Social media management: Hootsuite vs Sprout Social vs Buffer

Advertising and marketing are grassroots processes for any business initiative. If people don’t know your brand, how are you ever going to sell? Since the advent of technology, marketing has gone beyond the scope of a door to door advertising and selling. It eventually went on to print media, then radio, followed by televisions, with the latest buzz being the internet and social media.

Social media is today one of the most powerful platforms for increasing the popularity of your product because most of the people across the globe log into social media websites a multiple number of times in a day, thus increasing the likelihood of your ads being noticed.

Streamlining the social media advertising tasks                    

Since there are a number of social media platforms available to us, we would want to advertise our brand on each one of them. Businesses, be it big or small, offline start-ups or online ones, everything requires publicity on social media, but do we have enough time to monitor each of these platforms individually and track down every post we share and every trend we follow. The solution to this issue is provided by various social media management software, here in this article I will specifically talk about three such services

  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout social
  • Buffer

Intro

Hootsuite offers a dashboard interface for the union of multiple social networks you may be associated with. It offers services to manage online brands send messages to an assortment of social media services.

Sprout social allows social media brands to interact with each other and with the potential consumers as well on social networks. It also permits management of social media advocacy and analytics.

Buffer: Buffer is both a web based and mobile app service, which allows scheduling of posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Integrations

All 3 services support major social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. In addition, each one of them has some exclusive integrations with other platforms such as WordPress, Google Analytics and more.

All integrations available on the Verdict section.

 

Features  

Hootsuite is popular as a social media management tool. It allows up to 5 accounts on its free tier, along with the ability to schedule posts, and add images.

 

A URL shortener is integrated as well. Single click replies to things like tweets, and the ability to track these interactions is another plus. The platform also allows the ability to search by image and location.

Sprout social positions itself as a premium tier social media solutions provider, of which account management is simply one facet.

A smart inbox provides monitoring tools, streamlined workflow, and the ability to identify trends on networks like Twitter. Insights into social media keyword results are also available.

Buffer is a 3 million strong community, working identical to Hootsuite. The typical tools – post schedulers, bulk posts, engagement options, and more are all available.

There’s a free version, followed by a basic pro version that you can buy for about $10/month per user. Bigger plans are available for larger sized teams.

Pricing comparisons

Buffer and Hootsuite are priced nearly identical – with both their plans beginning at about $10/month per user. Higher grade plans, offering more functionality and the ability to manage more accounts, along with extra integrations (such as RSS feeds) are available for teams.

Team accounts on Buffer begin at $99/month on Buffer, before going up to $199/month and $399/month for larger teams. All costs are ‘per user’.

Sprout Social isn’t cheap. The basic premium plan starts at $99/user/month. The team plan will set you back by $149/month per user, while the Enterprise plan costs $249/month per user.

Verdict

All three platforms deliver the goods pretty well. A major chunk of their offerings are more or less the same because they all have common objectives. Although managing social media through these platforms has become a piece of cake, some issues do remain.

 

Hootsuite can connect only to one service to one HootSuite account at a time. It also requires a URL shortener. No reports are generated either.

Sprout Social is straight up expensive in the context of these other services. There are no free plans and it’s also priced higher than the other two. It also doesn’t allow you to like Facebook posts or a Google+ comments.

Buffer does not have the ability to target Facebook posts. There’s a lack of tools for customer interaction too.

Hootsuite and Buffer do take the lead here, owing to their free offerings. Whether Sprout Social delivers quality is a subjective question depending on what you’re looking for.