Learning Hub | Social Media

HootSuite vs Sprout Social: Social Media Software Comparison

February 18, 2019 | Nitasha Deogun

You already know that you need to fine tune your social media presence in 2019 but maintaining your social media profiles is a full time job in itself. Investing in the right social media automation software will streamline the following tasks:

  • Maintaining an organized content calendar.
  • Coordinating your marketing team’s activities.
  • Scheduling posts in advance.
  • Storing and editing your photo/video assets.
  • Tracking meaningful analytics across several different platforms.

What automation software should I choose? It’s overwhelming to try to determine the differences between the available options and where you will get the best value for your business.

There are four chief aspects of social media work that the best software can help you manage. Let’s take a look at them:


Your choice could be easy. It might just come down to the combination of integrations that are supported by the software. If you have an Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, Sprout Social would be your pick, vs a mix of YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. Then Hootsuite might make more sense for you.

Hootsuite was launched as a Twitter dashboard called BrightKit in 2008. It has grown rapidly in the last decade and now supports a large number of integrations including: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google +, Ow.ly, Reddit, Storify, Tumblr, and Marketo.

Sprout Social currently supports integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google +, Google Analytics, Bit.ly, ZenDesk, UserVoice and Feedly.

Dashboard and Messaging

In my opinion, Hootsuite’s dashboard is more visually clunky than Sprout Social. The two screens you will probably spend the most time with will be Publisher(posting) and Streams(responding). However I found the Streams page to be difficult to use effectively due to the cluttered horizontal layout. In Sprout Social social correspondence from all registered accounts (comments/messages from followers) can be found in a (reverse chronological) vertical feed under the Messages tab. The vertical feed feels more visually organized than the chaos of several columns placed horizontally. Acknowledging and replying messages within Sprout Social’s smart inbox is highly efficient because you can track response activity from different members of your team (live updates) and filter messages by date range/ profile/type/keyword.

Photo and Video Assets

Both Hootsuite and Sprout Social have a feature called the asset library. Photos and videos can be organized, edited and stored within the software. Some members of your team or your clients may not be Photoshop savvy so this feature enables easier collaboration. You can add roles so that multiple team members and/or clients have different levels of permissions regarding visual assets: view only, editor or administrator. Photos and videos can be organized with hashtags so that it is easier to sort and pull images for posts. Team and individual assignments can be tracked under the Tasks tab.


The aspect of Sprout Social that sets it apart from Hootsuite is the quality of the reporting system. Sprout has report formats for each social channel already in place, as well as the option to build a customized report.

A few examples:

  • The Twitter report allows you to track keyword usage to analyze trends across the platform.
  • Instagram reports enable you to assess the performance of outbound hashtags and stories.
  • Facebook reports will produce data based on pages, competitors and/or bots.
  • Almost all of the reports offer a competitor analysis option.
  • The layout is visually appealing, very easy to present and explain to a client, and all key analytics are clearly defined.

If you are just starting out, Hootsuite’s free services can be a good option.

The most appealing aspect of Hootsuite is that they offer free access to use the platform to post for up to three profiles. But in order to manage more profiles and access comprehensive analytics, you will have to upgrade to a paid subscription. Measuring your performance is essential to remain relevant to your followers and to gauge the amount you should invest in ads, promotions or social influencer partnerships.

For overall business value, I think my recommendation is clear. Regarding these two options, Sprout Social is a bigger investment, but you will reap far more benefits by using their product.