Sprout Social’s unified Smart Inbox helps businesses effectively engage and foster authentic conversations with their audience. The 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 also flexible enough to support your social strategy as it evolves. This guide will show you how to get the most out of Sprout by using the inbox features to manage incoming messages across your social profiles and analyzing your team’s messaging and responsiveness using the Engagement Report.
Watch the webinar for this guide.
Real Time Activity Chart
View by Completed Status
View by Timeframe
Filter & Isolate
Add Brand Keywords
View Contact Profiles
Reply to Messages
Measure Your Engagement
Visualize your Smart Inbox activity in a real-time chart—whether it’s all messages or only those you still have to get to. As you work through messages, you and your designated front-line team can mark them complete, removing them from the inbox and causing the blue completion bars to rise.
Your whole team, regardless of message permissions, will see real-time progress and know where each person left off, ensuring smarter, faster, and more personal communications. See a visual count of inbox items by timeframe, right next to your message stream. Click on an individual bar to dig into a specific week, day, or hour and isolate that set of messages.
Once messages are marked as complete, users on your team that have been granted the permission can remove them from their inbox 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.
Flip between Show Completed Items and Hide Completed Items to see all messages in the Smart Inbox (regardless of their completion status) or hide all completed messages from the inbox and stay focused on what’s next.
Mark Complete in Bulk to complete any older messages that don't require a response from your team.
Note: Mark Complete in Bulk only allows you to mark all of your messages complete up to the day before the current day.
Only account owners can Mark Complete in Bulk, and this action will mark all messages complete across all groups in the account.
Grant your front-line team the power to Manage message status in Settings > Users & Social Profiles so that they can start marking messages as completed. Your team members without message status permissions can still see the inbox chart, interact with messages, and view real-time conversation updates.
Note: Only account owners have Manage message status permission upon Sprout account sign up. Account owners must grant this permission to other users. Once a manager has permission to Manage message status, they can grant that status to any other user.
Select a timeframe to see the number of messages remaining in the window selected. Swap the timeframe to change to chart and count to be reflective of the past:
- 90 days: see messages for the past quarter broken down by week.
- 30 days: see messages for the past month broken down by day.
- 14 days: see messages on a bi-weekly basis broken down by day.
- 7 days: see messages for the past week broken down by day.
- 24 hours: see messages for the past day broken down by hour.
Once you've selected a timeframe, click an individual bar to isolate a specific range within that window. For example, you can view your remaining items for a specific hour when viewing the past 24 hours.
Manage all of your social channels via the single-stream messaging inbox. Control which messages appear in your Smart Inbox by selecting or deselecting specific profiles, message types, and brand keywords.
Sprout users each have their own inbox view so they can configure and navigate to messages and conversations based on what they are responsible for monitoring and managing. Simply click on a specific profile name or keyword to isolate that specific content in your feed, which will display only the messages related to your selection in the inbox stream.
Once you’ve isolated a profile, view by All Time, or select the date from which you’d like to view your messages. Choose to View by Type--by all or specific message type.
Brand keywords are specific keywords that your audience may use while talking about your brand or when using some iteration of your business' name—whether through a direct mention or not. You can set up Brand Keyword searches for any keywords on Twitter, as well as specific hashtags or locations on Instagram. You can respond to Brand Keywords like any other message type.
Brand Keywords are limited per group depending on your Sprout plan. Limiting them helps ensure that your inbox doesn’t get too cluttered, resulting in missing the messages that matter. We suggest having a combination of these:
- one keyword that is your brand name where you aren’t directly mentioned
- one to two keywords that are your brand name transposed or misspelled
- two to three that are nicknames
- Any Instagram hashtags that are specific to your brand
- a location that is directly relevant to your brand (such as a store)
Easily manage complete conversations across all of your social networks in one place with Sprout’s integrated messaging actions for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+.
Click the gear icon ( ) in the upper right hand corner of a message to view available actions.
Note: Sprout integrates with Google Translate for the language translation feature. Set up your default language in Settings >Personal Settings.
Set messages that require extra attention aside-whether it’s a Tweet of praise, a Facebook post suggesting an improvement, or just a comment to address later. Mark messages as Saved by choosing Save Message from the message options. Check out your Messages > Saved Messages tab later to revisit the message.
Allow your front-line team to view and control the completion status for each message in your inbox, letting users hide completed messages from the inbox and stay focused on what’s next, making sure that your business will never miss an important message and no customer will go unanswered. Replied to a message? Just mark it complete. Work toward a finite inbox and be aware of your progress along the way with the responsive inbox chart that adjusts the inbox timeframe.
Take advantage of added flexibility with the option to mark messages as complete from anywhere in Sprout Social. It’s not just restricted to Smart Inbox, you can mark messages as complete from within any message reply modal or task.
The ability to mark as complete is controlled by a Manage message status permission; simply designate specific people on your team who can mark and view completed messages. You can set these permissions under Settings > Users & Social Profiles.
Create tasks to assign or route messages to the appropriate team members to help ensure quick response times for your customers and clear message ownership. Sprout’s tasking features provide complete visibility into and control over task management for your team.
Click the pushpin icon to task incoming messages to your team members who are responsible for following up on or managing the conversation.
The pushpin icon will remain shaded blue if a task has already been created, and the task assignment details will show when a task has been assigned or completed when you scroll over the icon.
Sprout helps support authentic engagement with your audience by providing a shared contact profile visible to your entire team. For any Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram message, your team members can click on a contact’s avatar to see the full profile view and reference a complete conversation history to keep engagement with the contact relevant and personal.
Click the Reply icon ( ) on the lower right hand corner of a message to send a reply. For Twitter messages, click the camera icon or drag and drop to include a photo. Sprout provides the conversation history between your team and a contact within the reply modal. Reference those conversations to engage authentically with your audience as a unified brand.
Once a message has been replied to, the reply icon on the message will remain shaded. Hover over the reply icon to see which team member sent the reply to the message.
In Facebook replies, Sprout supports adding a new comment or replying to an existing comment.
Facebook replies also support photo uploads. Click the camera icon or drag and drop a photo to include it in your response.
If one of your team members is already viewing or responding to a message, we’ll give you an activity update in real-time so that you avoid sending duplicate or conflicting responses to your audience. Collision Detection is available while responding to any message. We’ll show you if a team member is viewing a message even before you attempt to reply.
If you click to reply, we’ll also show you the team member that’s already responding to the message.
Take your social engagement to the next level by using the Engagement Report. This report helps you measure team engagement efforts happening around messaging in the Smart Inbox. Analyze your response metrics to better understand and gauge your responsiveness to messages that warrant a response from your brand. Even customize the report to view the engagement for a specific social channel over a certain time period.