The amount of social media out there is nothing short of terrifying, even for a self-proclaimed “SMO Geek” like myself. Consider for a moment, how we will promote this very blog post. Well, of course we’ll post it to our Facebook page, because everyone and their grandmother (no hyperbole intended) is on “the book”. Then we’ll have to send it out into the twitter-sphere so all our followers can RT, Reply, Mention, and Favorite it. Next it’s on to Google+ for those who appreciate the SEO capabilities it offers, and usually prefer +1’ing to a “like”. And don’t forget about LinkedIn for all our professional associates (who are most likely also terrified of all the aforementioned). Throw in Pinterest, if, let’s say, we had a sweet infographic, and it’s enough to make anyone cry so hard their keyboard shrrorrtssss oitttutt…
Oops, sorry I had a moment there.
Luckily, there are extremely smart people out there who realize we need help, and they’ve created tools to help manage it. Now there are dozens of them, but to save you time (and more tears) we’re going to touch on what many in the industry believe to be the best. They are Hootsuite and Buffer. Let’s review.
Hootsuite Social Media Tool
Hootsuite is probably the most well known of social media management tools. This program allows you to manage just about every major social media outlet, all on one interface. For example, open a Twitter profile on Hootsuite and you can see your Home Feed, Mentions, Sent Tweets, and Pending Tweets on the same screen. That’s right, you can schedule tweets for the FUTURE! What a world, huh?
This same scenario is possible for your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. You can even have multiple profiles from the same social media outlet – 20 in all. So rather than having to sign into every account separately and continually re-post the same masterfully crafted blog article, you can do it all here. Then sit back and watch the love of your fans as they like, share, and retweet it.
Now you might be saying to yourself, “This seems too good to be true! Are there drawbacks?”. To which, I would swiftly reply, “No, none!”, but then after a moment, I’d smirk and say, “Of course, silly, nothing is perfect!” For one, the interface can be a little disorienting. When you try to cram all that detail into one screen, things don’t always look so nice and pretty. I give Hootsuite credit; They do their best to keep it clean, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Also, the scheduling isn’t optimal. Sure, you can pick the exact time for it to post, but that’s not always the best option. I’ll touch on this more in the next section.
Buffer Social Media Management Tool
By comparison, Buffer is much cleaner and easier for scheduling. The interface is precise and makes it much easier to “Buffer” or schedule your tweets and Facebook posts. Unlike Hootsuite, which requires that you either pick a specific time, or “autoschedule” to a random time the program deems optimal, you can create your own schedule through Buffer. In other words, you can set specific times throughout the day that your posts will schedule to. Each time you “Buffer, your latest post will jump to the next scheduled time. This allows for consistency, and your followers will begin to anticipate your posts. You can even schedule retweets!
Now, this tool is not without its faults. For example, it doesn’t currently support Google+ or LinkedIn business accounts, although they are working towards it. Also, you really can’t use it for viewing the conversation. In other words, it provides stats for how your posts did interactively, but doesn’t provide an easy way to communicate back. That seems to be the drawback of the “cleaner” interface.
Hootsuite Pro starts at $5.99/mo
Buffer Awesome starts at $10/mo
Below is an infographic (Pinterest, here we come!) to break down the pros and cons of each. I would invite anyone with multiple social media accounts to try out each tool and share their experience with us. Always great to get a difference of opinion! What do you think?