Buffer is a little different when it comes to social media schedulers and productivity tools. Instead of being an all in one program, Buffer is split into three different categories with their own subscription levels.
That gives you a lot more flexibility than many of the best apps for social media marketing. Why? Because you can concentrate your subscription dollars on the exact products you need.
At the end of the day, the Buffer suite of tools is a total social media marketing management tool. It’s designed to be a little more affordable than some of its competitors. Buffer offers three discrete services, scheduling, replying, and analytics.
As one of the Hootsuite alternatives, Buffer has a pretty solid reputation. Their free trials, and even a free version of their scheduler, make it an easy product to experience for yourself. But before you get your free trial, let’s look at what Buffer can do.
Table of Contents
- Buffer compared to other social media management tools
- Pros and Cons
- Hootsuite vs Buffer
- How to Use Buffer
Buffer Compared to Other Social Media Management Tools
Before we dig into the features and benefits of Buffer, let’s see how it ranks with similar programs. These are big picture indicators of how effective and user-friendly a tool is. Since we picked from some of the best social media tools for business, the scores trend high.
Our ratings are based on a 1-10 scale and are based on user experience and reviews.
|Buffer||Sprout Social||Agile CRM||Loomly|
Ease of Use
As you can see, even in this comparison, Buffer tends to hold up particularly well. Its split design lends itself to creating a good list of features and benefits. Combine that with good ease of use and responsive customer service, and you’d expect this system to cost a good bit more.
That’s why the value rating is so high. It’s not the free version that makes Buffer stand out, it’s the value of paid features and the fact that similar programs can cost significantly more. Buffer social media management isn’t the best program out there, but it is a versatile program that will work for a lot of businesses.
Pros and Cons
We want to say upfront that Buffer’s design makes it a difficult product to provide a comprehensive pros and cons list. The pros of Buffer might change quite a bit depending on which subscriptions you want and use.
That said, we’ve focused on a complete subscription, meaning you get benefits from all three sections of Buffer at some level.
- Features a Chrome Extension option
- Clean layout
- Easy to use
- Curated content
- Automated posting
- Multiple simultaneous account management
- Analytics for each account
- Difficult to use with Instagram
- No non-profit discount
- Additional features can add significant cost to the program
Hootsuite vs Buffer
On the surface, Hootsuite and Buffer look like good natural competitors. Both programs offer a free version, and both programs’ subscriptions are modestly priced. You’ll even get similar functions from the free versions of Hootsuite and Buffer.
But, once you subscribe, there are some fairly major differences between the programs. Hootsuite tends to be more feature-rich than Buffer. Especially if you only use the Posting suite of Buffer’s product.
Buffer wins on ease of use, with more optimized menus and easier to navigate tools.
Buffer is also usually the more affordable of the two. Its critical features are available at lower subscription levels, and the individual subscriptions are cheaper.
Buffer also tends to get better reviews. But we think that Hootsuite might be a more complete package for businesses and companies that rely on a lot of social media marketing and contact.
Like most media management and productivity tools, it really comes down to what you need your program to provide.
To read our full review of Hootsuite click here.
Buffer offers exclusively online support through email. The email contact you’ll reach is firstname.lastname@example.org.
But, despite being online only, Buffer tends to have a very responsive customer support team. They consistently rank high on customer support since their team gets back to you quickly, and has a high rate of solving your problem.
How to Use Buffer
Buffer can be used on computers and mobile technology alike. It’s calendar and schedule poster is very clean and easy to use. The one program that tends to give Buffer hiccoughs is Instagram, which is a common problem for social media managers.
This screenshot gives you a good idea of what moving between different screens and tasks looks like in Buffer. It’s easy to navigate quickly between curated content feeds, analytics, and creating and scheduling fresh content.
The analytics pages are also especially clean and easy to read. You get a variety of different metrics very quickly. That information can then be used to create a dynamic and active social media plan.
Let’s look at the pricing breakdown. Remember, Buffer’s most popular tool, the Publisher, has a free version. All of their subscriptions also offer a free trial.
Yes. Buffer does offer its suite of tools and features for Instagram. Using them, however, can be a little more difficult. Like most Social Media Managers, it's well optimized for other platforms but struggles to use Instagram as smoothly.
This is a decision that varies from person to person and business to business. A more clear cut might be, do we recommend Buffer? The answer there is yes, but we also recommend a wide variety of similar programs.
If you want to decide if Buffer is worth it for you, we highly recommend using a free trial of the subscription level you’re considering. That way you can see how the tools actually work for you and your team and give them a value rating based on that trial.
Yes. Buffer offers a free version of its Publish, which is suitable for a single user with a relatively small number of social media accounts.
They also offer free trials of all their subscription levels.
Our final takeaway is that Buffer is one of the better and more affordable programs out there for small to medium businesses, and similar in price to other programs for large corporations. It’s biggest advantages are in it’s UI and competitive pricing for smaller social media teams and lower subscription levels.
Overall, Buffer is a good program and tool and improves on the failings of several earlier program designs.