Why I’m Obsessed with Sprout Social
If you follow me on Twitter, you have likely seen me profess my love for something called SproutSocial. SproutSocial is a social dashboard much like TweetDeck and Hootsuite but, in my opinion, vastly superior to its competitors.
The built-in analytics of SproutSocial is what sold me on the dashboard. Right when you log in, you see real-time data about your social presence: engagement rating, influence rating, follower demographics, as well as numeric changes in your following, engagement, message volume, and the number of mentions about you/your brand.
Individual Message Analytics
After using the tool for a while, I discovered a hidden analytic gem: SproutSocial gives you analytics for the number of clicks per link, retweets, and mentions that derive from each of your tweets. They also give you the option to sort tweets based on â€œbestâ€ (most clicks), â€œworstâ€ (no clicks, mentions, nor retweets), and most recently (the default). While these numbers are interesting for me as an individual, they have the potential to help a brand acutely tailor their content based on what their followers engage with most.
Awesome SproutSocial-specific features
SproutSocial also has some community management features that I have never seen on any other social client.
- List Addition Almost all social clients have a list addition feature. However, itâ€™s where SproutSocial integrates theirs that makes it immensely more useful; right when you follow someone, a window pops up asking to which list(s) you want to add that person. On top of that, it allow you to add a note. Since I meet a lot of new followers at conferences and networking events, I make the note right away so my future interactions with the person are always meaningful. This is the answer to the â€œI know I know this person, but donâ€™t remember howâ€ predicament. You also have the option to add this person to your address book, but I have not used this feature much so I canâ€™t tell you much about it.
- Notifications When I get a new e-mail, I hear a specific ding-y noise. When you mention or retweet me, I hear a similar noise. Whether Iâ€™m around my house or at my desk at work, I know immediately when I get an interaction on any account that I manage. Though this may seem a bit intrusive, itâ€™s an optional feature and I feel like it gives me the freedom to do other things without feeling like Iâ€™m risking my response time (since I manage brandsâ€™ Twitter presences, my response time is highly important). When you are already hanging out in SproutSocial, a little Apple-esque light illuminates under the account with the new message. For those who manage multiple Twitter accounts, youâ€™ll find this to be a time- and worry-saver.
My first interaction with Sprout Social was via Twitter; after reading about them in Crain, I had a question I wanted to talk to someone about. No sooner did my tweet to @sproutsocial hit the Twitterverse did my phone ring; it was Tessa from Sprout Social. She resolved me issue within minutes and invited me to tweet with them should I have and additional questions. She has even responded to tweets well after normal work hours.
Don’t believe me? Tweet at them @sproutsocial or @sproutsupport I have tweeted questions to HootSuite and Tweetdeck throughout my tweeting career and I have yet to get any response from either one. Customer service is a big deal to me, so Sprout Social wins major brownie points with me in this area.
Yes, you have to pay for it (about $9/month), but for all the reasons mentioned in this article, it is among the most value-packed paid dashboards I have seen. I am more than happy to pay the extra $3 more per month than what I was paying HootSuite for all the metrics and a prettier UI.
As @DavidKamerer pointed out to me just after I published this article, Sprout Social is a Chicago company! I love to support fellow Chicagoans and I first heard of Sprout Social in Crain’s Chicago Business newsletter.
Updates are not always very timely. I first noticed this when I was participating in a weekly #LATISM Twitter Party Doesnâ€™t always update quickly enough. A manual refresh option would be great.
Though I use SproutSocial to manage my personal social presences, there is one feature that Iâ€™d need in order to use it at the agency where I work: Tasking. HootSuite has a feature where several people have access to one brand; when you respond to a mention or direct message, it says who responded and at what time. If I see a message another team member should respond do, I can task it to them. Itâ€™s kind of messy for several people to manage a single brand without this feature. In the very near future, I am going to need to find a way around this.
The good thing is that the Sprout Social website says this feature is on its way.
No mobile app
To maintain continuity (and because I am not married to a single Twitter app), I would love for SproutSocial to come out with a mobile app. With this and the tasking in place, I would conduct 99% of my digital social life and work with Sprout Social. Until then, Iâ€™m still using it 75% of the time. I tweeted @SproutSupport and they told me that one is in the works. Score.
Have you used SproutSocial? Iâ€™m really interested to hear what other people think of this tool.