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Checking Out Sprout Social

I’m giving Sprout Social a spin on a one month free trial.  Sprout Social is a social media tool that allows you to manage multiple accounts.  You can update and manage your Facebook profile, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Twitter accounts, and Google+ pages.

Some things that impressed me off the bat.

I really like the Smart Inbox.

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I can see all of my new follower updates, Facebook notifications for your profile and pages, mentions, retweets, etc all in one location.  You can also customize the inbox if there are things you do not want to see like.  For instance I’m notified of Facebook updates, but I filter them out when going straight to my “smart inbox.”

Also you can set up notifications for keywords in a way to follow a particular hash tag or see what people are saying about your brand.

I also like how it incorporates my Feedly account.

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It has a “queue” which is similar to Buffer having predetermined times posts will go out.  It is limited to 10 queued posts per day.  Premium users can have a feature that will analyze your social media accounts and determine the best times to schedule.  You can also schedule post at any time.

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I definitely like the reports feature for Twitter.  It also shares Facebook page stats, but it just synchs your page insights over to Sprout Social.

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You can also see how individual Tweets and Facebook posts have done:

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You also receive a trends report (with premium account)

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I also like how it uses bit.ly link shortener, and pictures are uploaded directly to Twitter so you can see the preview in Twitter feeds.

I like the Discovery aspect which allows me to easily see who is following me that I haven’t followed, people who have mentioned me or I have mentioned that I’m not following, it has a cleanup feature that allows me to easily stop following inactive accounts, and has a smart search feature that I can save in order to track hashtags or keywords.

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You can also RSS post as well.  You can add team members and assign tasks.  Basically this tool merges a number of different tools for Twitter that offer these types of functions into one.  Having a one stop shop is definitely attractive.

Some things that underwhelm me.

  • The basic account only allows 20 profiles.  That may seem like a lot unless you manage a number of accounts, especially when you factor in Facebook pages, LinkedIn and Google+ pages.  Premium accounts can have unlimited number of profiles.
  • The price.  A basic account starts at $59/month considering you pay only $9.99/month for Hootsuite and $10/month for Buffer with their initial premimum accounts it’s a hard pill to swallow if you are not used to shelling out more money for social media management.  A premium user is $99/month. (Update: They eliminated the basic account, and now people start at $99 for a premium user.  I was grandfathered in with the basic account.  Next level is a company level with three users which is $500.  They really should have something in between).
  • The mobile app does not give you access to the reports.  The mobile bookmarklet I incorporated into my iPhone and iPad Safari app is buggy at best.  It doesn’t work at all for my iPhone.  It’s not a problem if you’re using the RSS feed feature, but if you encounter a link some other way it’s a pain. (Update: solved the bookmarkelet issue, you have to sign-in to Sprout Social in Safari once that’s done it works fine.)
  • The queue feature doesn’t allow you to set up different times for different profiles.
  • You have to pay extra for team members.  Considering the monthly cost that’s unfortunate.

Overall it is a good tool for social media managers.  It offers more bells and whistles than necessary for personal use.  I’m only four days into using it, so I’m sure I haven’t explained all of the features offered.  So far I’m impressed, but I’m still not sure it’s worth the increasing what I’m already spending for social media tools.

Comments

  1. Great to hear that you’ve been giving Sprout a whirl, Shane! Thanks so much for sharing your experience so far here — excellent overview.

    I understand your concerns about our plans and pricing. We’re always assessing where we fit into our customers’ workflow and the market, and make adjustments accordingly. While we know we won’t always be the perfect fit for every budget, we’re focused on providing a great deal of value to business’ social media efforts.

    In regards to the iOS bookmarklet being buggy, I’m not experiencing the same issues on my end, so would love to see if our support team can help out and see what may be causing any issues for you. Feel free to shoot ’em an email at support[at]sproutsocial[dot]com and our team will look into it!

    Also, more Queueing options and customization are on the way. 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on Sprout!
    Brit Thompson | Social Marketing Manager at Sprout Social

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