As a busy community manager who handles several brand accounts at once on a limited budget, I am often looking for free or inexpensive tools that bring me the most bang for my dollar, and when I do stop and spend some of my budget I do so carefully. One of the tools that I have loved using for the last year has been Sprout Social. It is my affordable tool of choice!
The Price – I have been using this tool to meet the needs of several small businesses. If you are a small business you can give it a try for 30 days for free-no credit card required (affiliate link)If after the 30 days you like it the fees start at $39 per user, and grow from there.
Great Features– Sometimes it’s hard to remember every conversation you had with a customer. With the history function you’ll be able to check past conversation with your customers. What a great way to show your appreciate to a customer by remembering every conversation! Then of course there is a search tool as every good management tool needs one. Managing multiple social media accounts like I do hashtag community management or tracking, keyword monitoring, built-in RSS reader, boomarklet for easy sharing, engagement analytics and reporting, conversation history, scheduled publishing and more. The ‘smart inbox’ is the single biggest time saver if you actively manage multiple accounts.
Know Who the Influential users are: A star by a person’s account means they have influence.
The Analytics- At month end it is nice to be able to send my clients and in-depth report of engagement, and even a comparison against competitors.
Delegation- Sprout also provides the ability to assign tasks. If you have multiple users managing your social media accounts, you can use this feature to delegate follow-up and assign tasks to team members. Which can definitely come in handy in team situations.
Location Manager – It’s a feature that allows you to find out who checks-in at your location. I don’t use it but I just registered a location to review it. (will update about this soon). What I notice is you’ll be able to find influential people who checks in.
Mobile Apps– they have Android and iOS mobile apps for iPhone and iPad that are feature-rich and deliver almost all of the functionality of the website.
Certain features are slow – I find some features are some rather to slow to load, and on a busy day of community management I wish it was a bit faster.
With the New Facebook Graph – Would love to see this fully integrated into the suite.
Comparing to other management systems
For the price point. Sprout is the most valuable tool in my social media tool belt. While there are other enterprise platforms out there that do all of this and more and I have used them, I like Sprout’s feature-rich capabilities and price point make it a solid tool for many organization’s social media management efforts.