Social Media, once dismissed as the next teen fad, has quickly become a marketing tool essential to meeting business demands with regards to branding, networking, reach, and development of B2C relationships and, consequently, customer tenure. Various platforms exist for the management and promotion of social media marketing, but the two most popular in the digital advertising community are HootSuite and SproutSocial. Either platform is effective when used correctly, but a direct comparison of both resources highlights the superior value of each in specific categories. The smallest differences can make or break your business in the digital world where branding is everything and standing out is essential to generating MQL and SQL conversions via social media. Want a leg up on your competition? Need a hand making a decision? Here are 6 Ways to Compare Sprout Social and HootSuite.
Every entrepreneur knows that overhead cost can make or break decisions regarding tools and platforms. The concept of spending money to make money can only go so far when you’re just starting out. SproutSocial has a 30-day free trial, as does HootSuite and HootSuite Pro. The standard base rate for SproutSocial is $39/month, while HootSuite is $8.99. SS monthly allows 10 managed social profiles, analytics and reports, mobile apps and the scheduling and publishing of messages along with customer engagement options. They also have Deluxe and Premium packages which bump social profile management to 20 and 50 profiles at $59 and $99/month. The paid version of HS allows unlimited profile management, scheduling, reports, and unlimited RSS feeds. Conclusion: for the new, small business or the marketer managing multiple accounts on a simple level, HootSuite is the way to go. Cost effectiveness of this platform clearly trumps SproutSocial’s pricey overhead.
HootSuite and SproutSocial both allow you to update multiple social networks, to collect data, view analytics reports, and schedule posts in advance. However, HootSuite offers connectivity to other networks that SproutSocial does not. With HootSuite you can sync apps and external programs on a broader basis, where Sprout only offers Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google Analytics, and LinkedIn. Depending on your needs, the benefit to you as an end user of managing multiple social networks outside of these five options may determine which platform you choose. Both HS and SS allow the management of multiple accounts, but HS only allows one team member where SS offers the authorization of multiple team members for the sake of collaboration. Conclusion: if cost is your greatest concern, HootSuite allows management of multiple profiles for free. However, SproutSocial is more team-friendly and allows multiple authorized users on one account where HootSuite does not. The choice comes down to your preferences and needs.
Advanced scheduling is one of the most effective ways to manage your social media accounts and avoid wasting precious time coming up with and remembering to post updates on a daily basis. When it comes to scheduling updates in advance, HootSuite and SproutSocial offer many similarities but a few key differences. HS and SS both offer a favorites bar addition button which allows scheduling on the fly, but HootSuite offers the unique option of uploading a CSV file to schedule as many as 50 posts at a time months in advance. Done effectively, this can be a priceless timesaver. On the other side, SS has the ability to schedule the same message for multiple days at a time, whereas HS requires more manual work of individually inputing each post for the days you want. Conclusion: there are not many differences between SproutSocial and HootSuite in the scheduling department, but the boost of being able to schedule multiple days at once has Hootsuite tapping before the 3-count.
SproutSocial provides detailed and thorough reports at the click of the mouse without any attempts by the end user at generation or downloading of analytics reports. HootSuite has preconfigured report systems and allows “Custom Reports”, but the generation is time-consuming and more advanced reports have to be purchased. The SproutSocial reports tab instantly provides a large range of information and reports in various formats. Quick stats allow for equally quick small or large adjustments that make a huge difference in converting leads. Here's an example of Flight Media's recent 60-Day Report. Conclusion: the answer to this challenge is simple, as SproutSocial pulls ahead the clear winner. The value of streamlined reports and actionable metrics is unquestionable in a digital marketing world.
Customer and technical support are vital to anyone seeking to grow accustomed to a new interface or platform. HootSuite provides automated (faceless) email responses to popular questions and concerns, but Sprout provides exceptional customer and technical support in a personalized way through team members and staff via Twitter, email, phone, and more. Sprout provides webinars and training sessions with live interaction to train every customer, whereas HootSuite assumes you will go to their “University” to learn how to use the platform effectively. Conclusion: SproutSocial takes HootSuite down so quickly in this department that it’s almost unfair. With a real human face behind the company and live, 24x7 support, they definitely offer value where HootSuite does not on the support department.
The truth is, especially for the busy entrepreneur or SBO, millions of valuable options are useless without ease of use and a friendly user interface. Here is where SproutSocial definitely takes the cake. Check out the two platforms below: (How stark is that difference?!) SproutSocial offers a clear, clean, crisp dashboard with interactive graphs and demographic data, before you even ask for it. It is extremely well organized, and unlike HootSuite, requires less navigation and click-through of multiple screen options. You can readily find messages received and sent, new fans, analytics reports, tabbed feeds, discovery options (unique to Sprout), and at your fingertips scheduling without hopping out of the dashboard view. HootSuite, not so much. A bleak, gray interface, poor navigation options, more click-throughs necessary to find the information you need, and an arguably confusing rigid column format make a noticeable difference in ease of use and aesthetic appeal. Conclusion: SproutSocial may have been down for the count, but in the end, the user interface is a knockout punch to HootSuite’s outdated graphics and navigation systems. [divider] In summary, only you know what is best for your business. Analyzing and comparing the two platforms side-by-side allows you to choose the option that is best for you and your needs, so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your social media platforms in growing your audience, streamlining your branding and pushing conversions. Click here to try Sprout Social for free. Click here to try Hootsuite for free. Choose wisely, young Jedi.