By 2027, Statista expects that almost 6 billion people will be on social media. To put that unfathomable number to perspective, only 6 billion people were alive worldwide in 1999. This is why entrepreneurs started pivoting into social media marketing in this digital era.
Fortunately, there are tools available online that enable you to expand your online presence, namely Sprout Social and Hootsuite. With their broad set of features at your disposal, Sprout Social and Hootsuite are more than capable of meeting your social media marketing needs.
But our ventures have different needs. So, let’s analyze what makes Sprout Social and Hootsuite special, assess their reliability, and discover the must-have tool for your marketing demands.
Hootsuite vs. Sprout Social: An Analysis
A side-by-side comparison of two platforms is incomplete without a set of criteria you can benchmark them with. For Hootsuite and Sprout Social, here are the factors we’ll use:
- Scheduling Content
- Social Media Connections and Other Integrations
- Content Creation
- Customer Engagement
- Reporting, Analysis, and Listening
- Team Collaboration
- Platform Cost
We live in a world where everything is accessible in a snap of your finger, and in this age, efficiency is key to success. To survive in this fast-paced world, your social media management tool must be easy-to-use, and its resources and features must be quick to access.
Hootsuite is known to require a deep understanding of social media marketing to utilize. Since it’s a complete marketing suite, it’s a double-edged sword since it’s packed with features, but they can often clutter your screen. Your Hootsuite homepage can become untidy as you connect more social media apps because it adds a new dashboard column per channel.
Sprout Social has one of the cleanest and most intuitive interfaces we’ve seen. Everything makes sense, and features and channels are arranged and sorted accordingly. It also features a single feed that uses optimization algorithms to provide you only the most important information. It even features free onboarding across all tiers to help you adjust to their system.
Winner: No question; Sprout Social (1-0) is better at Hootsuite in usability.
One of the core features of an excellent social media management tool is its scheduling feature. Reaching more customers starts with having a scheduler that’s precise and automated.
Fortunately, both Sprout Social and Hootsuite have a capable scheduling feature for text, image, and video posts. You also have access to a content calendar in both management tools, which allows you to schedule your posts visually using a drag-and-drop planner.
However, their schedulers have different priorities. Hootsuite specializes in bulk scheduling with its CSV integration. With its bulk composer feature, you can schedule posts years in advance without third-party tools.
On the other hand, Sprout Social is better at reachability. Along with scheduling posts, you can reserve the first comment space in Instagram posts, boosting your discoverability. Moreover, you can also schedule Messenger Stories on Sprout Social — something you can’t do in Hootsuite.
Winner: You can’t go wrong with either choice, so this is a tie.
Social Media Connections and Other Integrations
Everything is interconnected in today’s digital space, so a reliable social media management tool must connect to as many third-party apps as possible.
For social media integrations, here’s what Hootsuite and Sprout Social has to offer:
|Social Media Platforms
As for third-party integrations, Sprout Social only supports 26 apps. Furthermore, you can only use ZenDesk and HubSpot on Sprout’s enterprise tiers, both popular tools for audience interaction. Hootsuite, however, can support more than 200 apps, including ClickUp, Zapier, and Google Analytics.
Winner: Despite connecting to fewer social media platforms, Hootsuite’s (1-1) extensive third-party integrations puts it above Sprout Social.
Beyond posting, effective social media management software must also have content creation tools. An in-app content creation feature saves you the hassle of using a third-party tool in making your posts.
Sprout Social has a simple photo editor that supports cropping, rotation, color adjustment, focus adjustment, text addition, and more. You can also easily curate your content using their Find Content and URL Tracking features.
Hootsuite excels at content creation. It has a built-in Canva editor for image, infographic, and email editing. It also supports Grammarly for content and copywriting. Moreover, you can use its Hashtag Generator tool to extend your reach. And, if you’re in a bind, you can also access the hundreds of templates at Hootsuite’s disposal.
Winner: An easy win for Hootsuite (1-2) in this category puts it in the lead.
No matter how creative and consistent your postings are, it doesn’t matter if it falls on deaf ears. Constant communication with your audience and potential customers is part of extending your reach.
Hootsuite stays ahead of the game with Hootsuite Ads, a built-in advertising tool. Using Hootsuite Ads allows you to reach new customers with their extensive advertising personalization features, which include:
- Engagement Statistics: Provides data on how many avails your service per ad
- Geolocation Data: Gives you an insight into location hotspots of your service
- Post Customization: Customizes your content depending on who sees it
Sprout Social doesn’t have a built-in advertising feature. It does, however, have the following features:
- Automated Business Hours: Shuts down all customer communication past business hours
- Auto-Responder and Chatbot: Creates an AI that can answer frequently asked questions
- Message Spike Alerts: Instant notification when new customers sign up for your service
- Message Tags: Allows you to group messages in order of importance or category
- Suggested Replies: Gives you a list of best-case responses for customer queries
These are also available on Hootsuite — but you’ll have to integrate add-ons and third-party apps. This is an additional expense on top of your social media management tool.
Winner: Each tool focuses on different aspects of customer engagement, so we’ll have to give this one another tie.
Analysis, Listening, and Reporting
Access to information is vital to surviving in business. You must not only learn the market demands but also know how well you’re meeting them. This boils down to three functionalities:
- Analysis: Your performance with insights and predicted customer behavior
- Listening: Other businesses’ performance compared to yours
- Reporting: Your raw statistics
- Tags and Keywords
Moreover, you also have access to analysis tools, such as:
- Analysis Templates: Blueprint on how your data must be analyzed
- Competitive Benchmarking: Criteria-based comparison between your performance against direct competitors
As for listening, Sprout Social offers more than Hootsuite. You’ll need add-ons in Hootsuite, whereas you have direct access to the following listening features on Sprout Social:
- Hashtag Monitoring: How well your user-defined hashtags are doing
- Mention Monitoring: How often you get tagged by other accounts
- Sentiment Analysis: Use AI to measure people’s emotions towards your brand or product
Winner: It’s a close one, but Sprout Social (2-2) offers more than Hootsuite can do.
Whether you’re an enterprise or a small business, team collaboration is crucial as it allows individuals to pool their strengths and exchange ideas. Streamlined communication between team members lessens micromanagement and allows your employees to flourish and innovate.
As for Sprout Social and Hootsuite, let’s start with their similarities in team collaboration. Both platforms enable in-app team meetings. You can also manually assign tasks and route messages to the concerned team members on both apps. Lastly, you can manage permissions per member, which hides sensitive tasks and information for unconcerned parties in your team.
Streamlining your workflow is an easier task on Sprout Social. Across all their tiers, you have access to the following features:
- Automated Task Distribution: Lets an AI assign tasks to team members based on their job description
- Collaborative Drafting: Real-time collaborative content editing
- Message to Task: Creates a pipeline that forwards particular messages to the concerned team members; tags include General, Sales, or Support.
- Team Inbox Management: All team members can reply, delete, or edit messages
Moreover, you can also track your team members’ efficiency using the Inbox Team Report on Sprout Social. This allows you to see the following data:
- Average First Reply Time
- Average Reply Wait Time
- Unique Messages Replied To
- Total Replies
Winner: Sprout Social (3-2) takes the late lead against Hootsuite.
Whatever kind of service you’re getting, top-notch software must have a reasonable cost per feature. Since money is crucial to your business, you must always put the cost of services at the top of your list.
Hootsuite has fixed pricing at each tier, as seen in the table below:
|Minimum of 5
|Minimum of 50
On the other hand, Sprout Social’s cost scales per additional user. This is especially worrisome for small businesses as the platform has a hefty starting cost. You can see how much Sprout Social costs here:
|Starts at $249/month
|Starts at $399/month
|Starts at $499/month
|Add $199 per additional user
|Add $299 per additional user
|Add $349 per additional user
|Minimum of 5
|Minimum of 50
Winner: If you want a social media management tool that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, consider getting Hootsuite. (3-3)
Conclusion and Parting Words
Despite going through the wringer, a head-to-head comparison of Hootsuite and Sprout Social puts them at a 3-3 tie. So, when should you pick each platform?
Hootsuite is a cost-effective solution for social media marketing if you’re a small business. It offers more third-party integrations, including Canva and Grammarly, and has a lot of options for content creation.
Sprout Social is better when you need a complete social media marketing suite and are okay with shelving significant amounts of money. The cost is justified as it offers more reporting and analysis. You can also better interact with your team in Sprout Social.
You won’t regret either choice. However, if you’re still looking for other social media management tools, feel free to check out our articles on: