Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of taking Sprout Social’s all-inclusive social media management tool for a test drive. With all the different social media venues available today, performance tracking can be a difficult task. Sprout Social takes care of this by compiling all your social platforms into one convenient interface. The purpose of this post is to reveal my findings to give you a better idea of what to expect from this awesome software as a service (SaaS).
At the corporate level, companies often struggle with rationalizing the value of allocating time and energy towards social media, Twitter in particular. This is primarily a result of the lack of understanding in regards to social metrics and insufficient tracking. However, Sprout Social puts an end to all this by tracking useful metrics, such as engagement and influence, over your social networks. As the alter ego for the @PPCHero and @SEOBoy Twitter handles, I can tell you that this program was helpful in a variety of ways. Here are some pros and cons that I came across:
- Connecting all of your accounts in one convenient interface.
This is my favorite aspect of this SaaS. Through their guided process, you can connect your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and Google Analytics accounts together in one place. This is helpful because it eliminates the need to micro-manage your individual interfaces from different places, which can get confusing! With Sprout Social, syncing your accounts becomes as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Detailed reporting that is meaningful to businesses.
As internet marketers, we are constantly digesting and analyzing numbers in order to look for ways to improve quality scores, rankings, etc. This is much easier said than done when it comes to tracking the performance of social media. Sprout Social provides you with helpful metrics for tracking performance, such as engagement and influence.
Your engagement score is an indicator of how well you are communicating with your audience. The higher your engagement, the more valuable your audience will become to your business.
Your influence is an indicator of your growth and the interest level among your audience. These numbers are commonly low, but increasing them over time will result in greater brand awareness and enthusiasm for your business.
In addition to these, they also provide you with other more common metrics, such as clicks, new followers and demographics. You can even present them to your boss or company with ease by selecting the “Export Data” button, which compiles your data as a PDF or CSV and presents it in a digestible format.
- Ability to easily create and automate your posts.
I can remember back when I created my first Twitter account. I had to painstakingly curate interesting posts and ensure that they were delivered throughout the day, which turned out to be terribly meticulous. However, Sprout Social enables you to send your message instantly, schedule a one-time or recurring post, and even set up RSS feeds for automated delivery.
What’s better is how easy they make it to create your posts. They have a “Send from Sprout” button you can drag to your navigation bar that creates the post for you. By clicking the button, it pulls bits and pieces of a page’s meta data and generates a headline for your post with link included. If you are using custom bit.ly URLS, these are also compatible with Sprout’s interface. All you need is to do is enter your bit.ly username and API key in the “Account Settings”, then you’re all set.
- Detailed message inbox and outbox.
This section is pretty straightforward, allowing you to filter your messages by incoming and sent messages. Within the “sent” tab, you can see all the messages you have sent, as well as the clicks, retweets and total reach. This feature can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to drill down to your tweets and see which posts are performing well and attracting the most attention.
- Easily locate and attract new followers.
Although I haven’t utilized this section to it’s full potential, Sprout’s “Discovery” tab can be an excellent resource for locating and attracting potential followers to interact with. The best part is how the interface does all the dirty work, performing the search for you.
- Compatibility with Google Analytics.
For those of you looking to go even deeper for a better understanding of your social media efforts in relation to your overall site traffic, Sprout Social is compatible with Google Analytics. In fact, you can sync your Analytics account with your social media handles to have that information included in Sprout’s interface.
More On Facebook
It’s no secret that Facebook is like an addiction for some people with endless status updates, comments and likes taking over every extra minute of the day. However, for the internet marketer, it is equally important to manage your time wisely while taking advantage of the traffic possibilities within Facebook. The Sprout Social application could be the answer to that time management quandary as it gives you the ability to setup an entire day’s worth of Facebook posts in one visit. Here’s a brief look at the Facebook tab and features:
- Ability to track Facebook performance, in respect to other social media venues.
Being that you can schedule things to be posted on your Facebook and Twitter simultaneously gives you the ability to look at data and know if one is outperforming the other or if both are bringing in equal traffic since blogs, etc. are fed out at the exact same times.
- Extremely insightful demographic info, etc.
The reports section has a ridiculously detailed amount of information about likes, comments, age groups, languages…and having all that data gives you the power to alter your activity to raise traffic in places where it’s needed. Take a look at the screen shot above and see for yourself!
To wrap things up, Sprout Social’s SaaS definitely has a lot of good things going for it. It is my hope that you might try it for yourselves and build off of what I’ve learned so far. In fact, I would recommend this program to any company, small or large, who is looking for a way to consolidate social media efforts into one convenient and easy-to-use platform. But you don’t need me to tell you, go try it out for yourself!
*Big thanks to Kayla Stockert, an account executive here at Hanapin, for compiling the “More On Facebook” section!*
Dave is an Assistant Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through pay-per-click advertising. Learn more about Hanapin Marketing's PPC management services.