Is Buffer the Hootsuite slayer?
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s no winner in the Buffer vs Hootsuite debate. After all, both social media management platforms make it laughably easy to schedule and even automate posting to several feeds at once. Both tools help you coordinate publishing across your team. And both measure the success of your content against every social metric that matters.
But, while Buffer and Hootsuite are both brilliant, they do serve slightly different needs.
We’ve compared both tools to help you decide which one is best for you. Read on for the full comparison, or skip straight to the part where we help you compare quotes.
What’s On This Page?
- 01 | Buffer vs Hootsuite: Features
- 02 | Buffer vs Hootsuite: Usability
- 03 | Buffer vs Hootsuite: Customer Care
- 04 | Buffer vs Hootsuite: Expert Verdict
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|Third Party Integrations|
64 apps, including Zapier, IFTTT, SharpSpring, Feedly, Pocket, TweetCaster, Followerwonk
|Third Party Integrations|
154 apps, including Mailchimp, Slack, Adobe Stock, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Office
Virgin, Orange, Herschel
Buffer vs Hootsuite: Features
Supported Social Networks
Hootsuite supports a huge number of social platforms, ranging from the obvious (Facebook, Twitter) to the obscure (Xing, Viadeo). Add to that the ability to post to multiple channels at once (cross-posting), and you’ve got a very powerful multi-channel publishing tool on your hands.
Make no mistake: Buffer is no slouch. Until recently, it was one of the only platforms to offer post-scheduling on Pinterest. But Hootsuite added Pinterest support in 2018, making it a moot point for comparison purposes. If it’s multi-channel support you’re looking for, Hootsuite covers more bases.
Publishing and Scheduling Tools
How easy is it to publish and schedule posts? This is the acid test for any social publishing platform, and we’re happy to report that Buffer and Hootsuite deliver on both fronts.
Buffer sports a single-queue view that lets you stack posts with ease. The exact number of posts you’re allowed to schedule depends on your subscription - more on this in a second. Hootsuite uses a more daunting tabbed layout that’s actually just as easy to use once you’re familiar with it.
Both platforms also include content creation tools to draft and edit posts in your web browser. Buffer feels more like a full-blown desktop publishing app than Hootsuite, thanks to its larger on-screen content creation window.
Buffer and Hootsuite also have their own URL shorteners, which can track clicks on any links in your posts. There’s not much difference between them, other than the fact that Hootsuite’s ‘ow.ly’ URL is two characters shorter than Buffer’s ‘buff.ly’, and approximately 80% cuter.
Finally, it’s worth comparing the number of posts you’re allowed to schedule on each platform’s subscription plans. Buffer and Hootsuite each offer three business tier pricing plans under slightly different names:
|Number of scheduled posts per social account|
|Small Business Plan||2,000||Unlimited|
|Medium Business Plan||2,000||Unlimited|
|Large Business Plan||2,000||Unlimited|
Verdict: Hootsuite wins with support for more social networks and unlimited post scheduling for paid users
Buffer vs Hootsuite: Usability
Teamwork and Collaboration
Buffer and Hootsuite let you set social permissions for each member in your team. On Buffer, there are two access levels - ‘manager’ and ‘contributor’. Contributors need a manager’s approval on any posts they add to the queue; managers control the publishing schedule. Hootsuite adds even more nuance to the mix, letting you set permissions according to an individual’s department, team, or even their role.
Now, whether or not you need that level of customizability depends on the size of your company. If your team never numbers more than 10 people, Buffer will do the job just fine. Conversely, if you work for a big multinational, you’re bound to need the higher degree of control that Hootsuite offers. Different strokes for different folks.
No matter how large your team is, Buffer and Hootsuite both aid collaboration without compromising your security. For starters, login authentication occurs through your corporate email address or social media account. Deactivating the old accounts of past employees removes their Buffer/Hootsuite access, no questions asked.
Hootsuite goes even further by supporting what the industry calls ‘single sign-on’ (SSO). If your company uses a password manager like LastPass, you can add Hootsuite to the list of apps your employees can access from a single login. This saves them time and keeps all corporate accounts safe behind a single, strong password.
Because Buffer is primarily a publishing and scheduling tool, its analytics capabilities are far more limited than Hootsuite’s. It only offers analytics for social posts you’ve published through Buffer. If you’re publishing via multiple tools, Buffer won’t give you a complete picture of how all those posts are performing.
Hootsuite, on the other hand, offers full-service social media management, analytics n’all. That means content performance tracking, overviews of all your social profiles (including follower demographic data and influencer analytics), and data on your social referral traffic (via Google Analytics). In effect, it’s a total social publishing dashboard - and it’s a dream to use.
Verdict: Hootsuite’s excellence on the security and analytics fronts earns it the win
Online Training Resources
When it comes to taking care of customers, both platforms excel. Buffer runs introductory webinars twice a week, helping new users get to grips with the platform. They’re a fantastic place to put questions to product experts, and they really come in handy for employee onboarding.
Buffer’s blog, meanwhile, is bursting with expert insights, case studies, and guides. Our favorite section has to be Buffer’s downloadable content calendar, which comes with tips for promoting your business at different times of the year.
And, as if that weren’t enough, Buffer’s even got its own podcast, called The Science of Social Media. There’s a back catalog of 100+ episodes, offering hours of insights from industry experts. Much like Buffer itself, it’s expertly presented and is genuinely worth a listen.
Not to be outdone, Hootsuite also has a podcast - Hootcast - although new episodes only come out every couple of months. Likewise, Hootsuite’s blog has heaps of great content, like this excellent post on the pitfalls of cross-posting.
But the big talking point is Hootsuite’s online training academy, which claims to have trained 280,000+ students. Courses cover everything from introductory Hootsuite training to advanced social strategy, with teaching from some of the world’s top communications schools. Some courses offer the option to get a Hootsuite certification, for a fee.
Buffer’s main channel for customer support is email, but they’re also very active on Twitter. They’ve recently opened up a Slack channel where you can join community discussions about Buffer. Buffer’s appropriately-named team of ‘Happiness Heroes’ looks after these channels, helping users resolve any issues they’re having with the platform. Here’s another glowing review of Buffer’s customer service.
Hootsuite has a social presence on all the main platforms. If you’re a free user, the best way to reach someone is via the @Hootsuite_Help handle on Twitter, which is manned 24/7. Paid users can initiate a live chat from their account dashboard or create an email support ticket.
Verdict: It’s a tie. Buffer and Hootsuite both offer exceptional customer care
▶ Read more: Top 12 Social Media Monitoring Services 2018
Buffer vs Hootsuite: The Expert Verdict
Content might be king, but when you post is almost as important as what you post. That’s especially true in today’s social media landscape.
The teams behind Buffer and Hootsuite know this better than anyone, which is why we stand by our comment that they’re both great social media publishing tools. Leaving to one side the whole ‘Buffer vs Hootsuite’ schtick for a second, we think there are situations where it’s actually helpful to consider using both together.
But, if you’re like many small businesses, you’ve only got the budget for one social media solution. If that’s the case, know that Hootsuite packs a bigger punch than Buffer; but it also leaves a bigger dent in your wallet.
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