The social media management tool is also introducing an iPhone app, with one for Android soon to follow. Sprout is a startup with the backing of Lightbank, the investment fund from Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, and is best known for providing a social media monitoring and publishing capability tooled for small and midsize businesses.
"A lot of customers, regardless of size or industry, have been asking for things like the team functionality and the iPhone app," Sprout CEO Justyn Howard said.
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-- Group administration support, with personalized dashboards. Sprout says team and group structures can be customized to support many organizational structures, where each user or group will have access to what's most relevant to their role.
-- Agency support. Advertising and digital agencies will be able to handle multiple accounts within a single dashboard and more easily collaborate with customers on managing social feeds.
-- Assignment queues. Tasks can be placed in a queue by users or their managers. For example, a store manager might be assigned the task of following up on a negative tweet about his location, or a salesperson might be assigned to follow up on a lead.
-- Native iPhone application. Mobile users can monitor their social media inbox, send replies, create and schedule messages, and view assignments.
-- White-label option for partners. Software vendors, Web hosting providers, and others will be able to offer Sprout Social tools with their own branding.
In the crowded market for social media management tools, Sprout is most often compared with HootSuite or Radian6, Howard said, although "the biggest competition is still people who aren't using anything."
While some other tools are focused primarily on monitoring social media mentions or scheduling posts to Twitter and Facebook, "we try to make sure we cover the whole lifecycle of social media, all in one place," Howard said.
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