Ok, so I chose to name Hootsuite first in my title when comparing to Buffer because I started off a few months ago using Hootsuite and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread...not that i've even been eating much bread lately on this low carb lifestyle, but that's an entirely different conversation.
A month ago I started to use Buffer because some of my new client accounts were already set up to use this social media tool so i had to switch gears and learn this tool in a hurry in order to co-manage numerous social media platforms on their behalf. The first few days were hectic, learning the pre-existing schedules of these new accounts on top of learning to use Buffer and I must admit i was a little biased. Remember Hootsuite and sliced bread and all:)
My work method to learn anything new has always been to jump in with both feet to get a feel for what is available to me and then google video's and/or articles to learn more about specific features when i'm ready to ask questions: How do I do this? What does this do?' Why do i want to do that? And most importantly, Can I do this?
By day 3 of using Buffer I was feeling much calmer and decided to purchase the most equivalent plan to that of my Hootsuite account and within hours I must say i was loving Buffer. I remember saying, "I'm using Buffer and I'm feeling my groove."
I set up the social platforms for my more active clients on my new Buffer account and decided I would use Buffer instead of Hootsuite and this is where the true comparison of features came into play.
Please note my use of Buffer and Hootsuite to date is on a computer, not on a mobile device.
Also, the features i mention are those which i use consistently in my workday and are not the extent to which either of these social media tools offer.
Lastly, for any examples and opinions i express in this article that may be arguable, I invite you to share your comments for others to learn and try so we can all benefit as much as possible by this wonderful technology that is available to us:)
Here's the list of varied features that I've come across while using Hootsuite and Buffer:
1. Twitter Retweets - Hootsuite allows you to actually schedule your RT's so they don't have to go out all at the same time and bombard your followers. Buffer doesn't allow you to view your Twitter feed at all so there is no option from this social tool to RT anything.
2. Twitter multiple images in posts - Hootsuite allows you to attach multiple images in a single tweet, which is of benefit for some clients. Buffer only allows you to attach a single image. (Upcoming article - Grouping Images - When it is beneficial & not)
3. Facebook multiple images in posts - Hootsuite allows you to attach multiple images in a single post for Facebook but the flaw is that it posts each image as a single post to Facebook with the same text for each. (not ideal for what I'm doing). Buffer only allows you to attach a single image.
4. Twitter image size - I rarely get a message from Hootsuite to say my image is too large when uploading photo's i have snapped with my Cannon. As most of my images are 3+ MB's Buffer does not allow me to upload these, giving me an error message that 3 MB is the max size. (Upcoming article - How i reduce my JPeg images)
5. Reviewing all scheduled posts - Hootsuite allows you to select as many platforms for as many client accounts as you want to view what has been scheduled to post. (This feature is handy when I'm scheduling posts to several social platforms on behalf of a client. For example a client has a personal LinkedIn account, a LinkedIn Company page, a personal Facebook account & Facebook page and a Twitter account. I can schedule posts on all of these platforms for a week or a month and if i want to review what i've scheduled on each i can view all at once on one page.) Buffer only allows you to view scheduled posts on a single platform at one time.
6. Content Curation feeds - Hootsuite allows you to delete/remove any content suggestions from your feed(s) that you do not want to use because you don't feel they are relevant. Buffer doesn't, so this means you have to keep scrolling through all of the undesirable content suggestions to get to new ones.
7. Using extensions for sharing posts - Hootsuite and Buffer both offer extensions which means you can click on the icon at the top right of your computer screen (once you opt into this & I recommend you do. Don't be afraid!) when you want to share anything on the internet. From what i see both Hootsuite & Buffer extension features offer the same but I have a personal preference for Buffer because it appears to have a cleaner look. (Upcoming article - How I use Buffer extensions for my own clients social posts)
8. Repeating posts - Buffer allows you to 're-buffer' a post that has already gone live so you don't have to re-type the post if you choose to share it more than once. This is also handy because you can see what was said in your previous post and can change wording where needed. Hootsuite does not have this feature so if you want to re-post a post, you have to copy and paste it each time. (Hootsuite requires you to re-upload an image for a Twitter post each time you re-post in order for the image to be viewed)
9. Page loading - I find that Buffer takes much longer to load the pages, especially for the Analytics feature to view the posts that have been sent, which can take 5 minutes or more and frequently goes to an error page asking you to 're-load' the page. Hootsuite is instant almost always when going from page to page.
10. Social Media Platforms - To date I find both Buffer and Hootsuite offer the option to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+. Buffer also offers the option to post to Pinterest. Hootsuite offers the option to 'view only' Instagram. I've used all successfully.
11. Customer Service Support - At this point I have used the Customer Service Support for both social media tools a few times and to date find the response time to be a little quicker from Hootsuite, and the knowledge or perhaps the communication to be very slightly better from Hootsuite.
12. Training - One the things i love from any program, tool, software, etc. is the FREE TRAINING:) Hootsuite offered a 30 minute free telephone training session where we were both able to access my account and go through features together. My 30 minutes went well beyond and I was not rushed or told my time was up. Also, the person I spoke with during my training is 'my contact' for any ongoing questions, which I have used a few times. When I asked Buffer if they offer any training, the answer was 'no'.
13. Google articles and helpful tips from each company - Both Hootsuite & Buffer offer clear tips through their help pages for any questions you may have and both social media tools seem to have numerous articles available on the internet written by excellent users. (Too many to mention, but all you have to do is type in what you're looking for and be ready to read and try for yourself).
Overall, I'm finding that i'm using Buffer for most of my clients now with the exception of the RT feature, which i'm continuing to use for every client. Having said that, clients that i have where I'm sharing multiple images in a single post are still being scheduled to post from Hootsuite for Twitter posts only.
For those clients where I'm sharing multiple images for Facebook, I'm back to using the Facebook scheduling feature.
Oh, to have one source that will do it all for me! :)
I hope my findings are helpful and please remember that I welcome all comments so that i too can learn, grow and make new connections:)
Have a wonderful day!