Social media has emerged as a key aspect of modern marketing. Publishing regular posts across the various social media platforms is an excellent way to get your brand’s name out there and drive traffic to your website. But if your company does a lot of social media marketing you’ll know that posting at regular times across multiple platforms can be a lot to keep on top of.
Luckily there are many social media management tools out there designed to make the life a whole lot easier for the social media marketer. As with all scheduling tools though, some are better than others, some do certain things that others don’t, and all have their own particular advantages and limitations.
Deciding which tool to use can be bewildering, especially when there’s so much choice. So I thought I’d shed some light on three of the most popular social media management tools – Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck.
I’ll give a basic overview of each, talk about their pros and cons, and then share some of my thoughts.
Perhaps the most popular social media management tool out there, Hootsuite allows users to publish and schedule posts, and manage multiple social media profiles across multiple platforms in one place.
Feeds can also be connected within this application to your various social channels. This means that Hootsuite can also be used to view, and to engage with your audience’s posts. A free version of Hootsuite is available, but you’ll need to purchase a paid package if you want access to more features.
- Allows you to integrate your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts all in one place, and also provides the option to integrate additional platforms including Reddit and Tumblr
- Can be used to create, schedule, publish and manage posts on numerous social media platforms
- An individual post can be published on multiple different platforms (I won’t recommend doing this)
- The dashboard format provides the option to display direct messages, mentions and replies from each of your various social platforms at once and is organised using tabs
- Provides options for collaboration – tasks can be assigned to particular members of a team
- Offers a powerful, customisable analytics tool
- Also available as iOS and Android mobile apps, so you can manage your social media platforms on the go
- An RSS feed integration is provided in all payment packages
- The free version includes limited features e. you can’t bulk schedule but it allows you to schedule up to 30 posts at one time.
- Basic analytics are free, but detailed reports cost, and they vary in price
- While useful for organisation, the dashboard interface can be a bit confusing, especially for those who are new to it
Hootsuite is the most comprehensive social media management tool that’s likely to provide a solution to whatever social media issue you throw at it. As for the iOS app, let’s just say “I’m not a huge fan and much prefer to use the desktop version”.
Similar to Hootsuite, and perhaps their main competitor, Buffer is another social media management platform that allows users to create, schedule and publish posts across multiple social media platforms.
Buffer may not offer quite as many features as Hootsuite, but this app has a few advantageous cards up its sleeve. As with Hootsuite, a free version is available, but you’ll need to go for a paid package to access many of its features.
- The free version allows users to integrate their Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts in place
- The option to integrate your Pinterest page is available in the paid packages
- RSS feed integration is provided in all payment packages
- Free analytics that some deem superior to those provided by Hootsuite
- Like Hootsuite, Buffer is also available as iOS and Android mobile apps
- And again like Hootsuite, also provides options for collaborative work
- The Pablo image creator feature makes creating eye catching images for your posts easy and is included in the free package
- Pablo also ensures that the images you create are correctly formatted and optimised for the platform on which you intend to publish them
- Features a clean user friendly interface
- The free version of Buffer only allows 10 posts to be scheduled at a time, whereas Hootsuite’s free version provides for 30
- The free package only allows the integration of three social profiles
- Buffer does not display notifications from your social profiles, nor does it provide any means of liking, messaging, commenting or engaging with your audience
- It’s hard to schedule posts to be published at specific times if these times fall outside of planned publishing schedules.
Buffer is better described as a content scheduling platform than a social media management tool. Its uses aren’t as numerous as Hootsuite’s, but it’s not to be discounted.
Buffer’s ease of use is definitely a bonus and despite offering fewer functions, everything that it does do, it does well. It may stand as the better option for small to medium businesses that are less likely to require the extra functionality provided by Hootsuite.
Pablo is a great asset and makes Buffer an excellent choice for those who lace particular value on the visual appeal of their social media posts.
This app allows users to manage as many Twitter profiles as they desire from one place. It also provides a handy way of keeping track of searches and hashtags.
Here I’ll be looking at the app version of TweetDeck. It’s also available in a webpage version, but this version only offers very limited features.
- This app is free to download and free to use
- Features an easy to use, customisable interface
- Easy to schedule Tweets to go out at specific times
- Can post on multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously
- Only compatible with Twitter
- Doesn’t provide analytics
- Doesn’t provide a collaboration feature, which makes TweetDeck less team-friendly in comparison with Hootsuite and Buffer.
It’s limited, but it’s free and for the serious tweeter, it makes Twitter management a lot easier.
If your company conducts its social media marketing mainly or solely on Twitter, this is probably the app for you.
Ultimately it’s you that knows your brand better than anyone else, so it’s you that’s in the best position to decide which social media management app is most appropriate for your brand’s unique needs.
Hopefully this article has provided you with a useful overview of three of the main social media management apps, and has helped to clear the path leading towards an informed decision as to which will work best for you.
If you’re looking for more useful insights to help with your decision making, then here are a few reading suggestions:
- How to Choose the Right Video Marketing Platform for Your Brand
- Snapchat Stories vs Instagram Stories vs Facebook Stories