Social media, over the last few years, has become more popular in businesses to help brand awareness, create strong customer relationship management, target market expansion, receive valuable feedback and a boost in web analytics. Many people believe that by simply being on the most popular platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn that you can achieve everything, however it is essential to have strong social media skills in order to engage, listen and respond to a target audience.
Monitoring tools allow you to keep an eye on different streams in a more efficient way and track stats to help improve your messages and posts. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are examples of these, both brilliant in their own way, however lacking in some areas. Below are the pros and cons of using both of these social media tools.
- A more complete social media management tool
- A strong social media monitor
- Supports a wide range of networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress and mixi
- Easy to create streams based on keywords, phrases, lists and mentions
- Can monitor numerous streams at the same time, such as mentions, favourites, hashtags, keywords etc
- Able to upload .csv files with messages at selected times to go live
- Good for managing numerous social accounts and having lots of followers
- Has a feature called ‘Auto Scheduler’ where you create a post, select one or more networks and Hootsuite will automatically select next best time to share that post. If more than one network, it selects a different time for each, stopping them all ‘blasting’ out at the same time
- Custom reports can be built and reports automatically generated and emailed regularly to you
- In terms of analytics, Hootsuite offers a wide variety of tools. Hootsuite Pro offers customised reports, however it is limited based on how many ‘credits’ you have available
- ‘Listening’ department brilliant
- Customer support is supposedly good
- Dashboard very complex. Not really user-friendly and can be very daunting at first, especially those new to social media. However people are known to warm to it
- Free and Pro plans are limited. If social media agenda is very busy, you would need enterprise plan, which is expensive
- Hootsuite’s platform doesn’t offer a way to schedule tweets with pic twitter images. This can only be shown as links
- Allows you to create individual posts and schedule them, but you have to specifically choose a date and time, and that post will be posted to EVERY network selected at that time
- Simplifies sharing and message scheduling. Suits those who are new to social media
- It’s simple, doesn’t require training. User-friendly and self explanatory
- Networks included: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, App.net and Google+
- Easy to understand analytics
- Cheaper at £6/month
- More of an add-on rather than separate tool
- If social media time is limited and you want something super quick, then Buffer is perfect. It’s simple, fast and efficient
- Buffer offers a way to schedule tweets with pic twitter images, rather than extra links
- Allows you to schedule separate posts for each network at a different time, rather than all going out at the same time
- It is limited. If you manage multiple accounts, you’d struggle
- Can’t use tool to view Twitter feed or directly interact with your followers
- Buffer’s analytics are very basic and doesn’t offer a more comprehensive summary of how Twitter account is doing for example
When it comes to deciding which social media management tool to choose, it really does depend on what you want it to achieve. For instance, if you are new to social media or want to concentrate on scheduling your posts, you would be better to go with Buffer because it is simpler and definitely a scheduling tool hard to beat. However if you are more into monitoring what’s going on with your posts and have lots of networks, then Hootsuite would be better for this.
It has also been known for people to use both tools as they have the ability to complement each other very well. Scheduling is easier with buffer, but you are able to respond and interact with followers through Hootsuite. A limitation for both of these though are although they have apps for mobiles, there is definitely a reduction of social network support.