Sprout Social gets real about replacing competition with collaboration

By Lauren Tamboer

Sprout Social is a social media management tool that helps organizations monitor, respond to, and measure social media efforts to ensure smarter communication. Sprout’s analytics go beyond post-specific metrics – they allow us to uncover valuable social media insights such as trends in responsiveness and engagement.

Moonsail North joined the Sprout Social partner program for agencies this year, and I became Silver Level Sprout Certified shortly after. This way, #TeamMoonsail can confidently provide social media management expertise to clients to ensure our joint efforts are strategic, detail-oriented, and demonstrate ROI.

Moonsail North has to keep up as the field evolves – just as individual professionals have to keep up with professional development. That’s a big driver of why Moonsail North joined Sprout Social’s network of agencies. We have, over the years, seen platforms get a lot of buzz and usage, only to fall behind.

Adding to our positive experience with Sprout is their excellent personal customer service. We appreciate having access to specific Sprout staff devoted to managing our onboarding, to helping us access the partner tools among others, and they’re always willing to jump on a call. Usually, it’s a conversation that grows beyond the mechanics of how to use Sprout.

But I didn’t truly believe that this was more than a platform until I jumped on the Chicago Skyway and headed to the Windy City this week to join Sprout’s other agency partners for a two-day Sprout Social Agency Partner Summit at their headquarters.

It was a few days of learning, panels, presentations, and scribbled notes — as any conference typically is. But my first conference without the company of a personal coworker quickly became much more than that.

I must admit — as an introvert, I’m drained by social experiences that push me out of my comfort zone, not energized by them. But the connections I made and the conversations I had were about more than raising my LinkedIn connections or swapping business cards. They were about people listening to my expertise, connecting with it, and sharing their own in return.

I’ve always considered myself a life-long student — the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve come to realize what I don’t know. These last few days in Chicago were a reminder that openness to new experience is always a good place to start. It’s good to hear that thought leaders in social media’s evolution are recommending what we already do in our work, and showing us ways we can refine even more.

An especially cool part of the Summit? The entirely-female lineup of powerhouse speakers and panelists. I left with countless actionable ideas, but here are my three favorite takeaways:

1. Client meetings are an agency’s (or a brand’s) most valuable touchpoint.

Claire Schlafly of Sprout Social spent much of her discussion on the importance of networks and of bringing people together into the same room. Both collaborative approaches carry powerful, rich forms of communication in ways that other approaches are lacking.

2. The marketing funnel is not a one-way, linear experience.

Many of the Summit speakers addressed the need to view the marketing “funnel” as a 360-degree, bi-directional, looping experience for the client or customer. We tend to neglect the power of word of mouth, and how our clients are often our best advocates. Seeing the marketing experience as a loop helps us identify the points during a client’s journey where we can improve their experience.

3. Lead with curiosity.

You never know what you might learn from a partner or collaborator. Everyone has an area of expertise that they bring to the table, and starting from a point of curiosity is the best way to soak up new strategies and tactics. It was clear that the agency partners around me, despite being in the same industry, forgo competition in favor of collaborating with one another and building community.

On their website, Sprout proudly proclaims that they intend to “champion human to human social.” Their playful personality and their friendly, open employees reminded me that “building a beloved brand is not simply about the product or service a business sells, but the connections it makes with the people who love and trust it.” My experience at the Summit was more than a reflection of this value, but an embodiment of it.

And I wasn’t the only one who saw the focus on connection at the Summit — check out our Twitter moment for more on the insights I gained. Do you have questions about using Sprout Social for your organization or your own experiences with the platform to share? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you.