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Is Hootsuite or Buffer Better for Social Media Management?

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As a social media consultant, I am often asked, “What should I use to manage my social media — Hootsuite or Buffer?”

Like most things in social media marketing, choosing a social media management tool comes down to what you want to use it for. And Hootsuite and Buffer are set up to help you do quite different things.

1. Conversations

Are you looking for a way to see what people are saying about your tweets, blog posts, competitors, or particular keywords? Then Hootsuite, a self-proclaimed “social media management dashboard” (emphasis mine), is what you’ll need.  

The word dashboard is instrumental here. At a glance, your car dashboard tells you how fast you’re driving, how much gas is in the tank, and how many miles you’ve driven. When set up properly, a Hootsuite dashboard can instantly tell you about all the different conversations you need to keep on top of.

Monitoring Burrito Chatter on Hootsuite

At this time, Buffer has no such monitoring capabilities.

2. Activity on Multiple Channels

Again, with the dashboard model, Hootsuite is your go-to for this. Through its “Add Social Networkl” feature, you can set up streams (columns) to watch your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts. But did you know that the Hootsuite App Directory also lets you add your channels on YouTube, Tumblr, and Instagram? You can even add other online tools like Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact.

3. Curation of Content

When Buffer says that it’s “the better way to share on social media,” it’s not boastful. It’s correct.

If you use news aggregators like Feedly, Instapaper, or Newsblur to source relevant content to post to your followers, you’ll love how easily you can add articles you read there to your Buffer queue. (A Buffer queue is the stream of posts that get sent out at designated times.)

While aggregators like Feedly, Instapaper, and Newsblur (among other news readers) seamlessly integrate with Buffer, they do not have any ability to integrate with Hootsuite.

Example of a Buffer Queue

The term “news aggregator” might give you a “Say What?” moment. Are RSS feeds more your thing? If so, you can feeds of your favorite go-to Websites to Buffer (see “Feeds” in the screenshot) and select articles you see there that would be of interest to your followers.

Or you can choose to tweet some of Buffer’s handcrafted selections. (see “Suggestions” in screenshot).

4. Timing of Posts

Buffer not only excels in terms of gathering and queueing content for posting, but it also shines in setting up these posts for maximum exposure. This tool integrates with “best time to tweet” tools like SocialBro, Followerwonk, and Tweriod. When connected, any of these three tools can tell Buffer when to schedule your tweets based on the activity of your followers.

Buffer also has its own built-in timing feature. Users have the ability to pace out posts on their own as well.

On Hootsuite, you can designate times for your posts or make use of its “AutoSchedule” timing function. Hootsuite does not allow third parties (ex. SocialBro) to schedule Hootsuite posts.

5. Sending Simultaneous Posts to Multiple Accounts

Both Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to type a message and, with a few clicks, send that message to as many social media accounts as your plan allows.

But do you really want to do that? Are the audiences of all those accounts the same? Are they online at the same time? Do they all respond to hashtags the same way?

Even though both tools are evenly matched on “blasting your accounts,” it’s something I rarely recommend as a “social” practice. Take the time to understand what your various audiences respond best to and post accordingly. Many times, your own hand (and intuition) can be your best social media management tool!

And in the same way you must understand the needs and desires of your audiences, you should take a moment to reflect on your needs for a social media management tool. A small time investment here will enable you to save tons of time with a tool that is best suited for your business.

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