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11/9/2011
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Sprout Social Gets Team, Agency Controls

Social media management console adds multiple administrators, assignment queues for tasks, and a user interface revamp.

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Sprout Social is getting new controls for teams, user groups, and agencies who work together to monitor and manage social media feeds.

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.

[Trouble explaining social tools to bigwigs and staff? Learn 11 Ways To Explain Social Business Benefits.]

Enhancements include:

-- 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.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/10/2011 | 2:14:14 AM
re: Sprout Social Gets Team, Agency Controls
I think tools like Sprout Social will be a must-have for any organization taking social seriously. As the stakes get higher and volume and expectations grow, there will have to be real management systems in place to effectively handle posting, response, content creation, monitoring, etc.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
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