They’re similar in many ways – both work particularly well for small businesses – but there are some very notable differences that will determine which platform is right for you.
We ran a thorough test involving all kinds of possible content to see how these two apps fare against each other in Facebook page management. Here are the 12 major differences between AgoraPulse and Hootsuite.
1. Viewing Every Post, Comment, & Reply in Chronological Order/ in one unified stream
Reviewing your Facebook data (posts, comments, and replies) is easier when it’s like checking your emails- from start to finish.
Although Hootsuite naturally offers that data, it doesn’t organize it in a user-friendly way. You have to dig for it, and if your page is active, the digging can be daunting.
AgoraPulse does all the work for you: all your comments, private messages and fan posts are all displayed in one unique inbox stream to make sure you will see each and everyone of them, in chronological order, without wasting time digging.
Instead of a unique chronological stream containing all your Facebook messages, Hootsuite will display several streams (up to 5) all containing different types of content. The private messages and the private messages will appear in chronological order in 2 different streams. But there’s no way to see the comments in chronological order. Even the activity stream will only display the latest comments if you have an active page, so managing and replying to comments is close to impossible. As there’s no way to mark an item as reviewed, it’s also very complicated to stay organized.
2. Viewing the context around your comments
Managing a Facebook page’s comments can be daunting task- you’re not always guaranteed to see the whole picture when a comment pops up. Did you already respond? Did another team member respond while you were away? This happens to us all the time. And it’s often done on the Facebook page mobile app while we’re on the go!
Hootsuite will show you the comments, but if a response was already published directly on Facebook, you’ll never know.
3. Identifying Comments & Messages You’ve Already Responded To
With Hootsuite, you have no way to check each message and comment as complete. You just have to rely on good memory.. A helluvah good memory! Or, take notes… Otherwise, you’re risking missing a lot of comments or responding twice.
AgoraPulse automatically marks each post, comment and message you reply to, and if a comment doesn’t require a reply, you can manually mark it as reviewed. That’s a lot of saved time! This is even more crucial if you manage your page’s activity with your team.
4. Monitoring Unpublished (Dark) Post Comments
Unpublished or “dark” posts receive comments too. Don’t believe me? Check yours. Surprise! The worst part is that as there’s almost no reliable way to see the comments on your dark posts, you’ve probably missed most of them without even knowing it…
Monitoring comments on dark posts, though, can be tricky. Hootsuite syncs unpublished posts, but reviewing and replying to the comments quickly becomes unmanageable the more posts you have.
Unpublished posts are displayed in chronological order within Hootsuite, and there’s no way to see the latest comments in chronological order.
If you currently have 10 unpublished posts (or more!) running simultaneously and get a comment on the post #8, there’s no way for you to locate that post without opening each of the 10 posts individually. When I say unmanageable, I mean it!
This is one area AgoraPulse really excels in. Agorapulse displays all the comments you’ve received on every post, unpublished and published, in chronological order, within your unified inbox. Spotting the latest comments is a walk in the park and takes only a few seconds.
5. Hiding Post Comments
Sometimes it is very helpful to hide comments on ‘dark’ posts too. If you delete a comment, the author will notice, and that can fire back at you pretty quickly! The “hide” option is much safer: other users won’t see the comment, but its author will still see it and will not get mad at you! Whether the comment violates your terms of service or you’d prefer to keep it out of sight for a while – perhaps while you think of the perfect reply? – AgoraPulse gives you the power to do just that.
Hiding comment can also be useful when you get a user complaint. You definitely don’t want to delete a complaint! But that lets you temporarily hide a reoccurring customer service complaint while you figure out a solution to it. A complaint with an appropriate response will not hurt your image, but without one, it may!
6. Applying automated moderation rules
Have you ever had to deal with spam, or inappropriate posts or comments on your Facebook page? We have! From users who are promoting their unrelated Facebook page to users who are just plain inappropriate, this happens all the time. And if your page receives a lot of comments, it can be time consuming to spot and get rid of them.
Agorapulse offers an automated moderation system that works while you sleep! Simply create rules using keywords and set specific actions to be applied when the concerned keywords are mentioned. In the example below, we’ve created a rule to hide all comments and posts containing a link (these are spammy 80% of the time) and asked for an email alert to make sure we can review them and delete or unhide them as appropriate:
7. Viewing Fan Conversation History (Comments, Posts, Likes, Messages, mentions and shares)
Does this fan’s message relate to a long history of support issues? Is that positive review of our product the first one, or the 5th one from this user? Has this fan engaged us previously? Was that engagement positive or negative? Context can really help draft the appropriate response.
Hootsuite has a content centric apporach: it shows you the content along with its author. But not the other way around. This is where Agorapulse’s user-centric approach can really help.
Agorapulse provides a user view (detailed below) which quickly reveals a history of all previous interactions from each user who has interacted with your account:
Agorapulse shows you each user’s previous posts, comments, private messages, mentions and shares. It allows you to tag each user to categorize them and easily find them later. Each user is automatically assigned badges so you’ll know at a glance if they like your content regularly, engage with the page or share its content.
8. Seeing who your best fans are
The power of brand advocates can’t be overstated. Dollar for dollar, they can market your brand more effectively than any campaign will ever be able to.
The trouble lies in figuring out who those advocates are – or which users are most likely to become them – and you definitely need a tool to help you with that.
As Hootsuite doesn’t have a users view, it can’t help with that. Another limitation of its content centric approach. Agorapulse’s user centric approach provides you with several ways to view your users.
First, you can see who your “top” fans are:
They’re ranked on the number and type of interactions (for example, a comment has more weight than a like). In this example, Bob has liked 18 posts and commented once, Tommy has liked 20 posts. Both Tommy and Bob are probably very interested in what we have to say!
Agorapulse automatically assigns “badges” to everyone who has ever interacted with your page:
- Likers have liked at least 5 posts
- Engaged Users have commented, published a post to the page or sent a private message
- Ambassadors have mentioned your page or shared its content
Here’s a quick view of all the “ambassadors” for this page:
A user-centric approach can be powerful for your Facebook page! It can help you learn more about your users, build a loyalty program or make sure you reward your best supporters!
9. Monitoring Comments on Photo Album Stories
When you publish multiple photos in a new album, or add several photos to an existing album, Facebook will create a “story” like this to be displayed in your fan’s newsfeed:
Facebook creates a new story like this every time you add new photos to an existing album.
Keep in mind, each photo inside the album can receive comments as well. So when you add 3 photos to an album, you may receive comments specific to each photo, and comments on the story as well.
Some pages use photo albums a lot, and it’s important to make sure they’ll capture all the engagement generated when creating or updating them.
Hootsuite is generally very good about monitoring comments, but it falls short with photo album stories. If you’re actively posting photos in photo album, Hootsuite will not be of any help. AgoraPulse, on the other hand records and notifies you of every comment made on your photo album stories as well as every individual photo.
10. Monitoring Photo Comments in Photo Albums
AgoraPulse also monitors the comments on individual photos inside any photo album you make public. It’s a more granular approach designed for businesses that don’t want to let any interactions slip by.
It’s also a good way to identify which pictures draw the most engagement. Or to catch a particularly controversial one before it spirals out of control.
Here’s an example of a photo added inside the album that was part of the story mentioned above:
Eight comments on this specific photo are different from the ones posted in the story mentioned before.
Hootsuite will not notify you of these 8 comments. Only Agorapulse will.
11. Monitoring Page Post Shares & Mentions
Many Facebook conversations leave the pages and profiles they started on. Sometimes, they begin someplace else entirely.
When any of your fans share a post from your page to talk about it on their own timelines AgoraPulse watches over it for you. You can then follow these shares and mentions – which are just as important to your brand as interactions on your own page – and discover who your ambassadors are!
Here’s an Agorapulse screenshot of all the users who’ve shared one of our MV Agusta Brutale’s page posts:
That can come very handy if you want to thank your fans for spreading the word.
12. Viewing comments directly on Facebook
There are times when you’ll just want to check the “real thing”.
Agorapulse conveniently displays a “view on Facebook” button for each post and comment. One click takes you directly to that specific post or comment so you can be 100% sure that everything is in order. This is especially useful if you’d like to reply to a post or comment with your own personal Facebook profile, or another Facebook page you manage.
That option doesn’t exist on Hootsuite. You can go directly to a post (you’ll need to click on the timestamp of the post), then dig for comments, but as highlighted earlier, Hootsuite can miss a lot of activity.
There isn’t a single social media management solution that works for everybody.
Your needs as a small to mid-sized business, simply won’t be the same as those of an enterprise multinational. They may not even be the same as your rivals in the same space.
Although Hootsuite and Agorapulse are similar, they’re not the same. These 12 differences may be just what you need to make that call when it’s time.
What tool do you currently use to manage your social media? Do you like more granular oversight and control, or just a high-level overview? Let us know in a comment below!