According to the latest Sprout Social Index, the number of social messages sent to brands has increased by 77 percent over the past year. What’s more, customers are sending twice as many messages that actually require a response. It’s safe to say that in order to become a truly social business, brands must be able to effectively communicate through social media.
To truly improve communication between your brand and your customers, you have to be able to find the relevant conversations, put them into context, and ensure that you’re talking to the right people. That may seem a lot easier said than done, but there are several features already built into Sprout Social that can help with the process. We’ve broken down five of those features below.
1. Monitor Brand Keywords
With 500 million tweets sent daily on Twitter and 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily on Facebook, it’s no secret that there are conversations happening on social media that could be important or helpful to your business. However, finding an effective way to cut through the noise and uncover the messages that matter is not easy. Luckily, Sprout Social’s Brand Keywords tap into one of the best kept secrets in social media: that Twitter and Facebook are actually invaluable search engines.
Brand Keywords help you catch relevant conversations and indirect mentions that don’t formally tag your profile—for example: “Sprout Social” rather than @SproutSocial in a tweet. Brand Keyword results are delivered straight to your Smart Inbox alongside all of your other social messages, making it easy to take action. We suggest creating a series of keywords to capture direct and indirect conversations around your brand. Consider keywords that include your brand name, product names, campaigns and competitors.
Social media users are often on the go, posting messages from their mobile devices. Thus, social messages often contain abbreviations and typos. Set up keywords to catch common ways that people may mention you, including misspellings, transposed words, and nicknames. For example, we’d search for “Social Sprout” in addition to “Sprout Social.”
2. Access to a Complete Twitter History
At Sprout, we believe context is critical to building lasting customer relationships and providing an engaging social experience. In order to communicate with people effectively, you need to be able to seamlessly reference customer records and past conversations. Luckily, with Sprout, a complete history of interactions between you and your Twitter contacts is accessible throughout our app.
Each time you respond to a message, the reply screen shows you profile information and a complete conversation history between your handle and that contact so you can respond quickly and personally. In addition, when routing a message internally, the full history can be pulled into the task assignment screen so everyone involved has the full context around the current conversation.
When engaging with a customer, sometimes it’s useful to narrow the conversation history down to just the messages in that specific conversation. While in the reply screen, click on the blue “History” text to toggle between viewing the full conversation history and just the current conversation thread.
3. Geo-Target Your Tweets
Social media, just like many businesses, is not confined to one geographic location. While social communication knows no barriers, we understand that reaching a global audience can be tricky.
By geo-targeting tweets right from the Compose window, you can effectively reach a global audience at local scale. Publishing regionally relevant content will help you avoid language barriers and ultimately create better experiences for local audiences.
The best part is that in Sprout Social, geo-targeting is simple to do. Just click the Twitter bird icon in the Compose window and type the country or countries where you’d like to target your messages.
Geo-targeting outgoing tweets is not the only way Sprout helps brands communicate with a global audience. The tool also integrates with Google Translate to translate incoming messages that may be in another language. Open the gear icon menu on any incoming message and choose “Translate to.” Set up your default translation language under the Settings menu by selecting Personal Settings.
4. Sprout Queue and ViralPost
The question of how often to tweet is one that many marketers often ask, and the answer, to be honest, isn’t all that simple. While one study recommends one to four times per hour, Twitter itself suggests three to five times per day as a general best practice. The reality is, it depends entirely on what type of business you’re running and, perhaps more importantly, what target audience you’re trying to reach.
Enter the Sprout Queue with ViralPost.
Sprout Queue is the powerful content distribution engine in Sprout’s publishing suite that lets you easily line up content for automated future delivery. We’ve made sure that you have the flexibility to set up the Queue at the profile level so that you can send content at times that fit your social strategy. Simply create your own rules and parameters for message distribution, such as number of posts per day and time of day.
Using Sprout’s proprietary ViralPost algorithm in conjunction with the Sprout Queue can really kickstart your audience engagement. The logic behind the algorithm determines optimal send times based on when your audience is most engaged, then delivers your content at those preferred times.
5. Personalize Curated Content Quickly and Easily
Finding the right mix of content to share on social is as much an art as it is a science. While many claim to have the perfect ratio, the reality is there’s no magic formula to tell you how much of your content should be original versus how much should be curated. What is certain, though, is that having a healthy mix of both types of content is important.
While it stands to reason that creating original content is a more time-intensive effort than curating third-party content, that doesn’t mean that curated content should feel robotic or unoriginal.
Sprout’s Chrome extension and bookmarklet make content curation a natural addition to your daily web-browsing experience.
Highlight text in an article before clicking the browser extension to pre-populate your message with that quote. This makes sharing a personalized and engaging message even faster.
Now you’re all set to efficiently find and join conversations that matter to your business, organize and deliver valuable content, and ultimately manage your social communication more effectively.
Patrick Cuttica: Prior to joining Team Sprout as Product Marketing Manager, Patrick was an avid Sprout user while managing several brand accounts for a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. When he's not obsessing over all things social media, Patrick can be found playing with his dogs or stand-up paddleboarding—or both!