TweetDeck Versus Hootsuite - The Essential Guide

TweetDeck Versus Hootsuite – The Essential Guide

Tweetdeck Vs Hootsuite (portrait)There is an ever-growing number of social media management tools, with new ones released all the time.  But, two have remained popular for years.

So, what do Hootsuite and TweetDeck offer that has kept them firm favorites for so long?

In this post, we will compare TweetDeck vs Hootsuite and look at their features to help you to decide which to use.

On the surface, Hootsuite and TweetDeck work in a similar way.  They both manage Twitter accounts and they have a similar appearance, where you can add side-by-side columns for streams, searches, lists, mentions and so on.

TweetDeck used to be available as downloadable software, but they withdrew the desktop TweetDeck app in April 2016 so it is now a browser-only tool.

But, once you get beyond this, what are the similarities and differences between Hootsuite and TweetDeck?



The visual appearance of TweetDeck and Hootsuite is similar. Both are used in a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox, and both tools let you add columns so that you can easily follow different social media streams, Twitter lists and searches.  You can scroll from left to right on the screen to see all the columns you have set up.

In Hootsuite, you can also use tabs to separate your columns into themes.  So, you might want to have one tab with all the columns related to one Twitter account, or a tab with all your ‘mentions’ columns.  This makes it easy to see related updates in one place.

Many people feel that TweetDeck has a more sleek, streamlined appearance, but Hootsuite has made some recent changes that have improved the way it is displayed.

Social Networks

A big difference, when looking at Hootsuite vs TweetDeck, is the social networks that can be managed.

A few years ago, TweetDeck allowed users to manage Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts but, after Twitter acquired the software, it reduced these options.  Now, you can only manage Twitter accounts on TweetDeck. On Hootsuite, on the other hand, you can manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ (pages only) and WordPress accounts, and you can add integration with other networks such as YouTube, Instagram and SoundCloud.

For TweetDeck, there is no limit to the number of Twitter accounts used.  With Hootsuite, only three accounts (this can be three Twitter accounts, or three different networks in total) can be managed with the free account.

Social Media Scheduling

Is social media scheduling easier on Hootsuite or TweetDeck? Well, both make it easy to schedule Twitter updates, and Hootsuite lets you schedule updates for the other social channels it supports, too.

Scheduling on Hootsuite

There is a range of ways to schedule a post on Hootsuite.

Via the Compose Box

Click in the ‘compose message’ box at the top of the screen and enter your update.  Then, choose the ‘calendar’ icon or press ‘autoschedule’.


Via the Hootsuite Hootlet

Install the Hootsuite Hootlet. Then, on the webpage you want to share, click the Hootlet button and a box will pop up.

Select the networks you want to share to and schedule the message with either the calendar icon or AutoSchedule.

Schedule a message with the Hootsuite Hootlet
Schedule a message with the Hootsuite Hootlet

That shows the most obvious ways to schedule updates on Hootsuite.  However, Hootsuite also offers further options for scheduling messages that can help to streamline your social media management.

Via ‘Suggested’ updates

Here, you enter three key search terms and Hootsuite searches for news stories and blog posts that you might want to share. The ones you choose are added into your next free time slot.

The posts and articles Hootsuite suggests can be a bit mixed in terms of relevance and quality, but this is a feature to keep an eye on as it could be a real time saver for content curation.

Via a CSV file

Hootsuite Pro users can also upload .csv files to schedule tweets.

These files have to be formatted in a specific way, with dates and times for posts, text content and links in separate spreadsheet columns.

It can be a bit time consuming to prepare updates this way, especially compared to how easy it is to add updates to Buffer through a service like BulkBuffer.

Hootsuite also limits users to uploading 50 scheduled updates at a time with a .csv file. However, this can still be an efficient way to add a long list of updates to your Hootsuite schedule.

Scheduling on TweetDeck

To schedule a message in TweetDeck, click the message icon in the left-hand sidebar and enter the post into the text box.

Select the Twitter accounts you want to share the update with.

Then, under the message text, click on the time and date and a calendar will show.  Choose the date and time you want and click ‘Tweet on [date]’ to schedule the tweet.

Schedule a tweet in TweetDeck
Schedule a tweet in TweetDeck

In TweetDeck, you can set up a column to view all your scheduled tweets.  In Hootsuite, you can view scheduled tweets in a list or a calendar format.  In both tools, the scheduled messages send whether you are online or not.

Streams and Notifications

Both TweetDeck and Hootsuite let users set up columns to manage streams of information.  This helps you to monitor social media conversations.

You can set up a stream for:

  • your main timeline
  • mentions
  • Twitter lists
  • search results
  • Direct Messages
  • scheduled tweets
  • sent tweets.

To set up a new stream in Hootsuite, select the correct tab and then click the ‘Add Stream’ button in the top left.

Add a new stream in Hootsuite
Add a new stream in Hootsuite

This box will pop up.

The options for Twitter streams in Hootsuite
The options for Twitter streams in Hootsuite

Choose the network you want, then click the + button for the stream you want. To add a new column in TweetDeck, click the + sign on the bottom left of the screen. This box will appear.

Add a new column in TweetDeck
Add a new column in TweetDeck

Different options appear depending on what you choose here.  Each will lead you to create the new column you need.

Streams behave a bit differently in TweetDeck and Hootsuite. In TweetDeck, the streams flow constantly, updating live, in real time. In Hootsuite, the streams remain static and you need to click on a link at the top of the column to see new, unread messages.

Some people find it easier to keep track of the streams in Hootsuite, others appreciate the live, real-time action in TweetDeck – this is mainly a matter of preference.


A key difference when looking at TweetDeck vs Hootsuite is that you can set up audio and pop-up notifications with TweetDeck, as long as you allow these within your browser.

Notifications can show when new messages appear in a column.

Don’t set them up for your main timeline, that would quickly become annoying!

But they can be really useful for columns that get occasional messages that you want to know about right away.

Perhaps you have set up a search for people looking for services like yours in your local area, or you want to be instantly alerted when somebody uses a relevant hashtag.  In this situation, TweetDeck’s pop-up or sound alerts mean you don’t need to keep manually checking for new posts.

You set up notifications in TweetDeck for each column individually.  At the top of the column, click this symbol. TweetDeck notifications You will then see a range of options to customize the column.  Click the arrow next to ‘Alerts’, then choose whether you want sound alerts, pop-up alerts, or both.

Choose the kind of notifications you prefer in TweetDeck
Choose the kind of notifications you prefer in TweetDeck


Mobile Apps

When looking at Hootsuite vs TweetDeck in terms of mobile apps, there’s literally no competition.

That’s because TweetDeck withdrew its mobile apps in 2013, favoring the native Twitter apps for iOS and Android. Hootsuite does have mobile options.

Hootsuite for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is available in the App Store, and Hootsuite for Android can be found in Google Play. Hootsuite also has an iOS app designed specifically for its Suggestions feature, allowing users to see curated content related to their niche and add it to their scheduled-update queue.


TweetDeck is completely free to use, and you can add an unlimited number of Twitter accounts to your TweetDeck app.

Hootsuite is free to use for three social media accounts, and professional Hootsuite prices start at $9.99 a month for more accounts and features.

Tweetdeck Versus Hootsuite – which is best?

Both Hootsuite and TweetDeck are well-respected and very popular tools, and the one that is best for you will depend on what you need.

  • If you just want a tool to manage one or two Twitter accounts, the main difference is your own preference.  Do you prefer pop-ups?  If so, choose TweetDeck. Or do you prefer to take advantage of AutoScheduling rather than manually scheduling posts?  In that case, Hootsuite is more suitable.
  • If you have lots of Twitter accounts to manage and want a free service, TweetDeck is probably best. But if you want to manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, Hootsuite caters for these options.
  • There is also the option to combine tools.  So, if you prefer the TweetDeck interface but would love the AutoSchedule feature, you could combine TweetDeck with a tool like Buffer to get what you need.

Both tools can be tried for free, so if you are still unsure, why not test them both for a month and see which you prefer?

Do you prefer Hootsuite or TweetDeck?

Tell us which you prefer, and why, in the comments!

46 Responses to TweetDeck Versus Hootsuite – The Essential Guide

  1. Very impressive comparison Ian.. Is there any tool to monitor retweets & favorites??
    Have a awesome week ahead:)

  2. Hi Ian, Thanks for this comparison you answered some questions that I had about the differences. “Way back,” I started as a Tweetdeck user and once I switched, I have been a Hootsuite user ever since. If I could add one comment, it would be the education/support offered via Hootsuite University (through the paid/pro version) might also separate them from Tweetdeck. They do a nice job with the online videos and lecture series webinars, particularly for the new user. Thanks again! ~ Patty

  3. Hi Ian, We use Hootsuite to manage all of our clients’ social media accounts but we’ll surely be testing TweetDeck to check their pop-up notifications..Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Thanks Ian, another excellent post from you.
    I like many started with Tweetdeck and loved the “sharp” look to the text etc, less so the frequent Adobe updates that went with it.
    Moved across to Hootsuite as they had geo targeted searches, and reporting / analytics at the time Twitter curtailed the functionality of the original Tweetdeck.
    Being able to access the dashboard from anywhere via a web browser is so useful, not to mention the super app for IOS makes it a “no brainer” to stick with Hootsuite, I’ve not looked back. As others have mentioned, the Hootsuite University is a superb resource too.

  5. I use both. I read and respond to tweets in Tweetdeck but I schedule all my twitter accounts (7), and Google + pages in Hootsuite. I was scheduling them manually on 3 accounts (to stay in the free plan) however I recently upgraded so that I can bulk schedule messages in one account.

    • At one point, tweetdeck’s scheduling function did not work. It appeared that you were scheduling tweets however they were actually posting. This may have changed as well but you couldn’t schedule tweets AND attach an image. So that is why I started using Hootsuite.

      • I use both as well (one for me, one for a client, just to keep them straight). In Tweetdeck, it’s not intuitively obvious when you’re successfully scheduled – you have to pick the date’time, and then click on the “Tweet” button above it (which should show the date (if not today) or time (if it is today).

  6. I’ve currently added Tweetdeck to my Twitter workflow. Hootsuite Pro I’ve been using for several years now and Buffer for just over a year. I’ve found several strengths of each: Tweetdeck: great for Mentions & DMs as well as evaluating whether to follow someone back on Twitter; Hootsuite: for viewing Twitter lists, as well as scheduling RTs and some replies; I also use the Hootsuite contact page on the dashboard to welcome new followers by simply dragging the avatars to the compose screen as well as dragging them to my lists (Great Time Saver); finally Buffer – used for scheduling content that I find through or Feedly.

      • I’ve known you can drag to lists but the discovery of dragging to the compose window I kind of learned by accident in the last week. I tend to thank several new followers at a time grouping them by their interests. For instance, if I have 4 new followers that have an interest in traveling, I thank them as a group and then say tag it #travel. The fact that I don’t have to type out their names saves the potential of errors as well.

        While I’m at it, thank you Ian for all the great content. Being a bit of resource junkie, your timely posts are much appreciated.

  7. This may be bordering on neurotic but as much as I’d like to move over to Hootsuite, the lack of a standalone desktop application really irks me! That is a large part of why I have stuck with TweetDeck. This article may have persuaded me to finally give Hootsuite a go, however.. I had heard that they’ve cleaned up their interface substantially.

  8. Great post. I was going to say that I only use HootSuite because I currently have to but as I was typing the comment, someone dropped by to say we’re switching to Buffer. Wonderful news.

    I use TweetDeck to manage most of my accounts and find it far more real-time and quicker to use than HootSuite. If you don’t need extensive scheduling and reporting, I wouldn’t bother with all of the added issues HootSuite brings along (fun with link shortening and their own picture hosting which is horrid). Honestly, if you’re looking for team access, reporting, and scheduling, I’d still look elsewhere. HootSuite may have been decent a few years back when a large number of companies jumped on board with it but they’ve done little to keep up with everyone else in the past couple years and offer pretty limited functionality in many ways.

  9. I started with Tweetdeck and now use both.
    If you need to manage Facebook, YouTube, Google+ etc as well as Twitter or if you need access on your phone then it has to be Hootsuite. If you need to manage social media comments through a customer service team, then, again Hootsuite is the winner.
    But, if like me, you manage multiple Twitter accounts from your laptop then you can’t beat Tweetdeck for speed, ease of use and the visual impact is great for showing a client!
    To be honest Tweetdeck was better before Twitter took it over, now its purely a niche product.

  10. Excelent article Ian, I’ve been using Hootsuite and Buffer for a while now. I find Buffer much better for managing Pages, and use Hootsuite more for Profiles. I was wondering if you had any idea how the ‘autoschedule’ feature on Hootsuite works? Any idea on how they choose the best time to send posts? Thanks!

  11. Very clear and concise share on these tools Ian. Enjoyed this post. I use Hootsuite for almost everything. I do like using tweetdeck to add myself to the Twitter lists I create.

  12. Ian – what a freaking fantastic job here on this breakdown. I always wondered why they removed options on tweetdeck and now with twitter acquisition you mentioned it totally make sense. We’ve used both of these, along with Social Oomph and even downloadable software suites to help manage our client’s social media – and Hootsuite is hands down our preferred choice. I really just smash my head at businesses that REMOVE features, it is really shooting themselves in the foot. Anyways, good read, and as usual I appreciate all the hard work you put into doing this so we don’t have to! – J Hunter

  13. Great article I use both for different reasons. Usually only using tweetdeck for twitter chats or events. My big issue with Hootsuite is the appearance of photos on twitter. I may have to explore the Hootsuite University again and see if there is a solution.

  14. One big problem with Tweetdeck is that you can’t display your own Tweet history – often, later in the day, I want to see if I already tweeted about something, and I can’t without paging through my entire timeline for the day. Major bummer.

  15. A great post!
    I used to use Tweetdeck but now use Hootsuite (paid). One of the main reasons for the switch was because of the way scheduled tweets with images appeared (or didn’t appear at all) on Tweetdeck.

  16. Hi Ian, great post as always. I started with Tweetdeck a few years ago, before switching to Hootsuite. But I have to say I’ve had some trouble with the way Hootsuite is sharing pictures though it has the scheduling option Tweetdeck is missing. I’ve switched back to Tweetdeck which I keep on a second screen to follow feeds and use Buffer for scheduling. I like this combination better rather than Hootsuite alone 🙂

  17. Great post
    With a world moving to multiple platforms, Hootsuite makes the most sense for me. I particularly like that I can add team members (in the paid version) to help me manage a large army of Twitter followers. I have been working hard also on using Suggested content – what i like is Hootsuite will auto-analyse your feeds for suggestions but allows an override. This helps me find trends I may have missed. What I like then is I can map content across different platforms – e.g., my Twitter following and my Google+ following is quite different = no problem to have the same content in more than one place.

  18. Do either of them offer analytics? I’ve stated using Buffer as a scheduler and was delighted to see the analytics. What other programs offer analytics? Thanks.

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