By Meenakshi Krishnan.
Social media is the heart and soul of any digital strategy.
It decides your success or failure whether you are promoting your brand, your company, your ideas or listening to the trends, or even hearing opinions.
But the fact is that social media management is time consuming unless you have a proper tool to organise your networks.
Recent research indicates that the average time spent daily on social media is approximately 118 minutes, almost close to two hours of your minimum 8 working hours.
Do you believe that this mind-numbing time spent on creating content, posting, viewing shares etc. is getting nowhere near to creating a positive impact on your social media campaign efforts?
Managing social media campaigns can easily get better with a few helpful social media management tools. These tools let you simplify your social media management tasks from one single dashboard. They let you painlessly promote, listen, respond, react and be more organized across multiple networks.
Prioritizing and scheduling your tasks smartly, and channelling your resources and time can eventually get you on the right track.
But before you jump straight into it, you need to understand the best social media management tools a little better.
Let us see which one really wins the social scheduling game.
“HootSuite and Buffer are so similar, yet they are so different too.”
Two major factors that will help us decide which one comes out on top are;
- How easy and efficient the platform is to use
- How much time you can save by using it
Launched in 2008 by Ryan Holmes, HootSuite was developed as a complete Twitter application. Today, the application is used by more than 15 million global users.
The tool lets you to manage your social media strategies across multiple networks from one single dashboard. You can schedule, publish, source content, respond and easily monitor all your social media activity using this tool. You can even collaborate with other members.
The Hootsuite auto-scheduler even understands the optimal time to post on your social networks and schedules your post accordingly.
Social networks supported by HootSuite:
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Instagram and YouTube.
- Individual – Limited free plan for individuals – Up to 3 Social profiles, message scheduling, basic analytics.
- Professional – One user, 10 social profiles, real-time analytics, auto scheduling, unlimited content suggestions, social sweepstakes, unlimited RSS integrations.
- Team – 5 users, 20 social profiles, customized analytic views, bulk content scheduling, team assignments, 6 social campaign templates (1 user), custom branded URL, 1-on-1 training (15 mins), Hootsuite platform certification.
- Business – Minimum 5 users, 50 social profiles, analytic data exports, publishing approvals, unlimited app integrations, 6 social campaign templates (multi-user), multiple custom branded URLs, platform & social marketing certifications, 24/7 priority support, extended training
- Enterprise – Custom team and customizable features
Effective advanced queries are so important. HootSuite lets its users create their own search queries and easily keep track of those that include any specific @handles, keywords, phrases etc.
By this way, users can stay up to date on topics that matter to them.
The Hootlet Twitter search facility, which is totally linked with Google, is definitely an upper hand for HootSuite users. It allows you to:
- Add Twitter lists, Facebook pages, Youtube and Instagram search streams
- Add search or keyword streams
- Add search streams with language filters
- Create localized search streams
- Search for conversations
- Find influencers
HootSuite stands as one of the dominant social media management tools due to its powerful search query feature enabling users not only with the flexibility of several types of monitoring, but also allowing precision from not wasting time on those that are not relevant. Accurate analysis saves time and money.
Social media advertising:
HootSuite recently partnered with six top technology and services solutions for social advertising. Users can now easily create, manage and update their social advertising right from Hootsuite.
Companies planning to optimize and gain the maximum benefit of social advertising campaigns across major social channels can now do so right within Hootsuite.
Matt Switzer, senior vice president of Labs, Corporate and Business Development at Hootsuite believes that these add-ons are sure to give a cohesive and comprehensive view into the entire social strategy.
Key attraction to HootSuite:
- Supports larger teams
- Very stable platform
- Increasing list of amazing third party integrations
- Social advertising management
- The ability to add search streams
The cost and dashboard complexity.
Released in 2010, Buffer is a scheduling tool which lets its users easily and conveniently schedule and share posts to social media profiles.
It acts as a topping layer of whatever tools you are already using. It allows you to keep track of all your posts, get analytics and understand which shares of yours have resonated well with your social media contacts.
Buffer incorporates services with a variety of 3rd party apps, including mobile apps. It has extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Safari so you can set up posts wherever you’re browsing from when you see something you’d like to share.
Buffer has two other products – Pablo and Respond. Pablo allows users to create social media images and Respond is a customer service tool which lets users respond and react on social media.
Some other cool functions of Buffer are the BulkScheduler that lets you create a set of custom posts, preset the date and time and then Buffer stacks them accordingly, and the ability to upload and share video content straight from the platform.
Social networks supported by Buffer:
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
- Individual – Free forever – 1 social account, 10 scheduled posts, Browser Extension, Mobile Apps iOS + Android , RSS feed, Calendar, Pablo image creator, Video and GIF uploader, optimal timing, link shortening and tracking. All supported social networks except Pinterest.
- Awesome – $10 a month – 10 social accounts, 100 scheduled posts, Browser Extension, Mobile Apps iOS + Android , Pablo image creator, Video and GIF uploader, optimal timing, link shortening and tracking.
- Small – $99 a month – 25 social accounts, 5 additional team members, 2000 scheduled posts, Browser Extension, Mobile Apps iOS + Android, Pablo image creator, Video and GIF uploader, optimal timing, link shortening, tracking and social analytics.
- Medium – $199 – 50 social accounts, 10 additional team members, 2000 scheduled posts, Browser Extension, Mobile Apps iOS + Android, Pablo image creator, Video and GIF uploader, optimal timing, link shortening, tracking and social analytics.
- Large – $399 – 150 social accounts, 25 additional team members, 2000 scheduled posts, Browser Extension, Mobile Apps iOS + Android, Pablo image creator, Video and GIF uploader, optimal timing, link shortening, tracking and social analytics.
Buffer is a bit limited in providing an adequate search functionality. It is more of an effective scheduling tool. But from refining social media mentions to creating your own search queries is a bit confusing with Buffer.
Recently buffer made Instagram reposting easy for its users. It is one of the key strategies adopted by Buffer to improve their accounts.
Users can find the photo they would like to repost, open Buffer’s iOS and Android App, tap on the option to re-post, edit the caption, schedule the re-post and go ahead posting the photo.
Key attraction to Buffer:
- Their approach to user experience and simplicity
- The pricing is very affordable
It has its limitations in terms of analytics reports, team collaboration and search functionality.
Now let us move to the main subject…
How good are these two tools at scheduling?
Buffer Vs HootSuite for social media scheduling
Social media connections made online have a direct impact both on your professional and personal life. But planning and executing on an effective social strategy can be time consuming if you don’t leverage the power of automation and scheduling tools.
With just a few surface-level differences, Hootsuite and Buffer both provide great options for achieving exactly this. If you’re working with a large team, HootSuite is probably your best option. But if you’re only managing a few social profiles and want to stick to a small budget, Buffer might be right for you.
It really comes down to personal preference and which tool you enjoy using the most.
Buffer vs Hootsuite, who wins in your mind?
Meenakshi is currently working on global mobile app technologies reporting on diverse subjects for Openxcell. Prior to this, she was working for a technology marketing company based in Norwalk as content contributor.