Both Buffer and Hootsuite are extremely popular among people who work in the field of digital marketing and social media. Buffer and Hootsuite are used by many marketers to reach more potential customers and increase sales. However, they do have distinctive pros and cons. Which one should you use? Continue reading below for the detailed comparisons between Buffer vs Hootsuite based on several aspects such as their supported social media, publishing, analytics, security, and integrations.
Buffer vs Hootsuite: Overview
Before we delve deeper into the comparisons between these two platforms, we must first understand what these platforms are designed for. They are actually two different kinds of platforms.
Buffer is a content publishing platform. It allows you to publish content to various social media. It also allows you to schedule your posts. Compared to Hootsuite, Buffer is a smaller and more focused platform.
On the other hand, Hootsuite is a platform for managing social media. Here, you can manage multiple social media channels and delegate tasks to other users. Hootsuite is a bigger platform with more functions and features.
It would be unfair to compare Buffer against Hootsuite’s additional features, simply because Buffer is not designed for those tasks. However, they both allow you to publish and schedule posts to various social media, so let’s see their comparisons on their main features.
Supported Social Media
When choosing between Buffer vs Hootsuite, consider what social media that you will actually use. Buffer is a solid choice because it already supports all the mainstream social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Hootsuite does support more social media and networks. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and WordPress. However, that’s not all. By adding further integrations, you can also use Hootsuite to manage Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, Vimeo, VK, and some others.
Of course, you don’t need a list of social media and networks that you don’t use. That’s why you have to consider what channels that you will actually use. If you only publish to Facebook and Twitter, Buffer is already sufficient. However, if you want to be active on all popular channels including Instagram and YouTube, Hootsuite is the way to go.
Publishing, Scheduling, and URL Shortening
Buffer vs Hootsuite are quite similar in terms of publishing and scheduling. You can easily publish and schedule posts with either platform. Both also allow you to aggregate and publish posts from RSS feeds.
However, Buffer does not have the ability to respond to content. You can’t use it to reply or favorite a tweet on Twitter. You can, however, make retweets by using the browser plugin or mobile app plugin.
Buffer uses buff.ly as the URL shortener. This is actually bit.ly that is masked by the platform. Buffer is great if you are already using bit.ly, as you will be able to see the same stats page. It cannot work with other URL shorteners.
On the other hand, Hootsuite is a full-featured social media management platform. It is able to reply, retweet, and favorite tweets on Twitter. It is also able to like posts and comments on Facebook. You can easily engage with your audience through its timeline feature. Hootsuite uses ow.ly as the URL shortener, but you can integrate other URL shorteners if you subscribe to the Enterprise plan.
For automation, Buffer definitely holds a significant advantage. It has an open and flexible design with makes it compatible with various automation tools, such as IFTTT and Zapier. Hence, automation becomes very easy and powerful on Buffer.
On the other hand, Hootsuite has a built-in Autoscheduling feature which has the ability to make new posts from specific sources. But Hootsuite is not as flexible when integrating with other automation tools.
Buffer is a content publishing platform, so the analytics are focused on the posts and content that have been published through the platform. If you publish something through a different tool, it will not appear in Buffer. Nevertheless, the analytics dashboard is very intuitive to use. All data are presented in a neat and clean layout, and you can export them for further analysis.
On the other hand, Hootsuite is for managing social media, so the analytics capabilities are wider. You can see the performance of your social media channels, traffics, and many others. There are also real-time analytics reports available via uberVu via Hootsuite. However, the types of reports that you can get depend on your subscription plan. The basics are available on the free tier, some advanced ones are on the Pro tier, and complete reports are on the Enterprise tier.
Buffer already comes with good security features. It has two permission levels, manager and contributor, available on the Business subscription plan. While a manager is able to add updates and change post schedule, a contributor can only add posts. A manager has to approve the contributors’ posts before they can be published. Buffer also supports two-factor authentication via text message or Google Authenticator. There is a list of recent sessions and devices with the ability to revoke any session or API that you don’t recognize.
Hootsuite supports more complex privilege levels and security features. You can create custom roles and permissions, which is great if your team has multiple different roles with different privileges. Hootsuite has SSO, double approval systems, and custom HTTPS settings.
It has been mentioned above that Buffer is more flexible with automation tools. This is true. However, Hootsuite does come with a wider range of integrations in the Hootsuite App Directory. The rich list of integrations does not necessarily help you automate tasks, but you may benefit from having several tools under a single roof.
For example, you can check real-time web analytics while managing your social media accounts by using the Chartbeat integration. You can also bring reports and workflows to a Hootsuite tab by using the Brandwatch integration. Still, keep in mind that not all integrations and apps are free, and some are only available for the Pro or Enterprise user.
|- Focused onpublishing and scheduling||- Has publishing, scheduling, task delegation, audience engagement|
|- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest||- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress; others available via integrations|
|- More flexible to work with automation tools||- Not as flexible to automate, but has more integrations|
|- Analytics only on posts published through the platform||- Analytics on posts, social media accounts, traffics|
|- Two privilege levels, two-factor authentication||- Custom roles, SSO, double approval, and custom HTTPS settings|
So, Buffer or Hootsuite? It depends on your needs. Buffer is great if you need a flexible publishing platform that can integrate seamlessly with an automation tool. Buffer is also great if you only need a simple publishing platform. However, if you prefer a more robust platform with custom roles, social media management capabilities, and advanced analytics, Hootsuite is the way to go.