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.
*EDIT (23/08/16): I suggest you to read comment section as well to discover more useful tips and information
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 of my favorite tools quite 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.)
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 the 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!
The first impression of Buffer vs Hootsuite
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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 them) – cost. Buffer vs Hootsuite is cheaper. $10 monthly and even cheaper if you pay for a whole year in advance.
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!