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Social media scheduling tools: Buffer vs Hootsuite

Productivity is one of the hardest things online business owners have to master. Good thing – there are many helpful tools out there who will help you to manage your online business more easily. This time, let’s take a look at two social media scheduling tools: Buffer vs Hootsuite.

 

Social media scheduling tools: Buffer vs Hootsuite

It was a while ago when I found out about Buffer.  At that point, I only started out as an online business owner and freelancer and I was just looking for new tools to use in my daily life.

Buffer became one very fast. I was using a free trial version for around 2 months when the necessity came along and I was looking forward to upgrading.

That was the moment when I realized that I need to try out other apps that are playing the same game (just to be fair) and decided to try Hootsuite. Since it is offering free Pro trial month (and Buffer is not) – I decided to spend my first upgraded month in Hootsuite.

So what pros and cons I have experienced in Buffer vs Hootsuite? (Spoiler! I went back to Buffer after all.)

*EDIT (23/08/16): I suggest you to read comment section as well to discover more useful tips and information

A little bit of background for those who don’t know – both of these apps are meant for social media post scheduling. Hootsuite tends to be “number one”, but Buffer is gaining its audience pretty rapidly.

I believe that they are closest competitors in the market. Besides that – before I start, I want to say that I haven’t experienced these sites from A to Z. I have tried out only the things that were interesting for me and used features that were available for me at that time (or just the ones I could find!). So let’s go!

 

First impression of Buffer vs Hootsuite

BUFFER

I got it fast and that’s all that matters. When starting out, I had a lack of additional knowledge about a variety of apps, their features and how to use them. Buffer was one of the first and it got me. Registration and first steps were easy, information was supportive, but (!) what’s important – not overwhelming. So overall my first impression was good.

HOOTSUITE

It looked a lot like Tweetdeck – is that on purpose or no? I am not so sure. But it took some more time for me to find out what exactly I need to do. There are way too many options – sidebar with icons that you have no idea about, options to post things are in some of them and seems like they’re all the same, just arranged differently and confusion about what to use. But then again – I started out right with Pro. That could be my mistake as well.

 

Scheduling features

BUFFER

The most important part about Buffer – you make your schedule (in Free account there can be one, in Awesome – many) BEFORE you start posting. You can choose days and times when you will post on your social media. And afterward, you just do that, without thinking about time anymore.

When you open Buffer, you see two things – your social media profiles and posting box (well, there is a sidebar on top as well, but not counting it this time). So basically – it opens one window where you can write and post things right away. Later on, you can choose in which social media you want to share the stuff – one or more. It shows an example of the link, if you post on Facebook, even if you take out the link from text afterward. It gives you an option to shrink your link or leave it the way it was.  You can add a photo and it will inform you if the photo is too big (or in some cases – the site just crashes…).

GREAT! You can easily change the time of your post by dragging it up or down – changing with posts around.

BAD! You have to change time in posting schedule and you can’t do it right away – in a post. And the time will be changed for all posts that were scheduled after that time.

GOOD! You can make shuffle and just let the Buffer do the job for you – without deciding what and when you’ll be posting (but you still need to provide the content).

BAD! Posting times will be the same every day or on the same days if you don’t change it manually.

GREAT! You can see small versions of your post right after you schedule it – there is photo and/or link.

HOOTSUITE

The overall system tends to be harder in Hootsuite, but the principle is still the same – you write things down in a window that is meant for it, add a photo and/or link, decide on the time and social media profile and there it goes! In Hootsuite you have to schedule each post whenever you post it (or I just didn’t find the option to do it otherway), which makes it more complicated. You have to decide when you will post each post and manage to fill the ”gaps” between posts afterward if there are any. So I found myself often looking through my streamlines to see – is there any time when I don’t have anything posted? And that was harsh.

GREAT! You can choose whatever time you want for each post!

BAD! You spend more time in scheduling.

GOOD! You can see your streamline (and manage what you see in it) and therefore – see all your scheduled posts for all your social media on one platform.

BAD! You can’t change the time of the post without editing it. No dragging options.

 

Social profile management

BUFFER

Buffer gives you an easy option to see all your social media on the left side of the open window. You can click on any of them and see your stream. The overall look of this system is simple, but you still need to do an additional job by checking each profile. You can add any profile easily by clicking on one button.

HOOTSUITE

As mentioned before, you have ”stream” where you can see all your social profiles on one page. There are few options – you can see all in one stream (which is VERY confusing and useless, if you are scheduling for different clients, for example), or you can see each social media posts in their own streams. Anyhow, there is everything right in front of you, which is great. And same as Buffer – you can add any profile easily.

 

The cost differences

BUFFER

You can get a Free account with the option to manage few social media – for each page one up to some number (please, look into it yourself, I’m afraid I can tell you something incorrect). You can schedule up to 10 posts for each.

With an Awesome plan, you get 100 posts and 10 social media profiles. Fine for me, but could be not so fine for PR managers who are working with more than 2-3 companies once. For that, there is a Business plan.

And, yes, the most important part (or at least one of the) – cost. Buffer vs Hootsuite is cheaper. $10 monthly and even cheaper if you pay for a whole year in advance.

HOOTSUITE

There’s Free account AND option to try out Pro for one month (which is amazing!). For free you get 3 social media profiles and for Pro – 50.

What about cost? Well, that’s tricky one… Pro says that it starts from $ 7.99 which makes you think – wow! awesome! let’s do this! (or I’m just ridiculous…), but I found no option to really pay only this cost. Payment starts from around $ 12? (This is my bad memory talking). But in reality, it has some additional costs and it sums up to $15 – $18. And that just makes me sad. Not because of the number, but because of all the mysterious ways how this number sums up…

There are additional features as team members, other kind of links, etc., for both of these apps that I’m not aware of, but if you’ll look into it, you might find them!

 

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12 Replies to “Social media scheduling tools: Buffer vs Hootsuite”

  1. Radhika - Fulltime Nomad says: August 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    What a great breakdown. I have been a long time user of both and am equally a fan of both. I use Hootsuite more to schedule client content and find myself using Buffer more for myself and for my blog these days. I love Buffer’s ease of use 🙂

    1. Ieva Laicāne says: August 16, 2015 at 8:54 am

      That’s the main reason why afterall I prefer Buffer – it’s just easy to got with!
      But maybe you’re right and the best middle way to choose – use both of them, haha.

      Cheers!
      ieva.

  2. Steven Ma says: August 14, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Great post. I’ve used both. Buffer is definitely easier, but I use hootsuite more because I often need to schedule things at specific times (announcements, campaigns, sales, etc..)

    But in Hootsuite, there is an auto-scheduler. You don’t exactly choose the exact times though. You choose how many posts can go out each day, within each time frame (for example, 3 times on Mondays between 8am and 6pm). Then you just load up your posts like Buffer. Hootsuite will autofill those slots, and randomly select times based on their own data of which times get the most engagement.

    1. Ieva Laicāne says: August 16, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Yes, I knew that there should be something like that! Thanks for update! 🙂
      And that’s true – for specific times Hootsuite definitely is better.

      Regards,
      ieva.

  3. Angela says: August 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Great post! I started out using Hootsuite and used it for a long time, but now I’m completely on Buffer. It certainly depends on your social media scheduling needs, and for know the paid version of Buffer fits mind perfectly!

    1. Ieva Laicāne says: August 16, 2015 at 8:49 am

      I totally agree with you. They both have some specific details that some might find necessary at that point! Great that you’ve found Buffer for you!

      Best luck!
      ieva.

  4. Joanne says: August 18, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I’ve used buffer a little and as one of those freelance social media managers you talk about find it very restrictive. I manage way more than 10 profiles and can have 100 tweets going out only every four days. You can drag tweets around in hootsuite. You can go into the publisher tab (the airplane in the left hand column) and switch to weekly view. I find this view the most intuitive and easiest to use. Buffer would have to make some serious improvements for the price to make me move from hoot suite pro after two years. Good post though!

    1. Ieva Laicāne says: August 19, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Yeah, unfortnately that’s a feature that I didn’t get familiar with, but thanks for pointing out! I’ll definitely keep in mind all the good stuff about them, when there will be necessity to manage more than 10 accounts.
      Thanks for insights!

      Regards,
      ieva.

    2. Laura Sands says: December 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      I am also a social media manager. On my plan, I can have 25 profiles with 2,000 scheduled posts per profile. I can drag tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest pins and Google Plus updates to wherever I choose. I can also view my schedule in a weekly view, monthly or as a complete list.

      1. Laura Sands says: December 29, 2015 at 9:56 pm

        Sorry, meant to say on my Buffer plan…

  5. Macy says: October 29, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Have you tried CoSchedule? I have used Buffer and Hootsuite for my job but I much prefer CoSchedule to both of them. It is incredibly user-friendly, not very expensive and you are able to schedule as many social shares as you want. It also keeps track of most popular posts, recommends times to share and so many other things. I did a post about it if you haven’t tried it out- http://totravelandbeyond.com/why-i-decided-to-switch-to-coschedule/

  6. sanchal says: June 13, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Thanks for sharing the information about the Social media scheduling tools helps me for social media optimization

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