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We rank marketing software according to 6 major factors; relevance to category, vendor reputation, ease of use, functionality, pricing & partner program strength. We seek to bring to our audience the most reliable and user friendly software that anybody can use.
1.) Social Media Management Software
2.) Social Media Monitoring Tools
3.) Social Media Scheduling Tools
4.) Social Media Analytics Tools
Most Popular Software
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Sprout Social Review
Sprout Social is a massively successful social media management software that enables you to get more results from your social media campaigns. So if you use social media for your brand or for your business, then you might benefit by learning more about Sprout Social. Sprout Social is more than just a social media automation tool. Sprout Social offers their services to over 16,000 customers, and have heavy hitting clients that you’ll learn more about in this review summary.
So whether you’re a tiny one-person startup, or a massive marketing agency with several team members, then Sprout Social is scalable enough to help your business get more traffic, please your clients, learn more about your social media demographics, offer better customer service, and of course help get superior results on your social media channels.
Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox tool is going to save you a ton of time and frustration if you ever offer support, close sales, or interact in any way on social media. That’s because if you interact and communicate with your fans and customers manually, you’re never going to be able to effectively manage your messages without going insane. That’s why Sprout Social centralizes all of your social media inboxes, so you can finally brainstorm and talk one on one with your social media fans across all networks, from one handy dandy dashboard.
If you’re part of a team, or have virtual workers, then you might want to learn more about Sprout Social’s collaboration features. So you can assign tasks, communicate with your team, monitor activity, and you can even integrate with Zendesk and UserVoice so you can stay on top of all support issues using a single platform.
If you (or your team) has ever lost track of time when browsing social media, then you realize how entertaining and valuable it can be, but it can also be a dreadful waste of time. For that reason, it might be a better idea to schedule and automate your social media posting from the Sprout Social dashboard, enabling you to get the most out of your social media interactions 100% hands free, without the risk of getting distracted or lost in the world of social media.
Sprout Social Advantages
Great Interface And Support – Sprout Social has a heavy hitting team that offers valuable tools, awesome support, and over 16,000 users. For that reason, you can be fully confident that their services are worthy of your devotion, and if you ever have a question with anything, hit a snag, or need help that actually cares about your problems, then Sprout Social is definitely worth considering.
Lots Of Integrations – A few other social media management tools seem to have a limited amount of integrations available. For many instances, a lack of integrations isn’t a huge problem, however if you’re looking for many integrations, then Sprout Social is worth checking out. So you can integrate and automate almost all of your social media channels, and also integrate with your favorite helpdesk, enabling you features that just aren’t available with many of Sprout Social’s competitors.
Tons Of Robust Features – Whether you want to collaborate enterprise wide, figure out the best time when you should post on social media, or simply automate your posts across your social media channels, Sprout Social won’t disappoint. You’ll also have access to beautiful reports that are ready to show off, print, distribute, or hand off to clients without any additional work on your part, so you’re never caught in a jam or worse yet trying to explain all of the awesome results that you’ve been getting.
Sprout Social Disadvantages
No Forever Free Plan – Sprout Social does offer a 100% free 30-day trial, which quite frankly is generous especially compared to many of their competitors, however it’s important to note that they don’t have any forever free plan to speak of. So if you’re on a tiny budget, and are looking for a free social media management tool to use long-term, then Sprout Social isn’t your top choice. (If you’re worried that Sprout Social is direly expensive, then you might be surprised at how affordable it is, especially considering all of the features that you get. Continue reading this summary review for a better look regarding the different price points, and you might be surprised that they’re more affordable than you had in mind).
First Payment Plan Limits You To 5 Social Media Profiles – If you have several social media accounts under your belt, or if you have a client or two that you manage, you very well may require more than 5 social media accounts. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to consider a Sprout Social plan beyond their first tier. Luckily, if you have a few clients to speak of then you’ll probably find the overall value that Sprout Social delivers to be on point, and the price they ask for their higher tiered plans won’t set you back too much (Continue reading for a full outlook of the Sprout Social price points).
Competition – Let’s be brutally honest. There’s a boatload of social media management tools out there, and more are popping up all the time. But are they really worth their salt? How does Sprout Social stack up specifically, and are they one of the top dogs, or are they overhyped to the nth degree? Continue reading to get a 100% honest and transparent look, so you can make the best possible decision.
Who Is Sprout Social Ideal For?
Since Sprout Social honestly has a ton of features, and since they have over 16,000 customers, they can accommodate a wide array of end users.
For example, if you’re any type of marketer, author, publisher, instructor, or social media enthusiast, then you’ll appreciate the social media automation and integrations that Sprout Social offers.
So you can drive more traffic, get more followers, interact from one centralized inbox, and even determine the best times to post your content so you can get more results each and every time you post.
If you’re part of a larger organization such as a marketing agency or startup, then you’ll definitely appreciate the robust collaboration and support features that Sprout Social offers. So you’ll be able to collaborate your social media marketing efforts across teams, and even integrate your helpdesk directly with Sprout Social, which can definitely make your customers, prospects and end users all the happier.
At the end of the day, if you’re frustrated that you’re not getting good enough results from your social media marketing, and if your followers aren’t engaged enough, or if you’re not getting enough leads followers and prospects, then Sprout Social is worth considering, at the very least.
Sprout Social Signup Process
Sprout Social is definitely generous in that they offer a 100% free 30-day trial, and the best part is that you don’t even have to register using any payment methods.
So if you just want to try Sprout Social for 30-days, you can quickly register without using a credit card, which is always a nice bonus. If after 30-days you’re not totally impressed, simply close your account and never pay them a single red cent.
So as soon as you visit Sprout Social, you’ll see several calls to action prompting you to register for their service.
The registering process itself only takes a few seconds (literally), and before long you’ll be attaching your social media profiles, and amplifying them with all the content that your followers can handle.
Sprout Social Ease of Use
The first thing to know about Sprout Social’s ease of use is that you access the main dashboard through their member’s area on their website, so you never have to install any desktop software. That being said, Sprout Social does offer an iPhone and Android app, so if you’re constantly on the go then you never have to worry about missing a beat.
Once you access the member’s area you’ll probably determine that Sprout Social has a really good looking interface that’s super easy to use.
The very second you’re logged in, Sprout Social is going to start analyzing your follower and fan demographics, which is a really cool feature that can benefit your overall social media marketing campaigns tremendously. The main dashboard area also shows you trends, tasks, feeds, publishing options, and reporting, and everything is clearly defined so that you never get lost, confused frustrated or puzzled.
Overall, the learning curve is very low, all of the features and main areas are all clearly defined, and the Sprout Social support staff is awesome so if you ever hit a snag, you can always contact them for friendly and helpful support.
Sprout Social Features
Smart Inbox – Sprout Social’s smart inbox allows you to centralize your social media inboxes from different platforms. This way, you’ll never have to fuss over different browser tabs, and you’ll never lose focus when trying to communicate across all of your social networks. Instead, you can use one simple to use inbox so you can easily interact with your users across all networks.
Keyword And Hashtag Monitoring – Sprout Social’s dashboard allows you to monitor almost anything across the social media networks, so you can easily keep your finger on the pulse of your audience, without spending every second of your free time manually monitoring the social networks.
Measure Engagement With Analytics – Not only will you get to see exactly where your brand and social profiles stand in real time, but you’ll also get to see exactly how you compare against social media profiles. This is particularly cool so you can see if you’re way ahead of the curve, or if you’re falling drastically behind, enabling you to better plan future campaigns and improve your social media progress one way or the other.
Advanced Collaboration Features – Whether you want to broadcast real time activity updates across your entire team, issue tasks among your virtual workers, audit the messaging status across social networks and team members, or attribute particular messages with tags, Sprout Social has you covered. So your team is always in the loop, and you’re never lost, perplexed or frustrated due to a lack of communication.
All In One Broadcast Tools – If you’re wasting time posting to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts manually, then you probably realize that you’re wasting unfathomable quantities of time. The good news, is that Sprout Social allows you to broadcast to your favorite social media channels all at once, so you can easily operate from within one handy dandy dashboard instead of losing focus and struggling with multiple browser windows and/or tabs.
Sprout Social Scheduling Queue – The ability to schedule content is an ability that will not only save you a ton of time, but will also slaughter writer’s block, because you’ll be able to brainstorm and stack content whenever creativity hits you. Even if you outsource your social media posts, being able to schedule content (instead of publishing manually in real time) allows you to brainstorm content from a high level, so your content is always on point, effective, and planned for the utmost impact and practicality.
Beautiful Publishing Calendar – Sprout Social’s social media publishing calendar enables you to get a full spectrum view of exactly what’s going on in full detail. So if you’re posting images, beautiful graphics, videos, metadata, or any type of media, you can easily observe and understand at a glance what’s going on. So you’re never second guessing what’s coming up, and Sprout Social can be your eye in the sky.
Send At The Best Time – Sprout Social will actually learn the best time for you to post your content across social media networks based upon past performance. So if you ever hesitate to post content because you’re not sure what time yields the best results, then this feature can provide massive confidence regarding your ability to get the most traffic, results, followers, and influence.
Detailed Analytics – If you’ve been frustrated that the analytical side of your business is lacking drastically, then you’re going to appreciate Sprout Social’s built in reporting. Whether you want to show off for your boss, or please a client, you’re going to get ample reports and analytics that are visually impressive, easy to understand, and ready for you to distribute without any editing, explaining, or preparing.
URL Shortening – Not only will Sprout Social allow you to shorten your URLs so you can get better use of your social real estate, but you’ll also have the ability to track the traffic that your links get, so you can figure out exactly what your audience wants and give them more of what they like.
Sprout Social Integration's
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is arguably the single most important social media network if you’re seeking businesses and professionals. But how much time are you wasting away as you struggle to interact inefficiently? If that’s ever been the case, then you’ll love the ability to brainstorm from one centralized hub, and integrating is simple using Sprout Social.
Facebook – How would it feel to easily integrate Facebook with Sprout Social, so you could analyze your strategy, interact with fans, and schedule content liberating you from the technical overwhelm, hassle, and all the time wasted? If that sounds good, then imagine finally taking advantage of Facebook, instead of it taking advantage of you.
Twitter – The main problem with Twitter, is that it has a staggering amount of data. You and your team risk getting lost in an ever-expanding sea of content, which is why you could probably benefit big time by integrating with Sprout Social. So you can get more followers, schedule your updates, and analyze your end user demographic without spending forever and a day click clacking away manually tracking tweets.
Instagram – If you use Instagram for your business, then you realize the massive potential. But maybe you haven’t realized a simple way to interact with others, while at the same time monitoring and analyzing content from one handy and easy to use dashboard. If that sounds cool, then you might want to check out the simple Sprout Social integration that only takes a few seconds to setup.
Google Plus – So you can publish content from one single dashboard, interact with your rave following, and also tap into hardcore statistics, enabling you to get more out of Google Plus than perhaps you ever have, especially if you’ve ever been confused with the constantly evolving interface.
Bit.ly – Face it. Publishing on social media should be more than an exercise in character limit conservation. That’s why you might love Sprout Social’s integration with Bit.ly. So you can conserve space, and focus on creating beautiful content instead of bending over backwards trying to fit your wisdom into such a confined space.
Google Analytics – It’s true that Sprout Social offers beautiful analytics that you, your team, your boss, and your clients will love. That being said, you might love the ability to integrate with Google Analytics. Because as cool as Google Analytics is, their analytics can be tough to understand and integrate on your own. That’s why when you integrate Google Analytics with Sprout Social, you’ll actually understand what you’re looking at, and you’ll benefit from analyzing your traffic thoroughly and completely.
Zendesk – If your team offers support via Zendesk, then you’ll definitely appreciate the ability to integrate with Sprout Social. So you can marry your helpdesk and your social media platforms together, allowing a unique customer support sequence together that’s super easy to collaborate with and manage.
UserVoice – If you and your business uses UserVoice instead of Zendesk, you’ll still be able to manage support from one centralized hub, without switching tabs, and without confusing the daylights out of you or your staff.
Salesforce – What if you could integrate your sales data with your social profiles? This could provide insight and data that’s otherwise difficult (if not impossible) to obtain. So you can develop insights about your end user demographic that will give you a significant advantage, and also allow you to connect with your audience like you’ve perhaps never before envisioned.
Sprout Social Pricing
Sprout Social pricing is largely based upon how many social media profiles you want to use. There are three default plans, and as you progress up the ladder, each plan unlocks more advanced features, and also more social media accounts.
Sprout Social’s first plan is called the deluxe plan. The deluxe plan allows you to connect 5 social media profiles and includes the basic core features that you probably expect. So you can use their social media inbox, monitor keywords, schedule posts, use the content calendar, and use reports. The deluxe plan costs $59 per user per month.
The second plan is called the premium plan. The premium plan offers all of the features that the deluxe plan offers, in addition to helpdesk integration, timing optimization (so you can determine the best time to schedule and send posts), Google Analytics integration, advanced statistics and reporting, the ability to better analyze trends, and also the ability to use up to 10 social media profiles. The premium plan costs $99 per user per month.
There’s also the team plan. The team plan offers all of the features of the previous two plans, and also the ability to tag content and messages (perfect for advanced collaborations), the ability to provide workflow on message approval, advanced keyword tracking, advanced teamwork reporting, dedicated account management, and the ability to connect with 30 different social media profiles. The team plan costs $500 per month, and allows 3 users by default.
Finally, if you’re an enterprise or an agency and need increasingly robust features, or more users, you can contact Sprout Social for a custom quote and to specify your exact requirements.
Sprout Social Support
Sprout Social offers awesome support in several different mediums, so regardless of how you want to learn, contact their team, or talk one on one with a support representative, you’ll get your way.
The first thing you’ll notice when you’re browsing Sprout Social, is that they invite you to get a demo if you’re curious about their service. So if you want to get a demo, or if you want to talk with someone from Sprout Social before you make a final decision, they invite you to take them up on that offer.
You’ll also notice that Sprout Social has a clearly defined status page, which shows real time system metrics showcasing if their systems are ever down. A status page is one of the foremost attributes that you might look for when determining how trustworthy, transparent, and serious a company is about offering a quality service, and it’s also very comforting to know that they’re upfront if there’s ever a problem with their uptime.
Sprout Social also offers a frequently updated blog that’s worth checking out if you’re serious about social media marketing, or if you’re just a nerdy marketing enthusiast who loves freshly updated content. They also offer some interesting case studies worth checking out, and guides that show how to get started with social media marketing, all the way up to advice for enterprise level social media management solutions, so regardless of your experience level, they have content and training worth checking out.
Sprout Social also offers a few snazzy webinars worth registering to. If you’re an overall marketing enthusiast, want to pick up some social media hacks, or otherwise want to learn more about the Sprout Social team, then check out their blog which is sprinkled with a few different webinar registrations that they offer.
Finally, in the event that you just want to give Sprout Social a call, or talk to them one on one via email, they prominently promote their contact information on their homepage, so you’ll never have to hunt them down or beg in the event that you require support fast.
Sprout Social Reputation
Sprout Social, quite frankly, is easily one of the most popular and well respected social media management software tools on the planet, period. They’ve acquired over 16,000 customers in just over 5 years, and their team is known for being totally enthusiastic with social media marketing.
Sprout Social easily boasts one of the most impressive client list in the social media management world, with heavy hitting customers such as Microsoft, Dove, Yahoo!, MailChimp, EverNote, Stanford University, and Hyatt.
But maybe you’re curious about how successful Sprout Social is? Well, here’s an article from the Chicago Tribune specifying how Sprout Social has raised $42,000,000 (forty two million!) in order to help companies grow their social media presence.
Quite frankly, the ability for a startup to raise forty-two million dollars says more about their reputation than this summary review ever does, because you probably realize by now that they’re die hard social media enthusiasts, and they’re absolutely dedicated to offering awesome services and to empowering businesses.
Here’s another article where Sprout Social was featured in Inc. Magazine, where Sprout Social reveals the secret social media resource that most organizations overlook.
As you can see, Sprout Social is truly among the heavy hitters in the social media world, and they’ve even been featured in this article for Entrepreneur Magazine where they talk about how fans were essentially brought in on the action during the Oscars through way of social media.
Sprout Social Conclusion
It doesn’t matter if you’re a tiny tabletop startup, or if you’re a massive fortune 500 company. The fact of the matter, is that you’re probably leaving a ton on the table (pun totally intended) when it comes time to manage your social media profiles.
So maybe you’re lacking when it comes time to drive traffic. Or maybe your interaction on social media is absolutely pitiful. Maybe you never post enough content, because you’re just not confident in your ability to schedule posts in a timely fashion without losing focus when juggling through your different profiles.
If any of these cases are true, then maybe you could benefit big time by automating social media interaction. Maybe if you knew the exact time that you should be posting, you and your business would have more confidence to brainstorm and publish awesome content.
More to the point, maybe if you could collaborate better, brainstorm better, integrate better, and schedule your content better, you’d get superior results on social media.
Or maybe you’re frustrated because your current social media management tool never lived up to their promises. If that’s the case, maybe you might love to try Sprout Social.
Sprout Social is easily one of the most trusted brands on the planet when it comes to social media management, and it’s 100% free to try for a full 30-days.
So you can see what all the hype is about, without risking a single red cent of your own budget. There’s little risk, and incalculable reward.
So you can get more followers, drive more traffic, claim unshakable confidence, and of course, save time, the one thing truly worth saving in a world riddled with near infinite quantities of social media content, in which it’s so easy to get distracted.
Don’t risk getting distracted manually plugging and chugging on social media. Try putting Sprout Social to use. It won’t cost a single cent to get started, and you’ll be among some of the most prestigious company on the planet, and your audience might thank you for delivering better, more timely content.
About Mike DeVincent
Mike researches and reviews products for Top 10 Marketing Software. Mike has vast experience in blogging, teaching and internet marketing. See Mike's profile on Google+.
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