When last did a professional or a business counterpart ask you to share your mobile number to keep in touch?
It has probably been a long while! The reason for this is that people now ask for your Facebook or Twitter profile or LinkedIn profile details to connect with you and add you to their network. And, the list of potential social media platforms is endless: Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and so on.
You may perhaps even lose count of the number of social networking platforms on which you have created accounts, after accepting invitations from some friend or colleague.
As per the analysis by the research site, Statista, around 2.5 billion people around the world will be social media users by 2018. That is almost a third of the entire population of earth.
And, to leverage the massive reach that such social media sites offer, even your business might have several pages on different platforms.
This is because the majority of internet users use social media and anyone would be tempted to reach out to such a vast population via this online medium.
Yet, whether it is on the individual or business front, how often do you manage to keep your various social media profiles updated?
Your answer is most likely to be “Not very often”. It is common for most people having several social networking profiles that remain inactive or that are less active for a long period of time because no one has enough time to log in to every popular social networking site and post updates regularly.
This is where the highly popular social media management tools, such as Hootsuite and Sendible, or these range of Instagram scheduling tools, enable you to better manage your social media profiles from a single account or dashboard.
If you are a business owner or a social media marketing manager, handling multiple social accounts, you should aim to interact with your audience on all the platforms, understand which one is getting the most traffic, identify new trends, and so on.
This is made relatively easy with the use of any of the appropriate SMM tools that are available on the market.
Many of these tools help you achieve one or more of the following functionalities:
- Analyse the trends on the basis of well-detailed reports.
- Schedule posts for multiple social media sites in advance.
- Interact in real time with followers and fans.
- Provide feedback about the social media campaigns and promotions that you may have run.
However, not all popular SMM tools may provide you with all the required features. Hence, it may become necessary to use a combination of SMM tools to get the best results for your business or multiple social media accounts.
To help you determine which SMM tools could help you achieve your objectives, we compare the top four tools in this article.
We thus list the features, pros, cons and pricing for Buffer, TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Social Booster.
This SMM dashboard offers an extremely smooth and easy-to-use interface. You can quickly start adding your posts in the form of videos, photos, news, articles and so on to the scheduling queue and then stagger the posting timings as per your requirements to get the content submitted to multiple platforms.
In other words, the Buffer app enables you to schedule a backlog of your preferred content. It also equips you with the ability to automatically broadcast your messages across a multitude of platforms. Moreover, Buffer is smart enough to share your posts with your target audience when they are more likely to view and engage with the content.
You can use the Buffer app via the Android or iOS app or via the Google Chrome browser extension. It also provides you with a few analytics reports that will help you understand the effects of your social media posts.
Social Media Profiles Supported
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and so on
|You do not need to individually schedule your posts and you can still submit them to your social media profiles or pages.||All the Buffer paid business plans are configured for a team of at least five members. So, if you have a team of only three members, you still have to purchase the plan for five members.|
|The Buffer app offers you the functionality to use URL shortening services.||The analytics reports that are provided are limited.|
|It provides RSS feed integration with all its plans.||It does not offer you enough capability to perform interactions with your audience or users.|
|You can create your own content (images) by using Pablo and have the correctly optimised images (in terms of size and format) for the various social media sites.||It lacks notifications and, hence, a restricted ability to monitor conversations.|
|You can easily broadcast any announcement or message to multiple social media channels at once.|
|The extremely clean and simple dashboard makes sure that you can easily write your messages or posts without being distracted.|
Plans & Pricing
In order to try out Buffer for the first time, you can avail its free plan.
The pricing for each of its individual plans is listed below:
- Free plan – Free of cost, with one social media profile per platform and 10 scheduled posts per profile
- Awesome plan – $10.00 per month, with 10 profiles and 100 scheduled posts per profile, along with a free trial of seven days
The pricing for its numerous business plans, which are suitable for teams and agencies, is specified below:
- Small plan – $99 per month, with 25 profiles, five additional team members and 2,000 scheduled posts per profile, along with a free trial of 30 days
- Medium plan – $199 per month, with 50 profiles, 10 additional team members and 2,000 scheduled posts per profile, along with a free trial of 30 days
- Large plan – $399 per month, with 150 profiles, 25 additional team members and 2,000 scheduled posts per profile, along with a free trial of 30 days
It also offers a special Buffer Enterprise plan, for more than 25 users and over 150 profiles.
This free SMM solution is owned by Twitter and helps you reach out to your Twitter audience. It is a powerful tool that empowers you to post Tweets and track hashtags, conversations, events, topics and more on your Twitter profile in real time via the searches that you create. At the top of every timeline, you can refine the results and get exactly what you are looking for.
It also helps you remain organised by building collections (columns). Also, you can easily schedule Tweets and get notifications for when someone replies to them.
From the TweetDeck account, you have the default columns arranged for your Twitter home page, notifications, messages and activities. You can then add columns as per your requirements.
To get the best out of your Twitter account, you can start using TweetDeck by simply logging in to your existing or new Twitter account.
You will then be able to manage multiple or unlimited Twitter accounts. You can also access TweetDeck via its web app, Chrome app or Mac app. However, the TweetDeck Windows app is no longer available for PC users. Similarly, the Android and iOS apps have been discontinued.
If you are logged into Twitter.com, then you would automatically be logged into the TweetDeck Chrome and Mac apps. Also, it is possible to pin the TweetDeck web version to your Windows task bar.
Social Media Profiles Supported
|This is a free tool.||By discontinuing the Windows app, its existing users have been deprived of the highly organised grid-like view (series of columns) of their Twitter feeds.|
|It is extremely easy to use, with no complicated features.||It does not generate any analytics reports for the traffic and engagement generated by your posts on Twitter.|
|There are no collaborative features offered, which means that you cannot assign roles or tasks to your team members to use this tool.|
Plans & Pricing
There are no paid plans associated with TweetDeck, as it is a free tool for Twitter profile or page management requirements.
Hootsuite is to the world of SMM tools what Facebook is to social networking sites: highly popular and perhaps the most widely used. In fact, Hootsuite also happens to be one of the oldest SMM tools, since it came into existence in 2008.
Hootsuite offers apps for iOS and Android devices and offers a simple and intuitive web-based dashboard that can be used to manage your entire world of social networking.
You can manage multiple social media profiles and schedule your posts for future publishing as well. From its single dashboard, you can also customise your various accounts into different streams. Moreover, you can even add locations, customise privacy settings and manage the profiles your way.
You can also improve your relationship with your audience by enabling your team members to reply faster to their comments, mentions, messages and more through the same Hootsuite account dashboard.
You can even respond quickly to common customer queries or messages by saving pre-approved responses. And, to avoid duplication of replies, you are notified when any team member completes the task of responding to a comment or query.
You can even have a seamless workflow for your team and monitor all the interactions with your own team to ensure that no messages are missed. You can also track all the conversations from any corner of the globe or near to your location in several languages.
Furthermore, you can get intuitive reports built for your social media campaigns and have them shared automatically to keep everyone up to date about the same.
These reports help you measure the clicks, tweets, retweets, shares, likes and so on and you can thus determine what content drives more traffic. You can also easily tag messages to specific events or campaigns to help you analyse their content, volume or sentiment.
Social Media Profiles Supported
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and more
|You do not need to install any software, as it is a simple web-based tool.||In order to add links to messages, you can only use a limited amount of URL shorteners (owl.li, ow.ly, htl.li and ht.ly).|
|It is the most experienced SMM tool and perhaps the most widely recognised.||The Hootsuite dashboard can be intimidating and complicated for first-time users.|
|It is possible to manage multiple YouTube accounts from its dashboard and schedule various video posts to multiple social media profiles.|
|You get the ability to customise the stream for every social media profile, making it possible to view multiple streams from a single dashboard.|
|It gives you the opportunity to get a social media certification with free courses and even provides support and training through the Hootsuite university and forums.|
|It increases the productivity of your business by giving you access to the Hootsuite app directory that contains a wide variety of extensions and apps (for example MailChimp, Survey Monkey, Marketo and Microsoft Office 365 Yammer) that can be added and customised on your Hootsuite dashboard.|
|It offers integration with Google Integration and Facebook Ads.|
|It allows you to delegate the tasks of posting to social media accounts to other team members, without sharing your profile passwords.|
Plans & Pricing
It offers three different plans as described below:
- Free plan – Free of cost for up to three social media profiles and basic analytics reports
- Pro plan – $9.99 per month (annually) for up to 50 profiles, basic analytics reports and one enhanced analytics report, one user included and up to 10 users allowed, and a free trial of 30 days
- Business plan – Need to get a quote for up to 50 profiles, real-time analytics, a minimum of five users, social media certification and 24×7 priority support
Read more in my Hootsuite Alternatives guide
In terms of the comprehensiveness of SMM, Social Booster is easily one of the closest competitors for Hootsuite. It helps you achieve your objective of driving more traffic to your social media profiles, whether it is a Facebook business fan page or on the YouTube channel or your LinkedIn profile.
This tool even boasts a single dashboard that empowers you to monitor the conversations across all your profiles and thereby enables you to improve your engagement with your audience on those platforms.
It also allows you to automate the process of scheduling your posts, tweets, messages and so on several weeks and months in advance for submission on a wide range of social networking sites. You can draft your messages or send them to the queue.
Moreover, you can check out all the messages and comments that you receive in the Social Inbox from the dashboard. You can then follow up on those posts from the same inbox and even mark the interactions as “resolved”, once you have completed the task.
With the upgraded paid plans, you can even use the well-detailed reports to understand how well your posts, campaigns and promotions are doing at reaching out to your target audience.
It also provides you with comprehensive collaboration features that enable you to assign tasks to your various team members to carry out various social media handling tasks, such as replying to comments and queries and posting messages.
And, to improve the brand reputation of your business and increase your reach, you can create and manage Facebook ad campaigns from the dashboard itself, along with the ability to get well-detailed reports on such campaigns.
Social Media Profiles Supported
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more
|You are entitled to 500 free followers for your Twitter profile.||The pricing structure for Social Booster’s paid or premium plans are not transparent, as you cannot view the details on the official website. To view these prices, you first need to log in as a free Social Booster account user.|
|The 24×7 customer support service is made available to you for all your basic and advanced problems or queries.||It does not support the management of Google+ business pages.|
|Shortlink tracking is possible with all the Social Booster plans.|
|You can avail RSS feeds and detailed or advanced analytics with most of its plans.|
|It provides you with the ability to run paid ad campaigns directly from the dashboard. It is also possible through ads manager, which is available with the higher paid plans. Currently, you can run Facebook ads, while the campaigns for Instagram and Twitter will arrive soon.|
Plans & Pricing
With Social Booster, you always need to start with the free plan because the official website does not offer a direct link to subscribe to their paid plans.
Once you have signed up for the free plan, you can select your preferred category. You can choose between Business & Personal (for individuals or businesses) or Social Media Agency (for companies or agencies that manage the accounts of multiple clients).
For the Business & Personal option, you will get a variety of premium plan options, such as:
- Personal – £7.96 per month (annual subscription) or £9.95 per month (monthly subscription), with five social media profiles, no team members and a 10 queued posts limit
- Toolbox – £7.16 per month (annual subscription) or £8.95 per month (monthly subscription), with 10 profiles, no team members and a 50 queued posts limit
- Pro – £11.96 per month (annual subscription) or £14.95 per month (monthly subscription), with 20 profiles, one team member, no queued post limit and ads manager
- Enterprise – £23.96 per month (annual subscription) or £29.95 per month (monthly subscription), with 30 profiles, two team members, no queued post limit, ads manager and priority support
From the above comparison, it is clear that Buffer and TweetDeck fall short of the other two and Hootsuite and Social Booster emerge as highly comprehensive SMM tools. They make it relatively easy for you to manage and improve the SMM of your business’s or your clients’ businesses’ social media accounts.
Not only do they offer support for platforms like Instagram and YouTube (which is rare), they also allow you to connect more than one profiles with their free plan.
And, in terms of conducting social media campaigns, ad campaigns and analytics reporting and understanding the trends, these two tools help you in a much better way.
We hope that you will benefit from the above comparison of the four top SMM tools available on the market. If you have used any of these tools before, please feel free to share your invaluable experience in the comments section below.