Stay ahead: Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Sprinklr
05 Mar 2015
If you’re managing a community, chances are you spend more time using a community management tool than the actual platforms you manage. Such tools come in all shapes and sizes from free, single platform tools like Tweetdeck to expensive, enterprise level tools like Sprinklr. At 1000heads I have the opportunity to work with a number of different clients which means I’m able to witness the strengths and weaknesses of various different tools used by different accounts. If you’re in the process of choosing a new tool or are thinking of switching tools then here’s the lowdown from a day to day community management perspective.
Of the three platforms I’ll discuss in depth, I’m going to start with the cheapest: Hootsuite. The free version will likely fall short of the mark at a professional level, but at less than £8 a month Hootsuite can manage a huge number of profiles and allows for all the basic functionalities required from a community management tool. You can schedule both Facebook and Twitter posts, moderate responses and like and favourite posts. Hootsuite also allows you to set up multiple feeds in order to moderate several accounts and platforms so essentially, Hootsuite has the basics. However, for someone who has worked with a more user friendly tool like Sprout, the user interface can seem inefficient and a little frustrating. Speaking of which…
Sprout is definitely the most user friendly tool I’ve come across, but it’s considerably more expensive than Hootsuite. Again it includes all the basic functionalities for publishing, scheduling and moderating although you get fewer profiles per user. The key selling point for me with Sprout is that even on its cheapest plan ($59 per month) Sprout provides an ‘all-in-one social inbox’ – a dream if you’re spending a lot of time moderating – that aggregates everything you need to respond to into one, easy to manage column. This could potentially be seen as a downside if you need Hootsuite’s highly customisable format, but if you’re just looking to do fairly standard moderation of a handful of profiles, Sprout has an efficient and pleasant user experience and a much more appealing design/interface. From a community management perspective, it is my favourite tool.
On paper Sprinklr has it all (if, that is, you can afford it). Prices will vary depending on your requirements but there is no cheap version – this is one for big clients who need to manage huge volumes of complex social interactions. It’s designed for large teams managing multiple presences and has an inbuilt approval process so everything can be planned, approved and scheduled/posted directly into the system. It also has a shared asset bank so community managers from different local pages – for example – can share their content and schedule images straight from the system which can then recognise if the same image has been used in several places. It also has a tagging system to make reporting far easier. When a post is scheduled you can tag what kind of post it is, who is in it, where the image came from, what campaign its part of, what product it’s promoting and so on. The tags are customisable so you can tag whatever is important to you. This makes reporting the details of a particular product or campaign’s popularity much easier. This tagging process also makes it popular with insights team more focused on data, but for a community manager it’s a slow, painful scheduling process. I’ve also found searching for assets within the shared bank very difficult and time consuming and it’s another multiple column monitoring feed which has made me miss Sprout’s interface.
So, while there’s a clear winner for me, your choice will ultimately come down to your budget and what you’re trying to achieve whether that be simply posting content once in a while, or creating fully integrated digital marketing campaigns for which you might even like to explore Adobe’s Marketing Cloud (full disclosure, we’re proud to have Adobe as a client at 1000heads).
All three platforms detailed above will give you what you need to manage Facebook and Twitter (free tool Iconosquare remains my go-to for Instagram). Hootsuite provides a cheap option, Sprout is by far the most easy and efficient and Sprinklr (with considerable investment in time and money) allows for the most scientific approach to knowing what’s going on and what’s working on your presences.
What do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments.