Social Media

Hootsuite vs Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Later vs Simplified [2024]

Handling social media is like juggling while balancing on a tightrope. You’ve got heaps of platforms to handle as you navigate the rules of engagement, determine when to schedule what posts, and create exciting content. 

Today, we’re taking a hard look at five major social media platforms: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, and Simplified. You’ll get the lowdown on the key features, benefits and limitations, and prices of each platform.

This face-off between the top social media management tools on the block will help you decide which one is your golden ticket to smashing your marketing goals.

What do Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, and Simplified do?

Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, and Simplified are all social media management tools that aim to help businesses effectively manage their presence on various social media platforms. While each service is different, some common features of these tools include:

  • Content scheduling and publishing: Upload and schedule your posts in advance
  • Centralized dashboard: Manage all social media accounts from one dashboard
  • Social monitoring: Track mentions of your brand, keywords, or phrases so you can promptly reply
  • Customer engagement: View and reply directly to all comments, messages, or mentions from your dashboard
  • Analytics and reporting: Track the performance of your posts and campaigns, see insights on user engagement, site traffic, audience growth, and more

Whether you’re posting funny memes or creating polls, you’ll want to use a platform to help you manage your social media presence, create and distribute content, engage with your audience, and grow your brand. 

Bonus: 9 Hot Alternatives to Hootsuite for Social Media Management

Quick Review: Hootsuite vs Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Later vs Simplified

Allow us to highlight the features of each platform, their pros and cons, and pricing.


Simplified provides a comprehensive platform that satisfies every social media marketing need so business owners, freelancers, and marketing teams with a precise, collaborative marketing platform to grow their businesses exponentially.

Whether you’re a social media marketer, a manager, or the person who posts content for the company, we understand your challenges. Especially in an era where social media platforms continually evolve, adding important features like bulk scheduling, external client approval access, and social inbox management–which many tools don’t support.

We’re ahead of the curve by supporting these cutting-edge features, making your social media marketing more engaging, and ensuring your business stands out. But that’s not all. We’re not just about content creation; we’re about smart creation. Simplified is the only marketing tool that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) for both post creation and image generation, providing you with the edge to create compelling content that resonates with your audience. The AI also simplifies your post scheduling, making your content distribution more streamlined than ever before.

With Simplified, you’re not just choosing an app: you’re choosing a simpler, faster, and more accessible marketing experience. Don’t juggle with different platforms, instead, use the power of AI and real-time team collaboration to skyrocket your marketing.


Hootsuite aims to help organizations execute their social media strategies across multiple networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and YouTube. The platform purports to offer content management abilities for teams from different business units so they can coordinate their messaging. 

Bonus: 9 Hot Alternatives to Hootsuite for Social Media Management

Sprout Social

Sprout Social aims to help you manage your social media and provide actionable insights.

It emphasizes easy onboarding for businesses with its ability to integrate seamlessly into existing tech stacks, thanks to a global Salesforce partnership and social network integrations.

The platform offers a suite of capabilities, including analytics for major social networks, reporting, and sharing of performance data. 


Buffer is a social media management tool that provides businesses with a platform to schedule posts, track the performance of their content, and manage their accounts. It allows users to queue up posts across various social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


Later is a marketing platform primarily designed for visual social media marketing, particularly Instagram. While it does support other platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, its flagship features cater to Instagram users. 

Later offers functionalities that allow users to visually plan and schedule posts, store photos and video content, and analyze the performance of their content. Its distinguishing feature is its visual content calendar tool, enabling users to design their social media feeds and preview how their posts will appear before they’re published. 

Now that we’ve done a brief overview of Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, and Simplified, let’s take a look at each of the platforms in greater detail.

Bonus: 7 Sprout Social Alternatives To Manage Your Socials


Image source: Facebook

Key Features

  • All-In-One Platform: Simplified grants users the ability to create social media calendars, design, write marketing copy, create videos, collaborate, and publish all from the same platform.
  • AI-Powered Content Creation and Image Generation: Simplified uniquely uses AI to help automate and enhance content creation and image generation, saving time and improving the quality of your output.
  • Post Scheduling: Not only can you create captivating content, but our social media scheduler allows you to set a publication date on your social media platforms–whether you’re bulk scheduling posts on a business account or scheduling a single post for a personal account. 
  • External Client Approvals: Help your media team, agency, or clients sign off on designs instantly with a seamless social media approval flow.
  • Social Inbox Management: Stay on top of your comments, mentions, and DMs from all your social media accounts in one unified inbox. 
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Teams can collaborate in real time, boosting efficiency and cohesion among team members.
  • Support for the Latest Social Media Trends: Unlike many platforms, Simplified allows you to schedule Instagram Reels, carousel posts, LinkedIn polls, and more–keeping you ahead of the social media curve.
  • Cost-Effective: Instead of purchasing multiple tools, Simplified provides all key social media marketing features on a single platform, significantly reducing costs.

Simplified is well-equipped to cater to SMBs, individuals, and teams striving for an efficient, unified, and growth-driven marketing strategy.


  • In addition to social media management, Simplified offers tools to create online ads, rewrite content for ecommerce listings, respond to reviews, generate blog ideas and improve your blog content, design business collateral, and much more
  • It’s the only tool that integrates AI for post creation and image generation while scheduling posts
  • Affordable for businesses of all sizes 
  • Users don’t need to juggle (or pay for) multiple social media management tools
  • Real-time team collaboration


  • Simplified is best for SMBs and teams, so it may not be the right fit for individuals
  • The system may be too robust for users seeking minimal social media management features


  • The Social Media Free plan allows you to kickstart your social media with the essentials. In this free account, you have access to 3 accounts and 1 seat.
  • The Social Media Pro plan helps you scale your social media with premium integrations and features. Pricing is $11/month for 7 accounts and 1 seat.
  • The Social Media Agency plan costs $159/month for 70 accounts and 10 seats. For larger agencies that need more seats, the Social Media Agency Plus plan costs $319/month for 200 accounts and 20 seats.

Bottom Line on Simplified

When choosing a social marketing tool, you need a solution to streamline your processes, enhance your marketing efforts, and drive business growth. Simplified ticks these boxes remarkably well and shines with its array of versatile features and a truly all-in-one experience to make marketing easier, faster, and more accessible.

For teams, small and medium businesses, and even independent marketers aiming for an efficient, cohesive, and result-oriented marketing process, Simplified is undeniably a top contender in the current market. It holds the promise of not just meeting your present needs but also empowering your marketing future. Choose growth; choose Simplified.



Key Features

  • Social media content scheduling
  • Social media analytics tools
  • Team collaboration capabilities
  • Integration capabilities


  • Supports a wide range of social platforms
  • Ability to manage many social accounts
  • Two-factor authentication for added security
  • Integrate with design platforms, CRM tools, project management platforms, and others


  • Lacks AI-powered content suggestions and graphic editing tools
  • Because it doesn’t offer a full-service suite of tools, you’ll have to integrate with other platforms for design and other functions
  • Plans are expensive, which might not be ideal for small businesses or startups with tight budgets.
  • While Hootsuite provides some built-in analytics, in-depth reporting and analytics are part of a separate package that requires an additional fee.


  • Their Professional Plan is $99/month with a 30-day free trial.
  • The Team Plan, which is their most popular package, is $249/month and also offers a 30-day free trial.
  • The Business Plan starts at $739/month
  • Enterprise businesses should contact them for a quote. 

Bottom Line on Hootsuite

While Hootsuite offers a decent range of features, the lack of some advanced functionalities means that users must use other software to fill the gaps, usually at an additional cost. This may make it less appealing for users seeking a comprehensive social media management solution.

Bonus: 9 Free Social Media Schedulers For Small Business Owners

Sprout Social

sprout social

Key Features

  • Social media analytics and reporting
  • Content planning & publishing across various team
  • Smart inbox gathers all communications across all of your social platforms
  • Review management feature enables you to monitor reviews of your business across Google Play, Facebook, Google My Business, TripAdvisor and Glassdoor


  • Moderate comments on all profiles in one inbox, including comments on Facebook and Instagram ads
  • Access customer conversations across platforms to allow for better customer service
  • Turn messages into actionable tasks and assign to your team


  • No in-built graphic editing capabilities
  • Missing AI capabilities for content suggestions and competitive analysis
  • Some features are only available on the higher plans


  • Their Standard Plan is $249/month, with each additional user costing $199/month 
  • The Professional Plan is $399/month, with each additional user costing $299/month
  • The Advanced Plan is $499/month, with each additional user costing $349/month
  • For Enterprise Plans, they ask that you contact them for a quote

Bottom Line on Sprout Social

This is a solid choice for businesses focusing on customer service, but without built-in graphic editing capabilities, it isn’t a comprehensive social media content creation tool.

By integrating with existing systems such as Salesforce, it tries to provide a smooth transition as businesses elevate their social media tactics. However, the platform has a noticeable learning curve, with a host of complex features to understand. Also, the platform’s higher pricing might limit its appeal, particularly for small businesses or startups on a budget.



Key Features

  • Advanced social media scheduling
  • See all content in a weekly or monthly calendar view
  • Create images on their image creation tools, Pablo or Remix
  • Team collaboration capabilities


  • Simple, clean interface
  • Tag content by campaign for better tracking
  • Import content from many different sources including spreadsheets, Dropbox, Google Drive and others


  • Lacks a graphic editing and AI-powered content suggestion functionality
  • No customer service management
  • Users can’t directly manage or respond to comments or messages on their posts within the Buffer platform
  • Various restrictions on video content, such as duration and supported formats, which may limit its usability for businesses heavily leaning on video marketing content


  • The Free Plan allows individuals or businesses getting started with social media to connect up to 3 channels
  • The Essentials Plan, aimed at professionals needing publishing, engagement and analytics tools, is $6/month for one channel. Each additional channel is $6/month
  • The Team Plan, for unlimited users that want to collaborate, is $12/month for one channel with each additional channel costing $12/month
  • The Agency Plan, meant for marketing agencies with ten or more channels, costs $120/month, and each additional channel (beyond the aforementioned ten) costs $6/month

Bottom Line on Buffer

Buffer satisfies basic business needs, such as scheduling and simple analytics, but use another tool if you need a more comprehensive solution.

Bonus: Zoho Social Alternatives For Automated Social Media Publishing



Key Features

  • Bulk upload content to a Media Library
  • Advanced scheduling and “best time to post” feature
  • Content creation tools 
  • Generate Instagram captions 


  • Later provides a specialty focus on managing and automating visual content, making it a strong choice for Instagram marketing where visuals play a key role
  • feature for Instagram
  • The visual planner is a unique feature that allows users to see how posts will appear on their feed before they are published, ensuring aesthetic consistency
  • Discover new hashtags with their Instagram hashtag suggestions tool


  • Its strongest feature is also its biggest weakness. Later primarily focuses on Instagram, so while it does support Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, some features are exclusive to Instagram and may not extend across all platforms
  • Later does not support social media interaction functionality, meaning users cannot directly reply to comments or messages on their posts from within the Later platform
  • No AI capabilities
  • Lacks graphic editing tools


  • Their Starter Plan, which is best for individuals, is $25/month for one user and one social set
  • The Growth Plan, for small teams, is $45/month for three social sets and three users
  • Contact them for pricing on their Enterprise Plan, which serves teams with multiple brands

Bottom Line on Later

Later focuses mainly on visual content planning, particularly for Instagram. Therefore, if you need a robust platform to manage large, multi-platform social media efforts, you’ll have to look elsewhere. 

Bonus: How to Make Social Media Calendar For the Most Engagement

Hootsuite vs Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Later vs Simplified: Which Is Best?

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, selecting the right tool to manage your multi-channel marketing efforts can be a daunting task. Between Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and Later, you have several decent tools that can help with various aspects of social media management. 

However, if we’re talking about an all-in-one solution that truly embodies versatility, then look no further than Simplified. Simplified’s comprehensive offering of tools, flexibility, and AI-powered services streamlines and enhances the process of strategizing and implementing marketing campaigns.

Simplified stands tall in catering to SMBs wanting to actively grow their social media presence with an intuitive, real-time collaborative platform. It remarkably reduces costs by eliminating the need to invest in multiple tools and becomes the one-stop shop for designing, copywriting, video creation, and social post scheduling, making it the first choice for the modern, digitally fluent marketer.

Not only does Simplified solve the problem of managing multiple apps by bringing them to one platform, but it also adapts to the latest trends in social media marketing, supporting features like LinkedIn Polls, PDF posts, and carousel posts.

So, if your aim is an efficient, cost-effective, and growth-oriented marketing strategy, the choice between Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, and Simplified becomes straightforward. Embrace the simplicity and enhance your effectiveness–choose Simplified today!

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Vipin Kanwal
Design, Write, Edit videos, and Publish Content. Built For Teams.

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