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(For the record, Driving Sales' Eric Miltsch is the one who tipped me off about Buffer last year)
Hootsuite has been on a tear over the last year. They've picked up a bunch of agreements with the various social media sites. They have a hip interface and a good reputation for quality of service, uptime, and ease of use. I like Hootsuite and use it for many of our accounts, but it's not my primary social post scheduling tool.
I like Buffer. It's lighter and has certain things that make it superior to Hootsuite. Yes, there are drawbacks, but the advantages surpass the shortcomings.
The first thing heavy users will notice is the price: yes, the premium plan is $99 a month versus Hootsuite Pro which is $10 a month. Quite a jump. Quite worth it. Whenever you consider an investment into tools, services, or anything, you should ask yourself how much time can it save you and how much is your time worth. Buffer has proven itself to me to be worth the extra dozens of dollars.
Here are the time-savers that make me use Buffer more:
One of the biggest advantages for Hootsuite is that it's a great overall management tool. Buffer is just a posting tool. You cannot manage your followers, respond to interactions, or monitor your feeds from Buffer.
As with any tool, I wholeheartedly argue against the automation concept. Buffer is great to make sure that your posts are ever-flowing at an appropriate rate. It allows you to schedule messages that you feel will be better posted at a different time. It allows you to spread out your posts so that you aren't flooding the feeds during times of exceptional creativity or discovery.
It does not replace engagement.
You must, whether through Hootsuite, other tools, or through the native sites themselves, check what's happening and interact. Just because you have a cool posting tool that allows you to be "active" while you're doing other things does not mean that you don't have to monitor them. In business, social media is much more of a communication tool than a broadcasting tool. The majority of my time spent on social media is listening. In fact, Buffer simply makes it easier for me to listen so I'm not always worried about whether or not my accounts are staying active.
Engage through social media tools (such as Hootsuite) or on the sites themselves. Schedule through Buffer.