Social media plays a big part in most businesses; having a strong social media presence can create brand awareness, establish strong customer relationships, expand your target market, give you valuable feedback and even give you a boost in traffic. The biggest challenge when it comes to incorporating social media into your marketing strategy is time management and staying organised. Thankfully there are platforms that might just be able to help with these challenges- such as Hootsuite and Buffer.. which are social media management tools. With them, you have the ability to bring together all of your social media accounts and engage with them by doing the following: schedule posts, monitor mentions, gain understanding through analytics and statistics, and respond to followers. This blog post is going to break down each tool, so you can decide for yourself which one will work better for you and your business..
Maybe the most successful social media management tool out there, with over 10 million users to date! With Hootsuite you can connect a variety of social media platforms, including the following: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and WordPress. You have the option to collaborate with other team members so everyone within the business can get involved in posting to your social media accounts. On Hootsuite you can publish and schedule updates, respond to your followers, monitor progress and source engaging content. Not only can you benefit from these features with Hootsuite, but there is also the opportunity to develop your skills through 'Hootsuite University' which offers an array of lectures giving you the best tips from industry leading brands, platforms and educators! Hootsuite provides you with a lot of support and guidance which is what makes their tool so popular..
So with all of the benefits of Hootsuite, the question of 'What's not to love?' still arises. Many people share the same opinion on what is potentially wrong
with Hootsuite and that is the ease of use. Whilst there are many great and valuable features to the management tool, there isn't an element of it that is particularly user-friendly even after them updating the design time and time again. Navigating around the tool could get easier but it takes a while to know exactly where everything you need is.
On Hootsuite there are five different types of subscriptions:
- Free plan for individuals, where you get 3 Social Profiles, message scheduling and basic analytics.
- Professional priced at £7.99 per month, with this you get the features of the Free plan as well as 10 Social Profiles, Real-time analytics, Auto Scheduling, Unlimited Content Suggestions, Social Sweepstakes and Unlimited RSS Integrations.
- Priced at £27.99 a month is the Team subscription that gives you the Professional features as well as the following features: Up to 20 Social Profiles, Customised Analytic Views, Bulk Content Scheduling, Team Assignments, 6 Social Campaign Templates (1 user), Custom Branded URL, 1-on-1 Training (15 mins) and 1 Social Media Certification.
- Paying £69.99 a month gives you the Business subscription which gives you access to the Team features as well as: Up to 50 Social Profiles, Analytic Data Exports, Publishing Approvals, Unlimited App Integrations, 6 Social Campaign Templates (Multi-user), Multiple Custom Branded URLs, 5 Social Media Certifications, 24/7 Priority Support and Extended Training (60 mins)
- Last is the Enterprise subscription which varies in price as it is fully customisable around what you want for your business!
Buffer is the total opposite of Hootsuite when it comes to complexity because it is an easier tool to come to grips with. Whilst there aren't a huge range of features, it is a cleaner experience. The difference between the two social media management tools is that Buffer focuses more on the ability to schedule messages whereas Hootsuite looks at scheduling, engaging and monitoring. Buffer allows you to connect with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and App.net. The big benefit of Buffer is that anyone can use the tool no matter what level of social media skills you may have, you can schedule social messages quickly and access reports on a basic level.
A negative point for Buffer is that you can't directly interact with your followers or view your Twitter feed. However if Buffer were to start adding the amount of features that Hootsuite have then they would lose their key selling point which is simplicity
Buffer have four different subscription plans available:
- A Free Individual plan where you can have 1 profile on each social network and up to 10 scheduled messages
- An Awesome plan which costs just over £7 a month and gives you the following features: 10 Connected Social Accounts and 100 Scheduled Posts Per Profile
- The Business plan is priced between £75 and £300 and allows you to take advantage of the following: between 11 & 150 Connected Social Accounts, between 1 & 25 Team Members, 2000 Scheduled Posts Per Profile, RSS Feed Integration, Rich Analytics For Your Posts and all of the other standard Buffer features
- The last subscription option is the Enterprise plan which is around £680 per month and enables you to have 200+ Social Accounts, 25+ Team Members, access to the Customer Success Team, 2000 Schedules Posts Per Profile, RSS Feed Integration, Rich Analytics For Your Posts as well as all the other standard Buffer features.
To conclude, both of these social media management platforms have a proven track record of working efficiently to meet your needs. It honestly depends on what specific requirements you want from them and what you are planning to do with your social media platforms. If you need to manage a number of social platforms then you might prefer to use Hootsuite, as long as you're willing to come to grips with how to navigate around the tool. If you lack time and need something that is easy to use then Buffer would definitely work better for you. If you are still undecided then why not try both? Many businesses do this as both Hootsuite and Buffer have their own advantages, scheduling tweets would be easier with Buffer but if you want to communicate with your followers then you may want to use Hootsuite.. it's completely up to you!