We live in a day and age where more than 53% of the world is on social media (Hubspot Insights). It rules the business world. Creating and maintaining a persistent image of your brand on social media is of utmost importance, whether you are a solopreneur or a large organization.
There are many tools available in the market to assist you with this. Two of the leaders among social media marketing tools are Hootsuite and Buffer.
Here, we are going to compare them, feature by feature. So let’s try to understand- Hootsuite vs Buffer, which one is the better choice?
Table of Contents
Key Features of Hootsuite
- Hootsuite is a social media management tool launched in 2008 by Ryan Holmes.
- It has a large portfolio of functionality which includes content curation, post scheduling, team management, content approval, conversation management, etc.
- It offers powerful analytics to measure ROI and determine post engagement rates.
- It has a very customizable interface, composed of columns called streams.
- It has more than 140 in-app integrations.
- Reduces clutter by allowing to manage multiple accounts from one place.
- It supports and functions for the following platforms:
- Hootsuite offers four pricing plans. They provide a free trial plan, which will give you access to their features although, with many restrictions.
- For smaller businesses or solo entrepreneurs, they have a Professional plan, costing $49 per month.
- The premium plans are for larger organizations, namely, Team, Business, and Enterprise plans.
It can be said that the price to functionality ratio given by Hootsuite is on the costlier side, especially for medium to small businesses. As we move to the higher-priced options, the additional features come with extra costs, making the tool quite pricey. Hence, it remains to be seen whether this tool is suitable for your business and worth spending.
Key Features of Buffer
- Buffer is also a social media management tool like Hootsuite.
- It has a clean and user-friendly interface, making post publishing and scheduling very simple.
- It provides options for post creation in line with the latest trends on social media, such as Instagram stories.
- Setting up an account on Buffer is fairly easy, just like the rest of its clutter-free user interface.
- You can connect Buffer to all the platforms Hootsuite can be connected to. You even get dedicated apps for content scheduling and posting.
- Designing and visualizing social media campaigns gets real smooth with Buffer.
- Buffer’s “Analyze” function helps gain insights on social media performance, create reports, and recommend strategic steps for fulfilling objectives such as increasing reach, engagement, and sales.
- Buffer offers three pricing plans. The Free plan is the most basic one, perfect for individuals. This plan also works well for a solo digital marketer or small organization.
- Essential and Team packs are higher-priced packages for more complex social media needs. They are charged based on the number of social media accounts you connect to the Buffer tool.
So now, we have given you a brief outline of Hootsuite and Buffer. But did you decide the winner of the Hootsuite vs Buffer battle yet?
If not, then don’t worry! We are going to take a deeper dive, comparing their features to see which one trumps the other in each aspect.
Hootsuite vs Buffer: Comparing the essentials
1. Hootsuite vs Buffer 2022: Pricing Plans
Hootsuite offers us four pricing plans with free trials. Access to many of its features is minimal when using the free trial plan. To enjoy its full potential, you have to upgrade to one of its paid plans.
Let’s go through these paid plans one by one.
- This costs users $49 each month.
- It is accessible by a single user.
- You can connect up to 10 accounts.
- You’ll have the provision to schedule unlimited posts.
- An unlimited number of RSS integrations are available.
- This costs its user $129 per month.
- This plan can be used by 3 users.
- It offers unlimited post scheduling.
- You can add up to 20 social media accounts.
- Custom analytics is also available.
- You get URL shorteners.
- Team workflow capabilities are available.
- This plan costs $599 per month.
- 5+ users can use it at once.
- Up to 35 accounts can be connected and managed.
- Approval-based publishing is available.
- Premium apps are available for integration and usage.
- Export of analytics data is available.
- You can opt for multiple branded URL shorteners.
- Training and certification are available.
- You are offered 24/7 customer service.
- This plan is the most premium one by Hootsuite.
- It can give you access to all the available features of the tool.
- All the aspects of this plan are customizable.
- You’ll also be able to avail of curated training services.
Buffer also follows a similar model as Hootsuite, i.e., they also offer free trial plans for a limited time and with limited features. The trial period for Buffer’s Essentials is 14 days. They offer discounts of 20% if you opt for annual payments.
So let’s go through the plans.
- It costs $0, no credit card required.
- It gives access to a single user.
- It can connect only 3 social media accounts.
- Up to 10 posts can be scheduled per account.
- Analytics is not available.
- Basic scheduling and posting features are available.
- It costs $6 per social account per month,
- Gives access to a single user.
- An unlimited number of social media accounts can be connected.
- 2000 posts can be scheduled.
- Link shorteners are available.
- Analytics are available.
- The team features are not accessible without an add-on.
Essentials + Teams pack
- It costs $12 per social media account per month.
- Admin users can invite unlimited additional users and clients.
- 2000 posts can be scheduled.
- Custom link shorteners are accessible.
- It can be used to organize multi-channel campaigns.
- Exportable branded reports are available.
- It has team workflow and collaboration features.
Pricing: Hootsuite vs Buffer
As you can see from the above data, both apps have various plans for different needs. If compared on the basis of costs, Buffer is quite a bit more affordable than Hootsuite. But Hootsuite offers more extensive features for social media management. It also has a longer trial period than Buffer.
2. Buffer vs Hootsuite: User Interface and Ease of Use
Hootsuite is a tool that is laden with social media management features and apps. Hence the user interface shows it. It is highly customizable and offers feeds to be added to your dashboard. Streams are the main component that makes up the main dashboard.
Hootsuite might take some time to get used to. The crowded dashboard might seem a little intimidating before you get the hang of it. But rest assured that the bulky look comes from the number of widgets and tools giving us insights on the live trends of the channels.
Buffer has a clutter-free interface. It shows you the line-up of your scheduled posts. The minimalist view of the interface gives the users an idea about the tool’s ease of use.
It is most prominent on the dashboard that the tool is content-centric. In the column on the left side of the screenshot, you can see the accounts connected to Buffer.
User Interface and Ease of Use: Buffer vs Hootsuite 2022
In this aspect, Buffer is the clear winner. When compared side by side, Hootsuite’s interface is kind of chaotic looking. Buffer, on the other hand, has a streamlined interface. And at a glance, it seems very likely that Buffer is the one with more ease of use.
3. Hootsuite vs Buffer: Content Curation
Content creation is the core of any social media presence, and both Hootsuite and Buffer provide ample features and functions to create the content you want. Let’s check out the brief outline of how capable the content curation part of both is.
It has a tool that is dedicated to content. It gives access to the RSS feed from the dashboard. You can find any content you like and directly post it on your social media accounts. This tool within Buffer is called Content inbox.
The only downside of this feature is that it is only available with higher-priced plans. If you are a smaller business using compact plans, you might not get access to them. But worry not, Buffer lets you integrate with other content curation tools like Feedly and Pocket.
This tool offers a lot of features to find and post relevant content on social media. You can conduct hashtag and keyword searches for platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
With the browser extension, you can find the post which was the most recently shared and is relevant to your search and schedule them in a snap. And one of the key differences in Hootsuite is that you can actually use a social channel from the dashboard itself. You can reply to messages, like and view feeds, and more. This is not possible on Buffer.
Content Curation: Hootsuite vs Buffer
In this category, Hootsuite is the superior one. It provides a lot of features when it comes to curating, posting, and queuing content. The fact that it can essentially function as that particular social media platform is kind of amazing in itself.
4. Post Scheduling and Publishing
The content scheduling function on Hootsuite is powerful here. There are multiple ways to create or schedule a post. An impressive feature here is that it generates a preview of how your post is going to look on each social media platform you are going to publish that post on.
Hootsuite also allows customization and scheduling of the post manually. But it has an automation feature that upon selection, will determine the best time to post and schedule for that time slot. But then you cannot select the sequence of the posts by yourself.
Also, only 30 posts can be scheduled across all the social media platforms for the free trial plan. When you subscribe to the paid plans, you will be able to schedule an unlimited number of posts.
Just as Hootsuite, Buffer lets you custom schedule your posts. The process is pretty simple, which is in tandem with the overall user-friendly nature of the tool. You can see on their dashboard all the posts you have queued in a vertical line-up. Buffer queue is where you can custom schedule all your desired posts.
We have to mention that the ad-hoc posting on Buffer is unimaginably easy. You don’t need to select the date and time. With the browser extension, just a click will lead to sharing the content right there. If you are on a trial plan, you can only post up to 10 posts.
Post Scheduling and Publishing: Hootsuite vs Buffer 2022
Both tools are equally matched in scheduling posts. Hootsuite is quite versatile and customizable. On the other hand, Buffer is highly streamlined and easy to use.
5. Social Platforms Supported
These are the social media platforms Buffer supports:
- Facebook: Pages and Groups
- LinkedIn: Profiles and Pages
- Instagram: Business Accounts
These are the platforms that Hootsuite supports:
- Facebook: Profiles, Pages, and Groups
- LinkedIn: Profiles and Pages
Social Media Platforms Supported: Hootsuite vs Buffer
In this aspect, Hootsuite takes the cake. It supports two extra platforms, which are YouTube and WordPress. All of these platforms are accessible on all the plans except for Pinterest, which is not available on the free plan on Buffer.
Analytics is an important factor for any social media management tool to look into. These data tell us whether our efforts are working or not. Identifying audience preferences and the organization’s growth all depends on metrics from analytics.
Hootsuite and Buffer, both offer many analytics tools. So let’s take a look at them.
It has established itself as a complete social media management tool. Hence you will find a broad spectrum of analytics data in Hootsuite. It’ll provide you with reports of your posts’ performance, trends on that social media related to your post, engagement, and more.
It’ll also give you reports on your social media posts which include scheduled and direct shares. This is what makes Hootsuite an integrated and comprehensive tool that is not limited to posts from itself.
On this tool, the extent of analytics you can access depends on the paid plan you are on. The free plan will get you the basic analytics tools. If you are on the Pro plan, you will get your real-time engagement and post-wise data. With the Enterprise plan, you can access analytics and team performance overview.
Content scheduling and posting and where Buffer’s strengths lie. Hence its analytics toolkit is not as developed as Hootsuite’s. You can find data for the post published from this tool only and not from the native website or any other tool.
Buffer publish will give you basic analytics. For advanced analytical tools, you will have to get Buffer Analyze. It’ll be an add-on to your current Buffer plan but will give a more in-depth analysis of your social media metrics.
Analytics: Hootsuite vs Buffer
Hootsuite’s analytics trumps Buffer. This is due to the basic difference in the nature of these tools. The wider range of functionality of Hootsuite covers more aspects of analytics offered than Buffer’s. But sometimes, an organization’s analytics needs are such that they have to subscribe to specialized tools dedicated only to analytics. Some of these tools are Google Analytics, TapInfluence, Snaplytics, etc.
7. Third-Party App Integrations
App integrations are important to any marketer. They provide a decided edge to a marketing tool’s functionality. It has been observed that such app integrations are especially utilized by medium to large organizations more than smaller ones.
In semblance to its versatility, Hootsuite provides more than 200 in-app integrations. They include Google My Business, Canva, Adobe, Canva, Spotify, Zendesk, and many more. All these additional features broaden the scope for Hootsuite and aid in the content management social media marketing process.
Buffer also offers more than 60 in-app integrations: Zapier, Twitter, WordPress, SharpSpring, Pocket, Bulk.ly, and many more. While these apps are helpful, they are mostly there for social automation and content management. Hence they rarely add much in the context of marketing.
In-app Integration: Hootsuite vs Buffer
In this aspect, Hootsuite walks away victorious. That is not because of the number of third-party apps it integrates more than Buffer does. It’s because these apps add immensely to the functionality of the tool and makes it a one-stop shop for multiple purposes.
8. Customer Testimonials
In this debate of Hootsuite vs Buffer, we have given you the comparison of the essential features of both tools. But now, let’s hear from the users what they think about these two.
Hootsuite has an average rating of 4 stars from certified users. There are a lot of mixed opinions about the usability and affordability of the tool. Certified users have different opinions. Let’s see what they say, the good and the bad.
Hootsuite was a great tool for me while I worked as a social media manager. The planning tools can be set for days or even weeks in the future in case you forget. One thing I would change about Hootsuite is the user interface. It doesn’t show off all the possibilities you can use it for in an obvious way, so some parts are hit or miss because of that.
Emily Joy J
Hootsuite is probably the best known and oldest social scheduler and insights tool and so has many great features. The thing which I dislike about it is it’s almost too customizable for each social platform and to figure out which monthly and daily reports you want. Also not clear how to duplicate posts in an easy way from platform to platform. AND THE COST! To have something that really works well, you’re paying lots more than other platforms.
Buffer’s story is somewhat similar. It has a 4.5-star rating. The difference is that it has a lesser number of users reviewing it than Hootsuite. The satisfied opinions are trumping the unhappy ones. However, we’ll take a look at different opinions.
Buffer allows you to create and schedule posts to be shared directly to your desired social media page or pages. Buffer makes it easy to tag businesses (a recent addition for Facebook), share multiple videos, and really plan out your content. While Buffer provides an amazing service and truly valuable app for social media scheduling, there are a few downfalls. Instagram carousels allow for up to 10 photos, however, Buffer will only let you upload 4 at once. That’s the biggest issue we found with Buffer.
What I like in Buffer- Pre Scheduled posts and organization, layout to determine upcoming posts.
What I dislike- Constant requirement for upgrades that cost a significant amount.
As you can see, the opinions are mixed. So the likability of the tools mostly depends on whether they can fulfill the organization’s requirements. But social media management is a huge market, and there are plenty of fish in the sea. So let’s see a few alternatives to Hootsuite and Buffer.
Buffer vs Hootsuite: Some Alternatives to Both
Till now, we have gone quite in-depth trying to determine the difference between both the tools. Buffer is a publishing tool aimed at individuals, whereas Hootsuite is very useful for enterprises. But it is quite possible that these tools are not quite there for your needs. Or rather, the pricing options are suitable for you.
Well, you have nothing to be disheartened about as there are plenty of options in social media marketing tools that might prove to be perfect for you. Here are a few of our recommendations you might want to check out.
- Sprout Social
- Hubspot Marketing Hub
- Zoho Social
- Salesforce Social Studio
All of these are well-rounded social media management tools that facilitate Post scheduling, publishing, and social analytics. There are slight variations in their features and pricing, making them suitable for particular organizations.
Hootsuite vs Buffer: Which will it be?
So we have effectively covered all the basic aspects of these tools. Both Hootsuite and Buffer are comprehensive tools that are capable of handling the social media management needs of organizations of different sizes.
If you are looking for a complete social management solution, you can go for Hootsuite. Its highly customizable scheduling options and content recommendations will never leave you wanting for good content to publish. And its in-depth analytics will give you an overview of the social platform you are aiming for.
While Hootsuite is the preferred choice for enterprises, Buffer is the go-to platform for individuals and smaller businesses.
Now it is possible that none of these tools work out for you, but that’s absolutely fine. You might not find the desirable features in them, or perhaps the prices are too unaffordable. There are many options available. Some of them are mentioned above.
To give you an understanding of two of the most famous social media management tools, we compared these tools feature-by-feature. We are not quantifying the results as it’ll be like comparing apples and oranges. Hence we leave all the data for you. Now you will be able to find the answer to the question asked in the beginning, i.e., Hootsuite vs Buffer; which would you choose?
Hope you found this blog helpful. Be tuned for more blogs about social media marketing. If you have any suggestions or want your thoughts to be published, write to us.
Frequently Asked Questions
🌟 Which one is better: Buffer or Hootsuite?
Both the tools have their pros and cons. Buffer is more suitable for small to medium organizations, whereas Hootsuite is best for larger businesses with diverse social media management needs.
🌟 Is Buffer the same as Hootsuite?
Although they have many similar features, Buffer and Hootsuite aren’t exactly the same. Buffer is more of a publishing tool, whereas Hootsuite is a diverse social media management tool with strong analytical acumen.
🌟 Is Buffer cheaper than Hootsuite?
Compared to Hootsuite, Buffer is the cheaper option. Plan Pro plan, which is the least paid plan, for Buffer costs $0, and that of Hootsuite costs $49. But Buffer offers a shorter free trial period of 7-14 days, whereas Hootsuite gives 30 days free trial.
🌟 Is Buffer a good social media tool?
Yes, Buffer is a great social media tool for content publishing and scheduling. It has more than enough features to take care of the needs of smaller organizations. It is a very user-friendly tool that makes ad-hoc posting very simple.
🌟 Is Hootsuite good for small businesses?
Hootsuite has a diversified set of features useful to any social media marketer. But these features come at a more value-for-money price for larger organizations. Hence, it’s not the best fit for small businesses compared to other alternatives.