Published on November 1, 2021 at 8:57 p.m.
by Ashley Cunigan.
In a world that revolves around social media, scheduling content has become more crucial than ever. The rise of new platforms has caused businesses to increase their social media management efforts by planning posts ahead of time.
Sprout Social has become a prominent scheduling tool for maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with customers, consumers and dedicated followers. Public relations professionals and advertisers use the platform to manage content creation, publishing and scheduling for weeks at a time.
Still, the question remains: What makes Sprout an industry-leading tool for managing social media?
According to Grace Cockrell, social media coordinator at Mississippi State University, “The goal of social media is to achieve effective connections. Having these little tools helps [businesses] find the information they need on a larger scale.”
Cockrell explained that she used Hootsuite prior to scheduling on Sprout and saw a large difference in the platform’s extended features. While Hootsuite has an analytics dashboard, Sprout provides in-depth insights with social listening. There’s also a collaborative content calendar for multiple team members to build out posts and run reports.
Due to Hootsuite’s limited reporting capabilities, Cockrell found that “Hootsuite wasn’t as effective as [she] wanted it to be, so making the switch [to Sprout] was a good move.” In an effort to increase engagement on Instagram posts, Cockrell started reviewing analytics surrounding Instagram carousels. “Right now our goal is seeing how content excels. Carousels implemented more interaction from students, and you’re more likely to engage with something when you swipe,” she said.
According to Investopedia, Sprout Social is the best overall social media management software. In explaining this ranking, it noted that Sprout’s professional plan offers businesses more options for running reports to manage their “user engagement and return on investment.” Hootsuite’s professional plan limits professionals’ ability to track analytics with no options for social listening or a breakdown of best times to publish. Sprout Social, though more expensive, allows businesses to schedule content at “optimal send times” with the option to analyze conversations and mentions on social media.
Brooke Bailey, social media community manager at Zehnder Communications, offered insights into how clients can weigh their options when investing in scheduling tools.
“It’s definitely a cost-benefit analysis,” Bailey explained. “You have to ask — is this going to provide a benefit that is going to make a difference in the amount of money we’re spending every year? And that’s the nice thing about these 30-day free trials, because if you’re not going to use it, then what’s the point of paying for it?”
Despite social media platforms offering native scheduling within their own respective communities, Sprout Social allows professionals to keep all their scheduling in one place. Facebook Creator Studio allows professionals to plan posts for Facebook and Instagram, yet Sprout includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. “[Sprout Social] has a lot of features that you wouldn’t really think about. LinkedIn unfortunately does not have a native scheduling tool, so we had been recently manually posting those until we introduced Sprout to our banking client,” Bailey said.
In addition to its scheduling capabilities, Sprout Social has an interactive calendar that simplifies the user experience, Cockrell noted. While creating content for a large campus community at Mississippi State, Cockrell found that “Sprout brings in a lot of data.” She further explained, “In social media you always have to be on — media is always changing, always alive, and it never goes to sleep.”
Once content is scheduled and published across platforms, professionals are able to track analytics. These tools allow companies to follow social engagement, impressions, followers, conversions and more. With the goal of identifying a specific objective, Sprout Social makes it simple to download reports weekly, monthly or annually, Cockrell stated.
“I have really been enjoying Sprout’s capabilities, and while it is very robust, it is also very expensive, so it doesn’t work for every single client. Hootsuite is much less expensive to use. It doesn’t have as many of those robust capabilities, but it gets the job done,” Bailey said.
PR professionals and advertisers can benefit from using Sprout Social as an essential element of maintaining clients’ relationships with customers, consumers and dedicated followers. As a time-efficient resource, scheduling platforms are a game changer for the social media playing field.