ContentCal compared to Hootsuite
9th December 2020
If you’re investing real time and effort into your social media strategy, you’re likely thinking about which platforms will efficiently grow your social presence. Do you go for something simple, like Hootsuite? Or is it worth looking into a tool that can do much more than just schedule content for you?
Hootsuite is one of the biggest names in the social media management world, having launched in 2008. Loved for its simplicity and with over 18 million users, the Hootsuite marketing calendar allows you to schedule, track, and analyze Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and YouTube.
The company has a good range of plans available: Professional, Team, Business, and Enterprise.
ContentCal has been on the market since 2016, created by a London social media marketing agency. While relatively new to the game, ContentCal comes with brilliant reviews, an excellent support team, and a whole host of tools to streamline your marketing strategy. You can connect Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and many more apps thanks to Zapier.
You can choose from a selection of plans: Essential, Advanced, and Expert.
One big plus about Hootsuite is its usability. The free version is a Hootsuite social media calendar, giving you the ability to schedule your posts. It’s a simple scheduler; add your content and select the date and time.
Once you’ve upgraded to a paid version, you’ll have access to a few more tools, such as Assignments and Analytics. When you first sign up for the Hootsuite social calendar, you’ll be walked through each step with a handy ‘Get Started’ feature. From here, you can easily connect your accounts. You can then upload your own images or choose from a content library, and select your date and time for publishing.
Your social media accounts are organized into Streams, similar to Tweetdeck and Trello. You can curate these however you like, giving you the freedom to work the way you want. There’s also an overview on the Publisher tab.
Content can be reused via the duplicate button, saving time with evergreen content, although it doesn’t yet have the technology to edit and repost your content automatically. You can drag and drop content if you need to quickly change your schedule.
Marketers have the ability to respond to mentions, comments, and DMs within the platform, repost content, and engage with accounts that have a large following. There’s also a useful search feature so you can check hashtags and specific search terms on each network.
Hootsuite’s Analytics gives you a range of metrics to check across different date ranges, plus create customizable and shareable reports. They are easy to generate and read, so will make light work of report generation.
It’s a very simple calendar and users will pick it up quickly, although it does require some time to tweak everything to your liking. Once you’re all set up, it should make scheduling your content across the different platforms more efficient.
ContentCal is easy to get your head around, as everything is pretty self-explanatory. There’s also a huge Help Center to walk you through every element, with tips on how to get the most out of the platform.
Once you’ve added your accounts, users, and assigned permissions, you can create content in a visual Calendar layout.
Each post will be color-coded, so you know the current state - Draft, Pending Approval, Approved, and Failed. You can add color-coded tags to your posts to group them into topic types, as well as save your most valuable hashtags. The drag and drop function is also a time-saver when it comes to reorganizing content quickly.
As well as scheduling content, ContentCal gives you the opportunity to centralize your marketing activity - so say goodbye to multiple spreadsheets and logins. Apps such as Google Sheets, Slack, and Trello can all be integrated with ContentCal using Zapier.
ContentCal Engage gives you one inbox that lets you see all conversations and reply as necessary.
The top toolbar lets you navigate the social media tool efficiently, plus select the account you want to work on - which is ideal for those with a long list of clients. You can also drop ideas into the Pinboard, create draft posts to come back to later, and plan content outside of social media, such as newsletters and blogs.
The unified inbox makes it easy to respond to messages, comments, replies, and visitor posts across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Upgrading to one of the top plans gives you access to Assignments, which can help organize your team’s workflow. If you have a lot of messages from customers that require detailed interaction, for example, you can spread these across your team to spread out the workload.
As far as analytics go, Hootsuite’s offering is impressive compared to some others in the market. The reports are fairly detailed, offer lots of different metrics for comparison and you can create your own reports with the stats that matter to you.
Social media monitoring
Hootsuite has basic social media monitoring capabilities, allowing you to track hashtags, keywords, and phrases.
The price point is just right for a professional or a small business, although you aren’t able to access all of the tools. If you’re looking for a simple scheduling tool to make life easier, the Hootsuite social media calendar will do the job well.
Limited access for lower tiers
The Hootsuite marketing calendar promises a lot, but ultimately, it’s expensive to get your hands on all of the tools available. The features in the free and Professional version are quite limited, giving you only a little more than some of the other free-to-use platforms out there.
The unified hub can be overwhelming
If you’re a small business just managing your own accounts, you’ll be right at home with Hootsuite’s one-screen hub. However, if you manage many clients, it can be overwhelming and feel crowded as there’s no way to separate them out.
It soon adds up
The Hootsuite social calendar is affordable on a small scale, but adding extra users, upgrading for more features and further analytics can be very expensive.
Users who’ve signed up for the free 30-day trial have been stung by an annual bill, rather than a monthly one. If you do sign up for a free trial and decide Hootsuite isn’t for you, be sure to downgrade and then delete your account to avoid a hefty bill.
Availability of support
Hootsuite has a huge customer base, so it’s rare that you’ll receive support in a timely manner. There are video tutorials and plenty of walkthroughs to see you through, though.
A unified marketing hub
Your team will be able to work on Calendars, share content from the Content Hub Library, plan for future campaigns, plus tackle social media responses in one place. This makes ContentCal ideal for agencies, freelancers, and social media teams.
Love sharing your evergreen content? The option to easily duplicate your posts means timeless content can be reused time and time again with just the click of a button. You can reuse content from the Calendar, or from the Content Hub Library where you can create and store template posts.
Plan for all content-types
Custom Planning Channels allow you to plan and generate content outside of your standard social media channels, creating a complete marketing hub. The Articles feature also allows you to fully prepare and store more long-form content such as blogs, newsletters, and press releases.
Responses made easy
The Engage feature lets you reply to comments, mentions, and direct messages all in one place. You can split the workload between different members of your team through assignment, plus keep internal notes on conversations to follow up on.
The Contributions feature is brilliant for larger teams, enabling you to create forms for colleagues to submit content ideas and suggestions for the marketing team to follow up on.
Availability of support
The ContentCal team prides itself on its customer service, with queries responded to within mere minutes during working hours.
On-boarding and team training
With custom plans and a team ready to set your business up, you will quickly become experts in using ContentCal.
The Analytics tab lets you check your progress overall, per social media platform, and across a variety of date ranges. Get information on your audience, track your engagements, and discover your top-performing posts.
Seamless content integration
Anything and everything your marketing team wants to work on can be stored in ContentCal, meaning spreadsheets, documents, and shared folders are a thing of the past.
Pricing is affordable and payments are made on a monthly or annual basis.
Although ContentCal has plans to change this in the future, the tool currently doesn't have any features that actually suggest content such as topics or hashtags to help unblock any writer's block. Keep an eye on the product roadmap to see what’s coming up and when.
As a free tool or for small businesses, Hootsuite will take the stress out of everyday life, allowing you to schedule your content easily. To take advantage of all the features, you will need to pay for it, but ultimately, experienced marketers may be left underwhelmed with what Hootsuite has to offer, even on the top tiers.
The number of negative TrustPilot reviews is worrying regarding payment issues, and the lack of support for paid plans doesn’t bode well.
ContentCal is an all-in-one-tool with no hidden costs, which can elevate your business to the next level. The availability of support is refreshing, with a dedicated team to assist you every step of the way.
Experienced professionals will be in awe of all the features, allowing you to delve deeply into your social offering and streamline your marketing workload.