Social media marketing can be one of the most powerful tools in marketing manager’s mix. User information available to marketers on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow unprecedented targeting and personalization opportunities. But with all this data comes the challenge of truly understanding your brand’s social audience, and how they can drive your business’ goals, and executing on your ideas and strategies. Data available from social analytics platforms makes it possible to assess performance and optimize messaging to deliver better engagement ROI, and at the same time provide a business case for investment in social media marketing. And a great social media management tool can make that optimization and publishing seamless, saving your team’s resource time.
We use and test many platforms and tools at Path Interactive, and we’ve found two in particular to be especially helpful in social media management and publishing: Sprout Social and Falcon.io. Both these tools allow marketers to manage all social profiles from a central platform, making marketing processes more efficient than ever.
If you’re in search of a platform for social engagement management, reporting, and publishing, we’ve compared both Sprout Social and Falcon.io based on 3 key use cases.
Use case #1: Community management, engagement and customer service
Social media is a two-way conversation between brands and their audiences. For social conversation management and customer service support, the edge goes to Falcon.io since it allows for templated responses to users and allows you to look up a history of your users’ interactions with you on various social platforms. For brands with established customer service response guidelines (similar to those we create for clients at Path Interactive), this can be a big time-saver. These templated responses and Falcon’s dashboard of all messages/comments sent and received is convenient, and on a day-to-day basis is significantly less overwhelming than having to bounce back and forth between different open tabs and social profiles. Falcon also breaks out each account separately so you can focus on one tab (and brand) at a time, enabling you to comb through the comments and messages more easily on an account-by-account basis.
Although Sprout Social’s Messages feature has similar functionality, the interface is slightly less user-friendly. Sprout also does not offer templated responses or a history of interactions. Additionally, the Sprout Social Messages feature lumps all accounts being monitored into one (very long) timeline. For agencies or brands managing accounts for sub-brands, this can be difficult to navigate.
All in all, Sprout’s version may be manageable, but it’s not ideal – so one point for Falcon!
Use case #2: Social media publishing
Falcon shines in the publishing arena with a nifty calendar feature that allows you to see all posts that are scheduled for any given day, across all accounts. The ability to review all of your scheduled posts in one birds-eye view is useful because you can easily spot discrepancies or messaging alignment opportunities across platforms. It also beats switching between multiple Facebook pages to ensure your posts have been scheduled correctly.
Needless to say, we’re big fans of this feature. However, when it comes to attributing spend dollars behind Facebook posts, you cannot use this platform as your sole means of publishing, as media buys still need to be scheduled through Facebook itself. Either way, Falcon gets the point for metric two.
Use case #3: Measurement and analysis
This one may be a tie…
Falcon offers flexibility in creating “custom” reports that have more data and metrics to measure, which is helpful in creating compelling stories around social media success and ROI. However, the platform’s report customizations are limited to single metrics (multiple metrics cannot be compared) and the presentation is less visually pleasing compared to Sprout’s (especially for custom modules).
Overall, Sprout’s ability to sort and analyze pieces of content by performance metrics is comparable to (maybe even slightly better than) Falcon’s. Additionally, when comparing overviews of social media performance Sprout dominates because it is significantly more user-friendly and straightforward. It allows you to view a quick snapshot of key performance metrics which can be easily dropped into client reports.
So, which social media management tool is better… Sprout or Falcon?
If you’re looking for the efficiency of an all-in-one tool that measures basic social media performance, both platforms are comparable. We liked Falcon for its community management and publishing capabilities, but these come with a higher price point than Sprout Social (which is a great scalable entry level tool). And while the ability to include unlimited profiles in Falcon is great if you’re managing multiple social media accounts for numerous brands, this single feature might not be enough to justify the higher cost compared to Sprout Social.
Each tool has its advantages and unique features, but in the end, it probably comes down to what your pain points are, and what your budget is.
Looking to improve your strategies for social community management, publishing, and reporting? Read more viewpoints from our staff on our blog, see how we do social media, or better yet – contact us and ask us what we think.