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 Compose.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 Expand_Compose.png and Minimize_Compose.png.


#SproutTip: You can also press the N key on your keyboard to open Compose.


The bar across the top of Compose displays the networks you're posting to. Click on the bar to reveal the Profile Picker, which allows you to choose additional networks to publish to simultaneously.

Character count is reflected in the lower right corner of Compose. This changes dynamically as you add or remove networks, displaying the most restrictive character count. Character count updates in real time as you type your message.

Note: Additional character restrictions can exist per 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, such as adding emoji, are found at the bottom of Compose. 

Uploading Media

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

Read more about Media Upload Types and Size Limits


For photos, clicking the overflow menu provides crop and edit options, the ability to add Descriptive Text or remove the image.

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

Previewing Messages

Preview messages before preemptively publishing them. In fullscreen, Compose will show you a preview for each network included in the Profile Picker will appear on the right. Edits will 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. If more than one network attached in the Profile Picker, you can toggle between those networks by clicking the tabs along the top of the 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 profile is attached in the Profile Picker.


Instagram and Pinterest

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

Pinterest does not allow third party apps like Sprout to tag individuals or businesses.

Adding Links

Compose supports hyperlinks. After you enter a link, a horizontal box will appear at the bottom, 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 URL. 

To edit metadata, click Edit.png beneath the trashcan icon. Do note that not 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 Account and settings > 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 post immediately. Clicking on the dropdown 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 section. If more than one network attached in the 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 Specific day and time, a Choose Date space appears.

Days that already have scheduled content will display a green dot beneath 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, 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 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, click Add another date. You cannot schedule the same post multiple times in the same day via Sprout Social. 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 would be best suited for the Sprout Queue

Read more about the Sprout Queue and ViralPost

Compose Workflows

Quickly publish and duplicate new messages in succession from within Sprout’s Compose window.


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 will be able to create new content more efficiently for a selected profile or group of profiles.

Managing Messages

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

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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