When your brand stretches over several social media platforms, you need third party tools to help you keep up. But how do you choose the best one for your organization? Since every tool brings unique benefits to the table, it’s important to weigh the options and identify what you hope to do with your social media marketing strategy.
What does your third party social media tool need to do?
Nova Creative narrowed the search to two third party social media tools: Buffer vs Hootsuite. Since Buffer and Hootsuite have varying levels of plans, we identified, and prioritized, five areas we needed the third party social media tool to address.
While plans can run more than $500 a month, we narrowed our search to plans under $99. None of the plans require a contract so we can easily adjust as our social media presence evolves.
Does Buffer or Hootsuite offer the best measurement and analytics?
To determine the effectiveness of our social media marketing efforts, we need a way to pull consistent reports on the different platforms with minimal staff effort. The main feature we looked for was a way to see analytics from several platforms in one page. Both Buffer and Hootsuite have various options for measurement that differ from plan to plan.
While we disliked the potential for additional cost for Hootsuite reports, we ultimately decided Hootsuite would give us the most room to scale up reporting as our social media marketing grows. The free plan of Hootsuite gave us the ability to see reporting features first hand and determine if we needed to upgrade to Hootsuite Professional or Team down the road for beta real time analytics.
WINNER: Hootsuite Free.
Does Buffer or Hootsuite have the best scheduling feature?
Planning plays an essential part of any effective social media strategy. Scheduling posts ahead of time keeps companies on top of branded campaigns and high-volume platforms like Twitter. Both Buffer and Hootsuite have scheduling capabilities, but some plans limit your ability to schedule.
Nova Creative currently maintains accounts on Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. While plans over $100 a month have more options, we determined our initial budget should remain under $100. The Buffer Small Business plan clearly wins this category since it is the only plan that includes Pinterest.
WINNER: Buffer Small Business.
Can you use teams with Buffer or Hootsuite?
Some businesses only have the capacity for one person managing social media, but at Nova Creative, we take a team approach to creating content. We want the ability to add at least one team member to our third-party tool. Ideally, we want a platform that will allow us to assign tasks to our team members.
Buffer for Small Business plan clearly offers the most with five team members. Additionally, users can automate common tasks to sort using Rules. This plan with teams and analytic functions seems idea for brands that field many customer engagements on Social Media. However, we use social media primarily to drive website traffic and raise brand awareness, Buffer Small Business may be more than we need. Either way you look at it, Buffer Small Business is the winner of this category.
WINNER: Buffer Small Business.
Is Buffer or Hootsuite more cost effective?
Although prices are clearly listed with each of Buffer and Hootsuite’s plans, it’s important to compare the value they offer in relation to your identified needs, rather than which plan charges you the least.
For Nova, Hootsuite Free was the best plan for Measurement and Scheduling, but Buffer Small Business was the best plan for Platforms and Teams. Since we weighted the value of Measurement and Scheduling for our company, we chose Hootsuite, but upgraded to the Hootsuite Professional plan to incorporate more options Platforms. We will continue to post on Pinterest and use social media Teams, but manage those aspects outside of Hootsuite.
WINNER: Hootsuite Professional.
Hootsuite Professional is the best option for Nova Creative right now, but that could absolutely change in the future as we grow. We’re ready for the day Hootsuite Team incorporates Pinterest and adds options for more team members.