Tag: social media business

Sprout Social – For When You Need More Than “Just” a Dashboard

purchase doxycycline online uk Continuing the series on incredibly helpful social media tools, we move to my other absolute favorite paid tool, Sprout Social.  Now, this one is by no means cheap compared to other methods.  It is honestly the most expensive tool I pay for, but I feel it’s worth it for the amount of time I save.  That is, ultimately, the best way to decide whether or not a specific tool is appropriate in your situation – is it saving you enough to pay for itself?  If you’re self-employed, like myself, actually assign your time a monetary value.  If you don’t think your time has a monetary value, you’re mistaken, and probably selling yourself short (more on this in a later blog post).

can you buy diflucan over the counter in australia Moving on to Sprout Social – this has replaced Buffer for me, but I also manage many accounts.   It offers a single dashboard for you to view Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Instagram, although you can’t reply or see comments on Linkedin and Google Plus.  You can’t schedule posts for Instagram, and due to a change in the way Facebook pages work, the ability to schedule from a feed directly to a Facebook page is offline as of this writing.  You can still post links to curated content, you just can’t directly post from your news feed, which is slightly less convenient than before.

However, now that we’ve looked at what you can’t do, let’s look at all it can.

The smart inbox is one of the best features – everything for all channels in one place.  If you have multiple clients, like I do, you can sort them into groups and just see the messages that need responding for a single client at a time.  You could never leave the smart inbox and still have the bare minimum of necessary engagement covered.  You can leave notes as you respond to specific messages, or if you’re large enough to have a team, you can assign tasks to team members and leave notes on specific people you reply to.  I use it to keep notes on specific people that I respond to on behalf of clients, or to note where a client wants to personally communicate with certain accounts.  It can function similarly to a CRM, but since the search function doesn’t include your personal notes, there’s no real ability to tag specific users.  You can tag prospects as sales leads, though, which is useful as you go through Twitter prospecting.

The tasks bar allows you to assign tasks for responding, sales leads, or customer support, depending on your needs.  You can use it as an extension of your own CRM, using it for reminders to touch with specific prospects every so often.  You can include names, addresses, the company someone works for, phone numbers, and Sprout Social will often pull all the social networks that particular person has linked up.   In a single place, you can see all the information you’ve added about specific accounts, as well as previous conversations you’ve had on each channel that is synced with that user.  This gets useful as you start juggling hundreds of accounts and trying to remember what you said to who, and when.

The next tab is the feeds tab, which is my best friend for curating content as well as interacting with Twitter feeds. I have Feedly hooked up to Sprout Social, allowing me to see RSS feeds of relevant blogs and sites that I’ve collected together based on topic.  I will also often create collections specific to clients, so that each client has a steady source of curated content I can always draw from.  I check this daily for new or breaking content.

You can also view twitter feeds, letting you see what your stream is currently tweeting about and checking if you can respond.  Your LinkedIn profile can also be hooked up here, letting you view recent posts to LinkedIn, although you can’t reply.

There’s the publishing tab, which lets you see what you currently have queued up, as well as let you change the order of your content and change the viralpost settings.  Viralpost is one of my favorite tools ever – you set the frequency per day of how often you want content out, and Sprout Social takes care of the rest.  It balances when the highest number of your followers are not only online, but most likely to engage with your content, too, making it the flat out easiest way to schedule everything.  Just add content to the queue, and Sprout Social does the rest.  You can see all the scheduled content across all channels in one place, something I find extremely helpful as I can check that I’m following themes or order to the posts as needed.

The discovery tab is yet another great tool – search topics, keywords, and save smart searches in Twitter (prospecting, anyone?).  You can also see various groupings of followers: those who are following you, but you’re not following back, those who’ve mentioned you, those you’ve talked to recently.  You can also do cleanup, which is extremely helpful for myself and every single one of my clients.  Silent accounts, those who don’t follow you back, those who don’t post often.  Since I review new followers each day, I have a general idea of the new followers, and can see which accounts followed a client and then rapidly unfollowed them.  This can sometimes indicate that the brand isn’t attracting the followers that align with the brand message, but more often, it’s a sign of lazy twittering – following large numbers of accounts to get a courtesy follow back, then unfollowing most of the batch and repeating it with a new set of accounts.  I feel this is bad manners and shows lack of interest in the community you build, and will leave a note on the accounts doing this so they do not get a courtesy follow back when they inevitably add the client’s account again (unless it’s a vitally important or influential account, but frankly, that’s never happened).

Sprout Social

Finally, for my fellow social media managers or those who need something to show the boss – the reports tab.  This is your cheat sheet for impressing everyone you work for, along with the fancy PDFs you can generate with Socialbro.  You can print out multiple categories of reports as documentation of your efforts, either as an excel file or a PDF document.  If you’re just showing your boss your progress, PDFs look significantly nicer than the excel tables, but to keep track of data over the long haul, keeping track of data with excel is a must.

Sprout Social also recently overhauled their Twitter profiles reports, creating beautiful reports that give Socialbro a real run for the money for nice documents to show your clients or boss.  If your primary use with Socialbro is a single place to keep track of demographic data and make reports, you could probably scrap it in favor of utilizing Sprout Social’s reports instead.  They also integrate with Google Analytics, letting you compare your social media efforts against actual traffic on the website.  It gives just enough data to let your social media manager get an understanding of how their efforts are working, but if you’re concerned with them knowing too much or being too involved (or if they’re not that familiar with Google Analytics in the first place), it won’t flood them with too much data.  It tends to be too limited for me to do much in the way of analyzing performance (I like to dive deeper into the data to see what’s happening), but for a quick glance at how well things are working, it’s good enough.

I could talk for ages on Sprout Social – this was purely an overview of what it does, which should give you an excellent idea of just how much you stand to gain from it.  For my level of use, it’s $99 a month, which is the lowest tier that allows you to take advantage of Viralpost, keyword trend reporting, and google analytics integration.  For basic, it’s $59 a month, which covers most of your basic needs.  There is also a referral program for current users that they recently rolled out – so if you do opt to go with Sprout Social, check among your friends or colleagues to see if they are already users (or click one of my links!).  It doesn’t change anything in how you get Sprout Social, but it does give them a $50 credit toward their next bill – so pass along the good karma, if you can.

The next few posts will be moving back into a few of my favorite free tools, which have limited use compared to a powerful all-in-one dashboard like Sprout Social, but nonetheless can give you a better picture of your online marketing efforts.

Social Media Tools, continued – SocialBro

Continuing the series on tools you need in your life for social media, my absolute favorite for a deeper analysis of Twitter…SocialBro!

I originally discovered Socialbro thanks to Buffer, as the best time to tweet reports integrated perfectly into Buffer’s scheduling.  I was just getting started at diving deeper into what the engagement with content I shared meant, who my followers were, and what I could do with that information.  I wasn’t even sure where to start, and kind of at a loss as to what else I could do with what I was told was a plethora of information.

Socialbro had a free trial, which I used to immediately analyze the activity patterns of my followers, and updated my posting schedule to reflect when my followers were online.  These days, I recommend balancing this data with peak post times for other accounts, to ensure your posts aren’t flooded out with others who are taking advantage of data on when the most people are online.  I also modify the schedule for ‘off times’, such as 12:03 instead of 12:00, 6:39 instead of 6:30, etc – this is two-fold.  It looks less scheduled and automatic, and it also catches people at the in-betweens of these peak times.  You’ll be a step ahead of the flood of people who just automatically schedule content, and isolated in the flood of content that does get scheduled on the ‘round numbers’ – 12:00, 12:15, 12:30, etc.

The analytics reports from SocialBro are fast and easy to understand insights into your community, tweets, and real time analysis of who’s online right that second.  You can also check out the benchmark of your account(s) – a tool I love to use for clients so they can see their growth compared to similar accounts.  You can also check out your followers retention and churn, another powerful report letting you see just how effective you are at keeping your followers for the long term, and how engaged they are the longer they stay a follower.


You can also easily search Twitter for relevant users based on various criteria.  There’s the obvious, like region, language, and bio keywords, but you can also search based on their following size, their influence, the last time they posted, age of the account, tweets per day, and other details.  This gets more powerful when it comes to managing a large list of your own followers (you can search your own community in this way), or who you’re following.  You can sort by who’s following you back, and follow or unfollow accordingly.

You’re not limited to just users, either, you can search Twitter to find those talking about a specific topic.  Big deal, you say?  Twitter lets you do that anyway?  Yes, but you can also now filter the users it turns up based on all those criteria I mentioned earlier.  Want to find influential accounts tweeting about your particular niche topic?  This is how you do it.

Finally, there’s one of my favorite tools, the rule builder.  I’ve referenced this in a previous blog when it comes to thanking new followers and you find are in a niche you can isolate.  You can set the rule to apply only to specific criteria (high influence users, low influence users, those with a specific word in their bio), and then you can add them to a list, direct message, mention, or receive an email as a result.  I use the rule builder to sort new followers into lists, tag profiles for direct message campaigns later on, and for an email notification so I can personally thank or invite specific types of new followers to check out a piece of content they’re likely to find helpful.

And that’s not all!

Socialbro also lets you set up direct message campaigns, and create groupings of your followers for these types of campaigns.  I do NOT recommend abusing this; I use the direct message campaigns rarely, and set up tags so I can exclude users whose bios specifically mention a distaste for DMs.  If you’re looking for people to interview for a blog series, though, or for a webinar, or a guest post spot…this is your ticket.  Those types of campaigns allow you to write a just generic enough type of DM that is not a blatant mass message, and lets you start the conversation with those who might be interested in what you’re asking about.

Socialbro is a very specific tool for a very specific purpose, but when it comes to Twitter it’s one of the most versatile and useful tools in my arsenal.  It’s free at the most basic level, ideal for those who simply want an easy way to follow/unfollow accounts and see basic insights about their community, and the next step up is an affordable $13.95 a month.  To get the full suite of features I mentioned, you’d need to be at the Professional level, which is effective for larger accounts, social media managers, and those who really want to get into those DM campaigns.

It’s easy to move up through the plan size if you decide it’s needed, but for most single accounts or those just getting started, the lower level plans should have you covered.  I’d talk about their customer service – but I’ve never had a problem that I needed to contact them about.

I’ve tried a few tools purely to manage followers and do large amounts of follow/unfollow for myself and clients, as well as try to glean more data about followers, tweets, and interactions.  Socialbro easily collects the data I’m looking for, displays it in fantastic reports you can download as PDFs (guaranteed to impress your boss, I promise), and does more than I had originally looked for when it comes to providing information I need to understand my audience.

If you’re looking for a way to get more out of your followers on Twitter, this is an ideal next step for collecting that data.  Check them out!