In today’s post, I’ve reviewed and compared two of the most popular social media management platforms – Buffer and Hootsuite.
Both tools share the same posting and social media account management features, but there are certain areas where each of these tools shines.
So, who wins this Buffer vs. Hootsuite battle?
The answer is – Hootsuite.
Hootsuite is an incredibly powerful and feature-rich social media management solution designed for big companies and agencies managing tons of social accounts.
However, if you are an individual blogger like me, you’ll find that Buffer offers the best tools at an affordable price. Even the free version of Buffer offers basic features that can help you manage your social media accounts and grow your online presence.
I’ve spent hours researching the main features of these two social media management tools and have come up with an in-depth, unbiased review and comparison of the two.
In today’s post, I will compare Buffer and Hootsuite and give you my honest reviews of each so that you can choose for yourself which one is the better social media management platform for your online business.
Let’s dive in!
Disclaimer: If you buy something using the links in this article, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Know that I only promote stuff that I use and trust for the sake of my readers and the reputation of this website.
Why Do You Need A Social Media Management Tool?
46 – 70% of social media users, use social media sites daily. It’s no wonder why every company wants to have a social media presence to connect with its audience.
As a social media manager, you know that it’s not enough to have one social media channel for your company if you want to grow your online presence fast. In fact, most companies have a team of social media marketers that work to extend their reach across various social platforms.
Managing multiple social media accounts is not simple if you manage them through their native interfaces. Hence, the need for social media tools that offer social media managers the convenience of managing all the social accounts through a single dashboard.
Comparison of Both Social Media Management Tools
Hootsuite offers a limited free version that offers users 2 social accounts, 5 scheduled messages, and 1 user.
Hootsuite’s paid plans are as follows:
A. Professional Plan – $29 per month, billed annually
- Ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs
- One user
- Manage 10 social accounts with one password
- Bulk scheduling feature lets you schedule multiple posts at the same time
- Tracking and analytics in real-time
- Unlimited RSS integrations
B. Team Plan – $129 per month, billed annually
- Ideal for small to medium businesses who want to grow their social media presence
- Up to three users
- 20 social accounts
- Everything that comes with the Professional Plan
- One custom branded URL
- Custom analytics reports
- Three Hootsuite platform certifications
C. Business Plan – $599 per month, billed annually
- Ideal for big businesses and agencies
- Up to five users
- 35 social accounts
- Everything that comes with the above plans
- Add on unlimited users
- Five custom branded URLs
- Approvals before publishing
- Content library
- Five Hootsuite platform certifications
D. Enterprise Plan – Custom pricing
- Ideal for large companies and enterprise users
- All features in the above plans
- The Enterprise Plan can be customized according to your business needs
All paid plans allow you to schedule unlimited posts and access messages in a single inbox.
Buffer also has a free version that allows you to set up 3 social accounts and 10 scheduled posts per channel. The free plan offers basic publishing tools and a landing page builder.
Buffer’s paid plans offer a 14-day trial:
A. Essentials – $5 per month per social channel
- Unlimited social channels at $5 per month per channel
- Unlimited scheduled posts per channel
- Automatic as well as custom link shorteners
- Multi-channel campaigns to track your related posts and optimize them
- Instagram stories scheduling and tagging
- Individual post analytics and reporting
- Hashtag performance
- Audience demographics
- Important comment detection and easy account switching
B. Team – $10 per month per social channel
- Unlimited social channels at $10 per month per channel
- All the features in the Essentials Plan
- Unlimited users
- Team management features for a smoother workflow
2. Supported Social Media Accounts
Both Hootsuite and Buffer support almost all the social media platforms and offer the same functions. However, Buffer falls a bit short as it does not offer social media management tools for YouTube.
Hootsuite helps you manage social media accounts on the following social media networks:
Buffer offers multiple tools to manage social accounts on every platform except YouTube and WordPress, making Hootsuite the clear winner of this round.
3. Scheduling and Posting
The publishing and scheduling tool for both Hootsuite and Buffer allows you to schedule posts to grow your social media presence on auto-pilot. Both tools make scheduling content on your Instagram accounts or Facebook pages a breeze, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of your business.
Both tools also allow ad hoc posting, so that you can post directly from your browser as you consume content.
Hootsuite Scheduling And Posting
- Customize your social posts and schedule them manually
- Auto-schedule your posts at the best scheduled time
- You can save drafts of your incomplete social media posts
- Publish syndicated content from RSS feeds and blogs
- The free version allows for only 30 scheduled posts on your social media profiles
- You can view and schedule posts for only a week at a time
- Ad hoc posting from a Chrome plugin
Buffer Scheduling And Posting
- Buffer Queue allows you to customize and schedule your posts
- Schedule posts more than one month in advance
- Add images and emojis to your posts
- The free version allows you to post 10 scheduled posts for each social media account
- Buffer also offers draft and preview functions, but only for its paid plans
- Simple ad hoc posting from the Chrome plugin. Just click to post and Buffer will add it to the queue.
4. Dashboard Experience
When you compare the user interface of Buffer with Hootsuite, you’ll find that Buffer’s dashboard is extremely intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners.
Hootsuite has a much more complicated dashboard, which is due to the fact that it has many more features to support when compared to Buffer.
- User-interface is a bit more complicated due to the many features and capabilities packed into it
- Steeper learning curve
- Follow your social media feeds and track mentions easily
- Customizable dashboard
- Simple, minimalistic dashboard
- Buffer Queue shows you all the currently scheduled posts
- Easy for beginners to use
- Intuitive dashboard
5. Team Management
Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer great team collaboration and management tools to help smoothen your workflows if you have a big team.
From what I understand, Hootsuite is more suited for larger companies with big marketing teams, while Buffer is perfect for smaller organizations and teams.
- Suited for larger companies
- Create separate individual profiles or group profiles
- Content approval system with different permissions for publishing and approval
- Suited for smaller teams
- Offers permission-based publishing (Contributor and Manager profiles)
- Content approval is straightforward allowing users to draft, approve and publish content depending on the permission granted to them
6. Paid Promotions And Advertising
Paid promotions and ads (such as Facebook Ads) are two things you would need to invest in if you want to scale your marketing efforts.
The more social media accounts you have, the tougher it is to manage and optimize your paid marketing efforts. For starters, you would have to switch between multiple dashboards if you are using the native advertising dashboard for each social platform.
Hootsuite offers a unified dashboard to manage all your paid social media campaigns called Hootsuite Ads. Buffer, however, does not provide this feature.
- The social media management tool helps you manage all your paid social media campaigns from a single, unified dashboard
- No feature to support advertising and paid promotion functionalities
7. Conversation Management
To keep your audience engaged, you need to track comments and responses on multiple networks and reply to them.
Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer conversation management features so that you can do this with ease.
- Hootsuite has these features built into the tool (called Hootsuite Streams) so that you can manage all your social networks from a single dashboard.
- Keep track of comments and messages in real-time.
- The free plan also offers these features.
- Buffer offers a separate app called the Buffer Reply app that helps you manage social conversations, but the Pro plan is pretty expensive ($50 per month per social account).
- Assign conversations to individual team members.
- Keep track of responses in real-time.
- The free plan is for individuals and offers limited features.
8. Tracking and Analytics
Tracking, analytics capabilities, and reporting features are crucial if you want to understand what works with your audience. This will help you optimize your social media strategy.
- Hootsuite gives you all the basic reporting and social analytics features on the free plan
- The Pro Plan offers real-time reporting and engagement metrics for individual posts, along with the basic analytics features
- The Enterprise Plan offers all the above plus team-wise performance reviews
- Buffer helps you analyze the posts that you publish through its interface
- The Buffer Analyze app gives you metrics like your reach and engagement for each post
9. Third-party app integrations
Sometimes, third-party app integrations are important if you want the best from your social media campaigns. This is especially true of larger companies.
Both Hootsuite and Buffer allow third-party integrations, although Hootsuite has a longer list of integrations that make the content management process smoother.
- Hootsuite offers a long list of third-party application integrations like HubSpot, Google My Business, Panoramiq Insights, Synapview, Canva, Shopview for Shopify, Spotify, Trufan, Slack Pro, and more.
- Buffer also offers many third-party integrations like Canva, Zapier, IFTTT, WordPress, Feedly, Automate.io, and more.
10. Customer Support And Training Resources
When it comes to customer support, both Buffer and Hootsuite have highly responsive customer service teams to resolve your queries. However, Hootsuite has a live chat feature that cuts the response time down and offers quicker query resolution.
Buffer offers multiple training resources on its website but Hootsuite wins in this regard with its Hootsuite Academy that offers users free and paid social media marketing courses.
- Hootsuite offers customer support through live chat and its social media channels
- Hootsuite Academy offers users free and paid social media marketing courses, some of them with certificates
- Buffer offers customer support through email, Slack, and Twitter
- Buffer’s training resources are on its website in the form of blog posts, FAQs, online tutorials, webinars, and training guides.
Buffer Vs. Hootsuite: Which One Do I Recommend?
I hope you found this Buffer vs Hootsuite review helpful.
Although Hootsuite and Buffer have almost comparable features, each one is specifically designed for different types of users to publish scheduled posts on multiple social media platforms.
So which one do I recommend?
Hootsuite is by far the winner of the two – with features built for large companies and agencies.
You can click here to set up a Hootsuite account.
However, if you are a small business or a blogger, then Buffer would serve the purpose well. Click here to get started with Buffer.
Hootsuite vs Buffer – which social media management tool do you use for your business and why? Leave a comment below and tell us!