Buffer or Hootlet for Social Sharing?

buffer-hootletSpacing out the timing of your social media updates makes perfect sense.  Your audience is no longer 9 to 5 and you can’t be up 24 hours a day to service your social media accounts.

Buffer and Hootlet (from the team at Hootsuite) provide useful tools for sharing out your content at pre-scheduled times.  This allows you to have a constant flow of content going out on social media channels, and it means you’re not sending too much content in one burst!

But which is better, Buffer or Hootlet?

Let’s take a spin and see which wins!

What about Hootlet?

You add Hootlet as a browser extension.  When you come across content on the web that you want to share, you click the browser extension image to add it to a queue.  You can also highlight text within the content of a web page to add it to the queue (you can do this with Buffer, too). Hootlet is free as part of Hootsuite, however if you want good reporting on the content you share, or if you want to share to more than five social profiles, then you’ll need to pay for the $10-per-month plan.

Here’s an example of what is displayed when I click on the Hootlet button.


Hootlet Sharing

This is automatically displayed, including the shortened URL


The name of the post is displayed, together with a shortened URL using the ‘ow.ly’ shortener.  If you use Hootsuite as your regular tool for sharing content, this is handy because you can report on the content you share on Hootsuite and from Hootlet in the same interface.

You can send the link to any – or all – of the social profiles you have set up.  For free, you can have up to five social networks.  So you could share to LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and send it to another account (e.g. if you have multiple Twitter accounts) and you’ll still be fine.

When you click ‘autoschedule’, it’s added to the publisher queue on Hootsuite and then sent out a time that Hootsuite thinks will work best based on previous performance.   But it’s not all down to Hootsuite, because you can set your own parameters for when the autoscheduled updates post.  You can specify a start and end time for the day so that no messages go out outside of these times.  You can also specify the days of the week and the number of messages during the day.


Hootlet Auto Schedule

Specify the time range and days you want to send content


What about Buffer?

With Buffer, you click on a Buffer button in your browser to schedule out the content.  You can send your update immediately or send it at a pre-configured time.

The cost for Buffer is $10 a month for the basic plan.  There is a free plan, too, but if you’re sending content regularly you’ll probably need to go onto the paid plan.

One nice feature that Buffer has and Hootlet does not is that you get to preview the image that you’re sharing out on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.  You also get to select which image from the page you use.


Buffer Sharing

When you click on the Buffer button, this is what you see


The link is not shortened in the example above but you can set up link shortening to use Buffers only link shortener, bit.ly or j.mp.

When you ‘buffer’ the content it goes into a queue.  For this queue, you specify the days of the week and the specific times for each day that the content is sent out.


Buffer Posting Schedule

Specify the days and times


Additional Functionality

Buffer feeds – Buffer has just added the ability to add blog feeds to your Buffer account.  This means you can go to Bufferapp.com and look at the latest blog posts from a variety of blogs you track and then add them to your queue.  This is nice in theory, but they are never going to have the same level of functionality as Feedly.  Feedly itself supports Buffer integration, so the Blog Feeds functionality is only useful to more novice users who don’t have Feedly set up, or those who don’t want to use another application for their feeds.

Content suggestions – As Buffer shares a lot of content it gets to know what is popular.  It also knows what you like to share.  So, they have started displaying some content suggestions that you might like to share with your followers.  As this functionality develops, it will undoubtedly become more powerful.

Analytics – There are good analytics available for content shared through Buffer, so you get to see which updates were retweeted, liked, clicked on etc.

Integration – Buffer has been busy forming partnerships with third-party tool providers so there are extensive integration options available through products such as Feedly, Mention, the Flare social sharing widget and others.

Campaign tracking – You can add tracking codes to the URLs you share so that you can see any traffic generated through Buffer in Google Analytics.

Rebuffer – You can select content you already shared and resend it.

Hootlet Versus Buffer

So, which one should you use?

Hootlet is free and Buffer is $10 per month.  But, with Hootlet you need to use Hootsuite  for reporting, and this is very basic unless you pay for the $8.99-per-month subscription.

With Buffer, the $10-per-month option gives you support for more social profiles.  Also, because Buffer is the core product of the Buffer team, they are adding on more functionality and integrating with more products than the guys at Hootsuite will ever do.    The integration Buffer has with other applications is a big plus.

For example, I use Feedly to read blog content, and Buffer is integrated as part of Feedly.  On a desktop I could still use Hootlet to share my content from within Feedly, but on a mobile device this is not going to work.

To me, the ideal combination is using both Hootsuite and Buffer.  Hootlet has less functionality than Buffer and it’s likely to stay that way.

What do you think?  Do you use these or other similar apps, perhaps the similar scheduling plugin available with SproutSocial?



Robot image from Shutterstock
  • http://blog.digitalinsights.in/ Omkar Mishra

    I do prefer Buffer over Hootsuite for 2 reasons:
    1.Integration with bit.ly to keep all my link stats in one place
    2.You can click ‘Buffer this Image’ to include a rich media along with the link for the Tweet.Makes it easier everytime you need to add an image to a post on Twitter and display it properly.

    PS: I love their blog too :)

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Omkar!

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/105306872111062070128/posts Stuart Dell

    Both are okay and effective in my opinion. Ever heard of http://postific.com/?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Yes but I haven’t used it, any good? How do you use it?

  • Daniel Honigman

    Great comparison, Ian. Very thorough! BTW, I had issues authentication with Twitter/Disqus just now on your site. Feel free to email me with any questions about it; you should have my email address!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Daniel, actually disqus is behaving a bit strange. The colors have gone a bit wonky! So I’m on to support!! thanks for the feedback. Ian

  • Perry Nalevka

    Another good one. Did you know Oktopost also developed a plugin? Works well but I agree with you and Buffer is a really great tool and it UX is awesome.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Yes, there’s a few more like sproutsocial also! Thanks Perry.

  • http://www.hughosmith.com/ hughosmith

    Hey Ian, nice post, thank you. I prefer Buffer myself but it does have its drawbacks. The free version only allows you to schedule a max of 10 posts to any social media acct at a time. I use a combination of Buffer and Tweetdeck which I find works well for me. Another cool service is Klout which now offers suggestions and allows you to schedule posts as well.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Hugho, I didn’t realize that Klout also lets you schedule out the posts, I’m going to check that out now, thanks! Ian

  • Goleng Lucky

    I have used both Buffer and Hootsuite but I think I prefer Buffer because of the rich media capability, and especially on Tweeter. It takes me just seconds to send visual-loaded tweets. I also agree with Omkar on Buffer’s blog posts. They post fresh, detailed and insightful contents (just my opinion though).

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Goleng!

  • Ruth Winden

    I am a loyal (paying) Buffer fan and it will be hard to lure me away to a new application. Not only is the site intuitive and easy to use, Buffer’s customer service is outstanding. Now that’s priceless.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Ruth, yes you’re right about customer service they are so responsive! Ian

  • http://socialmediafuze.com/ Mary Green

    I like Buffer over Hootsuite as well, and pay for both. Buffer is integrated with EVERYTHING and I control the schedule better (in my opinion). I like the tracking, and use it with Feedly. I have changed my Feedly/Buffer relationship with IFTTT because Buffer seemed to move slowly in Feedly, did you have the same problem?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      HI Mary, yes I read this on your blog post yesterday!!! Ian

  • http://www.terrafrance.com Gijs VAN BREUGEL

    Buffer is the best. I am now hoping for a feed to our wp blog. Buffer finally made my life easy. Also the plugin is superb. And their support is grand. Well worth the money after all the struggle to get my socmed organised.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Gijs, did you try Coschedule which is a WordPress editorial calendar plugin which integrates with Buffer. You’ll love it! Ian

    • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

      Agree: buffer plugin is a great feature.

  • Lyn Bowker

    “Bloody awesome” post Ian (as they say in Australia :)

    I’m soon to embark on this journey so I’m verrrry grateful for it – and the comments others have added. Thank you all!

    My answer is I’m going with Buffer (free until I learn the ropes then paid once I’m ready to totally rock it) / & Feedly since it’s already integrated.

    Since I use my iPad a LOT I’ll give Hootlet a miss as I don’t want to confuse myself if it’s only going to work on my iMac.

    THINGS I LOVE (that were mentioned)
    1. Quality image usage (a biggie for me)
    2. Easy & intuitive to use
    3. More social profiles
    4. Core product + great customer support
    5. Extensive 3rd part integration options (for when I’m rocking it!)

    Why did you say you use both?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Lyn, I have both installed but I find that I use Buffer and not Hootlet so you can stick to one. Thanks for your super positive comments, you rock!!! Ian

  • Sarah Blinco

    I prefer using Buffer too, but as always, thanks for an interesting and informative read. It’s always awesome to know about these options and inevitably there comes a convenient time to implement them all.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much Sarah!

  • http://www.livewirecollaborative.com/ Angela Pitter

    Shall I jump on the Buffer bandwagon??… It simply integrates with my favorites like Echofon, Pocket, IFTTT and Followerwonk! And Followerwonk will optimize your Buffer schedule. Top value for $10/month!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Angela, you’re welcome to join in on the Buffer bandwagon!!

  • siobhan

    Lets take a spin and see which wins… It’s a draw. That should been at the start of the post instead of glancing over the jargon to discover it. It doesn’t make sense that you can’t choose.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Siobhan, they are 2 good products. I needed to go through them both to see which would win but 2 good products from 2 good companies, it’s hard to choose! Ian

  • mcl

    can’t read comments. somebody forgot that there are colorblind folks in world who need high contrast– not blue on grey or black on grey, but dark on pastel

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Sorry trying to sort this out at the moment, it’s a bug!

      • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

        Yeah, I’ve been seeing this for a while too and thought it was your own decision. I had a similar error in the past, but found how to solve it in the Disqus settings panel.

        • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

          Thanks, I’ve been playing around with the settings but no joy yet!

  • Eugene Okumu

    From the sound of things Buffer is more optimized for mass sharing where ownership of content is not an issue. As a journalist who promotes my content online, I find Hootlet in its very basic form good enough as it does not limit me on how much I can put out.
    The let-down with Hootsuite is loading media and the basic analytics that are limiting. For one the media has to either be formatted or a user has to get preoccupied while the media loads.
    With the free version of Hootsuite, the analytics only return limited results which paints a half picture of user interaction with shared content. But to remedy these short comings I usually use pixlr.com for media formatting which even saves me disk space, and bit.ly which gives me good enough analytics for the content.
    If for no other reason I much prefer the Hootlet UI which is aesthetically attractive in comparison to Buffer.
    Thank you for the great insights though. A few things stand out that will advice my future options for sharing content.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks so much for your comments Eugene, yes I agree about the Hootlet UI that is nicer! Ian

  • Sudheer Yadav

    Nice tool and article get more traffic is a nice way yo get money I will apply the same on http://www.guruofmovie.com/

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    Hi there Ian!

    What a great post with such amazing details!

    I love how you touch on the fact that Buffer and Hootsuite can be used in conjunction! There are so many incredible tools out there that it’s a continual quest to find what works best for you and your business. :-)

    I hadn’t used Hootlet before (though I have used Hootsuite a bit in the past) so I found your post really informative and helpful! Thank you for taking the time to post this and for all your great feedback on Buffer!

    Community Champion at Buffer

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Nicole,

      Thank you so much for stopping by! You guys are such a great team, delighted you liked the post!!


  • http://90DayEntrepreneur.com/ Brandon Schaefer

    Buffer all the way!!!!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      You don’t site on the fence there Brandon!!!

  • http://www.writeontrack.ie Lorna Sixsmith

    I agree, Buffer’s integration to Feedly makes it handier too. I’m giving Co Schedule a go (reviewed it on my blog the other day) – you can schedule to Pinterest with it too which is handy. Have you tried it?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Lorna, yes I reviewed it recently as well and really like it. The only thing that stops me moving to it is that it doesn’t have custom statuses for the editorial calendar! Ian

  • Diane Castro

    Very informational article Ian. I always enjoy your blogs. I use Hootsuite because that is the one I initially set all my clients on, and when I reviewed the others I liked Hootsuite’s functionality the best. Cheers!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Diane!

  • Donda Cordova

    We have used both but Buffer has had major glitches when using the auto scheduler. Some days it works great and then some days posts content on Wednesday that was scheduled on Monday. Hootesuite condenses your images for faster uploads and image quality is not always great….but when content is scheduled at least it posts.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Interesting feedback, thanks Donda.

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    I prefer Buffer for their mobile integration and their multiple platform support. However, there are many points of improvement.

    The free version (which allows to schedule maximum 20 posts) provides a very basic reporting platform that however allows you to reschedule an old post. This feature is not available in the basic paid version though, which is a really pain in the…

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Yes that is a pain! I do like the integration they have available with other platforms. For example, feedly!


  • https://twitter.com/bldchris Christin Kardos

    Buffer, Buffer, Buffer.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      No sitting on the fence for your Christin!

  • http://www.methodsocialmedia.com Rosemary Smith

    Hi Ian, I have been using Hootsuite which has been working quite well. I have opened a free buffer account, but haven’t really explored it properly yet. After reading your post, I will make sure I explore Buffer.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Rosemary, it’s definitely worth it!

  • nickyjameson

    I have both Buffer and Hootsuite, however I use Buffer 99% of the time and I highly prefer it over Hootsuite. It just makes things so simple to do, with Hootsuite I find I always have to take an extra step or two. I use Hootsuite more to view my social platforms than sharing content. As has been mentioned Buffer’s customer services is excellent, and they really do walk their talk. Plus, they source great content to share, which I intersperse with my own. I think I could easily get rid of Hootsuite and not miss it, but I couldn’t say the same for the Buffer app. Overall though, I use them both, but differently.

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    I’ve used both of these for years, plus many others. Right now, by tests are showing that neither do near as well as creating a unique piece of content and posting directly on Twitter or Facebook or my sharing site DailyWarren.com

    It’s no longer a quantity game. I’m share a lot more content since I found out how well it does, but shares that I spend and extra 2 minutes on outperform by up to 10x

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Warren. I used to post 3 times a day on Facebook and now I post about once a day but I wait until I pick out a really good piece of content and then get more reach on it. So I think less is more! Ian

      • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

        The best laid plans can blow up in your face. I was going to post a photo with a link to this article.. then though “Why not add it to the comment”.. 10 minutes later, I gave up and now have 2 here.

        The lesson is, the photo gets more attention, but is more work. (also, the first time I’ve tried it with Disqus).

        I got called away and never tweeted the link. I will now, and while your big traffic blog won’t see much difference, I have been cementing relationships with others by going the extra mile and turning a RT into an RT with photo or RT/Photo/bettercopy. Making a friend can be far more profitable than having a few people click through to read an article :)

        I’ll be back to talk leadgen using these principles when we have a case study that’s not under NDA. :)

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Thanks for letting me know about Feed.ly connecting with Buffer. I have Buffer and didn’t realize this!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Sue, glad to help.