Bonus Materials: “How to Choose the Right Social Media Management Tool” ebook

Want to know the details of Hootsuite pricing and what it really costs you? Read on to get a comprehensive look at the real cost of using Hootsuite and its value for money.

If you’ve landed on this page, it’s probably because you’re considering using Hootsuite for your social media management needs and wondering how much it will cost you.

If that’s so, you’re in good hands.

We’ve spent more than 30 hours researching this topic. We’re one of Hootsuite’s competitors, and having a very clear understanding of their cost (and value for money) allows us to better position ourselves.

In a way, we’re as motivated as you are in finding out what Hootsuite’s real cost is.

As a Hootsuite competitor, we could be tempted to arrange the truth so this “pricing investigation” makes us look good and them look bad. But we’ll make you a promise: If Hootsuite is a better value for money for any given scenario, we’ll tell you!

This article is about Hootsuite pricing and how much it actually costs based on your specific needs.

In your research, you most likely looked at the Hootsuite pricing page, so we won’t regurgitate what is stated there.

Instead, we’ll reveal pricing information NOT found on the Hootsuite pricing page. We believe that “under the hood” information is much more valuable in your search for a great fitting social media management tool.

TL;DR

No time to read the whole piece?

Here’s a very high-level summary:

  1. The Hootsuite pricing page only gives you annual pricing information. The page doesn’t show the monthly pricing, which is 30% more expensive.
  2. You get the false impression that the Hootsuite Business plan has a monthly option at $599. There is no month-to-month option for the Business plan. If you want Business features, you need to submit to an annual, up-front commitment of $7,200.
  3. Need more than 35 social profiles or 15 users? Dig deep into your pockets. If you require that number of profiles or users, you must sign up for the Hootsuite Enterprise plan. Enterprise plans begin at $18,000, and, like the Business plan, are annual plans that must be paid for upfront.
  4. Many “advanced” features are not available with the Professional and Team plan. If you need such features as saved replies, content approval workflow, campaign reports, or an asset library to name just some, you must sign up for the upfront, annual commitments of either the Business or Enterprise plan. And when you don’t need those features, customer support is not delivered by “real live human people” (their own words on their pricing page) for Professional and Team users.
  5. Agencies might struggle to find value with Hootsuite based on the tool’s user/profile limitations and advanced features. Agencies and businesses that need to manage more than 20 social media profiles or need more than 3 users on their account soon find themselves doubling or tripling their cost to get the users, profiles, or features they need.

If you got the information you needed here, we still suggest you play with the pricing comparison tool we’ve embedded at the end of this article to see the numbers for yourself. (You can also click on it from the Table of Contents on the left of this article.)

1. (Intentional?) confusion between monthly cost and annual cost

The first thing you’ll notice on Hootsuite’s pricing page is that all plans displaying a price have a small asterisk that refers to small print saying, “Prices based on annual billing.”

Hootsuite pricing plans have an asterisk.

Displaying the monthly cost of a subscription software based on an annual subscription is common practice. Even we at Agorapulse do this. However, you typically see a toggle function to easily bounce between the monthly and annual costs.

We have never seen a company use small print to denote that pricing is only based on annual pricing, all while hiding the actual monthly pricing.

To uncover the true monthly price of your plan, you must create an account. It is only then where you have the choice between a monthly and an annual plan.

Here are the two prices for the Professional plan:

Hootsuite pricing plan with annual price

And here for the team plan:

Hootsuite pricing plan for monthly

Monthly plan prices are more than 30% higher than the advertised prices—a considerable jump from what’s public on their pricing page!

A total of 90% of our users start with a monthly plan. That might mean that 90% of Hootsuite new users go through the unpleasant experience of learning how much it will really cost them.

2. Need the Business plan? It will cost you $7,200 upfront

Many active businesses and agencies need to manage more than 20 social profiles or more than 3 users. If that’s your situation, you’ve exceeded the limits of the Team plan. You’ll then need the Business plan, advertised at $599, to get up to 35 social profiles and 5 users.

Yet, looking deeper at the pricing page, it’s impossible to know whether the Business plan will give you 5 or 10 users:

overall look at the differences in hootsuite pricing

The only thing that’s clear is that you can get up to 15 more users by making an additional purchase.

As the information on the number of users included in the plan is not given, you may have another unpleasant surprise.

But the real unpleasant surprise is when you realize that there’s no monthly plan for the Business plan.

The problem is, as with the Professional and Team plans, the Business plan cost seen on the Hootsuite pricing page is based on an annual contract.

But unlike the Professional and Team plans, the Business plan doesn’t offer a monthly payment option. Though the pricing page states $599/mo, you must commit to an annual plan and pay $7,200 upfront.

Agorapulse offers monthly payment options for all its plans.

So do Sprout Social and Buffer.

3. The Enterprise plan: when things get serious (and above $18,000 a year)

There is no pricing information on the Enterprise plan. This omission is commonplace among social media management solutions.

Not providing an enterprise price is typically not to trick users but rather to be flexible to prospects’ specific needs. For example, one prospect may need a lot of users but not that many social profiles, or vice versa.

Being able to adapt your pricing structure is beneficial for both parties.

Ian Anderson Gray, a well-known U.K. marketing consultant, has done his research on the cost of this Enterprise plan. He’s gone through the whole sales process and has obtained the information you need to figure out how much the Enterprise plan will (probably) cost you. He has summarized everything in this blog post: The Hidden Pricing of Social Media Tools Revealed.

In a nutshell, the cost of a Hootsuite Enterprise plan starts at $18,000 for 5 users with approximately $1,800 per additional user.

And like the Business plan, Hootsuite Enterprise is an annual commitment with no monthly payment options.

4. Hootsuite costs are based on the features you need

Now that you know how much each plan will really cost you, let’s look at the important features a social media manager needs and what plan they are included on.

To do that, scroll down the Hootsuite pricing page a little and go to the “side-by-side feature comparison”.

4.1 Support

Let’s start with support. We know, it’s not a “feature” per se, but with many social media teams working around the clock (all with varying levels of social media confidence), customers have come to expect fast and efficient customer support provided by helpful support agents.

Well, maybe that expectation is too high for Hootsuite self-service plans (the $75 and $189/month ones).

Look at their own pricing grid, it says that “24/7 priority support provided by real live human support for any issue at any time of the day”:

no "real live human" customer support for hootsuite on certain plans

What that means is that you’ll need to pay $7,200 upfront to get support from “real live human people” at any time of the day. Does that mean that the Professional and Team plan don’t offer support from “real people” but only bots?

I’m not sure about that, but it certainly means you shouldn’t expect to have your issues resolved “at any time of day” by “real people” with the Professional and Team plans.

Maybe that’s why Hootsuite support is rated so low compared to Agorapulse on G2:

hootsuite ranks low in customer support compared to agorapulse

4.2 Other advanced features

If you’re an agency, or if you’re managing an active and strategic social media presence, most of the following features will be needed, and don’t come with any of the Hootsuite entry-level plans.

The features below will only be available if you pay at least $18,000 upfront (Enterprise plan):

  • Team reports to measure the activity of your team (response rate, number of replies sent)
  • Live training and dedicated account manager

The features below will only be available if you pay at least $7,200 upfront (Business plan):

  • Content approval workflow
  • Asset (visuals and videos) library
  • Ability to tag outgoing posts to create campaign reports
  • Automated moderation rules
  • Audit log of team responses
  • Saved replies

With Agorapulse, none of these features require an annual commitment. Most of these features are available at a starting price of $199 per month without a need to commit to an annual subscription. (Unless you want to.)

Bonus Materials: “How to Choose the Right Social Media Management Tool” ebook

5. Who is (and isn’t) Hootsuite ideal for, and a gift to help your pricing research

Hootsuite is a worthwhile option if you’re in the market for a social media management tool.

The question here is not whether you should consider it, but rather what specific needs will remove it from the equation (or make it a bad “value for money” option).

5.1 Where Hootsuite pricing plans might make sense for you

If you need to manage the publishing and engagement of fewer than 10 social profiles and don’t require an additional user on your plan, Hootsuite is an affordable option.

Hootsuite might also serve you well if you need to publish to Pinterest or integrate your social media dashboard with other business apps (ex., Zendesk, Salesforce).

5.2 Where Hootsuite pricing plans might not make sense for you

Based on how its pricing plans are built, and what features are available in each plan, here are the use cases where Hootsuite might not be a good solution for you.

5.2.1 You manage more than 20 social profiles

If you manage more than 20 social profiles, you have no other options than the Business plan, and the Business plan requires an upfront $7,200 investment for an annual commitment.

With Agorapulse, a plan with the same profile/user specs will cost you $199 per month or $1,908 for the year. Even with an annual commitment, that’s more than 3 times more affordable.

5.2.2 You have a team of more than 3 users

If you need more than 3 users on your Hootsuite account, you only have the option to pay $7,200 upfront for the Business plan.

So, if your agency has more than 3 people managing social and doing community management, or if your customer support team has more than 3 agents answering questions on social media, you’re paying the big bucks.

Let’s compare the Hootsuite Business Plan to the cost of other robust social media management tools. A total of 4 users with Sprout Social run you at $396 per month. Even more affordable (and scalable) is the Agorapulse Premium plan at $199 per month or $1,908 per year.

If you need a large number of users, the gap widens even more. For 16 users, you have to choose the Enterprise plan at $18,000 with an annual commitment. This configuration will cost you $1,584 with a monthly Sprout Social plan.

Agorapulse once again is the most affordable solution at less than $750 per month or $7,000 for the year. More than 60% less expensive than the Hootsuite Business Plan’s annual cost.

5.2.3 You’re an agency

If you’re an agency, chances are that you’ll need to manage more than 20 social profiles with more than 3 team members, so all the above applies.

But even if you are a small agency and could live with 1 or 2 users and 10 or 20 social profiles (the limits for the Professional and Team plan, respectively at $75 and $189 per month), you’ll probably need features that are only in the Business plan, like:

  • Content approval workflow to collaborate with your clients on the content you publish for them
  • Asset (visuals and videos) library to organize the visuals and videos approved by the clients
  • Labeling outgoing posts to create campaign reports when your clients ask you for specific performance reporting on specific marketing campaigns
  • Automated moderation rules because time is money and you can’t let your clients’ accounts unmonitored. Also, it makes your agency’s work more efficient.
  • Saved replies because time is (still) money and when you have to provide the same answer multiple times a day to your clients’ followers, you want to make sure the quality of your replies is consistent and following your clients’ brand guidelines.
  • Automatically emailing reports to clients every week or every month
  • Customizing your reports with your own agency name and logo
  • Labeling incoming messages or comments to provide additional information to your clients about what their audience is talking about
  • Team response time to customers’ questions to prove your value to your clients

Here again, all these features will be available in the Premium plan of Agorapulse, and its add-ons, saving you a substantial amount of money compared to the $7,200 up-front investment that the Business plan will require.

5.2.4 You have a very active social media presence

If you have a very active social media presence, you’ll most likely need the following features:

  • Automated moderation rules. When you are dealing with a high volume of incoming messages, you have to put some kind of automation in place
  • Saved replies. When your team has to provide the same answer, again and again, you have to give them the tools to do that while remaining sane and avoiding mistakes!
  • Collision prevention. Make sure team members aren’t stepping on each other’s toes and duplicating efforts when responding to followers.

Here again, the Agorapulse Premium plan will require an initial investment of $199 for all these features instead of $7,200 with Hootsuite.

5.2.5 You have very basic publishing needs

If you only need one user, have fewer than 10 social profiles to manage, and are only looking to publish content on social media (no need for social media engagement or listening), then Buffer is by far a better option. Buffer can take care of your needs for just $15 per month; the same will cost $75 with Hootsuite.

If you need social media reports to download and share with your clients, you’ll need to subscribe to Buffer Analyze for an additional cost. If you need to engage and listen across social media networks, Buffer can’t help you. You’ll need to purchase an additional tool.

5.2.6 You demand prompt, friendly, helpful customer support

According to almost 6,000 user reviews on G2, Hootsuite’s support gets the worst rating among the four largest social media management solutions:

Hootsuite ranks the lowest in Quality of Support compared to Agorapulse and others.

It’s worth pointing out that Agorapulse gets the best rating. We take great pride in this rating as we’ve always heavily invested in our support team.

5.2.7 You care about innovation and product vision

Hootsuite offers very poor ratings from its user reviews. With almost 6,000 user reviews, actual users of Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and Agorapulse think that Hootsuite is not improving its product and having it go in the right direction.

In other words, social media management software users think that Hootsuite software is not as innovative as they would expect it to be and is not headed in the direction they wish it to go.

Agorapulse ranks the highest in product direction; Hootsuite ranks the lowest.

In a world where social media platforms evolve weekly, you want your social media management software to stay at the forefront of innovation and experience constant improvement. Hootsuite’s 7.3 lags far behind the other industry-leading social media management tools.

The unbiased, uber-detailed, incredibly helpful pricing tool

In Ian Anderson Gray’s post about social media pricing, he included a tool that allows anyone, in less than a minute, to know exactly how much they would need to pay for the four biggest social media management tools on the market.

Ian updates his tool’s data at least twice a year, so it’s fairly reliable.

Without further ado, here is the pricing tool for your benefit!

Brought to you by Seriously Social with Ian Anderson Gray

Get started on saving time and energy on your own social media management! Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts.

Hootsuite Pricing Revealed: How Much Does Hootsuite Really Cost?