Updated on 1st April 2019: This blog post about social media automation tools comparison is updated by considering new features added in SocialPilot, BufferApp and HootSuite along with updated UI and pricing.
Are you digital marketing agency, small and medium or an enterprise business? Are you looking for an efficient way to manage your social media marketing campaign? Social media automation tools are the best and effective way to manage multiple account in minimum time. Let me show you how!
Getting started with social media marketing invariably requires a right set of tools (social media management tools) that help improve citizen/customer/client engagement, efficiency and internal collaboration. Now a days small, medium and large businesses use social media automation tools to save precious time. But the biggest question is; which tool should one use?
After recent Facebook data privacy issue and latest enhancement rolled out by Twitter to stop spamming, it is very important for you to choose the proper tool which comply with those policies and can follow proper data security practices.
We did detailed analysis of different social media tools available in market and based on price, features and services; we have filtered out 3 most popular and useful tools to share detailed comparison with you.
Comparison between BufferApp vs SocialPilot vs HootSuite
To make your selection easier, here we are representing detailed comparison of three prime social media management tools: SocialPilot vs BufferApp vs Hootsuite.
|Social Media Calendars||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Custom FB Branding||Yes||No||No|
|Bulk Scheduling with Image||Yes||No||No|
|Team & Collaboration||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Visual Composor||Canva Integration |
|Social Media Profiles||8||6||7|
|Click Tracking||Using Bit.ly||Yes||Yes|
|Pricing||Free to |
|Free to Custom|
|Number of Profiles||3 to 200 profiles||1 to 150 Profiles||3 to 50 profiles|
|Number of Posts |
|Support||Chat + Email||Chat + Email||Chat + Email|
|Test Now||Test Now||Test Now|
#1 Available in Free and Paid Versions
When we compare the plan and pricing, all 3 social media tools BufferApp, SocialPilot and Hootsuite are available in free (limited period trial) plan and paid versions. However, before choosing one over the other, it is advisable to take a deeper look into what each has to offer.
- Earlier SocialPilot was offering free version (also known as Lite plan) allows you to connect up to 3 of your social media profiles from which, you can do maximum 10 posts every day. Further you can connect up to 3 RSS Feeds; unlimited groups and can get API access too. But now, they have stopped offering any FREE plan for the new signup. We have analyzed their website to see the updates but did not find any FREE plan.
- If you want to try SocialPilot features, you can opt for 14 days FREE trial offered by them for all plans. Moreover, they are also introduced one Individual plan available at $8.33/month (annual billing) where you can connect upto 10 accounts and publish upto 50 posts per day.
- SocialPilot offer various social media accounts management including Twitter (Limited publishing options), Facebook (Groups, Pages, Profiles) LinkedIn (Groups & Pages), Google+ (Profile, Page, Collections) Pinterest, Instagram, Xing, Vk & Tumblr.
- SocialPilot tool offers 4 more plans to suite the requirement of all different size of business. Here is the screenshot from their updated plan depicting all 4 different plans with detailed features and pricing.
SocialPilot White Label Service
If you are a big agency who want to use socialpilot service under their own brand, you can opt for enterprise plan. They did not reveal the pricing of this plan but you can learn about it by connecting with them through specified source.
BufferApp is one of the leading social media scheduling tools offers great features for the social media marketeers. Currently they are offering one basic FREE plan and 4 other paid plans as shown in below images:
- BufferApp’s free version also allows connecting up to 3 social media profiles but doesn’t allows to add additional team member. Yes, their FREE plan is limited to 1 users and upto 10 posts per day.
- Apart from this, their starter plan include Pro plan which is available at $15 per month.
- Here is the screenshot from their pricing page where you can also find other business plan categories by Small, Medium and Large plan.
Here I personally found that, SocialPilot is bit costly as compare to bufferapp and when it comes to feature, both are offering almost similar features. We will discuss them in later part of the article.
When we talk about the market share of these social media automation tools, HootSuite is still leading the space. Their dashboard is one of the unique feature attracts social media marketeers to user this tool.
- HootSuite’s free version allows users to connect up to 3 social media profiles along with basic analytics report, up to 2 RSS feed, scheduling posts facility & app integration. In HootSuite FREE plan, you can schedule upto 30 posts per day and limited to 1 user only.
- HootSuite also provides 4 different paid plans by considering the different business sizes. Here all plans comes with 30 days FREE trial. Here I have added screenshot from their pricing page which showcase all different plan / features and price.
- More or less HootSuite also provides Enterprise version for Corporations, Organizations & Governments sector businesses for better and fast social media management.
Comparing the pricing structure and facilities offered; SocialPilot and Buffer looks like a more favorable tools as compare to HootSuite.[yellowbox]If I have to choose one social media automation tool from these 3 based on value for money, my vote will goes to Buffer for sure.[/yellowbox]
#2 Connect Multiple Social Media Accounts
SocialPilot lets you connect to all your social networks though you are using the free plan or the paid ones. You can connect Twitter, Facebook (Profile, Groups & Pages) and LinkedIn (Profile and Pages).
SocialPilot has one more advanced feature in which user can create unlimited groups of their social media accounts. So, at the time of create/schedule post they just have to select particular group to post in multiple social media accounts in just one click. It helps you to schedule same social media updates in multiple accounts associated in one group.
However, BufferApp’s free account is limited to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google-Plus Pages. If you want to connect to the Facebook / LinkedIn pages and groups, you need to upgrade to the “Awesome” version.
HootSuite pro version allows users to connect social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook (Profile, Pages & Groups), LinkedIn (Profile, Pages & Group), and Google Plus pages. One more step ahead to other management tools it also allows you to connect FourSquare account.
One of the biggest benefits of HootSuite is that it helps users to access all their connected accounts feed from single dashboard. Yes, this ultimate feature can easily save half of the time of marketers by posting, sharing and managing multiple social media accounts at the same time.
Keeping the above in mind, HootSuite seems to be a better choice with a wide range of offering that also includes Google Plus & FourSquare. But if you are looking for only Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin integration, BufferApp will be costlier solution.
#3 Advanced Post Scheduling Option
All 3 tools SocialPilot, BufferApp and HootSuite allows scheduling of posts along with images and videos.
In SocialPilot, posts can be queued up automatically or scheduled at a pre-set timing. Yes, SocialPilot allow users to create or manage scheduling time for each day for particular group of accounts. Check below screenshot depict the Update account feature with time scheduling for the social media automation.
Apart from this feature SocialPilot also allows users to pause all their scheduling posts in just single click from the header bar button. Users can also pause scheduling for particular account by accessing manage account section.
SocialPilot tool have one more advantage for online marketing managers who handling multiple social media networks of multiple clients and that is Bulk Scheduling. Yes, In SocialPilot marketers can create and upload multiple posts using CSV or Text files. Once you ready with your file then upload it to SocialPilot tool and schedule individual posts for multiple accounts. It will save lot of time of online marketers.
Here the only lacking part of SocialPilot is; they are not offering direct post scheduling to Instagram account. As per our discussion, they are working on this feature and may soon launch the same. (Here other player like Buffer and HootSuite who offers Instagram directly scheduling is only limited to business account).
Unique feature to include
SocialPilot has recently announced awesome feature known as “Personalize content discovery and suggestion”. In this feature, you can find and schedule curated content from respective category based on its popularity. This is gem of this tool where you can schedule post by reviewing the popularity and increase the engagement on your social channel. Here is the first glance of the feature:
SocialPilot also offer video feature which allows you to upload and schedule your video files to all connected accounts.
SocialPilot has recently announced few additional changes in their offering and here they are:
- Latest and updated Linkedin API integration has rolled out allows you to schedule multiple images natively (without socialpilot mention)
- DropBox Integration – Allows you to upload media directly to you Dropbox accounts.
- Brand new firefox extension
- Fighting spam on Twitter – As per recent announcement from Twitter, all the social media scheduling tools will now restrict the way they schedule post on twitter. SocialPilot has rolled out this update in which a Single Twitter Post will only be schedule in single account. That means, you will not be able to select multiple Twitter accounts while creating a new post. You can still use multiple Twitter accounts in SocialPilot, but will not be able to use more than one at the same time
Biggest cons when you buy SocialPilot tool is; Instagram scheduling. Yes, they are not offering Instagram post auto scheduling like Buffer. Here you will receive reminder notification on your app and you will manually have to push instagram post from your SocialPilot app account.
For multiple scheduling options you will have to upgrade your account to pro version in BufferApp. BufferApp recently launched few additional features listed below:
- Buffer has recently rolled out Facebook page tagging feature that allows you to tag respective Facebook page and twitter accounts.
- They have also rolled out updates in which you will not be able to schedule one twitter post to multiple account as per recent Twitter policy. Here you can only schedule one post to one twitter account.
- Buffer Reply – a unique feature allow you to interact with your users.
- Buffer is one of those few social media automation tools which offers direct instagram scheduling features.
In free version of HootSuite you can schedule your post time only once for multiple days. In HootSuite pro version users can access advanced scheduling feature. HootSuite is best option for scheduling post because they use an algorithm to determine the best possible and suitable time for maximum exposure of posts.
Depending upon the necessity and understanding of the user here BufferApp present useful analytics to track the improvement.
- SocialPilot presents powerful and actionable Social Media Analytics where you can analyze the complete connected account even though the content is not posted from SocialPilot. It also presents daily usage chart in which you can view the history about usage in terms of number of post made by your account.
- BufferApp also offers a complete analytics in figures and charts, inclusive of post analytics and insights (involving post activity, total posts, new followers, new likes, new comments, etc). When connected to Google-Plus profile, it allows Google Analytics to track the response generated from new posts.
- HootSuite also allows complete social media activities analytics of Twitter engagement, Facebook & LinkedIn page insights and Google analytics. For all advanced analytics overview users must have upgrade their basic account to Pro version account.
- In HootSuite users can even export analytics report for individual social media accounts and analyze their activities and take decision on productive social media activities.
Note: BufferApp allows analytics only in Awesome Plan.
#5 Advanced Settings
As said in the beginning, every social media management tool comes with its unique set of features. While the above are the customary tools, the difference will specifically lie in this list.
- Create feeds
- Create groups with multiple social media accounts (inclusive of your main profile, pages you own and groups where you are admin)
- Post suggestions
- Link shortening
- API Integration
- SSL Secure
Apart from these amazing features SocialPilot recently launched Zapier integration with SocialPilot to manage hundreds of web apps scheduling.
- Create feeds
- Post suggestions
- Link shortening
- Zapier Integration
- Browser Extension
- API Integration
BufferApp allows adding other team members to your accounts to manage and scheduling posts but only in Buffer for Business plan. BufferApp mobile apps are also available for iOS & Android devices.
- Link shortening
- Browser Extension
- API Integration
- Zapier Integration
- Create Feeds
Apart from all advanced social media sharing settings HootSuite also provides amazing mobile applications for iOS and Android devices for super fast social media management. HootSuite have one another mobile application for iOS devices in which it only suggests content recommendations to share it on social media platforms.
The best way to judge best social media automation tool for you is to try the free versions of each and also ask for suggestions among peers. Comparing the above three, we would like to say that startup with moderate usage should always be better off with Buffer as it offers all important features at almost no cost.