Alternatives to Hootsuite Free: How Buffer Compares

Hootsuite’s an incredibly powerful social media management tool, but with its higher-than-average $99 starting price, many creators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses have to look elsewhere.  

In this blog, we’ll compare Hootsuite and Buffer and see how the two stack up.

Comparing Buffer and Hootsuite

The best way to test out any tool is to sign up for a free plan.

Hootsuite discontinued its free plan on March 31st, 2023—existing free users were encouraged to sign up to the $99 per month professional plan instead.

For many of the small businesses we work with, $99 a month is simply too costly. Along with the host of different tools entrepreneurs need to run their businesses, shelling out an extra $1,200 a year isn’t always possible.

At Buffer, we pride ourselves on supporting small businesses, creators, and entrepreneurs.

To help, we’ve always offered a free (yet powerful) plan. We’re all about making social media management simple, affordable, and accessible for everyone. Many customers choose to upgrade to a paid Buffer plan (for extra posts, analytics, and engagement tools), but honestly, the free plan is all you need to start growing your social media presence.

Over 100,000 people use Buffer’s free plan each month to boost their engagement and expand their following. With this free plan, you have access to powerful features that allow you to manage your social media accounts efficiently.

Buffer's Publishing Calendar View

One of the key benefits of the free plan is that it allows you to schedule your posts in advance. This means you can take the time to craft thoughtful and engaging posts and have them go live at the best possible times for your audience. This saves you time and helps you be more consistent with your posting, which is essential for building a strong and engaged following.

Another great feature of the free plan is that you can manage multiple social media accounts from one simple-to-use platform. This means you can quickly repurpose posts across different accounts, post to multiple platforms at once, and keep track of your engagement on each network.

That’s why Buffer’s free plan lets you connect up to three social channels to manage all your important channels. Hootsuite’s paid plan (starting at $99) allows you to connect 10 channels which is fantastic, but it’s still a little pricey. For the same amount of channels, Buffer comes in $50 cheaper:

  • Buffer Free plan: connect 3 social channels for $0
  • Buffer Essentials plan: connect 10 social channels for $50 per month
  • Hootsuite Professionals plan: connect 10 social channels for $99 per month

Buffer’s free plan lets you schedule up to 30 posts (10 per channel), which is significantly more than most other free plans, which typically cap you at five posts per channel. With Buffer’s free plan, you can plan out your social media content in advance and ensure that you always have something fresh and engaging to share with your audience.

Or, if you need, you can upgrade to any paid Buffer plan for unlimited scheduling.
Buffer’s free plan lets you connect from a broad range of different channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google Business, Pinterest, and Mastodon (with YouTube on the way too). Hootsuite does not offer access to Mastodon on any of its paid plans.

Buffer’s free plan comes packed with heaps of additional functionality that you wouldn’t typically see on others, including:

  • Start Page: a free, mobile-friendly, customizable website to use in your link-in-bio
  • Twitter hashtag suggestions: which pre-populate as you type
  • Twitter Threads: schedule threads to your audience
  • TikTok: connect with Buffer to draft, publish and schedule TikTok posts
  • Mastodon: connect with Buffer to draft, publish and schedule Mastodon posts
  • Ideas: a free content library for you to plan out your content calendar
  • Buffer AI Assistant: to help you come up with posts and captions

All of these features are available on Buffer’s free plan.

Hootsuite’s paid pans do offer most of this functionality but starting at $99 per month.

A little help from AI

I don’t think it’s uncommon to daydream about having an assistant to support our social media efforts. Someone who can collaborate with us, assist in crafting updates, and even translate posts.

Fortunately, Buffer’s AI Assistant can help with just that.

It’s capable of generating fresh posts for your Buffer schedule, repurposing existing content, and generating unlimited new ideas to help supercharge your engagement and grow your followers.

Best of all, this feature is available to all Buffer users, even those on a free plan.

However, it’s important to note that Hootsuite, unlike some other platforms, doesn’t utilize AI technology for these purposes.

Team features on Buffer vs. Hootsuite

It’s also worth noting that Buffer has some unique features for teams that sets it apart from Hootsuite.

For starters, the Team plan offers unlimited users, while Hootsuite’s plans are capped at five users (with more available at a cost). Hootsuite also charges much more:

  • Buffer Agency plan with 35 channels and 5 users: $270 per month
  • Hootsuite Business plan with 35 channels and 5 users: $680 per month

That’s not all. Buffer is well-regarded as an easy-to-use platform that makes social media management a breeze. The drag-and-drop calendar, collaboration tools, and in-depth analytics make it easy for you to manage your social media presence. And if you ever need help, our 24/7 customer support team is always there for you.

Here’s a quick recap 👇

So, if you’re a Hootsuite user, we encourage you to give Buffer a try. We offer an intuitive, powerful, yet affordable tool that helps over 140,000 people grow their online presence and reach their marketing goals.

We know you have a lot of options when it comes to social media management, but we truly believe that Buffer is a choice worth trying

So, what are you waiting for? Give Buffer a try today!

P.S. Got any feedback? Send us a tweet and let us know.

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