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Sprout Social: A Social Media Management Mega-Tool

October 29, 2010 1 comment

Well, it’s Day 5 of the ChatterBachs Product Review Week… and I’m tired.

Enough about me, though, we’ve got another social media tool to review.  And today’s featured product is Sprout Social.

Sprout Social was created for small business owners to be able to use their time more efficiently.  The company was just launched in October 2009 and got its first round of venture capital in May 2010.  Sprout Social is currently a company with 12 employees, but they will be adding more, particularly developers and customer service managers.

There are a number of cool features with Sprout Social.  I’m not going to take time to cover them all, but I do want to highlight a few.  One of the coolest is the recurring message feature.  Let’s say that you want to post a certain tweet every Tuesday because of a weekly special, you can set this up in Sprout Social for that day of the week at a specified time and not give it a second thought.  Sprout Social believes that this is particularly powerful for restaurants and other brick-and-mortar establishments that have weekly specials.

Sprout Social is loaded with statistics and graphs.  I like that is assigns engagement and influence scores.   The engagement score is an indicator of how much one is conversing with their audience, while the influence score gauges the growth of the social media profile and its audience’s interest level.  Follower demographics and a weekly scorecard are also provided in a colorful, graphically-pleasing, and easy-to-read format.

You can also see Twitter followers/following on baseball card-style profiles.  Their name, Twitter name, followers/following, location, and bio are right there for ease of reference.  From the profile you can then make decisions on following.  In fact, Sprout Social creates a record of this decision with the date; you can add notes (such as “met at the national conference in October” or “James T. introduced us yesterday”) to this as well for your own record-keeping.  Additionally, you may make decisions on lists they should be added to.

Sprout Social also offers discovery agents where you can search on keywords, monitor articles about a business or industry, or even find Twitter user based on bio information.

Sprout Social also ties in with Yelp and Foursquare; in fact, even as I was writing this blog post, I received an update that they are now integrated with Gowalla.

Sprout Social has different membership levels and offers a 30-day free trial.  If you’re currently using HootSuite or Tweetdeck, it’s worth taking a look at Sprout Social.  The only real negatives that I could find in my experience of test-driving Sprout Social are that scheduled messages can only be delivered in 15-minute increments (for example, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45) rather than every 5 minutes and the scroll-down bar seems to move a lot more than what is necessitated by what’s on the screen at times.  I found these two items to be only mildly annoying; otherwise, it’s a fantastic user experience.

I’d like to thank Tessa Auza (@SproutSupport) and Justyn Howard (@Justyn) of Sprout Social for giving me guidance on the tool and helping me to understand its features.

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