Sprout Social Review 2014 – How do they compare to the rest?

Sprout Social Review

An increasing number of companies, organizations and one-man-band entrepreneurs are turning to social media as a marketing outlet. There’s also a movement toward using social media as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This Sprout social review is designed to help you decide if it is the right tool for your company.

The Dilemma: Multiple People Managing Multiple Social Media Accounts

Managing multiple social media accounts can be extremely time consuming. It can be downright complex in cases where you have multiple individuals managing multiple social media accounts. In fact, it can turn into a nightmare, where you have people stepping on each others’ toes in some areas, while in other areas, things fall through the cracks. This inefficiency results in lower-than-optimal productivity – extremely problematic in a business world where time is money and money is everything! This lack of coordination can also result in the appearance of a seemingly disjointed, disorganized operation – certainly not the face you should be displaying to the world! It’s difficult to mount an effective, well-coordinated social media or CRM campaign when you have multiple people who are dealing with multiple platforms.

Sprout Social is a platform that solves this dilemma.

 

Streamlining Social Media Management With a Host of Engagement Tools

Sprout Social is a powerful social media software program, designed to simplify and streamline the social media management process, particularly for those who are blending social media with their customer support or help desk. (In fact, the platform can be integrated with your existing help desk or customer support system.)

According to the company, the platform makes it simple to “engage, publish and analyze…Create an exceptional brand experience across networks. Sprout’s collaborative environment ensures smarter, faster and more efficient social communications.

It would appear that this claim is, in fact, very accurate. Some of the capabilities you’ll enjoy include:

  • Engagement tools that enable members to interact with their target audience and “route issues to internal systems,” allowing for the usage of social media platforms in concert with a company’s in-house customer support or customer relations division.
  • Publishing tools that make it simple to post messages via the most popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Analytics tools are one of their major strengths, as they offer an array of information that can be utilized to hone and refine your social media campaign.

The engagement tools provide your team with the capability to easily monitor your social media accounts and all relevant interactions. It’s an easy way for multiple individuals to monitor a company’s or organization’s social media accounts in one spot. In particular, these capabilities are ideal for a business or group that is seeking to improve its responsiveness to customer comments, complaints and inquiries via social media outlets.

 

What others are saying about Sprout Social Engagement ability

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User-Friendly Messaging and Assignment Features

The messaging system allows you to see all of your messages – from multiple social media accounts – in one spot. You can read and reply to these messages with ease from the interface. This makes for a streamlined messaging, since you don’t need to toggle between platforms to stay on top of your messages.

In addition, there is a task assignment feature that’s ideal for a company or organization that has multiple departments or team members in multiple locations. The task assignment feature doesn’t just allow you to assign tasks to a particular individual; it also allows you to determine who is currently available to interact via social media and it allows you to route messages to the appropriate team member.

 

Comprehensive Social Media Analytics

Via their analytics offerings, Sprout Social provides business owners and social media campaign managers with comprehensive information on your following on social sites like Twitter and Facebook. For instance, the dashboard provides you with all of the essential information you require to effectively manage a campaign and it’s all provided at-a-glance. For instance, in addition to viewing your account profiles and team members,  you can view information such as:

  • Volume of incoming messages and sent messages on social platforms
  • The number of new Twitter followers;
  • The number of new Facebook fans
  • Response rate and average response time;
  • The volume of social media interactions and the number of unique users who are involved in those interactions;
  • Social media impressions on Facebook and Twitter; and
  • Demographics on age and gender of your social media following.

Few platforms offer such comprehensive follower and fan data, making Sprout Social rather unique in its niche. You can view analytics for each and every account that you manage via the beautiful interface. You can also manage tasks and generate custom reports additional via the dashboard.

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Robust Publishing Tools

Another strength they have is their publishing tools, which have been well-developed to offer tremendous versatility. Of course, you can post to multiple social media outlets, but there’s also a “collaborative publishing content calendar,” which makes it easy to coordinate posting among multiple team members. This maximizes productivity because it serves to prevent a situation where posting opportunities fall through the cracks or a situation where team members are stepping on each others’ toes, when multiple people post the same basic message.

In addition,  the publishing tools allow you to post from a desktop or laptop computer, or from mobile platforms, such as a smartphone or iPad.

During this Sprout Social review we particularly fell in love with the scheduling capabilities of this platform. Sprout Social utilizes “ViralPost send time optimization technology” as well, making scheduling social media posts even easier.

 

Limited Platforms

The one downside is that Sprout Social is primarily designed for use with only the most popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. There’s no real accommodation for many of the up-and-coming platforms, and other popular sites like YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram although it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a feature that is soon to be integrated.

 

Free Trials and Pricing

Another negative point: there is no free version. Free trial aside, it’s going to cost you between $39 and $99 per month to enjoy all of these features. Compare to comparable platforms like HootSuite, where there is a free version and the “Pro” plan with lots of bells and whistles is just $8.99 per month. The pricing for the standard plan is $39 per user per month; the deluxe plan is $59 per user per month and the premium plan is $99 per user per month. This pricing system makes it  a fairly affordable option if you have just a few people. The platform is most suitable for agencies and medium sized to large businesses.

Sprout Social does offer free 30-day trials for all three plans – standard, deluxe and premium. Large companies and agencies can also request a demo, which can be quite helpful. There’s no credit card required to get your free trial and there’s no need to install any software, making it simple to walk away if you decide that Sprout Social’s offerings aren’t quite right for your business or organization.

 

Sprout Social Review: The final Verdict

In all, Sprout Social offers a robust set of social media management and CRM tools that are really ideal for groups of employees, corporations, agencies or simply a busy, on-the-go businessperson. If you are after a professional solution, this is the one for you.

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If you want to check out some of my other reviews or perhaps you are looking to create a shopping cart, please read my bigcommerce review

Rachael Zane

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon

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