Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Function or Pricing?

Social media management is more than just scheduling posts and sharing company announcements. That’s why you need to choose the right social marketing tool the first time around.

Hootsuite

With over 10 million users across over 175 countries, Hootsuite is one of the giants of social media software. It is showing its age in some areas but retains many impressive features and tools. Full Review

Recommended for

The Blueprint Score

Ease of Use 7/10
Support 7/10
Pricing 8/10
Features 6/10
7.0
out of 10
Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a one-stop solution for social media management. It integrates with the leading social networks and helps users to make sense of their data, in an easily navigable set of tools. Full Review

Recommended for

The Blueprint Score

Ease of Use 9/10
Support 8/10
Pricing 7/10
Features 8/10
8.2
out of 10
Updated May 21, 2020

I was glad when we decided to finally do an official comparison between Hootsuite and Sprout Social. While I have plenty of experience with many social media management tools from Buffer to Tweepi, Social Sprout and Hootsuite are my two most frequented platforms in my line of work.

While I have more official experience with Hootsuite, over the past year, in the workplace, I’ve opted for Social Sprout whenever I can and for managing personal social media projects.

Both platforms will help you schedule Facebook posts, reply to messages, and analyze your social audiences, but one is superior to the other. So here it is, the Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite showdown we’ve all been waiting for.

Overview

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: An overview

Who is Sprout Social for?

Sprout Social is a fantastic option for medium to large businesses with several social accounts per platform and multiple users within a social media management team. With social network management, posting, and reporting features, Sprout Social is one of the best options you can choose.

Sprout Social appeals to many businesses and users, but its pricing shuts some out. This platform starts at an astounding $99/month per user, with each subsequent tier becoming even more expensive.

While its functionality, user-friendliness, and intuitive design are exceptional, this prohibitive pricing places it into a near-enterprise level of expensive.

Who is Hootsuite for?

Hootsuite’s variety of features, integrations, publishing tools, and even its pricing makes it a good all-around social media management software for businesses and users of all types. And the strongest of those points is Hootsuite’s pricing.

Not only are all tiers relatively affordable considering everything that comes with the platform, but they even offer a free option with limited functionality for those starting in social media management.

Features

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Features

Features are arguably one of the most important topics in any platform comparison. Which social media management tool has the best features to execute your marketing campaigns?

What Sprout Social offers

Social Sprout is a comprehensive social media management platform that can do nearly everything you need it to do. Whether you need posting campaign scheduling weeks in advance or you’re looking to perform a deep social media audit providing in-depth analytics, Social Sprout has you covered.

The Sprout Social dashboard gives you a rundown of all of the major components of your social media campaigns, from a posting to-do list and channel messages to daily engagement rates and today’s posts.

It’s the perfect first step to get you up to speed with everything you’ll be working on throughout the day.

Sprout Social User Interface

There’s something clean and refreshing about Social Sprout’s clean user interface.

Moving beyond the dashboard, you’ll find a host of other tools from simple publishing mechanisms to a detailed Sprout Social calendar to schedule and monitor your social feeds far in advance.

I particularly love the clarity of Sprout Social’s implementation of the social media content calendar, especially when compared to Hootsuite’s more cluttered social dashboards for tracking posts.

While Sprout Social provides post automation, team workflows for organizing your social media efforts, and even an internal inbox for coordinating your marketing plan from, social listening is where it shines.

Not only can you monitor your own analytics to plan out a successful campaign, but you also get in-depth insight into everything your audience is talking about.

These social listening tools will gather information from social posts relevant to your topics and industry and develop reports on new trends you should tailor your messaging around.

What Hootsuite offers

Hootsuite offers the usual features you’d expect from a social media management tool: post sharing, feed monitoring, team management, post scheduling, and social analytics.

I’ve used Hootsuite with some of my marketing contract jobs and found I’m able to do everything I need to execute a comprehensive social media marketing strategy.

Hootsuite Post Scheduler

Hootsuite’s post scheduler is easy to use and is perfect for previewing content before it goes live.

The one area where I feel Hootsuite could see some improvement is in the social media analytics department. I’ve had trouble locating the metrics I need in Hootsuite reporting, especially when connected to platforms like YouTube, if the data is populated into the analytics reports at all.

I’ve had to turn to the native social analytics dashboards sometimes, which is a little frustrating when you’re paying money for a platform to manage all of your social accounts in one place.

Results

While there are similarities in the features lists between these two platforms, Sprout Social edges out Hootsuite with additional social listening capabilities and higher quality analytics reports.

Support

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Support

When the going gets rough, which platform will offer you the support you need to solve your problems and answer your questions?

What Sprout Social offers

Sprout Social offers the support options you'd expect from a software developer, including a phone support number, email queries, webinars, Q&A sessions, and a platform knowledge base.

With this level of support, you can either submit issues or find answers to your questions no matter the level of urgency. Sprout Social support even answers their customer’s questions through their social channels if necessary which is convenient.

What Hootsuite offers

Hootsuite offers three distinct types of customer support. Unfortunately, none of these support routes come in a traditional phone option, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find answers to your questions.

The first and most basic form of support is the built-in feedback button in the application itself. This button allows you to send your feedback into Hootsuite, with a 500 character limit, detailing your thoughts about the platform.

The second form is the knowledge base complete with support articles for many platform questions. The final form of support is the support ticket form found in the help section of the Hootsuite website. Using this ticket system you can create and track your issues with the support team all in one place.

Results

Sprout Social takes the win for customer support. While Hootsuite offers a satisfactory level of support for its customers, it’s hard to beat the numerous options offered by Sprout Social.

Ease of Use

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Ease of use

Features and integrations don’t count for much if the tool you’re using is complicated, impractical, and difficult to use. Which social marketing tool is easier to use?

What Sprout Social offers

Sprout Social is one of the most intuitive and user-friendly social media management tools I’ve ever used. Nothing is hard to find, bugs are practically nonexistent, and the reporting capabilities are easy to use and understand.

Sprout Social Navigation

All of your high-level function navigation is found on the left, while all of your social functions, composing posts, connecting accounts, etc., are found on the right.

Enterprise-level software is often burdened with a preconceived stigma for being complicated. Not so Sprout Social. It upends this notion through easy to locate features, pre-built social analytics reports, and pre-populated, automated social responses for your account inboxes.

This is a social media management tool meant for bigger businesses with the simple functionality of a tool meant for everyone.

What Hootsuite offers

You’d think Hootsuite was a simple tool just by reading through the features lists and clean website, but there’s more to this platform than meets the eye. That’s not to say Hootsuite is difficult to use, but it’s not as intuitive as Sprout Social.

On top of that, in my experience, Hootsuite is buggy and slow at times which is frustrating when I have other tasks on my plate to deal with outside of disconnecting and reconnecting social profiles when they won’t load into the tool.

Hootsuite Dashboard

The Hootsuite dashboard seems like a good idea at first but is prone to clutter if too much information is displayed at one time.

Navigating Hootsuite is simple with all of your functions and tools on the left-hand sidebar. This platform only suffers from clutter issues in the dashboard and those occasional bugs that might frustrate the user at times.

And who knows, it’s possible some of these bugs originate from the social networks themselves (I’m clearly not a software developer). And that I’ve never had these issues with Sprout Social speaks to some issues that need to be ironed out to improve the Hootsuite experience.

Results

While Hootsuite provides a decent experience for most users, ease of use is one area where Sprout Social excels, making it the superior tool in this category.

Pricing

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Pricing

Unless your software choice fits within your budget, it doesn’t matter how functional it is. How do Sprout Social and Hootsuite stack up for pricing?

What Sprout Social offers

This is the one area where Sprout Social falls short of being the perfect social media management tool. While it’s true that you get what you pay for, I’m not 100% sure the price of Sprout Social is justified. At least not to this degree:

  • Standard - $99/month per user: Five social profiles, all-in-one social inbox, publishing tools, content calendar, profile monitoring, keyword monitoring, social CRM tools, comprehensive reporting, paid promotion tools, mobile apps
  • Professional - $149/month per user: Above features, plus 10 social profiles, competition reports, content tagging, custom workflows, optimal post scheduling, response rate reports, time analysis reports, trend analysis reports, paid social reporting, Helpdesk integration
  • Advanced - $249/ month per user: Above features, plus 10 social profiles, message spike alerts, digital asset library, chatbot automation, suggested replies, automated inbox rule builder, custom URL tracking, Twitter surveys

Don’t get me wrong, I am very impressed with what Sprout Social offers. But I’m not entirely sure that an asset library, custom URL tracking, and Twitter surveys are worth the additional $150/month per user over the already expensive Standard option.

It’s not very often I label software pricing as “excessive”, but in this case, I think that term fits the bill.

What Hootsuite offers

On the other hand, Hootsuite is more reasonable with its pricing when compared to Sprout Social. Starting off, Hootsuite actually offers a free option that allows you to connect three social profiles and grants you the ability to schedule out thirty posts per month.

Once you’ve grown out of that free option, the paid tiers start off at the low price of $29/month which gives you more features, although it still limits you to one user just like the free option.

That being said, the price does go up substantially once you move into the higher-featured options Hootsuite offers:

  1. Free - 3 social profiles, 1 user, 30 scheduled posts per month
  2. Professional - $29 per month: 10 social profiles, 1 user, unlimited scheduling, social analytics, bulk scheduling, unlimited RSS integrations, $500 per month ad spend limit
  3. Team - $129/month: 20 social profiles, unlimited scheduling, 3 users, custom analytics reports, team assignments, 1 custom branded URL, 1 Hootsuite platform certification, $2,000/month ad spend limit
  4. Business - $599/month: 35 social profiles, unlimited scheduling, up to 10 users, analytics exporting, publishing approvals, app integrations, custom branded URLs, 1 social media certification, extended training, $5,000/month ad spend limit
  5. Enterprise - Negotiated with user: Custom built solution

While the price does go up substantially once you graduate beyond the Professional tier, it is still much cheaper when juxtaposed with Sprout Social on a per-user basis.

Results

Hootsuite pricing wins on practically every level. There are just too many things going for Hootsuite that make Sprout Social’s pricing seem excessive by comparison, such as Hootsuite’s free option or the per-user cost of each platform.

Integration

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Integration with other software

It’s a fact, all social management tools require integrations to succeed in posting, scheduling, and analyzing your marketing efforts. So, the question becomes, which platform gives you a longer list of options?

What Sprout Social offers

Sprout Social integrates with plenty of big-name tools and nearly all of the major social networks, including:

Social

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google My Business
  • Trip Advisor

Tools

  • Zendesk
  • Bitly
  • Google Analytics
  • UserVoice
  • Feedly
  • Hubspot

Unfortunately, Sprout Social doesn’t integrate with YouTube, which is a big letdown considering the high price tag and how comprehensive it is in most regards.

What Hootsuite offers

This is an area where Hootsuite takes the cake. Hootsuite shines with its long list of social network integrations, apps, and software partnerships, including:

Social

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google My Business

Tools

Hootsuite has so many integrations to offer for marketing, collaboration, and analytics needs.

Results

Hootsuite easily wins this category for several reasons. One, they offer integrations with YouTube, unlike Sprout Social. Two, their list of outside tool integrations is far more extensive than its competition.

Onboarding

Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite: Getting started

What’s the onboarding process for both contenders, and which platform will have you up and running with the fewest headaches and delays?

What Sprout Social offers

The startup process for Sprout Social was a breeze. I had only to enter my email and other pertinent information and I was granted access to the tool in less than five minutes. The setup process for integrating my social networks was especially easy, and I loaded all of my social posts and data within minutes.

It’s refreshing to have a startup process that doesn’t require a whole tutorial just to understand basic functions.

What Hootsuite offers

While the startup process for Hootsuite was similar to Sprout Social in terms of entering information and starting a new account, the social network integration process was less than ideal in my experience.

This is not the first time I’ve set up a Hootsuite account and every time, I’ve had only problems trying to connect my social networks, particularly Facebook. If I could connect everything up to Hootsuite without errors or slow loading times, this process would be simple in theory.

Results

Sprout Social has a smoother onboarding process that runs without error or delay. The difference is more driven by user experience than by the steps of the process itself.

How They Compare: Sprout Social vs. Hootsuite

Sprout Social Hootsuite
Post scheduling Yes Yes
Social listening Yes
Collaboration tools Yes Yes
Social dashboards Yes Yes
Analytics reports Yes Yes
Automation Yes Yes
Phone support Yes

Sprout Social is the clear winner

When it comes to features, ease of use, user experience, support, and onboarding, Sprout Social is the clear winner by far. Between the two, Sprout Social is unparalleled when it comes to a near-flawless user experience, making it a great option for new and experienced social media managers alike.

However, the two key areas where Hootsuite edges out the Sprout Social is in price and integrations. If you’re looking to manage your YouTube channel, then Hootsuite is the obvious choice since it has that capability, and Sprout Social doesn’t.

As for value, Hootsuite beats Sprout Social on practically every level from its free option to its lower cost per user. When it comes down to it, the question is whether features and user experience or pricing and integrations matter more to your business.

Hootsuite is a great all-around choice to streamline your social media management. Try it out for free!
Sprout Social is a robust social media management solution for enterprise teams with multiple users.

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