Hootsuite vs. Buffer
When it comes to Twitter scheduling and social media management, Hootsuite has always been the tool for me. I will admit, Hootsuite was a little difficult to get used to at first, but once I got it down, I couldn’t imagine using anything else.
It’s easy to stick to the familiar, but Lorraine suggested I give the tool Buffer a try, just to see if it had anything Hootsuite didn’t. Comparing the two side by side, there are positives and negatives to both, but I was specifically interested in features which would make my life easier.
Supported Social Networks
The first thing I looked at were the supported platforms, could I post content directly to the networks my clients were interested in. Buffer supports the basics: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+ and Pinterest. For me and the clients I manage, this is really all I need.
Hootsuite on the other hand has a more extensive list of supported networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+ and WordPress. Hootsuite also offers applications that integrate even more social platforms including Instagram, Youtube, Vimeo and Reddit. While these extra features are nice to have, they aren’t necessary for me so in this category, the two platforms are pretty equal in my eyes. If you have a more comprehensive social program, then Hootsuite is going to be your first choice.
Both Hootsuite and Buffer operate as scheduling tools. Managing a social media program is going to require you to make a time commitment. If you want to do it right, particularly on Twitter which requires fairly frequent updates, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the amount of content necessary without the help of a scheduling tool. No social media strategy should rely entirely on scheduling, but it does help to fill in the time you are unable to sit and monitor social channels. Both Buffer and Hootsuite have scheduling capabilities, but they approach it differently.
With Hootsuite you decide when you want a piece of content to post. There is a calendar view which allows you to see a day or week at a glance. You can drag and drop your content to fill your schedule. The downside is all your posts appear on one calendar, so Twitter and Facebook are intermingled, and if you are managing multiple accounts they are jumbled together as well.
In contrast, Buffer makes suggestions for posting times based on when you are likely to have the best response, It takes a little of the guesswork out of timing. I also liked the fact that I could view scheduled posts by platform and profile.
The dashboard is the biggest difference between these two tools. Buffer’s dashboard is for managing the content you post where Hootsuite’s dashboard assists in monitoring and staying up to date with the conversations on social accounts. Hootsuite’s dashboard does more than manage scheduled posts, it cuts down the clutter on Twitter and organizes content by accounts that are relevant. Seeing the Hootsuite dashboard for the first time can be a little intimidating, but learning the functionality of the tool makes interacting with relevant content much easier than simply using the Twitter feed.
Hootsuite reports provide a much more comprehensive overview of the profiles’ performance, looking at total followers and the interactions by post types. There is more information available for making decisions about what type of content to share. The one feature that is really interesting in Buffer is the ability to re-buffer content. If a post does well, at the push of a button you can put it back in your cue and it will appear at a different time, giving you a chance to reach a wider audience with the same content.
I have a system for scheduling tweets and posts and at this point I wasn’t looking to make any changes. One of the best things to come out of this little test was the realization that both have Chrome plugins that make it easy to share content from any web page. Whichever tool you choose, the extension makes scheduling and gathering content fast and easy. I know, I know, I should have realized this long ago, but part of the problem with getting comfortable doing things one certain way is missing the opportunity to do it more efficiently.
The right tool for you is determined by what you need. It’s tempting to look at Hootsuite and all of the advanced features and think that is the best choice for your business, but in some situations all of those extra features get in the way of the fundamental functions you are aiming to achieve. For now, Hootsuite is still the better fit for me, but trying new (or revisiting old) tools is important to make sure the right tool is being used for your needs.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.