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Among enterprise social media CRMs, there’s no shortage of choices. Argyle, Spredfast and Radian6 (now Salesforce) all offer a host of robust features for companies who execute and monitor social media campaigns. Sprout Social stands among the best solutions with an elegant interface and an impressive client roster. We recently had the opportunity to tinker with the software thanks to a free 30-day trial. Here are is a rundown of its features and benefits:

Profiles and Team MembersSprout Social allows you to connect one corporate Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Analytics acccount, as well as one of each for a human user – with an easy option to toggle between the two.

It also boasts the ability to add multiple admins – perfect for large social media teams.

The Sprout Social interface is divided into six core components: the Dashboard, Messages, Feeds, Scheduler, Discovery and Reports.

 

 

Dashboard

The dashboard greets users with at-a-glance, high-level analytics, as well as quick access to other features of the CRM. From the dashboard, you can access your inbox, review tasks and view reports. You can also quickly connect additional profiles and grant admin access to new team members.

 

Messages

The Messages tabs syndicates all of your social media mentions – tweets, DMs, posts, comments and private messages – into one feed. You can customize the feed to show what kind of messages you want, as well as monitor “Brand Keywords.”

You can also assign tasks to team members, view your sent tweets and Facebook updates, and monitor “Web Alerts” – similar to Google Alerts.

Feeds

The Feeds tab displays your connected Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, as well as a Google Reader account. Through the Twitter feed, you can respond directly to tweets, effectively eliminating the need for the Twitter web client. For a business account, it’s difficult to connect a LinkedIn business page. However, personal users can easily make use of the LinkedIn feed.

Scheduler

Scheduler allows you to create and schedule Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn status updates in an editorial calendar layout. You can even connect an RSS feed to automatically send social media updates. Sprout Queue functions similarly to Buffer, allowing you to browse the web and add blogs and other webpages to your scheduling queue.

Discovery

Discovery allows you to curate your followers – making suggestions on who to follow based on past interactions or who to follow based on dormant activity. Smart Search lets you search for keywords or phrases that your customers would be talking about. This section appears to be limited to Twitter only.

Reports

The biggest strength of the Sprout Social software is the reporting functionality. Users can easily generate custom, attractive infographic-style reports based on follower stats, engagement and traffic. You can even run a competitive Twitter analysis, comparing your account to those of competing companies.

The “Website Vs. Social” report pulls in your Google Analytics data and compares it to Twitter activity.

All in all, Sprout Social should be considered for enterprise-level companies who create and monitor a high-volume of social media – particularly in teams of 3 or more who focus primarily on Twitter. The integration of many different tools – content curation/scheduling, listening/monitoring and limiting – eliminate the need for multiple, disparate tools in favor of a turn-key solution. What it lacks in functionality, it makes up for in usability.

Grade: 8/10

Pros: Beautiful interface, multiple team-member access, in-depth reporting

Cons: Lack of Google+ integration, does not suggest content/engagement improvements, difficult to connect a business LinkedIn page vs. a personal profile.

A free 30-day trial of Sprout Social is available here.

For more information about social media optimization, download our Increasing Conversions with Social Media guide.

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