Overall Satisfaction with Sprout Social
For the last two years, Sprout Social has been used mostly by me in my department. I have the Advanced plan. On my recommendation, one other department opened their own account and started using it a year ago with a Professional plan. Sprout Social has helped us put all our social media management in one place. Scheduling, community management and analysis all work together now, across all platforms, from a single dashboard. It has saved us time and increased efficiency and productivity as we engage with our social media community and map out our online strategy.
- Scheduling: you can see it all in one place, and schedule on all platforms from one place.
- Analytics: even without the Advanced Analytics add-on, this is one of the best tools I've used. My reports are detailed and specific, covering the essentials. And they are easy to create and customize.
- Smart Inbox: This feature is a lifesaver. You never miss a comment or conversation on any of your social platforms. Ever. The Smart Inbox catches them all and organizes them in one place within seconds. And you can directly respond to comments and messages right there. No need to visit the platform. Do it all from Sprout Social.
- RSS Feed: need to keep track of what your organization or others publishes so that you can find it and schedule posts to your social channels? This feature is perfect for that. I never miss an article our magazines put out or forget to share them online.
- Tagging is your best friend when it comes to Analytics. If you develop a standard tagging protocol for each post that goes out, you can get amazingly granular in your campaign analysis.
- Some of the limits of APIs can make some things clunky. For example, when scheduling a post, Facebook's API doesn't allow any prepopulated text in the scheduler. So If I want to share a link to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I have to add a couple extra steps in my workflow.
- If you don't have the volume of content or community engagement, this tool is expensive. Sprout Social isn't a "starting" service. It's the service for robust social media management.
- When clicking the "send to compose" from the RSS Feed feature, it automatically copies the link and first sentence or two of the post to the clipboard. However, I NEVER use that as the text I put with a social post. And in most cases, I've read through the article in the feed reader and copied the text I want to use. The auto-copy feature overwrites my text. So I have to open up the article in a separate tab, go back to the Sprout Social tab, open up the compose window, go back to the tab, copy the actual quote or section I want to use to tease the article, go back to the Sprout tab and copy it, then schedule it out. It doesn't seem like much, but when you are scheduling a dozen or more articles at once to your calendar, this process can add a lot of time and extra clicks. Which means more opportunities for user error! Sprout Social didn't use to do this. An update in the last year suddenly added this "feature"...
- The reports Sprout Social offers are great. However, there are very limited customization options. I often end up with PDFs that are longer than necessary because of the way the export feature creates page breaks and leaves space. And there's no way to resize or edit them. Additional customization would be very helpful. And I have a feeling that might be in the Advanced Analytics paid add-on... :-D
- We are a non-profit and we don't run ads or anything like that. The primary benefit so far has been an increase in the efficiency of scheduling and a better awareness of our social impact. We're in a heavy ramp-up phase this quarter though in our use of Sprout and should begin to measure more tangible ROI objectives.
I used Buffer previous to Sprout Social for two years. It was a good solution as we were getting a handle on scheduling content. It was the first real tool we had for this. But we outgrew it and they began removing features that were critical to our workflow, such as the RSS Feed. While their 50% off policy for non-profits was very helpful, once we started adding up the cost to use features like Replies and Analytics, we discovered that our needs were simply too robust for Buffer to handle. Sprout Social was the solution suggested by all our peers and we've been very happy with it ever since.
Do you think Sprout Social delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Sprout Social's feature set?
Did Sprout Social live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Sprout Social go as expected?
Would you buy Sprout Social again?
There is a learning curve to it. And it is so feature-rich that it takes time to find where things are and how to use them. Sometimes there are extra steps that seem to be unnecessary (like I mentioned about posts) or that could be streamlined. That's really the only reason I would say it's an 8. It can take a bit to learn and could use some streamlining. But man, it's still fantastic and the basics are easy to pick up and use right away.
Support is outstanding. They are always responsive. And if they can fix my problem, they do so right away. A couple of my issues have required a little research, but they get back to me within 24 hours for the most part. And if I see something that could be improved, they always pass that along to the development team.
Sprout Social is a supremely excellent tool for community management. With the Smart Inbox, you never miss a comment or interaction and it's easy to reply and engage in the conversation. With the Advanced plan, you can even have saved replies when you need to provide a standard answer to very common questions. If you have a live event or a post that is really blowing up with comments, the Smart Inbox helps you keep track of it all and respond in a timely manner. I'm trying to think of scenarios where I would respond with, "Oh, you don't want to use Sprout for that." But none are coming to mind as I write this. Perhaps that's because in the last two years I've shaped my workflow so much around what it DOES do, that I simply don't do the things it doesn't do. I'll have to think more on this one.
Sprout Social Feature Ratings
Evaluating Sprout Social and Competitors
Yes - We used Cision SE when I first started out. It was terrible. Scheduled posts regularly failed to post. The UI was clunky and not intuitive. I replaced it with Buffer. Buffer worked well for scheduling posts and see what posts were most popular. But deeper analytics and community management were not available at first, and when they were, they were much too expensive for what we were getting. And then Buffer made updates and removed features, impacting my workflow and greatly slowing things down for me. I began looking at other solutions. Sprout Social was the top one recommended by my social media manager peers.
- Product Features
- Product Reputation
Reputation and price were tied for first. I had to be able to afford it in my budget. And I needed to know that it would do what I needed. I started out with the 30 day trial, but more importantly, all my peers in the same non-profit space were using Sprout Social. Those that weren't were only missing out because of the price - they couldn't afford it right then. So I knew from them that it would serve our needs well.
Between the trial period, negotiations on contract length and price, and peer recommendations, I think I covered everything I needed to. Since then (two years ago), I have continued to be satisfied with the process and result. I haven't been able to think of anything I would have done differently.