By Daniel Bailey, Digital Account Lead
Our relationship with Sprout Social started back in July 2016. We took them up on their offer for a 30-day trial as we were in the market for a new platform that would help us manage and grow our clients’ social media channels. As soon as the trial ended, we knew we had to roll the tool out across our client base so they can start benefiting from the improved monitoring, publishing and reporting functionalities that the dashboard offers. Since then, our relationship with Sprout has only grown stronger. In May 2017, we become a Founding Partner of Sprout Social’s brand-new Agency Partner Program, and in October 2017, we flew out across the pond to attend the company’s first ever Sprout Agency Partner Day.
The Sprout Agency Partner Day was an exciting opportunity for us to gain valuable insight into the trends and future of social media and mingle with over 100 other industry leaders in the digital space, all of which are avid Sprout Social lovers like we are here at Whiteoaks! The day had a packed agenda with some exciting speakers lined up. Some of which included Twitter’s Eric Martin shining a spotlight on the future of Twitter as a social network; Fifty & Five’s Lucas Vandenberg sharing his insights into social KPIs; as well as a great discussion from B Squared Media’s Brook B. Sellas who discussed how she successfully scaled her agency to accommodate its continued growth.
One element I noticed as a recurring theme is the importance of listening to your followers and social audiences. Monitoring has always been key on social media, something we focus on here at Whiteoaks, but it’s becoming a priority for businesses that want to see success from their social efforts. Another exciting trend is social advocacy, where Social Compass’ Jared DiVincent shared his experiences with Bambu by Sprout Social, a tool which helps organisations to get their staff more involved with sharing company content on social media. Both trends are something that agencies and clients need to stay aware of as the social landscape continues to evolve.
As well as presentations from Social Media Unicorn, SSPR and Friendemic who shared their best practices to managing high-performing agencies in a panel, we had a peak into what’s next for the Partner Program, and the Partner Value Awards were announced (one thing we didn’t want to miss in this blog!).
We were thrilled to have received the #SproutPartner MVP award which recognises the partner that’s the most involved in the online Sprout Partner community! Congratulations to both Sarah’s Best Strategy and B Squared Media for being named in the top three. Also, a huge congratulations to Cosmitto, Social Compass and Digital Natives Group for taking home awards on the day too.
The day was a clear success, even without the award we would have left Chicago happier than we when we tasted our first bite of Chicago deep dish pizza. It was an absolute pleasure to meet and learn from our fellow industry professionals about all things social. It provided us with the perfect opportunity to learn where the social media industry is at the moment and where it’s heading — and we’ll be putting a lot of what we learnt into practice going forward.
I also wanted to thank the team at Sprout Social (Christine, Luke, Tara, Buck, Vera, Sarah and anyone else who I might have missed) for giving us such a warm welcome to their offices and for making us feel at home.