Compose Basics

Publishing a post in Sprout Social is easy! This article will walk you through the basics of composing new messages in Sprout.

To get started, simply click Screen_Shot_2018-02-14_at_4.41.12_PM.png in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Compose can be viewed in fullscreen or as a smaller window. You can toggle between the two views by clicking compose_window_size_toggle.png on the top right.


Tip: You can also press the N key on your keyboard to open the Compose window.

Compose_smaller.pngThe gray bar at the top of the Compose window displays the networks you're posting to. Click on the bar to reveal the Profile Picker, which allows you to choose one or more networks to which to publish.

Character count is reflected in the lower right corner of the Compose box. This changes dynamically as you add additional networks to display the most restrictive character count, and it updates in real-time as you type your message.

Note: Additional character restrictions can exist per each network. For example, Twitter has a limit of 23 characters for all URLs, both in long-form and as a shortened link. 


Additional post options are found in the lower left corner of the Compose box. Clicking on the smiley face icon allows you to include emoji in your post.


Uploading Media

Adding media to your post is as easy as dragging and dropping a photo or video into the Compose box. You may also click on the camera icon to open your file picker. Once your media is attached, a thumbnail preview will display beneath the Compose box.

Read more about Media Upload Types and Size Limits


For photos, hovering over the thumbnail preview highlights the option to edit or remove the image. Click the three dots on the top right corner of the thumbnail and select Crop & Edit Image to open the Photo Editor.


Once you've finished editing your image, simply click Save. Your newly-edited image will appear in the thumbnail preview.

Previewing Messages

You can preview messages before publishing them. In fullscreen, Compose will show you a preview in realtime as you create a message. You will see a preview for each network that is included in the Profile Picker. 


When working in a smaller Compose window, click Preview_icon.png. This enables you to see both the desktop and mobile experience a user will have when viewing your post. If you have more than one network attached in the Profile Picker, you can toggle between those networks by clicking the tabs along the top of this view.


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 won’t be able to mention someone on Twitter and Facebook at the same time. To do this, we recommend using the Save + Duplicate feature outlined towards the bottom of this article. The network rules are as follows:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

You can mention a Company Page when Facebook or LinkedIn are in the Profile Picker solo. Personal Profiles are not supported. You can mention any Twitter handle when one Twitter handle is attached in the Profile Picker.


Instagram and Pinterest

These networks do not allow third party apps like Sprout to tag individuals or businesses.

Adding Links

The Compose window supports hyperlinks. After you enter a link, a blue bar will appear, giving you the option to shorten the link. Any metadata gathered from the link entered will also display.


Clicking Shorten Links automatically shortens included links with a Bitly URL. 

To edit metadata, click on the pencil icon that populates when you hover beneath the trashcan icon. Do note that note all networks support edits to metadata.

To read more about metadata, please visit this article. Click here to read about Facebook Link Ownership.

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

Content Delivery Options

Once your message has been crafted, you have a few ways to manage how it will be published. By default, posts will be set to Publish Now. Clicking on the arrow reveals additional content management options.



If you choose to save your content as a draft, it will get placed in the Drafts folder within the Publishing tab. If you have more than one network attached in your Profile Picker, Sprout will save 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 Schedule Manually, a calendar is revealed.


Days that already have scheduled content will display a green dot beneath the date. To see a preview of content scheduled on a particular day, hover over the date.

Once you select a day for your post, you may 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 may schedule content up to six 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 will have a star rating–one to five stars–based on how ViralPost determines the time's anticipated effectiveness. More stars is better.

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 will suggest 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, simply click on the additional dates you want to include. The Post Time will default to the first specified time, but you may change this as needed. You may not 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 blogposts, are not time sensitive. This content would be best suited for the Sprout Queue

Compose Workflows

You can quickly publish and duplicate new messages in succession from within Sprout’s Compose window.

Send + Duplicate delivers your message and reopens the Compose window 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 window with the previously-selected profiles. Using this feature, you will be able to create new content more efficiently for a selected profile or group of profiles.


Read more about the Sprout Queue and ViralPost

Managing Messages

To find messages that have been drafted, scheduled or queued, navigate to the Publishing tab.

Continue on to learn 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

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