We’re pleased to introduce our brand new Smart Inbox, reimagined to make it easier for you to effortlessly manage your social messages — no matter the size of your team.
The new Smart Inbox is built around two concepts. First, visibility into your message volume and activity enables you to more effectively and efficiently communicate with your customers. Second, you need tools that enable you to not only be more effective and organized today, but that are flexible enough to support your social strategy as it evolves.
Introducing ‘Mark as Complete’
Now, you can tell Sprout you’ve dealt with a message by marking it complete. Replied to a message? It’s automatically marked as complete. Need information from someone in another department? Assign a task and the message will be marked as complete. See a message that doesn’t require any action on your part? Just click complete and move on to the next!
By marking messages as complete, you and your team can easily stay focused on the ones that you still have to get to—resulting in fewer missed conversations and opportunities.
The ability to mark as complete is controlled by a new manage message status permission; simply designate specific people on your team who can mark and view completed messages. You can set these permissions under Users & Social Profiles.
Visualize Real-Time Progress
Once messages are marked as complete, users on your team that have been granted the permission can remove them from their view by checking ‘Hide Completed Items.’ If your team likes to divvy up the workload, marking as complete and hiding messages from the inbox will ensure smarter collaboration. For teams spread out over multiple time zones, these new inbox features allow for seamless transitions as one team hands off to another. Or, if you just want to make sure you always know exactly where you left off each time you log in to Sprout, mark as complete will help you focus on the messages that you haven’t gotten to yet.
The inbox chart shows you a visualization and count of inbox items by week, day or hour, right next to the message stream. In addition, users who are able to mark messages as complete will also see a visualization and count of the messages that have been completed—allowing them to compare real-time volume of incoming messages with those that are complete and providing a sense of exactly how many messages they have yet to address.
Better Workflow, For One or More
While the new Smart Inbox is built around the ‘mark as complete’ concept, we’ve updated it to improve your workflow regardless if you choose to use or grant the manage message status permission to people on your team. Everyone gets the brand new Smart Inbox chart and these other useful updates:
Filter by Time Period
Quickly filter by date range, profile, message type, and brand keyword. See a peak (or valley) in message volume on the inbox chart? Jump in to view activity and work on messages from specific weeks or days.
In-line Activity Updates and Audit Trail
We’ve also significantly improved collaboration features in the new inbox. Live activity updates now appear right inside the message stream – you no longer need to hit reply on a message to see if anyone else is working with it. You can also clearly track who replied to, tasked, or completed a message.
The new Smart Inbox was carefully crafted to help you streamline your social inbox management. With a clear view of the entire social conversation and your inbox activity, you and your team will be able to work through your social messages and communicate with your customers much more efficiently and effectively.
Product Team: At Sprout Social, we embrace and revel in the fact that social media is a crucial component of brand and customer relationships. Our team of dedicated engineers, marketers, designers, product specialists and customer service professionals work tirelessly to create an exceptional product for our customers.
How do you delete a message you've sent? Why is this not an option as you can easily delete messages you've sent on Facebook and Instagram!
Hey there - is there any way to add brand keywords specifically for Facebook? I'm only seeing 'Twitter keyword', 'Instagram Hashtag' and 'Instagram Location' as options. We're finding that we're missing a lot of mentions of our brand on Facebook. Thanks!
In the messages tab, is there a way to hide user generated content that doesn't have the option to be marked as "completed"?
@melodybrooke11 Hello! You can definitely hide any content that you've published on your end. If you go to your Smart Inbox menu to your right, you'll see a section labeled Filters. From there, navigate to the section that reads Message Types and uncheck the box that says Sent Messages. Once unchecked, any messages that were sent by you will be hidden from your Smart Inbox's feed. I hope this helps!
On the old version of Sprout when you clicked between profiles there was a figure next to it - the number of total unread engagements. We use Sprout Social to monitor engagements in Twitter Chats that we run and so the unread figure was really useful - we could log into it and make sure all the messages were read before the chat, so that when we logged in afterwards the figure next to their name (on the left hand side menu) would be the number of engagements during the Twitter chat.
Is there a way to see this figure now? We need to narrow it down to an hour, not just a day.
Thanks very much!
Is there a way to custom-tag incoming messages for analytics? For example, one message might be a compliment vs. another being a complaint vs. another one being a question.
@J O Hi there! Not at the moment, but our team is looking into custom tagging messages. You can currently task a message to yourself as general, support or sales lead, which could be a work-around for sorting inbound messages into different groups (not able to customize or run analytics on those task types though).
Hi there, not sure if this question has already been asked, but does marking something as complete remove it completely from other views as well, or just from the Smart Inbox? So for example, if I bulk marked a whole bunch of items as complete and then went to my incoming messages, would I still be able to see old mentions and RTS etc.? I'd certainly like to clean up my smart inbox because I do see a lot of extraneous messages from my brand keyword monitoring, but I don't want to miss older mentions and so on just because I bulk marked them as complete.
@Krystle K Hey Krystle! If you mark messages as complete in bulk, then it will clear out the entire inbox – all message types, across all groups – from the date you selected backwards. However, the messages aren't deleted, so you can always access them again by unchecking the "Hide Completed Messages" option under the chart in the top right.
If your Brand Keywords are cluttering your inbox, I'd recommend unchecking those boxes and only viewing them when you need to. You can also use Twitter's advanced search operators to help filter those queries so they're more relevant. And the Smart Search portion of Discovery is always a great place to save keywords that you want to monitor occasionally, but don't need to see right away.
Let me know if that helps clarify!
@Brit at Sprout Social Hmm, my question was more if I marked my messages as complete, then clicked on Filters -> @HANDLE, would I see anything there? Is that considered part of the Smart Inbox?
@Krystle K Got it! If you marked all messages as complete, you would still see all of them if you clicked directly on the @Handle (so it becomes underlined), which we refer to as 'isolation mode'. However, there'd be a blue circle with a check mark to indicate that the message had already been completed. Example attached.
If you hovered over 'Profiles' and clicked 'deselect' on the right, then checked that one @Handle again, you won't see completed messages in your feed (assuming Hide Completed is checked).
I like the fact that with Smart inbox we can mark our items as complete, but it is confusing that our general monitoring is mixed our page interaction.
I don't want keywords searchs (which I'm using to do for just general brand monitoring) to come up as 'tasks' that I haven't yet completed. Right now I have 69 items 'not completed' when only about 5 of them are direct posts and comments to our organisation and need a response.
I would be good to seperate them - have the smart inbox as the direct interactions with your pages and feeds that you need to respond to, and then have a general feed (like the old inbox) with all the keywords searchs etc which is just for monitoring and you only action these if you want to (eg retweeting things of interest).
Amanda, Greater Dandenong
@Amanda Paul Hey Amanda - The new inbox works quite similarly to the old inbox in terms of Brand Keywords, and can be customized to reflect what you're describing!
To start, I recommend using Brand Keywords only for keywords you need to monitor closely or frequently engage with (e.g. business name without @mention, name of a specific product, common misspellings of brand).
For keywords that you want to monitor (e.g. industry terms), but don't necessarily need to see or respond to immediately, I recommend using Smart Search in the Discovery tab. You can save the search term and scan through it when you have time, but the results won't clutter your inbox. You can retweet, reply and task messages directly from Smart Search as well.
If you already have Brand Keywords set up that way or choose to keep them as they are, you can uncheck them in the white column on the right (place your cursor over that column and scroll down to see them). Once unchecked, they'll then no longer appear in Messages feed and the message count in the top right will reflect that. You'll still be able to easily access them if you need to – just click directly on the brand keyword and the feed will isolate to only those results.
Lastly, if you still want those keywords to appear in your Messages feed, but don't want to uncheck them, you can hit the 'mark as complete' icon on the message (circle with check mark) and they'll disappear from the feed. You can always revisit them by unchecking 'Hide completed messages'.
Hope this helps!
@Brit at Sprout Social That's helps a little bit - I might try using the smart search for some keywords. We only have about 5 keyword searches set up and they take up the bulk of the inbox so I don't want to sit there marking them all as complete.
I'm not keen on unchecking and rechecking the keywords, it's just just a waste of my time.
Having the keywords in the feed as well as the inbox would help as I'd just put them in there!
Would be good if you guys could consider 2 feeds in the future - monitoring and interactions.
Can you guys please make it so we can only see the last message the person wrote - much like the native Facebook messages system does? Most people do not write their questions in 1 question - they use FB private messages like a Chat, and can end up messaging 6 times in a row (sometimes with just ??? or 'answer my question', meaning we will see all their questions mixed in with 30 other people's multiple messages instead of seeing 1 message thread from this person....and 1 message thread from this person.
Imagine if in your e-mail you saw every single response as a separate email. That would get confusing right?
@Lindsey Hey Lindsey - I understand how that could be confusing! Will have our team reassess how we handle Facebook private messages appearing in the Inbox.
@Lindsey Any progress on this? SproutSocial is great, but most of our marketing is person to person through private messages. We would definitely purchase if only we could have this feature. I hope it's coming out soon!
What do you recommend a brand do if a lot of their incoming messages are irrelevant? Do we take any action with the new "mark as complete" or is it better to ignore? And how would that affect reporting?
@ifdyperez Hey there! Depends on your preferred workflow. If you like achieving "Inbox Zero", then I'd recommend setting your inbox to 'past 24 hours' (beneath the chart) so you have fewer items to complete. Otherwise, you could keep 'hide completed items' unchecked and the inbox will work similarly to how it did before. You could then skim over the irrelevant messages and only engage with the ones you need to.
Completing items (or choosing not to) will not affect your reporting in any way. The new setup is simply meant to help you focus on what you need to see and get everything else out of your way.
Are the irrelevant messages you're seeing Brand Keywords? Or actual mentions of your brand handle? If they're Brand Keywords, I may be able to help with that!
@Brit at Sprout Social That makes sense. For the time being, I unchecked the box but also unchecked Sent Messages. I spoke with your customer service rep Carolyn on chat earlier and we saw that my outbound messages are grouping up and appearing out of chronological order. For now, it's working well when I uncheck the box.
As for the irrelevant messages, it's both. It's a complicated issue I'd love to get your help on! Can you email me? email@example.com
@ifdyperez Oh, good to hear Carolyn has been helping you out!
Will shoot you an email shortly and see if we can find a good solution for you. :)
Hi - is there any chance of introducing controls (like reassign) via email? We have some of our team that are remote and rely on the email notifications of assignments to get back to other team members with answers. However, when they reply back by email it simply adds a comment to the assignment and doesn't reassign it back to the originator. Could this be built in?
@PeteRobson Hey Pete - I could see how that'd be helpful! Will share the idea with our team and see if it's something we could make happen.
Previously, you could track keywords & hashtags which would display in your Smart Inbox. Has this been removed?
@Yani Hey Yani! You can still track keywords and hashtags in the Smart Inbox. If you place your cursor over the 'Smart Inbox' box on the right and scroll down, you'll see Brand Keywords at the bottom.
I can't see the 'Mark as complete' option anywhere. I've tried finding this feature in the 'User and Social Profiles' settings as described in another post on here but I cannot find that option there either. I have full access to my Sprout account so I'm not sure why I cannot find this feature. Please help!!
@Anthony Hey Anthony! Are you the account owner? Or a team member on someone else's account? If you're a team member, the account owner will need to give you permission to mark messages as complete.
It took me a while to find how to turn on the new feature. In case you're wondering it's located next to your user's name (under your team's user and social profiles under Settings). Check the box labeled " [?]"
I do like the new features!
@ruthmichel Hey Ruth! Correct, account owners do need to enable the ability to change message status for their team members. Glad you found it, but will see if we can make that more clear.
And great to hear you're enjoying the new update!
What if we were using Sprout Social differently? We just wanted a simple way to see all incoming interactions, and see a list of anything new each time we come back. We can't do that now without extra clicks to "mark items as complete".
We very rarely turn replies / RTs / follows / etc into actionable items... Is there any option to revert?
@JoshuaSchlag Hey Joshua - If I'm understanding correctly, you could 'complete items in bulk' (top right gear next to Smart Inbox) and then you'd only see new messages each time you come back. Additionally, you don't have to dismiss items if you don't want to – you could leave the 'hide' option unchecked so the inbox will function similarly to how it did before. Would that help?
And there is not a way to revert to the old version. I understand it's a big change though and will take some adjusting!
@Brit at Sprout Social That functionality could suffice, and I could learn to deal with having to click where I was used to something happening automatically... but it clearly doesn't work the same on the back end and isn't as intuitive. Clicking on the 'complete items in bulk' states it will take anywhere from 30 secs to a few hours... whereas the old system was able to mark items as read near instantly.
Changing the timeframe seems to be slow, as well... I'm sure there are bugs to work out... I'll try and maintain some patience in the meantime.
@Brit at Sprout Social Actually, this is kind of driving me batty. I've been used to being able to come back to Sprout Social at various times in the day to do a quick check of "What's new?" and now I have to manually mark things each time...
@Brit at Sprout Social Working through this, bear with me... I do see that I get a little flag / link at the top if I leave the tab open, and can see new updates since the last time I was looking... That isn't half bad and is a necessary carry over from the old system. This could work...
@JoshuaSchlag Oh good! Happy to hear that. Keep me posted and I'm happy to help in any way I can.
@savannah1 @Brit at Sprout Social Wait... Yeah... This isn't good at all. It applies to all accounts in all groups? That makes zero sense. I'd like to run through this one group at a time, and have changes actually apply (instead of being told it could take hours). Please fix this or revert to the old system... Or I'm probably going to find something else...
How is this different from marking something as Archived? Also, lots of basic functionality missing:
1. No way to mark multiple items as completed.
2. No way to see just Completed items.
3. No setting that lets me automatically mark items as completed once I've scrolled past them.
I manage properties with millions of fans and have to scan hundreds of messages each day. Marking them off one at a time just isn't useful.
@savannah1 Hi Savannah - Thanks for your input! Completing a message is similar to archiving, but the new setup gives users more flexibility in how they see those messages, how they appear across teams and has a much stronger backend system to support it all.
1. Hear you on the multi 'complete'. We're exploring the best way to handle that, but wanted to get the new inbox out as soon as we could so users could experience the functionality.
2. Can you give me a better idea of how you'd use such a feature? You can currently see completed items by unchecking "Hide Completed Items" in the feed, which are greyed out a bit to indicate they've been completed. If you previously used Archive to save messages, you can now click "Save Message" on the tweet and see only those messages by clicking Saved Messages on the left.
3. Happy to suggest it to the team. We like to encourage brands to engage with people who are mentioning them, but understand that not every brand gets mentions that need a response.
If you're not necessarily replying to each mention, you don't have dismiss each message if you'd prefer to just skim past. You could keep 'hide completed items' unchecked so the inbox would work similarly to how it was previously. Or can toggle the feed to only show items from the past 24 hours so you have less to work through.
2. When you uncheck "Hide Completed Items" you see EVERYTHING. If I mark something as completed and realize later I want to look at it again, I don't want to hunt for it amongst hundreds of other, uncompleted messages.
3. I DO engage with people, but for a large brand, only about 1/10th of the messages are things worth responding to. The others are general comments like "I like this show." or "James Taylor is my favorite artist." I get hundreds of these each day and NO brand responds to every single one of these.
I scan through all my messages to identify the ones I can respond to. I create tasks for items that require further research or need answers for someone else, but the vast majority don't require any further action. If I had a setting to automatically mark these items as completed as I scroll down, it would make like easier.
Think Feedly in terms of functionality. That's what I'm suggesting.
@savannah1 Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification and will share your insight with our product development team.
We're really excited for these updates! When will they be deployed? Our Smart Inbox looks like it usually does :(
@Anne Hey Anne! The update should be rolled out to everyone by now. Are you still seeing the old version? Do you see a chart in the upper right of your Messages view?