Why I Use Buffer More Than Hootsuite

BufferApp

Hootsuite has been on a tear over the last year. They’ve picked up a bunch of agreements with the various social media sites. They have a hip interface and a good reputation for quality of service, uptime, and ease of use. I like Hootsuite and use it for many of our accounts, but it’s not my primary social post scheduling tool.

I like Buffer. It’s lighter and has certain things that make it superior to Hootsuite. Yes, there are drawbacks, but the advantages surpass the shortcomings.

The first thing heavy users will notice is the price: yes, the premium plan is $99 a month versus Hootsuite Pro which is $10 a month. Quite a jump. Quite worth it. Whenever you consider an investment into tools, services, or anything, you should ask yourself how much time can it save you and how much is your time worth. Buffer has proven itself to me to be worth the extra dozens of dollars.

Here are the time-savers that make me use Buffer more:

  • Instant Link Shortening – Hootsuite adds a step. It’s a very annoying step if you’re posting often. To shorten a link, you have to paste it into their link shortener and then push the button. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you’re doing a lot of posts it can become a major hassle. Buffer can be set to automatically shorten the link once it’s pasted in the post box.
  • HootsuiteSet Scheduled Times – With Hootsuite, you have two options: autoschedule or manually schedule. This option must be chosen for each individual post. The problem with autoscheduling is that the logic behind it seems a bit wonky and cannot be adjusted. As you can see to the right, some of the posts are scheduled close together (one was scheduled for 5 minutes after the previous posts – I had to manually adjust) while others are spread out more. It’s very random. I don’t like random. With Buffer, you set the times and the days that you want to post. One could make a very complex posting matrix if they wanted to, splitting up the posts at different times on different days.
  • Continued Selection of Account – This one might seem like nitpicking, but again if you’re posting often and managing multiple accounts it can be a pain. With every new posts, you must re-select the accounts on which you want to post. This is particularly annoying if you are posting batches.
  • Mixing Up The Times Between Accounts – You can select up to 5 accounts on which to post through Hootsuite. Whether you schedule them manually or autoschedule them, they will be set to go at the exact same time. With Buffer, your posts go into the next available slot. If you select 15 accounts on Buffer to post something, they will all go in at different times depending on how you have the scheduling set up.
  • Five-Minute Intervals – Some would say that it’s an advantage to have limited choices with posting times on Hootsuite. You can post only in 5-minute intervals. On Buffer, you pick the exact time you want it posted. This gives your posts a little more time in most feeds since several programs work with 5-minute intervals; posting off the interval means fewer posts to compete with during “posting time” on Hootsuite and other services. A minor distinction, but worth noting.
  • Images Posted On Twitter Are Actually Posted On Twitter – Buffer uploads images directly to Twitter, while Hootsuite loads them to Ow.ly. People have to click the link on Hootsuite posts to see the image, while on Buffer posts they can see the images inline on Twitter itself. An example of each is below.

Buffer Images

A Quick Note About Tools

One of the biggest advantages for Hootsuite is that it’s a great overall management tool. Buffer is just a posting tool. You cannot manage your followers, respond to interactions, or monitor your feeds from Buffer.

As with any tool, I wholeheartedly argue against the automation concept. Buffer is great to make sure that your posts are ever-flowing at an appropriate rate. It allows you to schedule messages that you feel will be better posted at a different time. It allows you to spread out your posts so that you aren’t flooding the feeds during times of exceptional creativity or discovery.

It does not replace engagement.

You must, whether through Hootsuite, other tools, or through the native sites themselves, check what’s happening and interact. Just because you have a cool posting tool that allows you to be “active” while you’re doing other things does not mean that you don’t have to monitor them. In business, social media is much more of a communication tool than a broadcasting tool. The majority of my time spent on social media is listening. In fact, Buffer simply makes it easier for me to listen so I’m not always worried about whether or not my accounts are staying active.

Engage through social media tools (such as Hootsuite) or on the sites themselves. Schedule through Buffer.

About JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I am a huge fan of Hootsuite and have not used Buffer but some of the features do sound great (especially the images being posted to Twitter directly and the any time scheduling) but for link shortening if you use the Hootsuite browser extension Hootlet, link shortening becomes a one step process instead of two like you described.
    Thanks for the great write up, I will be looking further into Buffer for sure.

  2. JD Rucker says:

    Chad, that’s great advice. I’ll have to check out Hootlet.

  3. Buffer’s newer plan is more popular, and is only $10/month, see https://bufferapp.com/awesome

  4. Interesting. I don’t use all the features of Hootsuite so a lighter alternative is appealing. Off to investigate further!

  5. JD, thank you for this balanced article that highlights the important features (and limits) of 2 great tools. Your conclusion is spot on – use both!

  6. I disagree with your statement regarding: “Buffer is just a posting tool. You cannot manage your followers, respond to interactions, or monitor your feeds from Buffer.”

    For each published post, tweet or social update you have the option to expand analytics for each post. For Twitter specifically, you can “reply to” “thank” or “follow” those users that have re-tweeted, mentioned or favourited your tweets, you, etc.

    How does this not follow under “engagement”?

  7. Thanks for your post! I’m also evaluating between Hootsuite and Buffer. Hootsuite is more full-featured for the same price, but I’m quite frustrated with the workflow for hootsuite (it seems like the ow.ly links from the hootlet doesn’t get counted in their analytics). Plus – a big part of my workflow comes from sharing from within Google Reader, and buffer has a nifty little button integrated at the bottom of each post, so I don’t even have to click to the site itself to share the link.

  8. JD Rucker says:

    Jennifer, Buffer can only work in re-engaging with those who engaged with your posts. This means that you don’t see anything that’s not a response, DMs, etc. You can definitely manage some of your responses from Buffer, but why use it for that when other tools like Hootsuite let you manage all of your responses. It wouldn’t make sense to use one tool to respond to some of the people talking to you and another tool to manage others talking to you.

  9. Thanks so much for this. I googled HootSuite and Buffer, and got this. I am currently using the free version of Buffer but wondered if I should try HootSuite. Your post helped me see that I am doing pretty well with what I am currently using. Thanks for the good analysis!

  10. Jamie Larson says:

    Was trying to decide and you made it an easy decision. Thanks for the great writeup/comparison.

  11. Jamie Larson says:

    So, I got excited from the great review and went to move one small client onto buffer from hootsuite, to test it out. One drawback, for the free version of Buffer: It says you can manage up to 3 social media accounts. But it doesn’t say this is limited to 1 per type of media. (one Facebook, one Twitter, etc.) My client has 2 twitters and one facebook. Would have been better for them, since they post a lot of images. And, as they grew, it would have sold them on buying the paid version.

    Oh well, I may keep it for personal use.

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