Buffer is a solid social media management platform that caters to diverse needs. Well-known for its entry-level affordability and long time presence on the market, it also has its shortcomings compared to the multitude of Buffer alternatives available.
This article will go through the top alternatives to Buffer in 2024 — I went through all of them, so you don’t have to. I’ll show you what each tool is best suited for, its disadvantages, and stack it up against Buffer to see which is the better fit for you.
Here are Buffer’s top competitors in 2024:
1. Planable: best for collaboration & approval
2. Hootsuite: best for large companies
3. Sprout Social: best for social customer relationship management
4. Sendible: best for managing multiple social media accounts
5. Agorapulse: best for social inbox management
6. CoSchedule: best for content planning and marketing
7. Zoho Social: best for analytics
8. Loomly: best for social media content creation and scheduling
9. Later: best for Instagram and TikTok
Why you should consider a Buffer alternative?
Buffer is an all-in-one social media management solution for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform handles social media scheduling, analytics, and engagement tools through an easy-to-grasp interface.
Buffer supports Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), Mastodon, and Shopify.
Aside from its social media management features, you can also use Buffer to quickly set up landing pages and ease the content creation process via its AI-powered assistant — ideal for creating basic sales funnels and enhancing your marketing strategy.
When it comes to limitations, some users report occasional performance issues and crashes. Others say that the platform has limited analytics capabilities. Its social media analytics tool can only generate reports for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Shopify.
A major drawback is also the platform’s pricing structure. Most pricing plans (except the Free and Agency packages) include a single social media channel — you’ll have to pay extra if you want to manage multiple social media accounts. The free plan supports up to three channels, while paid packages start at $5/month/1 channel/1 user (when paid annually). All paid plans offer a 14-day free trial.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive a little deeper into Buffer’s social media scheduling tool and collaboration features — the cornerstones to managing your social accounts.
Buffer’s scheduling and collaboration features
You’ll find Buffer’s content calendar in the Publishing dashboard. This functionality allows you to view your posting schedule and plan social posts across various platforms within a couple of clicks.
Most notably, Buffer allows you to create posts directly within the calendar, sparing you from going back and forth between multiple tabs. You can also upload media files through the platform’s integrations with Canva, Dropbox, Google Drive, Unsplash, Giphy, and more.
The calendar view allows you to sift through planned posts via the following filters: Drafts, scheduled posts, sent posts, pending approval, and all posts. You can view planned content weekly or monthly and rearrange posts by dragging and dropping them across the calendar.
The interface is intuitive, but I find it rather bleak — a splash of color would make the platform significantly more pleasant to look at. The calendar also lacks the ability to leave notes.
Buffer’s team collaboration tools are highly straightforward. You can invite team members to your workspace via email and assign them specific social media channels. You can also set various permission levels (full posting access, approval required, and administrator access).
Note: You can only add team members with Buffer’s Team and Agency plans, starting at $10/channel/month (paid annually).
There’s also the Ideas functionality, where social media teams can quickly leave notes, create, collaborate, and save concepts for upcoming posts. However, the platform’s collaboration tools don’t go much further than that — you can’t mention team members, leave comments, or add internal notes.
Approvals in Buffer are also a walk in the park. You can select which members can approve posts and which ones need to request approvals before publishing. Users with administrator or full posting access can view to-be-approved posts under the Awaiting approvals tab.
From there, users can either delete, edit, approve, or send the content back to the original creator. Again, this functionality is only available in the Team and Agency plans.
Overall, I noticed that Buffer’s collaboration and approval tools are relatively shallow. For instance, if you handle approvals and wish to send a post back to the original creator for further editing, you can’t leave feedback. It also lacks the option to invite clients to your workspace.
You’ll need to rely on external tools to communicate effectively, which can leave you prone to communication errors and lost information.
Here’s why social media managers should consider a Buffer alternative in 2024
- Buffer’s per-social channel pricing structure can make the platform pricey for those who manage multiple social accounts. The platform’s Free and Essentials plans are only available to individual users.
- Although Buffer offers a broad feature set, most functionalities are rather limited (lacks calendar notes, comments in context, ideal posting time suggestions only available for Instagram, etc.).
- The platform requires external tools for effective communication.
1. Planable: best social media management tool for collaboration & approval
Planable is a content collaboration and social media management tool that allows you to effectively collaborate and create any type of written content you want — be it social media posts, content briefs, emails, newsletters, or blogs.
The platform does this through its extensive team collaboration options. You can leave comments next to each draft, mention team members, add internal notes, assign custom users roles and permissions, and much more.
Planable shines through its in-depth approval workflows. You can choose between multiple approval options: None, optional, required, and multi-level.
As for social media management, the platform includes a highly visual social media calendar where you can leave notes and approve content directly. The calendar also allows you to organize content through a drag-and-drop interface and color-coded labels.
Planable also comes with an Analytics add-on, which allows you to easily follow content performance and generate reports for your clients and stakeholders. Other notable features include version control, various views (feed, calendar, grid), media libraries, and more.
Drawbacks: Planable doesn’t include social listening or monitoring.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Google Business Profile.
Pricing: You can schedule up to 50 posts for free. Paid plans start at $11/user/month (annually). Pricing depends on the number of desired workspaces and users.
Planable vs Buffer
Both tools have rather similar UIs in terms of ease of use. They offer a drag-and-drop interface and give you quick access to all necessary calendar features, like filtering options and the ability to view planned content weekly or monthly.
However, I found that Planable brings more quality-of-life improvements. For one, its social media calendar is more aesthetic — it’s colorful and generally has more going on to it without making it feel cluttered. You’ll find all your social accounts above the calendar. Clicking the icons corresponding to your social media accounts will either hide or reveal the content specific to each channel.
Then there are the features. Unlike Buffer, Planable’s content calendar allows you to leave notes and organize posts via color-coded labels. These labels are excellent for categorizing posts by topic or team. You also have more filtering options, like approval status, post type, feedback (comments, internal notes, resolved comments), and more.
See an interactive comparison of Planable vs Buffer’s calendar by sliding the divider across
Since Planable is a content collaboration solution, the platform outdoes Buffer in this department. You can easily mention team members, leave comments next to each upcoming post, and collaborate on content in real time.
The platform also allows you to leave internal notes (comments which cannot be seen by your clients) — ideal for discussing posts behind the scenes. Speaking of clients, you can invite them to your workspace. From there, they can leave feedback, approve content, and more.
Approvals are one of Planable’s strong suits. You can streamline approval processes by selecting which type of approval workflow suits you the best. No approvals are excellent if you’re a one-man army — it spares you the trouble of clicking a few extra buttons before publishing content.
Meanwhile, you can use multi-level approvals to ensure that you deliver highly polished content to your clients. For instance, a post first needs to get approved by the team leader, then by the marketing manager, while your client does the final sign-off.
You can approve content directly within the calendar. If you’re not happy with a post, simply leave feedback via comments and notify the original creator — Buffer lacks this functionality.
Planable vs. Buffer final takeaway: the best Buffer Alternative
Planable is the best Buffer alternative for content collaboration and approval. The platform offers extensive approval options, while the ability to leave feedback, store files in the media library, and collaborate on posts in real time can do wonders for your content creation process.
In other words, it fills in most of Buffer’s gaps. You can schedule up to 50 posts for free, so it’s definitely worth a shot!
2. Hootsuite: best Buffer alternative for large companies
Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media marketing platform designed to help businesses take their social media game to the next level. Some of its key features include bulk scheduling, content curation, campaign management, advanced analytics, social listening, and social media advertising.
Hootsuite is best suited for large businesses due to its advanced team management capabilities. You can set up an Organization (a group of teams), which gives you easy access to each specific team. From there, you can assign tasks and route messages to a specific team or team member. The platform also covers employee productivity reports and advocacy tools.
Drawbacks: The platform is pricey. Users report a clunky UI and a steep learning curve for newcomers.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $99/user/month (annually, one user and 10 social accounts included) with a 30-day free trial available. If Hootsuite didn’t quite fit the bill, consider going thorough this list of Hootsuite alternatives for a better match.
Hootsuite vs Buffer
- Features: Hootsuite is significantly more in-depth. The platform includes social media advertising, bulk scheduling, team productivity reports, content suggestions, social listening tools, and much more — something which Buffer lacks.
- Analytics: Hootsuite offers more advanced analytics capabilities. Unlike Buffer, Hootsuite covers TikTok analytics, competitive benchmarking (automatically analyzes your competitors’ performance and compares it to your content strategy), and social ROI analysis.
- Ease of use: Due to its simplicity, Buffer is significantly easier to use. Hootsuite is complex and has a steep learning curve.
- Pricing: With prices starting at $99/month (annually), Hootsuite is considerably more expensive. Buffer offers a free plan, while paid packages start at $5/channel/month (annually).
Takeaway: Hootsuite is among the best Buffer alternatives for large organizations. Its team management, employee advocacy tools, and in-depth reports, along with its content curation, social listening, and social advertising tools, are perfect for managing a company’s social media presence at scale.
3. Sprout Social: best Buffer alternative for social customer relationship management
Sprout Social is another in-depth all-in-one social media management software solution. The platform covers content scheduling, social media engagement, advertising tools, and more.
One of Sprout Social’s key features is its built-in social media Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution — you can easily monitor previous conversations, as well as store and access all the customer information necessary to address support issues and turn leads into loyal customers.
You can leave notes next to each customer profile, like the best time to contact a specific customer or additional contact info. Your team can also communicate with leads directly within the dashboard.
Supported platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $249/month (1 user). Each additional user costs $199, $299, or $349/month based on your selected plan. There’s a 30-day free trial available.
Sprout Social vs Buffer
- Features: Sprout Social is more comprehensive — it includes a social CRM, paid advertising, and review management tools.
- Analytics: Sprout Social covers TikTok analytics, unlike Buffer. Additionally, Sprout Social’s reports reveal slightly more information (competitor performance, team, and task reports). However, Sprout Social puts additional reporting capabilities behind a paywall.
- Ease of use: Sprout Social is more complex, and users mention a steep learning curve.
- Pricing: Buffer is significantly more affordable.
Takeaway: Sprout Social is among the best Buffer alternatives for marketing agencies seeking to improve customer relationships. Its powerful social CRM and inbox management capabilities ensure that social media marketers maintain maximum engagement with prospects at all times.
4. Sendible: best Buffer alternative for managing multiple social media accounts
Sendible and Buffer are rather similar. Both are straightforward social media management tools catering to small businesses. However, Sendible is the better choice for social media marketers seeking to manage multiple accounts.
Sendible’s Traction plan costs $76/month (annually) and includes up to 24 social profiles. In contrast, Buffer’s top-tier plan costs $100/month (annually) and allows for up to 10 profiles. That said, Sendible offers better value for money in this regard. Other notable features include social media monitoring, client and team collaboration, custom approval workflows, and more.
Drawbacks: Sendible does not support Pinterest. There’s no 24/7 support available in any of its pricing plans.
Supported platforms: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business, YouTube, WordPress.
Pricing: Plans start at $25/month (annually, for one user and 6 social profiles). There’s also a 14-day free trial available.
Sendible vs Buffer
- Features: Sendible includes slightly more collaboration tools (client dashboards and the ability to leave comments under tasks). However, unlike Sendible, Buffer also features an AI-powered assistant (currently in Beta).
- Analytics: Buffer is more comprehensive in analytics and reports. The platform leverages Machine Learning (for Instagram only) for suggestions like best time to post or ideal posting frequency. Custom reports are also available in Buffer’s entry-level paid plan. This option is only available in Sendible’s top-tier package.
- Ease of use: Both platforms are highly easy to use, but Buffer scores slightly higher on G2 in this department.
- Pricing: Buffer is more affordable, but considering its per-social channel pricing structure, Sendible brings better value for money. For instance, Buffer’s Essential plan costs $30/month (annually, for one user and six channels). In contrast, Sendible’s Creator plan costs $25/month (annually, for one user and six channels).
Takeaway: Sendible is one of the best Buffer alternatives for small businesses seeking to boost their social media presence across multiple social networks.
5. Agorapulse: best Buffer alternative for social inbox management
Agorapulse is a social media management tool that handles social media monitoring, scheduling, reporting, and more. The platform allows you to easily schedule the same post across multiple social media platforms and optimize it for each channel before publishing.
One of Agorapulse’s key features is its inbox management system. The platform’s Inbox Assistant will automatically organize and label incoming messages based on specified criteria and assign these messages to the appropriate team member. Other notable features include team performance reports, approval workflows, and calendar notes.
Drawbacks: Lacks Pinterest support. Some essential features (like collaboration and bulk publishing) are reserved for upper-tier plans.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Google My Profile.
Pricing: There’s a free plan available to one user. Paid plans start at $49/user/month (annually).
Agorapulse vs Buffer
- Features: Agorapulse’s features are more extensive — it covers bulk scheduling and approvals, Google My Business review management, spam management, and more.
- Analytics: Both platforms deliver in-depth information on the performance of your social media strategy (engagement, impressions, boosted post performance). However, Agorapulse also includes team performance reports. In contrast, Buffer provides Shopify analytics, unlike Agorapulse.
- Ease of use: Both platforms are easy to use. They have a roughly similar rating in this department, with Buffer winning by a small margin.
- Pricing: Buffer is significantly more affordable.
Takeaway: Agorapulse is among the best Buffer alternatives in terms of inbox management. The platform’s automated Inbox Assistant, large variety of available inbox filters, and labels, allow social media marketing teams to easily organize messages and promptly respond to inquiries.
6. CoSchedule: best Buffer alternative for content planning and marketing
CoSchedule is a straightforward marketing tool that allows you to easily plan and publish content across the most popular social media platforms through its intuitive calendar.
The platform also includes numerous work management capabilities — you can assign tasks to team members, define task priorities, set up recurring tasks, and more. Other notable features include an email subject line tester, a headline generator, color-coded calendar labels, and an AI-powered writing assistant.
Drawbacks: The free version only supports Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest.
Pricing: There’s a free version available to one user and two social profiles. Paid plans start at $29/user/month (annually, for up to ten users and ten profiles).
CoSchedule vs Buffer
- Features: Buffer is better for managing social media management processes — it supports more social media platforms and includes engagement tools (like AI-powered comment detection), as well other social media-specific tools. CoSchedule’s email subject line tester, headline generator, and writing assistant make it more suitable for blogs and email marketing.
- Analytics: CoSchedule covers limited analytics compared to Buffer (it lacks hashtag and audience demographics reports, for example). However, CoSchedule does include team performance reports.
- Ease of use: Both platforms are praised for their ease of use.
- Pricing: Buffer’s paid plans are more affordable.
Takeaway: CoSchedule is one of the best Buffer alternatives for those who focus on a broader content marketing strategy that goes beyond social media posts. For instance, the platform is also suitable for planning and creating blogs, then promoting them across multiple channels, like social media and emails.
7. Zoho Social: best Buffer alternative for analytics
Zoho Social is a social media management solution catered towards solopreneurs and small businesses. The platform allows you to collaborate on and schedule posts, monitor and respond to comments from multiple platforms, and gather in-depth analytics — Zoho’s main strength.
Zoho allows marketers to track social media performance across multiple platforms. It reveals information specific to each channel, like review trends for Google Business Profile listings or your LinkedIn followers’ job titles, seniority levels, or industries.
Drawbacks: Limited post customization options across social channels (no option to tweak image/video size).
Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Google Business Profile.
Pricing: There’s a free version available for one user and 7 social channels. Paid plans start at $10/month (annually).
Zoho Social vs Buffer
- Features: Zoho includes more collaboration tools (built-in messaging and discussion threads). It also offers bulk scheduling. However, Buffer gives you more options for customizing posts across different social channels.
- Analytics: Unlike Buffer, Zoho also generates reports for YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.
- Ease of use: Both tools share similar scores in terms of ease of use.
- Pricing: Zoho’s paid plans are more expensive. However, the paid entry-level package includes up to nine channels.
Takeaway: Given its versatile reports and in-depth platform-specific analytics, Zoho is among the top alternatives to Buffer for small agencies seeking to keep a close eye on their social media campaigns.
8. Loomly: best Buffer alternative for social media content creation and scheduling
Loomly is a social media management tool that allows small and mid-sized agencies to boost their social media efforts through the platform’s audience targeting tools (available for Facebook and LinkedIn), approval workflows, automated publishing, and more.
Loomly is among the top Buffer alternatives for content creation and social media scheduling. For one, the software’s entry-level plan, which costs $26/month (annually), allows for up to 10 social channels. Loomly also includes a media library, post mockups, and automatic post optimization tips — something which Buffer lacks.
Drawbacks: Users report that creating and scheduling social media posts can be slightly cumbersome — you can’t drag and drop photos or videos into a post. Post creation is divided into a step-by-step process.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Business Profile, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok.
Pricing: Loomly starts at $26/month (annually, for two users). There’s a 15-day free trial available.
Loomly vs Buffer
- Features: Loomly includes more collaboration and post creation functionalities (comments, mockups, content libraries). However, Buffer includes AI-powered comment detection and integrates with Canva.
- Analytics: Unlike Buffer, Loomly lacks custom reports. Buffer also covers demographics reports. However, Loomly does allow you to automatically schedule reports — not possible with Buffer.
- Ease of use: Both share a roughly similar score on G2, with Loomly winning by a small margin.
- Pricing: Loomly is more expensive and doesn’t offer a free version. However, considering that the entry-level plan is available for up to two users and ten social profiles, Loomly may bring better value for money.
Takeaway: Due to its large selection of supported networks and post creation functionalities, Loomly is among the top Buffer alternatives for small and mid-sized businesses seeking to enhance brand awareness through content.
9. Later: best Buffer alternative for Instagram and TikTok
Later is an easy-to-use social media tool that handles planning, scheduling, content creation, and more.
Although this tool supports various major social media platforms, most of its functionalities focus on Instagram and TikTok — you can analyze Instagram Stories performance, get insights on TikTok demographics, and manage Linkin.bio pages across both platforms.
Drawbacks: Support for other networks outside TikTok and Instagram is rather limited — the social inbox is only available for Instagram and TikTok, for instance.
Supported platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest.
Pricing: Later starts at $33.33/month (annually, for three users and three social accounts per platform). There’s a 14-day free trial available.
Later vs Buffer
- Features: Later allows you to search and share user-generated content, unlike Buffer. Later offers ideal posting time suggestions for TikTok and Instagram — Buffer only offers this functionality for Instagram. Buffer offers AI-powered tools for all channels, while Later’s AI caption writer is only available for Instagram.
- Analytics: Buffer includes customizable reports as well as LinkedIn reports and boosted post analytics (for Facebook and Instagram), unlike Later. Later makes up for it with TikTok analytics.
- Ease of use: Both platforms share the same score in terms of setup and ease of use.
- Pricing: Buffer is more affordable and includes a free version, unlike Later.
Takeaway: Later is one of the best Buffer alternatives for agencies focusing their social media marketing campaigns on TikTok and Instagram.
FAQs about Buffer
Which one is better Buffer or Hootsuite?
It depends. Buffer is a solid choice for freelancers and small business owners — it offers a free version, while paid plans are rather affordable and cover all the key features (campaign analysis, post scheduling, post optimization).
In contrast, Hootsuite’s functionalities are more advanced (includes paid social advertising, bulk scheduling) and cover in-depth team management capabilities — perfect for large organizations.
Is Buffer really free?
Yes. Buffer offers a free version available to one user and three social media profiles. However, the free plan is rather limited in features. Planable’s free version gives you access to all of the platform’s features (except Twitter publishing) and allows you to schedule up to 50 total posts.
Is Buffer a good platform?
Yes, it’s a solid entry-level platform. Its main issue is that although it offers many functionalities, they are relatively shallow. For instance, you can invite team members to your workspace, but the platform lacks the option to leave comments next to each draft. For that, consider other Buffer alternatives like Planable.