Buffer vs Later: Deep Review
If you are thinking of automating your social media marketing efforts, this Buffer vs Later review is for you.
If you have a business, whether it is ecommerce, SAAS, or a brand; you are going to need a social media automation tool.
It would be impractical to manage multiple social media platforms manually, especially when there are so many.
On the other hand, no matter how deep your pockets are, you don’t want to spend a fortune on task delegation either.
Buffer and Later are two excellent social media management/scheduling software that I’ll be reviewing in this article.
After reading this Buffer vs Later comparison, you’ll have the clarity of mind you need to make a confident decision.
Let’s get started.
Buffer vs Later: Pros and Cons
- Buffer has a user-friendly, pleasant interface that makes it easy to use.
- Anyone can use the software effectively, whether you have a technical background or not
- Buffer is regularly updated, so if you don’t have a feature you would want at the time of purchase, chances are you’ll get it down the road
- You can seamlessly connect Buffer with several apps
- The pricing of Buffer is based on the “pay what you use” model. So, you don’t have to invest in a feature that you don’t see as beneficial for your business
- The basic Pro plan is suitable for people with a small budget
- Buffer offers analytics, allowing you to make data-driven social media marketing decisions
- The optimized timing feature takes care of the posting time if you don’t know when to post
- You can tailor your posts for each individual social media platform
- Buffer is cost-effective if you stay on the basic Pro plan
- Ideal for Instagram; using Later, you can post on Instagram automatically
- Later offers tools that will help you create content for your social platforms
- You can easily upload media to Later (drag and drop); it’s ideal when you want to show multiple visuals
- Later allows you to pre-schedule Instagram stories, a feature that’s rare in similar tools
- You get effective analytics for Instagram, something that’s not available in others
- You can save groups of hashtags in Later, allowing you to use them in other posts
- Later notifies you when you go overboard with Instagram hashtags
- Later is very easy to use
- It has a newsletter that provides helpful insights about Instagram marketing
- It’s cost-effective for small businesses, solopreneurs, and influencers
- The tool has an easy-to-use link in bio
- Analytics and community management require the added expense
- The advanced plans are quite expensive
- Buffer doesn’t have a media library
- It seems to lose connectivity with Facebook and LinkedIn frequently (you can easily reconnect though)
- The free version of Buffer is limited
- Later doesn’t offer LinkedIn scheduling
- It offers Instagram story posting, but only via mobile phone
- Later is more focused on Instagram; it would be great to have more features for Facebook and Twitter
- The free version of Later isn’t very useful
- Later is not ideal for video posts
- It offers limited analytics
Buffer vs Later: My outcome
Buffer and Later both are industry-leading social media automation tools. Both maximize your social media marketing results and offer analytics to let you take data-driven decisions.
While Later is lighter on your pocket, ideal for Instagram, and friendlier for single users, Buffer allows LinkedIn scheduling and Zapier integration.
If you are focusing on Instagram, and if you are in a tiny budget, the best choice for you is Later.
On the other hand, if you want to expand your social presence on other platforms like linkedin and want more features; then Buffer will be your best buddy, even if it is a little bit more costly.
So, there are pros and cons of both automation tools. You just have to decide which one is more in line with the needs of your business.
Why Do You Need to Use an Automation Tool for Social Media?
There are multiple reasons you need a social media automation tool if you want to promote your business on more than one social media platform.
A survey shows that consistency is an important reason why people continue to follow a brand.
So, it’s important to post regularly to keep the prospects interested in your business.
But, it could be a little difficult to go through with monotonous, repetitive tasks associated with social media management.
But, it’s so expensive to hire someone to do that as well.
Plus, they require little to no effort, except content creation, of course.
An automation tool lets you pre-schedule social media posts for specific times. Plus, with such tools, you can optimize your content based on the engagement you receive from your audience.
Automation tools like Buffer and Later not only save your time but also allow you to monitor multiple social media profiles in one place.
You don’t have to log in to multiple social media accounts separately.
Let’s get started with the Buffer vs Later deep review.
Buffer Vs Later: Deep Review
Dashboard and Post Scheduling
Let’s see how both tools look like from the inside.
After signing up with Buffer’s free plan, you’ll be asked to connect your channels.
You can connect up to 3 accounts with 1 profile on the free plan.
After adding a channel, hover your mouse over time and you’ll see the “Schedule a post” option.
Just create the post and set the time you want the tool to publish the post on.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
You can add more social media accounts in the pro version of the software (more on this in the pricing section).
Let’s see how Later’s dashboard looks like.
After signing up, you’ll be asked to connect your Instagram profile.
You’ll then have to provide a little detail about your profile.
Its dashboard is quite user-friendly.
Drag and drop an image and click on it once it’s uploaded. You’ll be redirected to post creation.
You can then create the post and schedule the date and time for the post.
That’s it. It’s fairly easy to schedule a post in Later, but not as straightforward as in Buffer.
Later offers a “social set” in the free plan, where you can add 4 social profiles. “Add-ons” in the paid plans allow you to increase the social sets if you want.
Both Later and Buffer offer cost-effective basic plans. However, pricing for both tools differs for advanced plans.
It’s important that you have an idea of the different pricing models of both tools before deciding.
Let’s now see the pricing details of both software.
“Buffer Pro” and “Later Starter” plans would be enough for you if you don’t have a team.
The free plan of Later offers 30 posts per social profile. It is more generous than Buffer’s free plan, which offers only 10 posts per channel.
With the Starter plan of Later, you can schedule 60 posts per social profile, while Buffer offers 100 posts per social channel.
The price of basic plans is somewhat similar; however, the upper-tier plans of Buffer are significantly more expensive than Later.
Instagram Direct Posting
Instagram’s strict API restrictions make it difficult for most tools to directly publish on the platform.
Thankfully, Buffer and Later allow Instagram direct publishing as they are trusted by Instagram.
So, if you opt for any other social media management tool, you won’t be able to publish directly to your Instagram profiles.
With Buffer and Later, you can even automate the first comment on your posts.
However, make sure you have an Instagram business account as the direct-publishing feature is only available for business accounts.
Later is more focused on Instagram; so, it would be a better option if Instagram is your preferred social media platform.
LinkedIn Post Scheduling
LinkedIn is a great B2B marketing platform. Depending on your business, a lot of your target audience would be present on LinkedIn.
So, it’s an added benefit when a social media management tool allows you to schedule a LinkedIn post. Unfortunately, Later doesn’t have that feature.
Thankfully, you can use Buffer to pre-schedule your LinkedIn posts.
As far as integration with Zapier is concerned, Buffer takes the lead. While Later doesn’t have Zapier integration yet, you can easily connect your apps with Buffer.
So, if Zapier is something you consistently use, Buffer is clearly a preferable option for you.
Buffer vs Later: Usability
Buffer is quite easy to use, and you won’t require any technical support for it. However, there are a couple of areas that could be improved.
The tool doesn’t offer analytics even in the paid subscription. You have to buy it separately. Plus, you are not able to automatically post to Instagram in Buffer.
Later is a little easier to use than Buffer. The visual planner portion lets you see how your images will look like. Creating and scheduling posts in Later is incredibly easy.
Buffer vs Later: What to Recommend
Buffer is an impactful social media management tool for small companies. A team of few social media marketers will find it a cost-effective tool.
Its Pro plan costs only $15, in which you can connect 8 social media accounts and schedule 100 posts per account in advance.
If that’s not enough, you probably should consider its advanced plans.
Later is highly recommended not only for businesses but for solopreneurs or influencers who want to automate their social media posting.
Later offers 60 posts per social profile at $12.5 in its starter pack, which is good enough if you are running a small company.
For larger companies, Later’s higher-tier plans would be more suitable. Plus, the tool offers add-ons for social sets (4 social profiles per social set) and users (one user in its started plan).
Buffer vs Later: Return on Investment
With Buffer, you’ll be able to achieve your social media targets quickly. You can easily achieve a certain number of followers on Instagram or any other goal.
The overall efficiency and effectiveness of social media posting improve with Buffer, so, if you have the right strategies in place, you’ll receive a lot more than you will invest in this tool.
Later makes your social media posting workflows pretty efficient. It saves your time and energy, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
It’s difficult to calculate the ROI, but the productivity achieved with the tool makes it worth the investment.
Buffer vs Later: Support
While it may not seem like the most important factor at first, customer support is often the most important aspect of any online tool.
Let’s see what you can expect from the customer support teams of both the software.
The support of Buffer is quick and responsive. You won’t have to wait for a long time to get a response to your problem.
So, you can count on Buffer’s customer support.
The team at Later is probably going to respond faster than any similar company in the market. It isn’t only providing software, Later also offers detailed tutorials, marketing tips, and advice in their articles.
You can subscribe to their email list and get valuable insights about growing your business with the software. So, the support of Later is reliable and helpful.
Social media active users are projected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025. As a business or a marketer, you just can’t ignore this huge potential.
However, it would not be practical to manually post on every social media platform, especially when there are so many.
Tools like Buffer and Later streamline your social media efforts. And, by automating social media management, you can focus on business-related activities.
Both the tools are effective at what they do. The choice, as previously discussed, will ultimately depend on your requirement and preference.