Product Review: Sprout Social

by Stacey Alexander on July 20, 2011

in Social Media

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A few weeks ago, Sprout Social reached out to us to try out their tool for a review. We signed up for their free 30-day trial and played around with it using our Media Two accounts. This post is a review of the tool.

What is Sprout Social?

Sprout Social is an all-in-one tool that combines social media monitoring, response capabilities, and reporting. It includes the following 8 sections:

  1. Dashboard – a summary of clicks, follower demographics, engagement and influence scores, and more.
  2. Inbox – a list of all mentions, check-ins and follows as they come.
  3. Twitter Feed –  a Twitter application that allows you to see updates, create lists and flag messages for followup.
  4. Contacts – a place to organize all your social connections, add notes, set reminders and track complete communication history.
  5. Smart Search – a monitoring feature that helps you find targeted customers using location, interests and profile information based on search terms.
  6. Locations Manager – a feature that keeps you up to date on check-ins, including alerts and analytics on influential customers, first-time visitors, busiest days and more.
  7. Schedule – a feature that allows you to schedule posts to your social networks, whether one time or recurring.
  8. Reports – a set of custom reports for Twitter, Google Analytics and Facebook fan pages.

Pros

Sprout Social offers one place to do most of the social media management tasks.

  • The searches include web and social mentions of keywords, and business search – which you can use to do competitive analysis.
  • The reports use custom date ranges and can be branded, and allow for data export.
  • The scheduling feature will suggest optimum times to post based on responses you’ve received on previous posts.

One cool feature is that you can set tweets to post based on your RSS feed so that a tweet will go out when a blog post is published. This is among all other Twitter features. Anything you can do on Twitter, you can do on Sprout Social – including respond to Foursquare and Gowalla check-ins.

Cons

Unfortunately, Sprout Social doesn’t offer any sentiment analysis at this time. Nor does it offer branded link shortening or URL tracking parameters.

Overall, this is a great product, especially since the business account is only $49/month (personal account is $9/month). For us, we need some of the features offered by other tools that aren’t present in Sprout Social. However, I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to do some discovery on their brand or a competitor’s brand. It can pull in a great deal of information, as well as deliver some useful reporting.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan Siem July 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

Oh, the ability to post based on your RSS is awesome! I can imagine it simplifying our process a lot if we were able to schedule messages to post once scheduled blog posts went live.

Also love the feature that suggests times to post based on engagement stats.

With so many competing tools out there to test, it’s helpful to have this concise review.

Thanks, Stacey-bean :)

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Stacey Alexander Stacey Alexander July 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Thanks, Morgie. Glad you liked it. :)

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Adam Covati July 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

Thanks for the great review Stacey, it’s always helpful to hear what qualified, experienced people think of the products that are out there.

Morgan, I know of another social media management app that does RSS posting *cough cough* ;)

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Stacey Alexander Stacey Alexander July 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Adam, I don’t think we knew that. :) But I am now super stoked to figure out how to use that.

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Morgan Siem July 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Same here, Adam! Good to know! Guess what I’ll be testing this afternoon? ;)

By the way, great to see you at the AMA Facebook Camp yesterday. Great presentation, as always. I have some notes from you session here: http://www.mediatwopointoh.com/liveblog-from-triangle-ama-facebook-camp

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Tessa Auza July 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for an awesome review of Sprout Social, Stacey!

You brought to the forefront the lesser utilized RSS feed in our Discovery feature. Being able to tweet with folks checking in is one of my favorite features in Sprout Social!

I do want to clarify about link shortening. You are able to create shortened links in both the Compose message box and our bookmarklet. Also, in your Settings, you can attach your bit.ly link API into app. We are able to track your links/clicks – as long as they are created within the Sprout Social.

If you (or your readers) have any questions about Sprout Social, I’d be more than happy to answer them here or at support at Sproutsocial.com. Thanks again!

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Stacey Alexander Stacey Alexander July 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Thanks, Tessa. What I should have said was branded shortened links. I’ll change that in the original copy. Unfortunately, we can’t use the bit.ly integration feature because our clients have purchased branded shortened domains. Great point, though. And that’s a good feature to have!

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Tessa Auza July 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Ah ok! True, I’ll have to tell the team to look into branded shortened links if they aren’t checking it out already.

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lauren July 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I used sprout social and in two days it totally changed how i control social media for my site. There are only two key things missing:
1- The ability to send new followers on twitter a DM when they follow you. I hate having to pay for another service just to get that one piece.
2- The ability to load scheduled post from a csv file. Right now im currently using hootsuite for that.

But the insight, directions and user interface is awesome. Def on the right track!

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