3 Things You Must Know About Sprout Social

Welcome to episode 235 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.

Episode 235 is going to be all about Sprout Social. As you may know if you listen to this show on the regular, in the last few months, last couple months, we’ve done here and there a couple of reviews of different networking … I’m sorry, social media management tools. We’ve talked Buffer, we’ve talked Sprout Social … I’m sorry. We’ve talked Buffer, we’ve talked Hootsuite, we’ve talked Edgar, and today we’re going to talk about Sprout Social.

I really like Sprout Social, it’s a great tool. It’s a bit more of an investment than Buffer or Hootsuite is, but it’s awesome. I’m going to talk to you about why it’s awesome in just a few minutes. Heads up, if you have not yet joined us for Social Pro, don’t get left behind. Don’t get left out, SocialProOnline.com. The cart is going to be closing soon. Be sure to check that out. If you have any questions about it just drop me a note. Hello@TheStaceyHarris.com. Drop me an email, let me know what your question is about it and we will talk, we will chat, we will figure it out. Sound good? Sound good? All right.

I think that’s all. Oh, I also wanted to let you know, if you love this show and you want to listen to me even more often, I have another weekly show that I just launched with my co-host and biz BFF Brandy Lawson called, “Your Biz BFF.” It’s a weekly show. We talk about all sorts of business, and marketing, and community focused stuff. If you want to know why this show exists, listen to the first three episodes. In episode four and episode five, which are also up now, Brandy talked about some automation and some tech stuff, which is really, really cool. Also she apparently talked about my yodeling career, which you’ll have to listen to the show to find out what the heck I’m talking about.

If you are on iTunes or Stitcher you can just search, “Your Biz BFF,” or if you go to the show notes for this episode of this show, TheStaceyHarris.com/episode235 I’ll have links so that you can check it out over at The Biz BFF Website. That by the way is a second business … It’s a joint venture along with Brandy, and a really, really cool thing if you want to check that out. I really encourage you to, cause I know a lot of you who listen to this show will also love that show, and that community which is brand new, and now is the time to join. That’s that. We’ve got Social Pro, talked about Biz BFF’s, let’s talk about social. What do you say?

Three things you must know about Sprout Social. I want to first start with, what the hell is Sprout Social? If I don’t tell you what it is, then you’re not going to care about two and three, right? Sprout Social is a social media management software that you can use to manage, guess what? Your social media. It covers a plethora of platforms we’ll talk about in just a second. It’s got some really great features, which we’ll talk about in a second. Really what it’s all about is putting your social media in one place, so that you can go in, and you can engage, and you can track.

The thing I like best about Sprout Social is A, the customer service. I’ve always, always, always had such a great response with them when I have an issue, or I have a question. They get right back to me, and we get it fixed. You can’t ask for anything more than that. Then the other thing I really like is it’s really, really clean and simple the way it works. It’s laid out very well, it’s got a great user interface, it’s got great analytics and things like that. Again, we’ll talk about that when we talk about features in just a second. It’s a really, really great way to manage your social if you’re ready to up level. It’s also really, really powerful if you’re working with a team.

If you may have a VA who helps with your social media, or you have a social media manager on your team but you want to be able to get in, you can add team members and you can actually assign tasks within Sprout Social, so you can actually assign them. “Hey, pay attention to this,” or, “Hey, can you follow up with them?” What I find most powerful, is your VA or your social media manager can send those things to you, that need to be escalated, so to speak. If there’s something that they can’t solve, not a simple question. It’s something that it’s the kind of question that you prefer to answer personally, they can sort of bump that to you and you can see that. You’re good to go, you can respond. You can engage, you can do all of that good stuff. It’s really, really helpful to have something like a social media manager and software like Sprout Social in place, when you’re managing your social media alongside with a team member. Whether it’s a social media manager, or a virtual assistant, or whatever. An intern, whatever it is that you’re using to outsource.

It’s a really powerful option, versus having them A, have access to all of the inside of your stuff. B, not kind of knowing … That’s when things fall through the cracks, is when it’s not clear who has handled what, or what the heck is going on. That’s what Sprout Social is. Again, it’s a social media management software.

Number two what I want to talk about is I want to talk about some of the features that it offers. It’s really, really powerful. One of my favorite features is something they call, “Smart Inbox.” What it does is it brings all of your messages, your replies, your comments, your re-tweets, things like that, from the different networks into one place. Instead of going from Google Plus, to Twitter, to Instagram, to Facebook, to whatever, to read your messages, and your replies, and when you were tagged, or re-tweeted, or shared. Instead of having to hop around from place to place to find that thing, you go right into the smart inbox and you can check it out.

It will actually view the messages from Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Instagram. Especially, I think it’s especially valuable with Instagram. If Instagram is one of those places where you’re having a really hard time keeping up with your notifications, especially as your audience grows larger and larger, having something like the smart inbox is really helpful so you can make sure that you’re engaging back to those comments. The best way to get engagement, and the best way to keep engagement is to engage back, respond to people when they say stuff. It’s really, really awesome that you can do that in one place.

Also what’s cool about the inbox, bringing in that team play, that team piece again, is you can actually mark messages as complete. It will show team member one, it will actually say their name. “Susie replied to this,” or, “Joe replied to this.” You can see who is doing what, also really helpful if an issue comes up later, you can sort of see who replied. You can see, visualize your progress, you can compare incoming message volume with completed messages from previous day, or week, or hours. You can see if you’re getting more messages or less messages. You can tag and filter messages so that you can say, “Hey, so and so needs to pay attention to this.”

Also in your smart inbox, you can monitor things like keywords and hashtags. I love this because it’s a great way to monitor your brand. Meaning you can put your business name in there, a hashtag you use for your company, and keep an eye on that stuff. This is really powerful if you’re doing any sort of keyword research for Instagram or Twitter, and you want to kind of see what kind of content is going up on a hashtag that you’re thinking about using, or you want to see how popular it is, or things like that. Monitor it for a little while using that monitoring system, and that information will show right up in your smart inbox. Basically you’re going one place.

Again, crazy powerful. You’re just going one place, getting in there, getting what you need, and getting the heck out. That’s really, really cool. Again, it allows you to manage it from a team perspective. It allows you to assign and manage tasks to different people, so if you need to worry about a certain kind of message, then that goes to you. This is really, really powerful if you’re doing any sort of customer service through your social, which happens. Especially as your brand gets bigger it’s, “Hey, I couldn’t download this. Hey, the links not working.” These things will come to you via social more and more often as your brand gets bigger and bigger. Make sure that you are ready to support that by having a system in place that you can A, monitor those messages, but also assign them to the people that needs to see them.

If you monitor the engagement on your social but that stuff gets handled by your VA, you can assign that tweet, or that Facebook message to your VA, and she can handle that and respond. Easy breezy. Yeah, you’ve got the smart inbox, you’ve got some monitoring, you’ve got a CRM. Again, monitor Twitter keywords, trends, Instagram keywords, I mentioned that in the smart inbox. There is a CRM element, personally I don’t love it. Basically what it does is it just shows you your social engagements of the past, and kind of gives you a break down of their follower counts, and their information so that you can kind of see what they’re doing on social, you can kind of get a picture.

I think in most cases this is used to see how credible, or how, air quote here, how, “Important,” someone is. I find it interesting to be able to see the past engagement, but I don’t worry too much about sort of grading whether the person is worth me responding to. I do like that you can, again, bring in those team pieces though, so that you can connect with different people. You can actually schedule and publish through Sprout Social. Instead of going in and scheduling things to the different places, you can schedule and post to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your Google Plus page right from Sprout Social. Again, if you have a VA in place, you can actually make sure that they upload it, and then you have to go and give them permission for the post to actually go through. You go in, you approve everything. This is a great way to streamline the approval process. They go ahead and just put everything right into Sprout Social, you can go in and approve or make tweaks.

What’s also cool is you can schedule one piece of content to go out different times. You can schedule a tweet to go out on the first week, the second week, the third week, and the fourth week at different times on different days. You’re not having to recreate that Tweet. Especially when you’re talking about doing webinar promo, or a Twitter chat promo, or promo that has to happen over and over again, you can break it up so it’s far enough apart that it’s not repetitive, but you don’t have to go in and schedule it six times over six weeks, very cool.

You can also, there’s a calendar layout which is really cool so you can kind of see where different things are going out at different times. Again, there’s that team element there with the approval process. Best part of Sprout Social though, one of the most important reasons to up level and invest in something like Sprout Social, is the analytics. You will actually get reporting right in Sprout Social. You can get a group report, an engagement report, a team report, a Facebook report, a Twitter report, a trends report, a Twitter comparison, a Twitter listening report, Instagram profile report, your Google analytics, and your sent messages.

You can actually see the kind of people that are following you on Twitter. Their demographics, their age, their gender, their location, their languages. You can actually see your Google analytics tie in. Where is this actually sending traffic to my site? It’s really, really amazing, the information you can get. Again, you’re getting it in one place. Easy breezy, you’re diving into Sprout Social and you’re getting all of the information you need.

Again, really powerful if you have a team in place. You can go in and again, see that team report, see who’s doing what. You can also, they can export or report to you, and you can kind of monitor your investment. You can monitor your investment in this tool, your investment in your team, and making sure that you’re really seeing the results you want to be seeing from your strategy. This gives you a really, really easy way of keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening, so that if you need to make tweaks, you can make changes easily.

Now, as far as a mobile, a lot of people ask me if there are apps. There are apps, there’s an IOS app and an Android app. That’s something that Edgar doesn’t have. I mentioned Buffer has one, again, Hootsuite does have apps. Sprout Social also has apps, again, IOS and Android. If you prefer to work on mobile you can absolutely. You can publish on mobile, you can check out your smart inbox on mobile. Now, because it’s mobile you do have a smaller range of your features. You don’t have everything that you have when you jump online. You can publish, you can check out your smart inbox, which is for me, the things that I want to be able to do on the go. Cool? Cool.

All right, so the third piece I want to talk about is pricing. The reason I want to talk about that as the third thing is because Sprout Social is a larger investment than Hootsuite or Buffer. It is. However, you’re getting a lot more than you’re getting with Buffer or Hootsuite in the sense of your analytics, and for my money, the UI. The team element, it’s a really, really powerful tool, especially if you’re using the free level of Buffer on Hootsuite currently. You’re going to get a lot more features when investing in Sprout Social.

I will say though, like I say every episode, the reason there are a ton of these tools is because everyone’s going to have their personal preference. Find and use what works for you. None of them have any value if you’re not going to use them. Find and use what you’re actually going to use.

Now, Sprout Social comes in at three levels. There’s a deluxe, a premium, and a team level. The deluxe level is $59 per user per month. If you’re going to be adding in that team element and you want to have your VA, or your social media manager, who or whoever. It’s going to be $59 for each of you per month. That’s per user per month. That allows your social inbox, real time brand monitoring, publish, schedule, and drafting, comprehensive reporting, and managing up to ten profiles. Again, you need to know how many profiles you’re going to be using. In most cases, deluxe will cover you.

Number two, premium. That’s $99 per user per month. You have all of the deluxe features, plus publishing send time optimization. Meaning it will tell you based on your information when the best time for you to send that is, and it will send them then. You have some advanced reporting, you also have a help desk integration. If you are doing a lot of customer service stuff, that’s going to be really powerful, and you can manage up to 20 profiles.

Team is really built for more like the enterprise user. You have all of the deluxe and advanced features, you have … I’m sorry, the deluxe and the premium features. You have some advanced publishing permissions, you have some additional support, custom branding, and you can manage up to 30 profiles. That one is $500 per month, but that gives you access for three users. Depending on where you are in sort of your growth scale, you can file into one of these places.

For my money, for my advice, Sprout Social is not the first tool I would suggest using. If you’re brand new to starting use in a management system, you’re just getting started with really going pro with social, I wouldn’t necessarily just jumping on Sprout Social. Things are really great at up level, but get into really good habits so that you’re utilizing a Buffer or a Hootsuite kind of tool first. Once you’re really maximizing those tools, and you’re seeing … You know, “I want to have better reporting, I want to add to my team,” things like that. Then jump into something like Sprout Social.

Again, I would suggest it as an upgrade versus a where you start out, because of the price point, but also because of the power. When you first start out it may overwhelm you because you’re just not at that place yet, okay? All right, so that’s the show, that’s Sprout Social. We covered what it is, we covered some features, we covered the pricing. I do, I really do think it’s a great tool. One thing that’s missing from Sprout Social, and I meant to mention this earlier, is you can’t do … It’s right around the price point, it’s about $10 a month more than Edgar is. However, it can’t do what Edgar can do as far as the library of content that you can recycle, which is why I love Edgar, is the reason why I use Edgar. I really, really, really wish Sprout Social would do that. I would happily pay Sprout Social more to do that too. They don’t do that.

If that’s something you’re looking for, you need to look at like Edgar, or Social Oomph for that as a resource. Sprout Social doesn’t offer that. I did talk to them via Twitter the other day, and it’s not coming soon or anything. Hopefully one day, okay? All right. Thanks guys for listening. Again, if you want to get any of the things I mentioned on the show as far as Sprout Social, or Social Pro, or Biz BFF’s, check out the show notes page, TheStaceyHarris.com/235. I’ll see you next time, bye.

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