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Tool Tuesday: Sprout Social


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I have about  A LOT of web-based apps I am using to help make social media tracking easier. Which is why is started “Tool Tuesday”, because I think you, ,my awesome readers might like to know what the experience is like before they plop down their own cash or spend their own time. But the thing is, I’m using so many that I’m getting to the point that I wonder if its getting harder to get easier. But I digress. One tool that I do find myself using regularly is SproutSocial I’ve been using it since about February. I wouldn’t say that I am CRAZY about the tool – but I do go to it regularly enough to share it with you.  You can take it for a test spin for free, but I did upgrade my membership to the professional edition for $92/year.

So without further delay, here’s the SproutSocial scoop as I see it.

What I like:

Interface: Slick interface, easy to see information at a glance. The widgets on the dashboard can be moved around so you’re dashboard reflects the information of the highest priority to you.

Inbox: This is a useful tool as I can moderate Twitter, Facebook (pages and profile)  mentions of my handles as well as business name. I was also grateful to it when I switched my Twitter handle to @taracoomans I could monitor mentions to that old handle easily. I can also view LinkedIn alerts from the “inbox” as well.  The inbox also captures Twitter RT (which Hootesuite does not) so when someone send a RT without the RT tag, I can still catch it.You can also “Flag” messages for response. This is particularly helpful is you are working with a team of people to monitor and respond to tweets.

Contacts: I love that when I click on a contact, I can see the conversations I’ve had with the person. This is probably my favorite feature. Whether you are tracking a twitter account for a business or brand or yourself, seeing a history of conversations is pretty great. Another feature that is “nice” is that  I can also add details like email and phone and note to a contact, but I have to do that by hand..and really..when am I going to do that..and why?   This has serious potential, but as of right now, its pretty static. How about downloading these conversations?   I would get really excited if it were were integrated with Hashable, which attempts to show the depth of  your social relationships. I also notice that the “Contacts in Common” isn’t totally accurate. Not sure how much I care about that, but when I see that, I wonder what “other” glitches there are that are effecting the information I am seeing and using..and in this case, paying for.

Schedule: Like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can schedule tweets from Sprout Social. But what’s unique is that Sprout Social shows you the best times to schedule a tweet to get the most visibility. My guess is that it does this based on past tweet times that generate the most engagement. Although I don’t actually schedule tweets from Sprout Social, I do like this feature. I also think its cool that you can schedule a recurring tweet as well. Again, I don’t use this, but I can see the usefulness of this, particularly for events or tweetchats or similar.”Schedule” also lets you post your RSS feeds if you’re into that sort of thing.

What’s “Meh”

Engagement/Influence Scores: Do I really need ANOTHER one? On the other hand, if your just using “Influence” scores to measure your own effectiveness, then I guess this is helpful. But, they don’t really tell me what they measure, so its difficult to compare how this influence/engagement score compares to others and why theirs is more valuable to me than others. All in all, its a wash in my book.

Reports: Pretty basic stuff. I can get this information and more from my Twitalyzer account. Not only that, but when I export the reports, it comes to me in PDF version. I’d really rather have it in a spreadsheet format. It makes it easier to compare information over time. Another thing that kind’a chaps my hide is that it tells me how many clicks I’ve had, but not what tweets were most popular. What good is knowing the quantity without putting into perspective? I’m not running a popularity contest – I’m looking for good, hardcore data that tells me what my particular audience digs. Also, for those of you who run reports for clients, Sport Social’s aren’t white labeled. That may or may not be important to you..but if it is, its kind’a a deal killer.

What do you guys think? Are you using Sport Social? Agree or disagree with my assessment?

6 comments
Tessa Auza
Tessa Auza

Kalin & Tara,

We really do try to practice what we preach about wanting our users to be able to interact with their clients and customers. I found this review by using Sprout Social. :) Feedback and suggestions are always welcome!

Thanks,

Tessa

Kalin Dudley
Kalin Dudley

Tara,

Thanks I check out Actionly, there's another one though I came across which I was referring too but completely forgot the name. If I find it, I'll let you know!

@Tessa,

I am impressed with you taking the time to respond to the post and it was helpful for me to learn more about it. I am researching tools and that alone impressed me, it's so interesting that very few social media offerings rarely practice what they preach!! If I do use the tool, I'll definitely keep you posted on how it goes...

Mahalo,

Kalin

Tessa Auza
Tessa Auza

Thanks so much for writing up this review Tara! We always appreciate insight and feedback from our users.

I just wanted to clarify a few points:

- We agree that while the Contacts section is pretty helpful over all, it will improve in our upcoming changes. I'm going to share your Hashable idea with the rest of team. I like it!

- To explain about Engagement and Influence: You can see an explanation of the scores as you roll over them in the dashboard. Simply put. by providing an engagement score we give you an idea how much you speaking with, not to, your audience. I personally subscribe to the view that everyone I speak to is a potential "influencer" but by having an idea of your own and your followers Influence score you can prioritize where you want to spend your attention and time.

-Reports: We will be adding a couple different formats for printing out your reports. Also, you can see your most popular tweets and their performance in terms of RTs and Clicks in the Sent Messages section of your Inbox.

I hope that clarifies some points. If you ever have any other questions, just feel free to contact me either via twitter @sproutsupport or email: tessa@ sproutsocial.com

Thanks again Tara,

Tessa Auza
Community Manager | Sprout Social, Inc.

Kalin Dudley
Kalin Dudley

Tara,

How I love Tool Tuesday!!! Thank you for the post, this tool looks very interesting and definitely going to explore some. Based on your recommendation, here's things that I have been frustrated with in regards to other tools:

Influence / Engagement

You convinced me on this one in past conversations that this cannot take into consideration offline influencers who are simply "spectators" online. Also, doesn't take into consideration possible influencers who view content and don't necessarily share at that point. Almost like talking about Attribution Reporting for online sales, how do you know a search would happen without a display ad sparking interest? Same thought here, how do you know you haven't engaged with an influencer if their engagement isn't immediate? Hope that makes sense...

Reporting

I am with you on this one, how tough is it to get an .csv export option?? My issue with PDF is that it prevents any adjustments made by the user so you mostly end up taking screenshots for your own reports.

I also had another question for you, used a tool in the past that measured sentiment... which I hate automated measurement... but this tool had an option to get the sentiment reviewed by their team manually. I never got to test that option but very interested, however I can't remember the tool. Any ideas??

Thank you again for another great post!

Kalin