For many companies, it's become increasingly common to add a side dish to the social media monitoring entrée: to build social analytics around a strong social media monitoring suite, but to also add a side product to capture engagement metrics.
Sprout Social jumps off the menu, begging for this role. It offers an analytics dashboard that wraps up everything most users want in a single page. Those analytics are powerful, heavy with shares and demographics, as well as the big side dish: engagement.
Moreover, Sprout Social offers the Discover tab, which enables smart search focused on tracking down brand advocates who are influencing the brand. With this feature, it's a simple matter to boost the brand's presence on, say, Twitter, in just a few steps.
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Crowdbooster also falls into this social media monitoring category in which engagement metrics are increasingly important. Although Crowdbooster is sharper in appearance than Sprout Social, it doesn't rival Sprout's substance. It can download its findings via a CSV file, but the download is quite lean. On the other hand, Crowdbooster offers a powerful feature common to the bigger tools: It can schedule posts, which is convenient for those who use monitoring tools to turn numbers into strategic action.
Then there's Conversocial, which wins out over Crowdbooster with its ability to group messages by topic, allowing multiple inputs to individual responses. This feature is a great time-saver for the strategically minded who want to boost engagement.
Conversocial can save even more time with its ability to create "channel" views, filtering messages into integrated streams for convenient viewing. It also simplifies engagement monitoring with keyboard shortcuts specifically for that purpose. But the downside of Conversocial is that its analytics are weak and profile information can't be edited.
Still, Conversocial is so easy to use that its return on investment stands on efficiency alone, and some reviewers place it above even HootSuite and Radian6.