Social media is the place to build your brand and drive conversions. The majority of the world’s population has at least one social media account, and most people have several. So, how can your small business capitalize on the social media boom without overwhelming your social media manager? The answer is social media management platforms, which allow you to manage all of your accounts from a single platform.
Hootsuite and Buffer are two of the top vendors in the market, but it may be difficult to choose which platform is best for you. Keep in mind your business’s unique needs as you compare the features and use cases of Hootsuite and Buffer to help you make the right decision.
What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that’s had a market presence for the past 14 years. There’s a reason it’s been around for so long. Hootsuite is a powerful tool for social media management, although only its highest-tier users gain access to its most insightful features.
It started out with a rather clunky user interface, which has improved in recent years. However, Hootsuite’s UI can’t match the simplicity of platforms like Buffer.
Some of Hootsuite’s top capabilities include:
- Create and schedule posts
- Manage all of your channels
- Monitor incoming messages across social platforms
- Plan for future campaigns through team collaboration and recommendations on optimal posting times
- Track social performance with custom reports
What is Buffer?
Buffer dubs itself the “all-you-need social media toolkit for small businesses.” This platform has also been around for over a decade. In that time, it’s built a reputation as an easy-to-use tool that integrates with all of the major social media channels.
While it doesn’t offer as many integrations as Hootsuite, Buffer sports a notably clearer UI, along with features to help your team celebrate growth and engagement.
Some of Buffer’s popular feature offerings include:
- A browser extension for faster sharing
- Customer engagement tools, such as labels and hotkeys
- Custom post sharing options (post immediately, select a custom time, or add to the top or bottom of your post queue)
- Ways to compare and track your top-performing posts
Buffer vs Hootsuite comparison
So, you’ve narrowed your search down to Buffer vs Hootsuite. But which one is the right option for your small business? Each platform is best suited for different needs.
Best for businesses on a budget: Buffer
Buffer is a more cost-effective solution, especially in the higher tiers. Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer’s paid version is a necessity for anything more complex than freelancing. Buffer’s professional plans start at $5-100 per month when billed annually, in contrast to Hootsuite’s $49-739.
However, agencies that use Buffer are billed according to a different pricing scheme from businesses that are only managing their own accounts. Despite Hootsuite’s longer free trial and more complex feature offerings, Buffer gets the job done for budget-conscious businesses.
Best for analytics: Hootsuite
If robust reporting is important to your organization, you’ll likely want to opt for Hootsuite. While Buffer’s Analyze feature helps users generate reports, measure performance, and gain activity insight, its analytics offerings still can’t keep up with Hootsuite.
Buffer does provide data for Instagram stories, but it is more focused on individual post performance rather than high-level overviews. For complete analytics, it’s better to integrate Buffer with reporting software for small businesses.
Hootsuite, on the other hand, generates basic reports that give you an overall view of your social strategy. Like Buffer, it’s compatible with Google Analytics and other third-party tools.
For complete reporting, you’ll need to sign up for Hootsuite’s pricey Enterprise plan. Plus, so many features mean important data can get lost in the noise. Nevertheless, Hootsuite is the better bet for sophisticated in-platform reporting and data analysis.
Best for ease of use: Buffer
For small teams looking for an easy-to-use social media platform, Buffer takes the cake. Buffer offers a refreshing user interface that’s clean and easy to navigate. Its mobile app is also fully functional, which is a nice bonus.
While its competitor Hootsuite doesn’t have an incredibly steep user curve, it’s enough to cause a bit of friction when first getting set up. If you want a platform that allows you to sign up, log in, and get immediately to posting, Buffer is the social media management tool for your business.
Best for scheduling: Buffer
Post scheduling is one of the primary features of any social media management platform. Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer automatic scheduling, RSS feed integrations, and browser plugins in addition to third-party integrations.
Here’s where the two differ: Buffer shows you a calendar overview for the weeks and months to come. It’s clearer and more minimalistic than Hootsuite’s interface, allowing you to focus solely on scheduling.
Hootsuite, on the other hand, aims to deliver a more complex feed, complete with mentions and timelines that could be distracting for businesses looking to keep things simple. Hootsuite’s auto-scheduling feature also doesn’t allow you to select post order, which is a huge disadvantage.
Buffer vs Hootsuite: How to choose
Choosing the right social media management tool for your business can be tough with so many amazing products out there. There’s no one-size-fits-all option, so it all comes down to a few factors, such as:
- Number of projected users
- Price point
- Importance of analytics
- How you plan to handle automated and ad-hoc posting
When in doubt, both Buffer and Hootsuite offer “Freemium” plans for you to test out basic features and platform usability before committing to one or the other. If you carefully weigh your business needs against each platform’s feature offerings, you may find that either Hootsuite or Buffer is right for you.
If you’re still undecided, however, you can compare Hootsuite and Buffer with other competitors in our roundup of the Best Social Media Management Tools & Software.