Now as many of you might know, I’m a huge fan of HootSuite for my Twitter management needs. For the longest time, I have heard people raving about Buffer, but I figured I didn’t need another app to schedule tweets since I could already schedule tweets in HootSuite.
What I didn’t realize is how much simpler Buffer really is. Let me demonstrate.
Before I begin, as a disclaimer, I didn’t get any freebies, payment, sponsorship, etc. from Buffer for writing this post. If you choose to use my referral URL to sign up for Buffer, I don’t get paid – I simply get extra Buffer scheduling space.
Tweet Scheduling in HootSuite
The simplest way to schedule tweets in HootSuite is by using the bookmarklet which you can find in your HootSuite dashboard when you hover over the Tools menu.
Once you drag the Hootlet to your bookmarks bar on any browser, you can click on it while viewing a page you want to share. Then you’ll see a popup allowing you to choose the social profile to share it with along with the option to send the tweet now or schedule it for later using the calendar.
If you need to remember what scheduled tweets you have in the system, you can go to your Publisher menu to see your scheduled tweets.
Now as you can see, I made an oops and scheduled two tweets to go out at the same time. To change that, edit the text, or reorganize the tweets, you have to edit them individually using the same scheduling calendar.
Faster Tweet Scheduling in Buffer
Now, let’s take a look at the Buffer difference. When you setup your account, you start by entering your preferred tweeting schedule. I like to send my posts at five minutes after the hour. This means that my tweet will come across someone’s feed after all of the automated Twitterfeeds that usually happen right at the top of the hour.
For easy Buffer sharing, you can grab the Buffer bookmarklet for any browser’s bookmarks bar or install the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Then, when you’re reading an article you want to share, you click on the Buffer bookmarklet or button installed by the extension (I use the one for Chrome) and get the following scheduling popup.
Here you can select your preferred profiles to share the tweet with and edit it as you so choose. Then you can post now or add to Buffer. To see your pending tweets, you just go to your Buffer dashboard.
Since you set your preferred tweeting schedule, you can’t accidentally set two at the same time. To edit the text, simply click on the pencil to edit. If you do notice you want to rearrange, you can simply use the Drag to Reorder to move them around.
Additional Buffer Sharing Options
If the bookmarklet isn’t enough, you can also use Buffer directly in Twitter using the Chrome extension. This will put a Buffer call right in your Twitter stream when you’re looking at your home feed, someone’s profile, Twitter lists, or any other tweets.
When you click on it, you get your usual Buffer popup with the RT @username text with the option to edit the tweet, post now, or add to Buffer.
You can also follow these directions for adding Buffer to your Google Reader. Then you can share posts you are reading in Google Reader to your Buffer.
Considering the way I use Google Reader, this is a definite plus.
The New Buffer Button
Last but not least, you might have noticed a new button in my social sharing strip at the top of the post.
The Buffer button allows users to easily add your post to Buffer. No more copying & pasting long URLs from the Twitter button to your Twitter management tool of choice (although it is still an option for those who directly tweet)!
Analytics in HootSuite vs. Buffer
For statistics junkies, here are your analytics options.
In HootSuite, you can create reports or see quick stats about any ow.ly shortened URLs.
Or you can see individual stats of your ow.ly shortened tweets.
In Buffer, you can see an overview of your sent tweets and their retweets, clicks, and overall estimated reach based on your audience plus the audience that retweeted the Buffered tweet.
Pricing for HootSuite vs. Buffer
Both HootSuite and Buffer are freemium applications meaning that there is a free structure vs. a paid structure. In HootSuite, if you have no more than five accounts to manage and don’t really care about enhanced analytics, you can use the free version. Otherwise, it is $5.99 per month, which is the plan I use because I have a ridiculous amount of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other accounts.
In Buffer, if you have only one persona to manage (one Twitter and one Facebook) and only need to store 10 scheduled posts at a time, you can use the free version. Otherwise, there are two plans – the pro plan for $10.00 per month (which is the plan I use) for up to 5 social media accounts and 50 posts in your Buffer. There’s also a super premium plan for $99.00 per month for unlimited social accounts and posts in buffer.
My Twitter Strategy
My Twitter strategy involves using HootSuite for monitoring all of my Twitter accounts’ mentions, direct messages, Twitter lists, and keyword searches in easy to follow streams. Then I use Buffer App for tweet scheduling. I also use Formulists for creating awesome, automatically updated Twitter lists (more on that in an upcoming post). Together, I can efficiently interact with my followers and find new followers while sharing great posts with everyone. So if you don’t use them already, try them out – even just using the free accounts with your priority social profiles could make a huge difference!
Your Favorite Time Saving Twitter Tools
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Twitter management applications and time saving tools? Do you use HootSuite and Buffer? Please share your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments, and happy tweeting!