I Had to Choose Between Buffer or Hootsuite: Heres What I Picked?

By Nate McCallister / a couple of weeks ago

Buffer or Hootsuite? These two tools  both allow you to syndicate and schedule content across your social media channels, but which is best for you? I've used both for over 4 years (I use too a lot of tools) and decided it was time to commit to just one.

Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite make sharing your own content or other relevant content to your social platforms easy and I do recommend that you use one of them if you're a content marketer with more money than time.

Choosing which of these two tools to use on the other hand isn't as easy. 

Both tools have their pros and cons and I'll go through each tool and all the features content marketers like you and I should know about. 

If you're worried that this is just another biased article favoring the product with the bigger affiliate commission, it's not. I'm not an affiliate for either tool. Just a marketer who wants to make the right choice, like you. 

WARNING!

Content scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can lead to sloppy social media habits if you aren't careful. You can't just "set it and forget it" with social media. Everything you share should be of the highest quality and relevant. Don't expect tons of traffic by over posting across all of your platforms each day. You need to be strategic and be sure to engage with followers who engage with your posts. These tools will make you lazy if you let them. I know, I've been there. They can save you time and make you money if you use them properly and I highly recommend you use one. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Buffer or Hootsuite

Your business is a beautiful, unique snowflake so you need to remember that when choosing Buffer or Hootsuite. 

Hootsuite is much more robust and borders on overwhelming. If utilized properly, it can be an amazing asset to your company.

Buffer on the other hand packs the fire power but doesn't bring the add-ons that Hootsuite does and it's clear this wasn't by mistake. They seem content with focusing on their core features like sharing and analytics rather than fancy tools that are nice but unlikely to be utilized by their target audience. 

So, the product you choose should take into consideration:

  • How many social accounts you have
  • If you're managing accounts for multiple companies or just yourself
  • How many team members you have 
  • How much money you want to spend 
  • How much functionality do you want 
  • How many posts per day/week/month will you need to share

Keep these things in mind as you choose. 

Hell, if you are someone who is only on 1 or 2 social channels and you post very infrequently, you may decide that neither tool is necessary right now. 

Hootsuite Vs. Buffer Side by Side

Let's go through each important aspect of both softwares and compare head to head. I find this to be a bit more clear than reviewing them one by one. 

I do feel that depending on your needs, many of you will disagree with my "winners" since they might not be perfect for you. For example, I like that Hootsuite has a very robust and customizable dashboard whereas you might like the forced simplicity of Buffer. 

Set Up

Setting up Buffer isn't difficult but seems faster than Hootsuite.

Not difficult to set up accounts


Learning Curve

Relatively easy to learn. Buffer has fewer "nice to have" but not completely necessary features compared to Hootsuite so there is less to learn.

Easy to learn but there is much more to learn since Hootsuite offers many "nice to have" features compared to Buffer.

This was a tough call for me because Hootsuite does offer much better training BUT there is just more to learn and there will be more time needed to learn it. 

Hootsuite Academy


Interface

Buffer has a very lean layout that isn't very customizable. If you like simplicity, you'll like that you don't have many choices here. 

Hootsuite has a more robust dashboard that is very customizable. 

Features

You can create customized schedules for each platform, profile, or an individual day. Buffer integrates with 60 apps, which makes it easy to manage posts. You can choose to allow your post to publish immediately, add it to your schedule, or send the post to the que.

While Hootsuite also offers scheduling, their strength lies in their streams. The dashboard can be customized to show numerous types of streams: inbound and outbound messages, scheduled posts, replies, or mentions. Streams can consist of hashtags, keywords, even your avatar's characteristics. With a quick glance, you can review all your posts for each stream.

Hootsuite streams

Choosing the platform with the best features was difficult. Both have similar scheduling and sharing capabilities inside the app and via browser extensions. But where Hootsuite leaves Buffer in the dust is the ability to create and manage customer service issues, responses, and messages, from one centralized place -- the dashboard.


Analytics

Posts are sorted by popularity: most likes, shares, clicks, and engagement. You are able to see the lowest performing posts as well as the ones that have the greatest potential reach.

Hootsuite recently revamped their analytics. Now you can get weekly, customized reports sent to your inbox. These reports contain deep data about the performance of your posts.

If you want real analytics on from either Hootsuite or Buffer, you have to be on a paid plan.


Mobile App

Buffer’s interface is clean, minimal, and gets straight to the point of creating, scheduling, and analyzing your content’s effectiveness.

Teams win big using the Hootsuite mobile app. One thing though, the interface can look as overwhelming on mobile as it does on the desktop.

Buffer mobile app


Support

Uses Twitter and Messenger Bots for Customer Support.

Uses Twitter and Messenger Bots for Customer Support. 

Where Hootsuite stands out is there massive collection of articles and posts about how to use their service. There seems to be an article, post or case study for every scenario.


Reliability

No experience with down time. 


No experience with down time. 


Both Buffer and Hootsuite seem to run a very tight ship when it comes to keeping their servers up. They also remain in compliant with the social platforms that they utilize. Other softwares like MeetEdgar have had their "share to group" options restricted. 


Integrations

Basic integrations like Zapier and IFTTT. 

Basic integrations like Zapier and IFTTT as well as many free and paid integrations built directly into the software.

When it comes to 3rd party integrations, Hootsuite absolutely pummels Buffer. 

If many of these optional apps within Hootsuite were included for free, there would be no contest on which platform you'd want to use. 

I admit that I can't imagine using some of these Hootsuite integrations but others are very appealing. 

Again though, if you're goal is simplicity, you may find this seemingly endless amount of add ons to be more overwhelming than exciting. This is one of the reasons why Hootsuite seems better fit for larger agencies and corporations rather than small time bloggers and digital marketers. 

Pricing

Free forever options for very small accounts. Tiered pricing up to $399/month with 150 accounts and up to 25 team members. Pricing on basic accounts is very similar but mid-tier pricing favors Buffer in terms of affordability (50 total accounts would cost $199 vs. $499 for Hootsuite).


Free forever options for very small accounts and large enterprise options over $499. It is clear that Hootsuite targets large agencies that manage multiple social accounts for clients.  


Buffer Pricing

Buffer Pricing

Hootsuite Pricing

Hootsuite Pricing

Final Words: Why I Chose Hootsuite But Maybe You Shouldn't

You can't go wrong with either Buffer or Hootsuite so don't lose hair over your decision. Both tools will grow your business if you do the work. 

Think of them like running shoes. Sure one pair may fit better or look better but none of them will do anything if you don't go run! 

You are the really x-factor in this. 

Alternatives to Hootsuite and Buffer

There is a reason I only compared Hootsuite and Buffer in this article and it isn't because there aren't other options. 

Tools like MeetEdgar and Coschedule do similar things to Hootsuite and Buffer but I don't find them on par with either of them. 

Feel free to check them out though!

About the author

Nate McCallister

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his two kids Sawyer and Brooks with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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