In class we have read articles and discussed two major social media management platforms, Sprout Social and Hootsuite, and we were required to become certified in Hootsuite. After reading a bit in class about both and how they can be used to manage and ascertain the success of a brand’s social media campaign, I was interested in learning more about each platform and why one may be “better” or preferred over the other.
The articles I read and reviewed compared them mainly based on four factors:
- User Interface
Regarding cost, Hootsuite offers a free plan, with limited functions/capabilities, while Sprout Social only offers a free 30 day trial before offering its packages. Both provide additional plans at a cost (subscription based) with more functions and capabilities. In this instance, Hootsuite’s basic “Professional” plan is $29 per month, while Sprout Social’s “Premium” plan is $99 per month.
For User Interface, based off ratings on the customer review website G2 Crowd, they both have similar ratings, with the same purpose and use capability. The general consensus is that they are both “built on the same fundamental design” like using stream formats that allow users to manage and engage directly with followers and monitor multiple accounts on a single dashboard. Their designs may be different, but the “base features” of both platforms are extremely similar.
Effectiveness in this context means a social media management tool “needs to include collaboration and pipeline tools for content creation” and based off of the articles I read, they are “identical when it comes to effectivity and content development.” Both have editorial calendar features for scheduling and planning social media posts, but there are differences regarding the collaborative features. Sprout Social has an “inbox” feature which serves as a team-shared stream of interactions from multiple networks, but it is one of the few collaborative features available to base users of this platform. In contrast, Hootsuite has a “deeper collaborative ecosystem” that includes both departmental and team-oriented dashboards. It also integrates with Slack, Trello, and Asana (unlike Sprout, which only integrates with a handful of apps, such as Zendesk and Google Analytics). Hootsuite integrates with all of Sprout Social’s integration partners and dozens more, while Sprout Social only has a few.
Finally, for differentiation, Hootsuite has continuously adapted and updated itself and the services it offers since coming to the market in 2008, and does have a customer support network built on user-to-user interaction and DIY troubleshooting, while Sprout Social seems to be innovative up to Hootsuite’s capabilities, as well as provides a robust customer support regime. Sprout Social has a track record of “industry-leading customer support” which many organizations seem to really like.
Both social media management tools provide many of the same, similar, and relevant services and throughout my research, I didn’t form a strong opinion one way or the other, but the organizations I have worked for (and the one I work at now), place a very strong emphasis on collaboration, as well as low costs, so if we were choosing between the two, I think my current organization would go with Hootsuite. (At my current job, we have an individual managing our social media – it’s a very small nonprofit with almost no social media presence, although they are working on growing it).
In general, it really does seem to more often than not, just depend upon the preference of the individual or organization about which one to use and not be overwhelmingly skewed one way or the other by the majority of brands, especially because opinions seems to fall in one camp or the other based upon the layout/design, which is very subjective.
I’ve only been exposed to Hootsuite in depth, through the certification, but I did watch several tutorial videos on Sprout Social, just so that I could make a more informed comparison and form a more accurate opinion after seeing it being used, instead of just reading about them both!
However, I am curious as to why our program chose to have us become certified in Hootsuite instead of Sprout Social and if any of my fellow classmates or professors have a preference between the two? Why do you prefer one over the other? Do you find value in being certified in both?