hard to make decisions as one different or distinct feature can be a make or break in your decision making.
Buffer: It's certainly cheap when compared to Hootsuite, it is also less powerful and suits small companies and individual users.
Hootsuite: It is targeted at big enterprises or experienced marketers and hence the price is high as well as it comes with a lot of functionalities.
Though both Hootsuite and Buffer are offering a free plan to use with limitations and also provide free trials of their pro plans and business plans.
See their pricing in details,
Summary of Hootsuite and Buffer
Buffer is an inexpensive social media management platform while Hootsuite is considered the most expensive.
The prices for both buffer and Hootsuite are not indicative of the quality of their software or service, but rather what features are included with these services.
For example, the buffer has a free option that comes with every feature they have. Buffer allows you to manage your social media from one location and schedule posts in advance.
Hootsuite's free option only comes with limited features such as scheduling posts without reviewing them first, and it can't be used on mobile devices.
Hootsuite and Buffer remain the leading Social Media Management Software.
Is Buffer the same as Hootsuite?
They are both social media management platforms. Though they cater to different audiences, Buffer for individual users and beginners, while Hootsuite for brands and seasoned experts focused on many social media platforms.
Is Buffer good for Instagram?
Buffer does have specific features for Instagram, while Hootsuite gives you all the functionality as well but would cost more.
Is it worth paying for Hootsuite?
The HootSuite team is a bit more investment than you would expect. But if you are managing every social media platform, then it may turn out to be the best option for you.