On the surface, Zoho Social and Hootsuite look like very similar applications. To an outsider, the differences between these two applications might seem minor. To a social media manager, however, the differing features they offer are key to their role. So, in order to test them fairly and give our definitive judgment on which one is “better”, we gave both tools to our Marketing Assistant, Becky.
These were her findings…
Before we get into the interesting stuff, let’s get into what these two platforms have in common. If you’re not familiar with Marketing software, this is also a good peek into what some of these programs can achieve.
Both programs allow you to…
- Monitor multiple social media streams in one place.
- Schedule posts in advance.
- Access detailed reports and analytics data.
- Manage customer service in a unified place.
- Collaborate with your team on social media projects.
- Have some kind of “Recommended post time” feature (more on that later)
- Bulk schedule posts.
- Create shortened links.
Now, let’s get into where they differ!
“I have been using Zoho Social for the last year of my career, so I’m approaching this with a decent amount of understanding from the outset. Saying that, I’ve tried to be as objective as I can be. So, with that in mind, here are some of my favourite features.”
The Pros of Zoho Social
- You can repeat posts, which makes scheduling ever-green content effortless.
- Zoho’s Zshare extension allows me to research content and repurpose it for our own socials simultaneously. This feature also makes it super easy to re-share articles. I absolutely fell in love with this extension and I use it religiously.
“It’s awesome when you spot a phrase your audience will love. It’s even better when you can select and share it right away with them.”
- There is a mobile application that is user-friendly and has lots of functionalities.
- It is more affordable than Hootsuite
- You have the option to queue posts.
“Twitter’s algorithm means I need to be tweeting 5/7 times throughout the day to achieve high engagement. Having the option to ‘queue posts’ on Zoho Social means I can write them all at the same time and let Social work its magic by automatically allocating that post a time slot, without me having to do anything else! That’s a blessing to a marketeer!”
- It has support for Instagram DMs and ALT text. You can now discover your ideal followers, step up your networking game, and manage and send messages to your followers through your connected Instagram Business account on Zoho Social. You can now plug in an alt text for any image you post via Zoho Social to add more context and help visually impaired users who stop by your website for information. Having good alt text ascribed to your image not only helps you drive more traffic, it also ranks your image better on the search engine results page (SERP).
- You can use Canva to design posts within the scheduling tool.
The Cons of Zoho Social
There are definitely some limitations of Zoho Social, however. Here are the biggest ones I brushed up against.
- You cannot customise posts for different social networks while you are creating them, unless done through the Zshare button
- The repeat scheduling is limited to weekly or monthly and cannot be customised to – say – every 10 days, or once a fortnight.
- The tagging of people isn’t easy. You cannot tag personal accounts from Social, meaning you can post through Social, but will have to manually tag accounts, which is fairly counter-productive.
- Formatting for Instagram is limited, but this is a common issue for social media marketers on cloud-based management systems.
- Data is only stored for 65 days.
“This was my first time using Hootsuite and I learned a great deal very quickly! It’s been a fun month digging into all the corners of this new application and I have a lot of thoughts.”
The Pros of Hootsuite
- Hootsuite has ‘Hootlet’ extension, similar to Zoho Socials ZShare button, a plug-in that sits on your browser toolbar allowing you easily share content you find online with your audience.
- Hootsuite’s August update announced the introduction of the ‘Recommended time to post’ feature which suggests you a publishing time based on your last 30 days of post. Similarly, Zoho offers a SmartQ slot, but these suggestions are only available for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Hootsuite also suggests time slots for LinkedIn, which is highly beneficial for our B2B business friends.
- You can plan your Instagram feed. Instagram is a very visually focused social platform, which businesses use as a digital mood board and showroom. Having the ability to remix photos to convey your brand’s message and mission is critical to communicating your aesthetic, and is a feature I have not seen on many other social media management platforms. This feature is new as of August 2021, so it will be interesting to see if other platforms pick up on this and where the development of this goes.
- Data goes back 13 months, which is much more than the 65 days from Zoho Social.
Other than the overall look and layout of the platform, however, there aren’t any unique functionalities that differ from Social.
The Cons of Hootsuite
- Hootsuite doesn’t allow you to tag/upload videos on personal accounts in LinkedIn.
- The stories feature could be improved to make sure that if you upload multiple stories, they are in order.
- There is no simple way to preview how a post will appear on the various social media platforms. It makes it tough to know what to expect without some trial and error.
- Hootsuite could allow location tagging, like Instagram offers in its app.
- It can quickly become expensive, especially for larger marketing teams.
“I really love the dashboard design that comes with Zoho Social. It is uncluttered and the menus and tools are placed with the user in mind, which means I can effortlessly utilise Socials features. Additionally, the Analytics reports generated daily on each social media platform is super important for us when measuring our social media progress and growth. I have found that other marketers choose Zoho Social for it’s affordability and (seriously underrated) usability. To tell the truth, I’m not surprised – the ease of using this platform is like no other…
I am used to using Zoho Social on a daily basis, so Hootsuite did take a warming too. But, again, I can see why marketers would enjoy working with this platform as much as I do with Social. They are both very similar, serving the same purpose, so unless you want to get down to the real nitty gritty, both are very good options. Additionally, being rivals means any clever feature additions are quickly adopted by either competitor.
I love Hootsuite for it’s content management features, scheduling, drafting, duplicating, and monitoring of content performance. In my mind they are a top competitor to Zoho Social. However, one surprise which had the majority of users jump ship to Social, was Hootsuite’s recent decision to raise their prices, by over 1000%! Making Social a much more affordable option.”
Hootsuite Vs Zoho Social