I know this is going to feel like deja vu, but we haven’t covered it for #TechTuesday yet, so strap in and hold on.
Buffer and Hootsuite have been the two big names in social media management software for quite some time now. Both are household names among various market publications and chances are that if you’re posting regularly to multiple social media platforms you’re already using one or the other. Nevertheless it’s good to re-examine some of the pros and cons of the platforms. I’ll be mainly looking at the free-versions of these two offerings.
Buffer certainly looks prettier than Hootsuite. There’s no doubt about that. Its a simple, minimalist approach to scheduling and creating content that is easy to use. I wasn’t too fond of Buffer’s interface at first and really preferred Hootsuite’s dashboard, but after a while I grew to understand why they made it look and feel so simple. Compared to Hootsuite, where you have to move around and manage between feeds, looking for tabs and buttons, on Buffer, you click the outlet you want to post or schedule to and then post away. Scheduling is done the same way as general posting but under the “scheduling” tab. Buffer also comes with it’s own image editor called Pablo which is a huge plus compared to Hootsuite. all image editing and creation is native to the site and now I don’t have to use multiple tools and have multiple tabs open just to get working on an image I want to post. Simply put, simpler design equals easier to use and simplicity is what Buffer does best.
Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms and many users, from individuals to organizations, use Instagram to share their experiences and interact with their followers and customers. To not support it as a way to schedule posts (and have access to Buffer’s awesome analytics) is kind of a bummer. Also, the free version of Buffer doesn’t have the feeds that Hootsuite has which is a setback if you want to interact with comments and whatnot.
Weirdly enough the first thing that I like about using Hootsuite isn’t the software itself. It’s the support and education. Hootsuite keeps up a great blog about all aspects of social media. It really is pretty great. They include tips, educational pieces, and news. Speaking of education, Hootsuite also offers webinars and web-courses that’ll give you new skills and help you make the most out your social media efforts.
Now for the program itself. Adding various feeds (“streams”) is as simple as clicking a button and selecting the account. Done. Where Hootsuite’s interface shines is its ability to monitor responses, comments, and relevant information, something Buffer doesn’t do. Posting can be a little confusing the first time around (I had trouble remembering to click the calendar to schedule my posts) but after a 2 or 3 posts I got the hang of it.
Hootsuite’s Chrome extension is a little better too. If your currently browsing a site that’d you’d like to share to one of your social media outlets simply click on the little owl in you browsers toolbar and follow the instructions.
Instagram. Hootsuite is the only one that’ll let you schedule Instagram posts with one caveat, you have to download their mobile app and link it to both your Instagram and Hootsuite accounts. Then you can do all the Instagramming you want bu only from the mobile app. This is all still potentially free, but it can be VERY cumbersome and little bit of a headache if you’re in a rush to set things up or get a post out there.
In the end it all comes down to preference. Personally I prefer to use Hootsuite over Buffer, only because my mind seems to mesh better with its interface. Like Mac vs PC or iOS vs Android, it really does come down to whatever works for you and what you are going to enjoy using the most, although it might be best to use both depending on your needs. Luckily both have free no-commitment options so you can spend some time playing around with both before you decide which one suits your needs best. They both have pretty cool Chrome extensions that enable to share compressed links as you surf instead of have to save them to your clipboard and then remember to post in the manager dashboard. Both are also available on Google Play and the App Store.
For visual readers, Capterra put together this AWESOME chart not only to compare Hootsuite and Buffer but also some of the other management software offerings out there.
Meet Mike Miessler:
Mike is a millennial that lives in a magical place called Orlando. After spending his early 20’s traveling the US and playing with race cars for a living he moved back to Florida to be closer to his core group of friends and family. He got involved with youth ministry at his local church and a new passion for youth ministry and outreach was realized. He now spends his time using what he learned as an IT major to bring churches and communities closer with the use of technology. Mike is a car geek, foodie, and Netflix addict.