Hootsuite vs. Sprout Social: Which is Better For Your Business?

Social Media enables businesses to promote their products and services and share information to keep their brand top of mind with clients. With several sites to post, share content, and maintain client relationships on, a business will need an effective and comprehensive social media management tool.

Hootsuite and Sprout Social are two of the top contenders for social media management systems in the market. Although some services overlap, each holds its own pros and cons. Both social media management tools offer pricing designs for every budget, ranging from the most affordable providing basic functionalities, to the most expensive offering the full range of services. This guide should help determine which of the two is best for a business.

Publishing and Scheduling

The primary purpose of a social media management tool is to ease the management of multiple social media channels, it should naturally be able to let users connect to and manage several profiles and networks all at once from just one interface. 

• Multiple Social Media Channels
Both Hootsuite and Sprout Social enable users to schedule posts on multiple channels in advance.This is very useful for a business because content can be prepared in advance then gradually published over a certain period. Users can choose the day and time and to which accounts to publish all manner of content and images. Since both tools can monitor the activities of target audiences based on usage and engagement patterns, they can also suggest optimal times for delivering content. 
However, Hootsuite ups the ante on social media connectivity by allowing simultaneous management of multiple accounts on each of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. That is on top of accounts a business can createon FourSquare, Tumblr, Instagram, WordPress, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Vimeo, and others. Hootsuite claims to allow social engagement on over 25 social networks. 

• Link Shortener, RSS, vanity URL
Hootsuite and Sprout Social both allow users to shorten links. Sprout Social uses, which can be used for free, whereas Hootsuite uses its proprietary link shortener,, which can only be used within the system. Furthermore, the links can only be tracked within Hootsuite. Still, both systems offer vanity URL options and custom domains for an additional fee. An option to integrate RSS feeds in both systems is provided as well. 

• Targeting Audiences
In this regard, it seems Sprout Social’s gut feel for such functionality paid off. The Sprout Social system is unrivaled in allowing users to target audiences very specifically in addition to providing search and discover options. Furthermore, Sprout Social provides location filters that allow searches to be narrowed down by area. 


The great thing about working with a social media management tool as a team largely eliminates the need to open new windows and apps for communicating with one another. Whether on Hootsuite or Sprout Social, team members can have internal discussions right on the dashboard. Both systems also allow the team to divvy up the work load by creating and assigning tasks and responses among team members.

• Member Access
Team leaders using either Sprout Social or Hootsuite are given all the controls right at their fingertips. They can specify team members’ level of access to accounts and sections of the social media profiles being managed. Team leads can see all assignments and responsibilities at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Every bit of work is transparent and traceable to someone. 

• Task Management
With Sprout Social, all notifications from the social media platforms are accessible from a Smart Inbox, where tasks can be assigned and managed through drop-down menus. The Smart Inbox interface allows team leads to see which members are online and available to respond immediately to the incoming client messages.

With Hootsuite on the other hand, all incoming messages are viewed in multiple columns, one for each social media platform account. Responses to these client posts are managed from there. On Hootsuite, members will get a notification for each done task to prevent doing duplicate work. Sprout Social tidies up the process by allowing members to check and hide tasks already done, leaving visible only the pending tasks in the Inbox. The Sprout Social method thus makes it easier to determine the remaining tasks that need to be done, which vastly minimizes missed tasks.

• Customer Relationship Management
Along with the customer profile, Sprout Social records and displays all conversation history of every client, contact, or audience, providing a big picture of each of the team’s relationships. Users can customize contact fields for each customer profile, and can use an Add Notes button to fill in other details to profile customers and their relationships with the business.

Tech Support

Sprout Social continues to extend its intuitive design sense by adding a personal touch to the technical and customer support aspects, which puts it clear ahead of Hootsuite. Sprout Social provides support across various channels like Twitter, email, and phone. They personalize emails, which aresigned by a member, creating an audit trail. Staff responses to queries are quick, as well. In contrast, Hootsuite emails are automated and generic. However, Sprout Social is the smaller operation between the two, which may easily enable it to lend a human face to its back-end services.


Sprout Social data reports are detailed, thorough, and easy to digest, analyzing metrics across all of the user’s social media platforms. All the data are easily obtainable as a presentation-ready PDF or in raw, undigested form as a CSV file. Hootsuite allows customized reports on the spot via drag and drop. However, the process is time-consuming and the system makes advanced reports harder to obtain by “purchasing” with points. Nevertheless, the system tries to simplify things for the user by allowing visual illustration of audience demographics.

Interface and User Experience

The immediate, observable difference between Hootsuite and Sprout Social is the interface each adopts for their respective systems. The Hootsuite interface utilizes multiple columns to present data and activities obtained across the social media accounts. The columns can be grouped by tabs and customizable with regards the information that can be displayed. The advantage of a multi-column layout is the easy side-by-side comparisons that can be made. However, having this kind of layout compels the user to scroll horizontally to see all the information, which can be bothersome. Hootsuite does offer a “zoom” function to improve this. 

On the other hand, Sprout Social went for a single-column layout design and utilized tabs and menus for loading different information.  This layout is less flexible and customizable. Nevertheless, Sprout Social saw to keeping the interface smooth and streamlined. They were intuitive in the design, which allowed them to provide the user a quick estimate of performance by providing stats and “Influence” and “Engagement” metrics right on the dashboard. Right off the bat, the user would know the strength of a business’ social media presence. Sprout Social was attentive to the subtle elements of their layout, as well, including the icons and hover actions implemented on the system.

Based on the comparisons, Sprout Social emerges superior with analytics and collaboration, whereas Hootsuite is the social media and content scheduling sovereign. Nevertheless, Sprout Social has a great interface and superior features that some might find worth the price. In deciding between the two social media management tools, the real answer depends really on what best suits a business. Better yet, both tools offer a trial version to help a business decide on the best choice.

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About the Author


Queenie Sue Bajenting

About Queenie Sue Bajenting

Queenie is a freelance writer, newspaper contributor, and published author of a not-so no-nonsense anthology. Aside from claiming to be a pen warrior, she's a sunset adorer who spends her free time soaking under the sun or daydreaming about it. She hopes to one day go on a beach holiday with her Labrador, Chandler Tribbiani.


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