Compose Basics

Compose is the tool you need to create new messages to post to your social profiles connected to Sprout Social from desktop and mobile.

This article contains the following sections:

Composing a message

To compose a message:

  1. Click Compose.png in the upper-right corner of the screen or press N on your keyboard.
  2. Select the networks you want to post to using the Profile Picker. The character count appears in the lower-right of the Compose window and displays the most restrictive character count based on the networks you select. 
  3. Compose your post and add emojis and media.
  4. (Optional) If you're posting to Instagram, enter your First Comment. 
  5. Apply workflows and assign mobile publishers. 
  6. Apply tags and/or campaigns.
  7. Select the time and date you want to post.
  8. Click Send or Submit.

Uploading Media

You can add images, GIFs and video to your outgoing posts from your computer, Asset Library, Canva, Dropbox or Google Drive. Click Screen_Shot_2021-08-31_at_3.05.40_PM.png to select your media source or drag and drop an image or video from your computer. A thumbnail preview appears in the Attached Images section once your media is added.

Read more about Media Upload Types and Size Limits

For photos, click Screen_Shot_2021-08-31_at_3.06.42_PM.png to crop and edit, add Descriptive Text or remove the image.

Click Save to save your image and the newly edited version appears in the thumbnail preview.

Note: You can only upload 1 GIF per post in order for it to animate when published.

Previewing Messages

As a best practice, you should preview messages before publishing them. In fullscreen, Compose shows you a preview for each network included in the Profile Picker on the right-hand side of the screen. Edits appear in real-time as you add to your post.


When working in compact Compose, click Preview_Eye.png. This enables you to preview both the desktop and mobile experience of your post. You can toggle between those networks by clicking the tabs along the top of the view for each profile you picked.


If you're adding more than one image to your post, you can drag and drop the images in the order you want them to appear.


When adding videos to your posts in Compose, you can select a new thumbnail frame from your video, if you don't have a thumbnail photo to upload to Instagram, Twitter Pro Media or Facebook. 


Click Choose a new thumbnail frame to get presented with up to 20 frames to select from for draft, scheduled or queued posts.

Tagging locations

When creating posts, you might want to add a location to tag your own business address to let customers know where you're located. Or you might be sharing content from an event at a new location. You can tag a location for your Facebook or Instagram posts.

To add a location:


  1. Click Screen_Shot_2020-12-04_at_10.35.54_AM.png
  2. Choose Facebook or Instagram.
  3. Enter the name of the location and select it from the list.

Note: You can only tag locations that have an associated Facebook Page. You can add cities, regions, countries and specific places, so long as they have an associated Facebook page.

Mentioning other users

When creating posts, you’ll sometimes want to mention other users. Each network has their own specifications, and some won’t allow you to mention users when included in the Profile Picker in-tandem. For example, you can't mention someone on Twitter and Facebook at the same time. To do this, we recommend using the Save + Duplicate feature outlined towards the end of this article. The network rules are as follows:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

You can mention a Company Page when only Facebook or LinkedIn are chosen in the Profile Picker. Personal Profiles aren't supported. You can mention any Twitter handle when one Twitter profile is attached in the Profile Picker.


Instagram and Pinterest

To tag a Personal or Business Profile on Instagram, @mention the profile in the text of your post. Due to network restrictions, this doesn't produce a list of profiles from which you can select. Remember that you can test that you mentioned the correct profile by following the hyperlinked profile handle in the Network Preview, next to the Compose window.

Pinterest doesn't allow third party apps like Sprout to tag individuals or businesses.

Adding Links

Compose supports hyperlinks. After you enter a link, a horizontal box appears giving you the option to shorten the link. Any metadata gathered from the link entered also appears.


Clicking Shorten Links automatically shortens included links with a URL. 

To edit metadata, click Edit.png beneath the trashcan icon. Not all networks support edits to metadata.

To read more about metadata, read this helpful article about URL metadata. If you want to learn more about Facebook Link Ownership, read this article outlining the details

Note: If you have a vanity link shortener, you may connect your account to Sprout. To do so, navigate Account and settings > Settings > Account Settings. Scroll down to Settings by Group and connect your account to the target group.

Delivering content

Once you finish your message, you have a few ways to manage how to publish it. By default, posts are set to post immediately. Clicking on the dropdown reveals additional content management options.



If you choose to save your content as a draft, it gets placed in the Drafts folder within the Publishing section. If more than one network was attached in the Profile Picker, Sprout saves a draft for each network.

Drafts are collaborative as well, and get saved in a central directory. Any user with the appropriate publishing permission can edit drafts.

Schedule Manually

Time-sensitive content like posts surrounding a promotion or campaign is best suited for the Scheduler. When you choose Specific day and time, a Choose Date space appears.

Days that already have scheduled content appear with a dot beneath the date. 

Once you select a day for your post, you can then specify a post time. Sprout enables you to post down to the minute, making the release of your content look as natural as possible.


Note: You can schedule content up to 13 months in advance.

Optimal Send Times

In addition to choosing specific times manually, users on Professional and Advanced plans have the option to select from up to seven automatically generated Optimal Send Times. Click Use Optimal Send Times to choose from a list of send times generated by ViralPost 2.0.


The listed times have a star rating–one to five stars–based on how ViralPost determines the time's anticipated effectiveness, with five being the best.

ViralPost calculates Optimal Send Times by looking at your audience's engagement with your selected profiles. In instances where there isn't enough data, it suggests Optimal Send Times based on the overall optimal times for the selected networks, based on your configured time zone.

Note: You may schedule a post for multiple days. To get started, click Add another date. You can't schedule the same post multiple times in the same day via Sprout. Networks may natively deem repetitive content as spam. 

Sprout Queue

Most content, such as tips about your product or evergreen blog posts, are not time-sensitive. This content is best suited for the Sprout Queue

Read more about the Sprout Queue and ViralPost and how to leverage these tools.

Compose Workflows

Quickly publish and duplicate new messages in succession from with the Send + Duplicate workflow.


Send + Duplicate delivers your message and reopens Compose with the same message, including any attached assets, ready to edit for other profiles or networks.

Send + New delivers the existing message and reopens a blank Compose with the previously-selected profiles. Using this feature, you can create new content more efficiently for a selected profile or group of profiles.

Applying tags and campaigns to posts

You can apply Campaign and Label tags to your outgoing posts using Sprout Tags. You can select from any available tags in your Group.

You can apply tags to your outgoing posts using the Sprout Tags dropdown. You can apply Labels or a Campaign tag or both to your outgoing posts, based on your campaign and reporting needs.


Managing Messages

The Publishing section shows draft, scheduled and queued messages. 

Learn more about the Shared Content Calendar, which gives you a birds-eye view of all of your posts, so you can effectively manage your content strategy

Composing on mobile

You can also compose posts on the fly using Sprout's iOS and Android application. You can post directly from your mobile device, or quickly jot down an idea when inspiration hits and save it for later.

In Sprout's iOS application, you can quickly view your profiles and networks, search for profiles directly from Compose and reconnect any profiles that might've lost a connection. Additionally, your profiles are ordered from those you publish to most often to least often.

To compose a post on mobile:

  1. Open the Sprout Social app on your mobile device.
  2. Tap Screen_Shot_2020-12-11_at_11.10.27_AM.png.
  3. Search for the profiles you want to publish to. 
  4. Enter your message and attach any media, tags, locations or add an item from your asset library.
  5. Select if you want to Send Now, Schedule, Queue or Draft the message.
  6. Tap Send. Your post is scheduled or published immediately based on your settings.

In Sprout's Android application, you can add, edit, and remove tags from posts. This is a great way to ensure your posts are tagged appropriately based on campaigns you're running.


Tap Screen_Shot_2020-12-11_at_11.16.04_AM.png to bring up a list of your Tags. Tap the tags you want to include or deselect any tags you want to remove from the post.

Adding videos on iOS

You can upload videos to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube using Sprout's iOS app. When you upload the video to Compose, you can select a thumbnail image from a gallery of 20 auto-generated video frames. The frame you select then publishes to your networks. 


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