Reviews and expert opinion Sprout Social

Ranked 3rd from 9 Social Media Management Tools
4.7
Features
4.8
Ease of Use
4.8
Reporting
4.8
Support
4.6
Pricing
4.4
Pricing
Premium $99
Corporate $149
Enterprise $249
Social media supported
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
Pinterest
Bethenny Carl
Bethenny Carl
Social Media Expert
Sprout Social is an excellent tool. Whilst the social listening feature could be improved, the user experience, publishing and scheduling, and reporting are hard to beat. On top of that, the customer service is second to none. I really like Sprout Social, but the price point is going to be a blocker for many smaller agencies, which is a shame.

Overview

An Efficient Social Media Management Solution

Founded in 2010, Sprout Social is one of the leading social media management tools, with over 25,000 customers. Different from Buffer or Hootsuite, Sprout Social is focused on a target market of businesses and agencies, and the features reflect that.

Sprout Social supports all of the popular social networks, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+, and Pinterest. You can monitor up to ten social profiles and by paying per user, you can create a plan which fits your business size.

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The prices are not for the faint hearted. Your organization will need to be serious about its social media activity. But if it helps to get you over the starting line, there’s a risk-free 30-day free trial.

The social media management tool industry is dominated by a handful of big players, but as you can see in my Hootsuite review, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Each tool has its own quirks, and the key to success is to find one that works for your business and your use cases.

This article is designed to dig into all the details, so you can find out if Sprout Social is the right tool for you. I’ll cover the features, the ease of use, pricing, support, and much more, to answer all of your questions and concerns.

Features

4.8
Sprout Social

An aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use interface

Sprout Social is a user-friendly all-in-one social media management tool, designed primarily for businesses and brands. Its suite of features is comprehensive, including social inbox, listening, analytics, and publishing.

Social Inbox and Engagement

Sprout Social manages engagement with its “Smart Inbox.” Probably one of the defining features of the platform, it’s a simple, intuitive way to stay on top of your incoming messages and industry trends.

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You can manage private messages, mentions, likes, and other interactions on your social media timelines. You can also customize it, split it into small inboxes depending on your needs, and create action items for each piece of activity.

Sure, if you’ve been active with Hootsuite or Twitter, you might be confused (at first) by the lack of side-by-side streams. However, once you’re over the very small learning curve, you will grow to love it.

Social Listening

Sprout Social’s listening enables you to track topics, keywords, tags, and hashtags in your news feeds. By allowing you to track topics across multiple platforms, you can see an overview of popular trends, volume, and sentiment.

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All of the basic listening features are certainly covered, but the feature as a whole could be improved. First, the smart search component could be better. For instance, as you can’t search only your own company’s content, you need to search through everything. This can mean a lot of scrolling. Besides, it’s not possible to print your results (unless you print the whole page). It’s also pretty inaccessible due to the additional cost to access the feature.

Publishing and Scheduling Posts

The beauty of Sprout Social is you can publish and schedule posts to multiple networks e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can choose to schedule your posts manually, or select Viral Post (Sprout Social will decide the optimum times to post), or add to the Sprout Queue for automated future delivery.

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The process of getting content to the point where it is ready to be scheduled requires a couple of additional steps. Ideally, the calendar could include additional functionality, like drag and drop to reschedule, and categories for organizing content.

Team Features

Sprout Social’s team collaboration features are good (but with a healthy price tag attached). You can apply tags and filters, assign tasks to team members, and analyze your team’s efficiency via the team report.

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There’s also a built-in approval workflow and a shared publishing calendar. No one would say that Sprout Social is a bad tool for teams, but unfortunately, the pricing structure is really out of reach for smaller teams and businesses.

Built-In CRM

Sprout Social is one of the few companies to have its own built-in customer relationship manager (CRM). The CRM works in a couple of ways to complement your social strategies. First, you can see a full background on your social connections and second, the search and discovery tools will help you find Twitter users to engage with, based on your past activity.

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Granted, if you were to compare the CRM with a pure CRM vendor (such as Salesforce or Hubspot), you’d find it lacking in features. But the bonus here is you get an all-in-one solution for your social media management and your CRM.

Optional Add-Ons

If Sprout Social’s default offerings aren’t enough enough for you, there’s a ton of optional add-ons you can buy. For instance, “Amplification” is an add-on which connects your brands to the social network of your employees. “Query Builder, Listener Dashboards & Insights” enables you to track qualitative, quantitative and contextual insights.

Ease of use

4.8
Sprout Social

Intuitive and easy to use

Sprout Social is slick, from its own website to the processes of creating an account and connecting a social media account. Both beginners and experts can do it easily, with no need to read tons of documentation.

Chat Bots

If your customer service is constantly fielding repetitive inquiries or you do a lot of lead generation for your clients, you could automate parts of your customer service with Sprout Social’s chatbot.

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Granted, it’s only for Twitter and Facebook (some other services let you install it on your website), but you can get set up within minutes using the bot building tool.

Suggested Replies

Have you noticed how your email provider is getting smarter and will make suggestions for how you should reply? If, like me, you’ve found that’s cut down your workload and saved you time, you’ll love Sprout Social’s suggested replies feature. It’s only for Twitter messages, but Sprout claims it will cut your response time in half.

Collision Detection

If you’re a busy agency, it’s likely you have multiple staff members working at any one time on your social media accounts. Sprout’s real-time collision detection means that you can see when someone else is viewing or responding to messages.

Analytics & Reporting

4.8

Powerful and detailed social media analysis

Arguably the best feature of Sprout Social is its extensive reporting. The reports are user-friendly and intuitive enough to share with clients. This is a huge timesaver for agencies, who can prepare regular reports with just a few clicks.

Analytics Dashboard

The Sprout Social analytics dashboard manages to achieve a balance of ease of use and comprehensive information. You can customise the dashboard by adding your own reports, or just leave the default view with includes a series of template reports designed by Sprout Social.

Reporting

You can use the default report templates or you can create your own reports  – all you have to do is drag widgets into the report section. For instance, you can add Facebook activity overview, or audience growth, or top posts by social media channel (yes, you can include different networks in one channel).

Unlike many other vendors, you can export to PDF and CSV, as well as email and schedule emails weekly or monthly. This is a huge bonus for agencies.

Apps and Integrations

The nice part about Sprout Social’s analytics is the option to show your networks individually, along with an overview across all of the social media platforms. Optional data includes Twitter and Facebook Activity Overview, Audience Growth, Posts & Conversations, Top Posts, Impressions, Publishing Behaviour, Engagement, Audience Demographics, to name a few.

Read my in-depth article on Sprout Social’s analytics and reporting.

Support

4.6
Sprout Social

Fast and friendly support, but it’s only available five days a week

Sprout Social does a great job at providing useful resources for you to solve your problems without having to contact support. There’s a series of webinar tutorials, which are between 15 minutes and 1 hour in length, as well as numerous video tutorials.

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If you need to chat with someone, you can contact the team via live chat, email, phone, or various social media channels. The business hours are round-the-clock Monday through Friday, and my experience overall has been good.

Live Chat

I sent the team a message via the live chat at around 4:00 PM on a Monday afternoon, U.K. time. The support agent responded within one minute and helped me straight away. They were polite and answered my question quickly and easily.

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Facebook

Despite it not being an official support channel, I sent a message via Facebook. I contacted the team late afternoon on a weekday and asked if it was possible to add multiple images to an Instagram post.

I received a reply within a couple of minutes, answering my question in full. As with the live chat agent, I was pleased with the level of service.

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Email

Finally, I sent an email to the email address listed in the website’s footer. I emailed around 3:50 PM on a weekday afternoon to ask how I could install my Facebook Ad account. The reply was slower than live chat or Facebook, but I received an answer in full in less than 20 hours. The support agent was polite and apologetic for the delay.

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Pricing

4.4

Other services are cheaper, but you do get a free trial

The bulk of this review has been positive. You’d be hard pushed to find many people who dislike the user experience or the feature list of Sprout Social. In fact, I’ve struggled to find many negative reviews online.

Except for…you guessed it. The price.

Sprout Social is expensive. Very expensive. There are three plans: Standard, Professional, and Advanced; none of which are cheap.

This is largely due to the high price per user. Every new user equates to paying the full monthly price again. So for large teams and agencies, this will get costly.

Payment is by any major credit card or PayPal, with a 30-day free trial including full access to all of the features.

 # of Social Profiles# of UsersSchedule Posts AvailablePrice
Standard51Unlimited$99
Professional101Unlimited$149
Advanced101Unlimited$249

Cancellations & Refunds

As Sprout Social allows you to sign up for a 30-day trial without a credit card, I wasn’t able to make a payment and get a refund. Nevertheless, I was able to test setting up an account and cancelling it shortly after. The whole process was easy and could be done via the dashboard, without any input from customer service.

Click here for a step-by-step guide with screenshots.

Premium

$99
/ Month
  • Number of Social Profiles
  • Number of Users
  • Post scheduling
  • Traffic & Conversion tracking
  • Exportable reports
  • Team approval workflow
Get Started

Corporate

$149
/ Month
  • Number of Social Profiles
  • Number of Users
  • Post scheduling
  • Traffic & Conversion tracking
  • Exportable reports
  • Team approval workflow
Get Started

Enterprise

$249
/ Month
  • Number of Social Profiles
  • Number of Users
  • Post scheduling
  • Traffic & Conversion tracking
  • Exportable reports
  • Team approval workflow
Get Started

Bottom line on Sprout Social

Sprout Social is an excellent tool. While the social listening feature could be improved, the user experience, publishing and scheduling, and reporting are hard to beat. On top of that, the customer service is second to none. I really like Sprout Social, but the price point is going to be a blocker for many smaller agencies, which is a shame.

Bethenny Carl
Bethenny Carl
Bethenny eats, sleeps, and breathes digital marketing. She helps clients take charge of brand awareness and create lead generation strategies via a number of marketing channels, including email, social media, SEO, and content. When not a marketing superwoman, you can find her playing with her three dogs on her five-acre property, or planting yummy treats in her vegetable garden. (She is also a bit of a Real Housewives junky, #guiltypleasure!)
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