Individuals and businesses rely on social media for interacting, networking and as a free marketing tool. While social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit are useful, it can be time consuming and impossible to keep up with when you have more than one brand or business. That’s where social media management sites come in. There are a variety of systems offering social media management, though the top two right now are HootSuite and SproutSocial. HootSuite has been around since 2008, while SproutSocial was launched 2 years later, in 2010.
First let’s discuss the similarities between the two sites. Both HootSuite and SproutSocial offer the same basic features. They offer management of multiple social media networks from a dashboard, scheduling future updates on these sites, reports and analytics, information on demographics, and tracking mentions for your brand. Both sites also charge for their services after a free trial, though the pricing itself is different.
Managing Social Media
One of the main functions users are going to be looking for, is the ability to manage different social media networks from a single dashboard. Of course, both SproutSocial and HootSuite accomplish this, but there are differences. Both of these sites allow you to schedule future posts, use images, choose the time and day and how many sites to post from. They both use URL shorteners: HootSuite uses ow.ly and SproutSocial uses bit.ly. One thing to note about the ow.ly shortener for HootSuite is that it can’t be tracked anywhere but HootSuite, while the shortener for Sprout is more flexible. Sprout also has better ways of narrowing down your target audiences and easier-to-use search functions, with customizable contact details using Social CRM.
The next important thing to compare between SproutSocial and HootSuite is how well they publish and the appearance of their dashboards. HootSuite uses a multi-column dashboard letting you see all of your social media accounts from a single page. It helps you customize the stream for things like hashtags, Twitter trends and keywords. You can also save drafts to be used later on. SproutSocial, on the other hand, provides their own advantages like using their Discovery feature and finding the best publishing times.
Access to Reports
For some people, being able to track and monitor the behavior and success of tweets or other updates over time is crucial. Both SproutSocial and HootSuite offer access to analytics and reports. HootSuite’s reports are pretty basic, making them easier to understand. While SproutSocial’s reports are a little trickier to get a hang of, they are much more detailed, offering an in-depth analysis of the followers you have and following activity, with a quick look on your dashboard of your success with different social media networks.
Finally, it’s time to discuss pricing, since this is going to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. When comparing pricing, many users prefer HootSuite because they offer a free basic version while their pro accounts are $9.99 a month. SproutSocial is significantly more at $39 a month for the standard plan. Each of these plans offer different limits as far as how many social profiles you get, the number of users to add to your account, and what features you have access to. With cost, HootSuite definitely wins as you still get a free account, or a pro plan that is less than SproutSocial’s by quite a bit.
As you can see, each of these social media management networks have a number of pros and cons. In the end, it is a matter of preferring the design, looking for a lower price, or simply choosing what features you find more of a priority than others.