Throw Out Hootsuite and Use Sprout Social?

Throw Out Hootsuite and Use Sprout Social?

sproutsocial reviewAre you looking for an alternative social media management tool to replace Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a useful tool, but the interface and reporting could be a lot better.  Sprout Social offers a viable alternative that is simple to use, has a really nice user interface and has some great additional functionality.

In this article, we take a detailed look at Sprout Social.

 

What are the main features?

The following are the key features of Sprout Social:

  • Supports Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn personal profiles and Google+ company pages.
  • Integrates with Google Analytics –  This is very useful because you can track your social media updates to see the traffic that is generated and the results of this traffic.
  • Integrates with Feedly – Feedly collects all the blog posts from the sites you subscribe to.  It’s a really useful tool and it’s handy that this is incorporated as part of Sprout Social functionality.
  • Sprout queueing – You can specify specific times for scheduled delivery of content so you or your team can just share content as you find it and not worry about specifying what time it should go out.
  • Team-based functionality – You can operate Sprout Social as a team and assign tasks to different members of the team.
  • Discovery functionality – You find relevant people to follow on Twitter, search for keywords on Twitter or Facebook, search for keywords related to tweets in a particular location, or discover accounts on Twitter you should not be following any more.
  • Reports – There is a good range of standard reports available that are presented very well visually, have good information and can be exported in pdf or csv formats.
  • Content sharing anywhere on the web – There is a Chrome extension that allows you to share out content as you are browsing.
  • Social CRM functionality – For any contact you communicate with, you can add some profile information (e.g. email address, company, phone number, etc.) so this is available next time you look at the contact record.  You can also view the history of any interactions you have had with this contact on social media channels (e.g. tweets you exchanged).

 

How does it work?

The functionality is broken down into the following 4 tabs:

Messages

You use the Smart Inbox to view all incoming messages from your various channels.  On the right-hand side, you’ll see an option to filter your messages, e.g. just look for specific mentions.

 

smart social smart inbox

This is where you monitor activity on your account

 

When you want to send out messages, you click the ‘compose’ button on the top right of the screen.  From there, you are able to send messages to one or many of your profiles.  You can send immediately, save to draft, schedule for a later time or add to the ‘Sprout Queue’ so the messages are automatically sent out at specific times.

Tasks

These are tasks that require some action and have been created by you or assigned to you by a team member.  The tasks are categorized into General, Leads or Issues.

Feeds

This is for the feeds of content you may want to monitor:

  • Twitter – This shows everything that is coming into your Twitter account.  However, you are more likely to use your Smart Inbox for this type of functionality.
  • LinkedIn – You can view LinkedIn messages from your contacts.
  • RSS – Sprout Social supports integration with Feedly, so if you use Feedly to subscribe to blogs, you can display all the content within Sprout Social.

sproutsocial feeds

From here, you can view content from the blogs you subscribe to, and then share it through Sprout Social

 

Publishing

This is where you can do/view the following:

  • Scheduled – View all posts that are scheduled to go out.
  • Sprout Queue – View content that has been added to the Sprout Social queue.  This is content that will automatically be sent out based on times you preconfigure.
  • Drafts – View, edit and send the drafts that you have already created (through your Smart Inbox).
  • Post via RSS – Set up blog content that will be automatically posted on your social media accounts.  For example, you may want your blog posts to be sent out automatically when they are published.

Discovery

This allows you to do to the following:

  • Find new people to follow – For example, it will highlight people who follow you on Twitter who you don’t follow back, or those who have mentioned you.
  • Clean up – Remove people on Twitter who you follow who are not active or don’t follow you back, or people who have suspicious activity on their account.
  • Keyword search – Perform a keyword search to find conversations on Twitter or Facebook that might be worth engaging with, or people who might be worth following.

Reporting

View a range of standard reports for your profiles.  Each report has some basic customization available, for example you can choose to view the report for a period of 60 days, 90 days etc.  You can also export the report to PDF or CSV format.

 

sproutsocial report

An example of an overview report of the performance of your connected channels

 

The reports are visually appealing and nicely laid out, but you are limited to the reports they provide and you can’t create new reports from scratch.

 

What are the limitations?

  • It doesn’t support LinkedIn business pages or groups.
  • Although it’s nice having Feedly integration, Sprout Social doesn’t support the level of functionality that Feedly supports. This means you may end up still using Feedly itself.
  • There is some basic customization available for reports but it would be nice if there was more flexibility, particularly the ability to create your own reports.
  • No app directory – Hootsuite has an ecosystem of other applications that are integrated with Hootsuite that add to the functionality available.

 

Pricing

Price starts at $59 per user and, with additional features and support for more social profiles, this goes to $99 and then to $1,500 for an enterprise user with at 10 accounts included in the package.

 

Summary

Sprout Social is a nicely designed social media management tool with lots of useful features.  Hootsuite has a free offering that provides a lot of Sprout Social functionality, but if you don’t like the user interface and find that Sprout Social’s additional functionality adds a lot of value to your business then it’s worth considering.

Are you tempted?

What’s the tool you usually use for these tasks? Are you thinking about making a change?

Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post – using your social media management tool of choice!!

 

Related Post

The following post gives you an idea of other social media management tools worth considering.  Worth checking out:

Social Media Management Tools

Balance scale and Girl images by Shutterstock




 

About the author

Ian Cleary

Author: Ian Cleary is the Founder of RazorSocial and is super passionate about helping people leverage tools and technology to improve effectiveness of your social media presence.

  • James

    To be fair, under your limitations it says LinkedIn business pages are not available on Sprout but they are not available anywhere as far as I know. This is a limitation on LinkedIn’s end.
    After looking into Hootsuite and SproutSocial (among others) I just couldn’t justify the cost of SproutSocial at this stage. I pay roughly $500 a year on Hootsuite and that would cost $1400 at least for same features on Sprout.

    • Dennis, ListsUK

      With you on the cost-side, @disqus_gW0nVYYORQ:disqus! But as an aside, we do use Hootsuite to post to LinkedIn company pages (just had to nip back to check!), but it’s not perfect – eg doesn’t post images as well as posting them directly & @mentions don’t carry through.

      • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

        Thanks Dennis.

        • Dennis, ListsUK

          No worries, thanks for the handy comparison :)

          • James

            Yeah, I got all excited and made a mistake there. You can do company pages but not showcase pages on Hootsuite. Once they sort out Showcases I’ll be sorted :)

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks James, you can update company pages, for example, this is supported by Oktopost.

    • http://sproutsocial.com/ Brit at Sprout Social

      Thanks for the support and happy to hear you gave Sprout a whirl, James! Understand we won’t be a fit for every budget, but hope you enjoyed your experience and will keep us in mind for the future.

      Regarding LinkedIn business page integration, it is something we’re currently working on and know is a feature our customers would *love* to have. As with all of our integrations, we want it done well and not feel bolted on, so taking extra care to ensure that. It’s in the pipeline though :)

    • hodgemch

      James – Linkdedin business pages and groups are available on other platforms – MavSocial is one of them that supports it

      • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

        Thanks.

  • Darren

    We used Sprout, grew out of it but loved it. We use Hootsuite now and tolerate it.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Darren!

    • http://sproutsocial.com/ Brit at Sprout Social

      Hey Darren! So happy to hear you enjoyed using Sprout. I’d love to chat more with you about where you outgrew the platform and ways we could improve to make it a better fit for your needs. Feel free to shoot me a note at brit[at]sproutsocial!

  • Connor from HootSuite

    Thanks for the feedback @iancleary:disqus. We’re always trying to listen to our community and make Hootsuite a better tool for everyone. Reporting is something that constantly comes up. We realize this and are taking steps to improve this side of Hootsuite.

    @dennislistsuk:disqus – thanks for the clarification (to @disqus_gW0nVYYORQ:disqus) regarding LinkedIn company pages and Hootsuite.

    -Connor from Hootsuite

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Connor!

  • junaid ahmed

    You rocked once again! You just made it more and more easier to bring social media marketing activities with perfection and ease by providing some really awesome tools. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Hi Ian,
    Why is SproutSocial more than 6X as expensive as HootSuite for the entry version. Is that pricing strategy working for them you think?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi William, yes it’s work very well.

      People find it very hard to compare different platforms. Sproutsocial have a bit client base. They have a much nicer user interface than Hootsuite and better reporting options (as part of their default package) but it’s hard for me to justify the price when Hootsuite has more functionality! Ian