Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Reasons Why Sprout Social Is My New Favorite Tool

Those who have been following my blog read last week that I was pretty happy with CoTweet to manage and "toggle" between my account and Tribarter, whose Twitter account I have been managing since early December. I'm still happy with CoTweet, but things changed a bit, as I am soon to be tweeting and doing Facebook brand management for a new client! This starts next week, and in preparation, I've been "free trialing" around to familiarize myself with free or low cost solutions to managing multiple clients. CoTweet as of now still connects only with Twitter.

So, all that led me to a trial I'm enjoying now with Sprout Social, which I had read about but never launched into until now. I see what all the raves are about. Sprout Social has a great interface, with easy to read pop up icons, a choice of views in many instances, and the ability to add up to 5 identities (10 with a premium packages- $50 monthly). Since I now have enough identities to rival Sybil (just kidding!) I chose the 5-package version. So far, here's  a quick review of 5 of the features I really like:

The Settings Menu for Sprout Social allows for a lot of customization

The discovery agent has sophisticated filters for People, Business, and Keyword searches
*Easy to set up new accounts: You start with your Twitter account, and Sprout takes you through to the others, in this case Facebook - profile page and FAN, and Linked In. Foursquare and Yelp are also options with the premium package. It took me all of 5 minutes to set up my profiles, and Tribarter's. When I have the new account next week, I can simply click on "New Account" and it will walk me through the process, and I'll be able to add the FAN page for the new client onto my dashboard. The video below is a tutorial illustrating how to set up new accounts.
Note: I didn't see options for YouTube or Flickr in the mix, perhaps these are on the way?

This video illustrates how to set up new accounts with Sprout Social

*Detailed Contact List: I was super impressed with not only the viewing option for your Contact list (these would be your followers), but also all the information that appears in the Grid view, including the numbers of people these contacts are following and are followed by, their tag line and company information, and their photo.  Click on a selected Contact, and you get even more information, including their recent tweet history, a link to their web site, what contacts you have in common, and even a cool little box to write your own private notes in, which you can also schedule a reminder to yourself for any day of the year on a pop up calendar.

*Cool Schedule Tool for Promotional Content: In addition to regular status updates, the scheduling tool allows you to preschedule promotional messages for a specific date one time, or as recurring updates as well. I could see this working well for birthday announcements for your friends, or event reminders.

*Detailed Reporting Features: There's a wide range of information available that details user activity and engagement, for a variety of time periods ranging from the last 7 days, to any customizable time period. It provides info on number of clicks, level of influence, as well as mentions, retweets, and replies. There's also an export function that allows you to download a PDF report of all the info.

*Extensive Search with Discovery Menu: Users have the choice of People, Business, and Keyword searches -- so there's a lot of choices in the menu. Under the Business Search agent, you can even compare local businesses with their competitors -- this is huge for a client like the one I have coming up, which is a brick and mortar operation in a small geographic area in the south.

I know this is just the tip of the social media management iceburg, as these tools, while relatively simple to use, are rather far-reaching and complex when you really see what they can do. I researched some of the user reviews, and there's plenty of positive buzz, not only about the application,  but the developer and support teams as well. I hope in a way, I don't need to find out, but it's good to know they're there.

How about you? What's your favorite social media management tool?

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