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Social Media: Buffer vs Hootsuite

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A little while ago we wrote about some great tools for social media management. And as we said, the tools that you go for depend on what your strategy is, and what you how you want to monitor your success. Saying that, there are two tools that are often pitted against each other and it’s worth delving a little deeper into them; Buffer and Hootsuite. These are the two tools that overall tend to be more all-encompassing in terms of linking accounts, scheduling content and monitoring its success (compared to something like Tweetdeck which is just for Twitter or Everypost which just shares content across all of your channels). There are some subtle differences between the two though, so read on to find out which one will suit you.

Scheduling

  • Buffer lets you schedule any minute you want, Hootsuite gives you 5 minute slots.
  • Hootsuite has an option where you can have your tweets sent out at the optimised time (where Hootsuite analyses the reach it might get), but Buffer gives you the freedom to select a schedule for sending out automated posts, both of which are useful.
  • Buffer has a really great Google Chrome extension, which means that when you stumble across interesting articles or websites you can schedule them quickly and easily instead of spamming your social media feeds instantly. The Hootsuite version “Hootlet” is a bit clunky and so you have to write the posts individually on Hootsuite itself.
  • Sharing pictures and videos are shown to be the most shared content on social media. Scheduling via Hootsuite means that your images are not shown in the tweet and are available via an ow.ly link, but Buffer has many clever ways to ensure that your scheduled picture is directly embedded in the tweet.

Links

  • Hootsuite automatically uses the ow.ly shortener, which has previously been criticised for being unreliable. However, Buffer lets you choose your shortner, and this includes the ever-popular bit.ly.
  • Not really a link issue, but a shortening of the tweet issue (it sort of fits here)- Hootsuite doesn’t always tell you when you’ve overstepped the 140 character limit on Twitter and can leave you with … which can mean your Tweet doesn’t make sense or include the right information.

Analysis

  • Hootsuite has very sophisticated monitoring and analytics tool, whereas buffer is more of a scheduling tool with some additional monitoring features.
  • Hootsuite easily lets you ‘listen’ to a number of streams by tracking hashtags, key words and accounts. Buffer struggles with this as its key function is as a scheduling tool.

So both of the tools have their benefits and their drawbacks, and in fact you don’t need to pick one over the other. Buffer’s strength is scheduling material, and Hootsuite has strengths in monitoring and analysis of accounts and conversations. If you team these together then you have a pretty good social media management strategy.

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