Top 6 Free Hootsuite Alternatives for New Businesses.
Costs are always a concern for businesses, even more so for smaller ones. Social media management Programs like Hootsuite offer great advantages for all businesses, but with all subscription fees and monthly charges for add-ons, charges for these power tools can become a growing burden. Fortunately, there are options!
What is Hootsuite?
First, what is Hootsuite, and why is it useful? In short Hootsuite is a social media management tool. But, why is that important to your business? Consider the average person spends just under 2.5 hours on social media a day. For good or bad, your business is represented on these social platforms. Granted social media gives you a direct way to reach people; but there are a LOT of social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Reddit, Snapchat etc… social tools have become a legion. Being active on social media allows you to get your message out in a manner you control. The image, text, video you share, is one you create about your business, no concern for third party misinformation or confusion.
However, you have a business to run and you are not able to post on all these sites every day, let alone at the prime time for the algorithm to capture and spread your message. Hootsuite complies your social media/ network channels into one platform, schedules posts, manages customer contact, complies analytics, provides for team communication, and more. It is a very useful toolset, especially since it cuts down on the amount of time you need to spend on each site, but it does come with a high price tag. Basic plans start at $50 a month, more involved plans are up to $600/month. Watching the bottom line keeps you in business. So where to find the best return on your investment in time and dollars?
Freeware is attractive but not all freeware is really free, in fact if it is “free” then you and your business is the product the toolset is selling. Caveat emptor! Also, note that most of these alternatives do have paid versions, but this list is based on the best offers for the “free” version.
You might have heard of this one already, considering it has been around for a while. Buffer’s free version offers one user with three accounts, and 10 posts per account each month. It allows you to manage and publish content on the big four – plus Pinterest, but limits the analytic information you receive. Additionally the scheduling service is simple, you can shorten links, receive hashtag suggestions, and create simplistic landing pages. Since Buffer has been around for a bit, it is an official partner of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as well as multiple other platforms such as Pocket, Feedly, IFTTT, and more.
A fairly robust system offering support for the big five social media platforms. The free version is similar to Buffer’s setup, allowing one user with three profiles. You can schedule 40 posts a month (far more then Buffer), with specified campaign tracking, monitor inboxes, and ad comments. Moreover, Agorapluse maintains the data monthly, and unlike others includes a Facebook ROI Calculator. The customer service is limited to a 24 hour response time, but has always been incredibly helpful. The site also has some of the most in depth video training available. To be frank, it is a tight race between Agorapluse and Buffer – the one you choose will come down to your personal needs/wants.
A less well known platform, but is making waves in the industry. One user, five social accounts, up to 50 scheduled posts (10 per account), and works on the big four plus Pinterest. Publer also prides itself on Canva, Upslash, and cloud integration, and has a built in photo editing software. Like Buffer short links are included, and even has a web browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari – sorry fellow Brave users).
I would be remise to not include the main one. Hootsuite does have a free version, but it takes time to hunt it down. This watered down version includes the standard one user policy, but with two social accounts. It is also unique with its offer of five scheduled messages, and works with the big six social media platforms. Very useful for businesses that receive lots of messages, but only have designated times to check them. Otherwise, the free version of Hootsuite is not offering many goodies.
In 2018, I recall there being a few debates at my office on replacing Hootsuite with Crowdfire, but ultimately we stuck with Hootsuite. Since then I haven’t heard much about Crowdfire. Crowdfire’s free version includes three social media accounts with the single user profile, and works with the big four. It does limit analytical data to just a 24 hour period, but includes 10 scheduled posts per account. Furthermore, it has an incredible content curation section, meaning you can save unlimited articles, pictures, websites, and more, to inspire your own content. If you do lots of content curation, this will be your best option.
An excellent system in the paid version, but incredibly limited for the free one. They only offer one user profile, and one social account. SocialOomph is different, with its post allowance – one post every three hours – and its scheduling is unlimited. Otherwise it doesn’t offer analytics, support, training, or customization.
A few other things to consider:.
If your budget will allow you to start paying for one of these systems, use the free version of the one you intend to purchase – even if the free version is inferior. Re/learning systems always costs you time, and money.
The free versions will not be as good as a paid one, and you are now the product. By using the free versions you’re allowing data collection, just be aware.
Most of these SMM tools offer trials of the full versions: take advantage. No sense in putting time and energy into a system you simply do not like, especially if you intend to purchase it at some point in the future.
There you go a few SMM platforms that might be useful to you and your business! Have you tried any of these, if so, what do you think? Comment below if you know of any other free alternative SMM tools we should tryout!