Social Smackdown: Hootsuite vs Sprout Social

By Rocket Post

With the holiday season in full swing, social media automation is on the Christmas wish list of every social media marketer out there. The Post Office and your bank may be observing a few holidays, but social media never closes, nor sleeps.

To combat social media’s insomnia, never fear, social media management tools are the cure. The top two contenders of social management tools are Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Which one is better over the other? You can decide your preferred sleeping aid. Here is Hootsuite verses Sprout Social.

User Interface

Appearance and ease of use is the most important feature of any social media management tool. At first glance, Hootsuite’s dashboard takes hold of the columned, all-your-info-at-once approach. To some, this layout method is messy and cluttered, but to others it showcases everything you need without having to click around. Organized with tabs by social account, then broken down into platforms, Hootsuite’s look is customizable. With platform choices such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and foursquare, social media managers can decide which feeds are most important to them.

Comparatively, Sprout Social’s homepage looks polished and expensive, as if you stole it from the top social media firm in the country. Its organized approach by account, laced with real-time user data and analytics, Sprout Social has beautifully combined functionality and appeal.

Analytics

Perhaps the main distinguishing factor between Hootsuite and Sprout Social is the analytics features. Sprout Social blows Hootsuite out of the park on this aspect of management tools. Although Hootsuite does offer analytics based on posts and audience interaction, they are neither as vast nor sophisticated as Sprout Social’s.

Hootsuite’s approach to analytics is through custom reporting, whereas Sprout Social provides in depth, infographic-like analytics, scattered even outside of its analytics tab. Sprout Social’s advanced insights include audience demographics, to audience interaction rate.

Although this is a differentiating factor between the two social media tools, some social media marketers prefer to get their analytics directly from the social media platform. Twitter Analytics, but especially Facebook Insights, offer some statistics that both Hootsuite and Sprout Social can’t provide.

Publishing

Without publishing, we wouldn’t have any analytics. Getting back to the basics, Hootsuite and Sprout Social excel in publishing abilities. Both allow users to manage multiple accounts, schedule posts, and also save draft posts.

But a more advanced feature, in which both offer, is the ability to schedule content based on when the time when most followers are online. Simply type the content you wish to post, and the management tools will take care of scheduling it based on their analytics of each platform. In Hootsuite this feature is named AutoScheduling and in Sprout Social the same feature is called ViralPost.

Sound appealing? Unfortunately this advanced optimized time feature isn’t available on the free version of Sprout Social, whereas Hootsuite does offer it.

Price

The holiday season has many of us counting loose change, but are those pennies worth it when choosing between Sprout Social and Hootsuite?

Hootsuite offers a tiered payment plan, including a free version for one user which allows management up to five social media accounts. Its Pro Level at $9 a month, for up to 9 team members, offers up to 50 integrated social media accounts, along with full access to their support desk. Reserved for larger firms, Hootsuite’s third membership level is based on a negotiated price, comes with endless capabilities, and the ability to have up to 500,00 users.

Sprout Social’s payment plans are based on a three-month subscription term, with its basic plan at $39 a month per user, with management abilities up to 10 social profiles. At $59 a month per user, Sprout Social’s Deluxe plan allows up to 20 social media profiles, as well as complete access to their help desk and Google Analytics integration capability. The ViralPost ability is only available at Sprout Social’s Premium level, at $99 per user per month, with the ability to manage up to 50 social media profiles.

Hootsuite versus Sprout Social; who do you declare the winner? Are analytics reports important to you? Sprout Social may be the way to go. What about price? Hootsuite probably takes the dollar sign cake. But it is all based on personal preference. You will sometimes find that some social media marketers actually use both, but for different clients. The choice is yours.

Whichever social media management tool you choose, just be sure not to ignore it. Social media automation is supposed to make more time for a marketer to engage and interact with a brand’s audience. Social media automation isn’t a tool you can just schedule and leave. If you choose to take that path, look forward to some insomnia yourself. Just like social media, you too won’t be sleeping, for your social media engagement will take a nosedive.

Which social media management tool do you prefer? Comment below or tweet us @Rocket_Post.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/B2CMarketingInsider/~3/4U627kRQgzw/social-smackdown-hootsuite-vs-sprout-social-0701557