Sprout Social Review: Can It Stand Up To Other Social Management Tools? We Investigate

Need to streamline your social media marketing? Looking for a comprehensive automation tool? Read our expert's review of Sprout Social to see if it's one of the best or just average.

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Katie Horne
Katie is a C# developer-turned-technical writer who loves the Oxford comma, NYT Crossword Puzzles, and knitting for no reason whatsoever. She has a love/hate relationship with JavaScript and thinks that package managers are the bees knees.

Last Updated on August 5, 2020

Sprout Social is a marketing management tool aimed at helping individual entrepreneurs, small and growing businesses, full-service and niche agencies, as well as enterprise corporations, integrate and partner with social media platforms.

Instead of updating and working with every single one of your profiles individually on the providers’ websites, you can use Sprout Social as a one-stop location where you can manage everything associated with your social media marketing, including content curation, publishing, scheduling, and reporting and analytics.

sprout social review

Supported Integrations

Currently, Sprout Social supports integrations with these social platforms:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Features

The goal of Sprout Social is to make it easy to manage your social profiles and to see which marketing actions you take are effective.

View all Sprout Social features

Smart Inbox

Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox collects all messages sent by people to your social accounts.

This allows you to view everything in a single spot, instead of having to log in to each platform to view messages.

You can mark messages complete, which removes them from focus, tag and filter messages, and monitor for keywords, hashtags, and more.

To the right of your Smart Inbox is a panel with quick statistics, which tells you how many items remain in your inbox and how many new items have appeared each day over the past 90 days.

Monitor What People Are Saying About Your Brand

The Smart Inbox’s monitoring tools allow you to keep track of what people are saying about your industry and your brand.

You can monitor for news items based on keywords, hashtags, locations, and more. To uncover and track trends, you can use this data to create customized reports.

Automation

Sprout Social comes with several automation tools to help you interact with your customers more effectively.

  • Bot Builder: the Bot Builder allows you to create social chatbots that are capable of responding to direct messages on Twitter and Facebook Messenger; their responses are predetermined based on customizable workflow, so your bots won’t be sending out unapproved messages
  • Sprout Queue and ViralPost: Use the automated scheduling tools to reach your audience when your users are most engaged. The Sprout Queue allows you to keep a list of scheduled items to go live in the future, while ViralPost analyzes your audience engagement to optimize the time when you send out posts
  • Advanced Twitter Automation: streamline your conversations and measure your performance with Suggested Replies to incoming Tweets and Twitter Feedback. See quantitative scores on how your interactions with people are measuring up. (This feature uses Sprout Social’s machine learning algorithm.)

Remember, everything that you send out via Sprout Social is automatically saved, so you can refer to it as needed anytime in the future.

Team Collaboration Tools

Sprout Socials’ team collaboration tools allow you to split up the work involved with managing your social profiles.

You (and your teammates) get live activity updates so nobody will act on something that’s already completed. You also get an audit trail, so you know who replied to a message, tasked, or marked a message as complete. And Sprout’s message tags and helpful, so that you can specify what should be done with a given item in the Smart Inbox.

You can also collaborate on items that require input from multiple people — not everything has to be done by only one person.

You (and your team) can save and edit drafts until it is ready to be published.

Publishing Tools

Sprout’s Compose window allows you to publish to your profiles easily. You can schedule posts, add things to your queue for later publishing, edit your content (including images), manage and approve content created by your teammates, and add tags to your messages (both incoming and outgoing) for better organization.

If you have any assets that you use regularly, you can store them in Sprout for easy access whenever you need.

Publishing Calendar

To see the spread of your content publishing, Sprout Social comes with a visual calendar that includes titles and images or thumbnails of videos. Everything shows up, so if there’s too much content in one period of time and not enough for another period of time, you can easily reschedule content.

Note: Sprout uses the term scheduling loosely. With ViralPost, Sprout is capable of determining when a certain post should be published based on when it thinks it will be seen by the highest number of people.

Third-Party Integrations

Sprout Social isn’t limited to just social media platforms. You can integrate with Zendesk or UserVoice and manage your support tickets with Sprout Social as well.

Reporting and Analytics

Sprout Social comes with a full reporting suit.

These services allow you to uncover actionable insights via analytics and data tailored to what you want to know.

You’ll get message-level insights, access to custom URL tracking, analyses based on tags you’ve used, and so on.

If you have an existing internal system or reporting dashboard, you can take advantage of Sprout Social’s API to collect logs and run extended analyses.

Some of the reports included in the Reporting Suite include:

  • Engagement Report
  • Sent Messages Report
  • Twitter Trends Report
  • Facebook Competitors
  • Instagram Profiles Report

In addition to the built-in data gathering tools in Sprout Social, you can leverage data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Visit Sprout Social

Mobile Apps

To keep you productive when you’re on the go and away from your computer, Sprout Social offers apps for Android and iOS.

The full-featured apps allow you to access full publishing capabilities, edit content, and share content that you’ve curated.

You’ll also be kept informed as to what’s showing up in your Smart Inbox, so you can manage your messages, assign tasks to your team, and so on.

Pricing and Billing

All new Sprout Social users get a free 30-day trial. Afterward, there are three different paid subscription plans from which you can choose. All are billed monthly on a per-user basis.

The entry-level plan gets you:

  • Complete social media management
  • All-in-one Smart Inbox
  • Monitoring of profiles based on keywords and locations
  • Task management tools
  • The ability to publish, schedule, draft, and queue posts for all your accounts
  • A social content publishing calendar
  • Tiered reporting
  • Ability to link up to 10 social profiles

The mid-range plan gets you everything in the entry-level plan plus:

  • Tags and other organization features for the Smart Inbox
  • Reports on trends, engagement, team, and productivity
  • Approval workflows and audience targeting
  • Campaign management tools
  • Benchmarking
  • Support for up to 15 social profiles

The top-tier, enterprise-ready plan includes everything mentioned plus:

  • Advanced customer care tools and reports
  • Advanced keyword listening
  • Ability to build custom chatbots and access to automation tools
  • Custom URL tracking
  • Storage space for images and other shared assets
  • Shared report delivery and access to the reporting API
  • Support for up to 20 social profiles

If you want support for additional profiles, but you don’t want to upgrade to the next plan up, you can purchase support for additional profiles (up to a maximum of five).

Note that Sprout Social also offers a very simple, low-cost option for those who are just getting started with using a social media management tool.

You’re welcome to change plans at any time, and because you’re billed on a monthly basis, you can cancel without worrying about long-term contracts. If you do opt for an annual contract, you’ll receive a 10% discount off the cost of your subscription.

Browse Sprout Social plans

Customer Service and Technical Support

Sprout Social’s customer service team can be reached via its help center, live chat, Twitter, and more. The options that are available to you can be found in your user dashboard.

For those with SLA agreements, Sprout offers daily, weekly, and monthly breakdowns of its uptime and downtime (if applicable).

Summary

Sprout Social is a powerful, all-in-one management platform that helps you manage your social media marketing effectively and increase results.

Key features include a Smart Inbox to manage all of your communications in one place, workflow tools to divvy up work among your team, automation, organization tools for everything that comes in and goes out, and robust reporting and analytics features so that you know what works and what doesn’t.

If you need to streamline your social media tasks, and you want insight into what to improve,  Sprout Social is worth a look.