What Is Social Customer Care?

Customer service. Customer support. Customer care.

These terms are thrown around a lot in the social media realm. They’re often used interchangeably so it can be confusing to gain an understanding of which engagement approach is right for your brand.

When it comes down to it, social customer care is about building relationships with your audience and engaging, whether your company is B2B or B2C.

Social customer care encompasses the entire relationship between a brand and its customers. From being an accessible resource to providing ongoing support and creating delightful customer experiences, you can build customer loyalty and increase sales with the right social strategy.

Sprout Social makes it easy to manage and analyze your social customer care strategy. The platform helps you engage with incoming messages, find and join conversations and track profile, network and individual performance around your customer care approach.

Three Types of Customer Care

Understanding the three core segments of social customer care is crucial. No matter the size of your business, you can easily add and maintain these care initiatives using Sprout to manage, execute and measure.

1) Preemptive

Preemptive communication anticipates incoming messages around a planned event or potential disruption of service to keep your customers in the loop. To do that, you’ll want to publish content that is clear, helpful and informative.


If you know you’re going to have a service outage for regularly scheduled maintenance, inform your community of scheduled downtime in advance. This will preempt any inconvenienced customers while saving your social team a lot of time in dealing with the potential response.

2) Proactive

Proactive communication sparks a conversation with your customers. To do that, you’ll want to publish content that resonates and elicits some sort of action or reaction from your audience.


Does your social team receive a lot of the same questions about your product? Then you should proactively share resources, such as best practices and tips, to keep your community informed while opening up your social team to tackle more pressing matters.

3) Reactive

Reactive communication engages with incoming messages. Respond with content that is helpful and direct to meet your audience’s needs.


Does your brand receive incoming messages from new or potential customers? Reactively engaging with your audience will cement those relationships, and help you find new opportunities in the market.

Executing Social Customer Care

Sprout makes it easy for brands to manage the entire customer care spectrum, from publishing to engaging to reporting.

The Publishing toolset encompasses creation and management of preemptive and proactive communications. The Compose window enables you to draft, queue, schedule and submit messages for approval, while the calendar provides a visual of outgoing content.

The Smart Inbox is the central hub of engagement and the place to manage reactive communications. With a unified stream of incoming messages across profiles and networks all in one place, users can engage with their audience, monitor keyword searches, task messages to other users and mark messages complete to clear out of the inbox.

Sprout’s suite of reports enables you to measure communication reports across the customer care spectrum. A range of network, profile and message-level data helps you understand customer care success and its impact on your social presence. Advanced keyword, productivity and trend analysis helps you identify valuable opportunities and areas for improvement.

Managing Preemptive Customer Care

Getting important messages in front of your audience at the right time is key for preemptive customer care. You can use Sprout’s Publishing toolset to create and manage preemptive communications.

Publishing tools:

  • Message Tags to categorize published messages
  • Scheduler to optimize publishing times
  • Message Approval to review drafted messages
  • Mobile app to communicate while on the go
  • Publishing Calendar to visually monitor scheduled messages

Analyzing Preemptive Customer Care

Understand when and how your team is communicating important messages to your audience. Use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze preemptive customer care communications.


  • Tag Report to analyze performance of grouped messages
  • Team Report to track your team’s posting behaviors
  • Sent Messages Report to understand reach and engagement

Managing Proactive Customer Care

Providing informative and engaging content to your audience will strengthen your relationships and position your brand as a thought leader. You can use Sprout’s Publishing toolset to create and manage proactive communications.

Publishing tools:

  • Message Tags to categorize published messages
  • Scheduler, Optimal Send Times, Queue & ViralPost to improve reach
  • Message Approval to collaborate and ensure quality content
  • Custom Link Tracking to trail published messages
  • Organic post targeting to reach relevant audiences
sprout compose window for posting new messages

Analyzing Proactive Customer Care

Track content performance and volume to ensure you are talking with your audience—not at them. You can use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze proactive customer care communications.


  • Sent Messages Report to understand reach and engagement of published content
  • Tag Report to analyze the performance of related messages
  • Twitter Keyword report to analyze keyword usage to target conversations
Sprout sent messages report example

Managing Reactive Customer Care

Participating in conversations will rearm your customer relationships and finding new conversations will grow new relationships. You can use Sprout’s Engagement toolset to manage reactive communications.

Engagement tools:

  • Message Tags to organize incoming messages
  • Tasks to assign incoming messages
  • Brand Keywords to monitor conversations
  • Saved Replies to create and store responses for common questions
  • Inbox Views to streamline all messages requiring attention
  • Message Spike Alerts to be notified of unusual volume increases
  • Automated Alerts to stay updated on important messages
  • Mobile app to engage while on the go
Sprout's smart inbox allows you to tag specific social users as sales leads

Analyzing Reactive Customer Care

Benchmark replies and responses to ensure timely engagement with your audience. You can use Sprout’s suite of reports to analyze reactive customer care communications.


  • Engagement Report to analyze incoming messages and responses
  • Team Report to assess team reply rates
  • Task Performance Report to measure your team’s use of Tasks and completion
  • Tag Report to monitor trends of grouped messages
  • Trends Report to understand what people are saying about your brand
  • Twitter Profiles, Facebook Pages and Instagram Profiles to determine the impact of engagement on your social

Sprout Brings Customer Care Full Circle

Your customers are talking about you across social, reaching out directly and passively listening to what you are saying—so, it’s important that you listen, respond and communicate effectively in order to create exceptional customer experiences.

With Sprout’s social customer care toolset you can communicate with your audience, monitor and engage in conversations and analyze your reports, all from one platform. Whether you focus on preemptive, proactive, reactive—or all three—in your social care strategy, Sprout’s toolset will help you build, strengthen and effectively measure your customer relationships.