Introduction to Engagement and the Smart Inbox

Sprout Social offers a number of features that help you communicate effectively and develop deeper, more personal connections with your audience. Engaging directly with your audience is one of the best ways to create lasting, loyal customers.

Engagement refers to responding to and managing conversations happening with or about your brand through messages. 

What is a “message” in Sprout?

A message in the context of Sprout refers to the various ways people communicate with your social channels, or how you communicate with your audience. Each network features a variety of message types, which may include public mentions, private messages, new followers and comments. Every message you receive for your connected social profiles show up in the Smart Inbox.

Smart Inbox

The Smart Inbox helps you visualize your inbound message volume across your social profiles, find new conversations happening about your brand and quickly respond to those messages all from one place. It has two main components: the messages stream and the Right Bar.

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Controlling visibility in the Smart Inbox

You can control what message you see in your Smart Inbox by selecting options from both the Left and Right Bars. The Left Bar controls which Inbox View you want to see, while the Right Bar dives into the actual visualization of your messages including a real-time activity chart and custom date range selections. Use these two bars to help narrow your focus on the messages you want to tackle.

Left Bar

The left bar in the Smart Inbox reveals a navigation bar containing the following Inbox Views:

  • All Messages - contains a roundup of all the messages from all the profiles you’ve connected with Sprout.
  • Completed Messages - contains any messages that had an action performed.
  • Saved Messages - contains all your saved messages.
  • Reply Approvals - contains any messages with a pending reply for approval.
  • Saved Views - contains any custom inbox views you created.

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You can also create a new saved view directly from the left bar. To start building your own custom views, or to explore the prepackaged views from Sprout, check out this helpful article.

Right Bar

The Right Bar is where you control the visualization of the Smart Inbox.

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Real-Time Activity Chart

The Real-Time Activity Chart at the top of the Right Bar helps you and your team visualize the number of messages you’ve received in the Smart Inbox. As you work to address each of these messages, it provides immediate insight into your overall progress.

Understanding the Chart

The Real-Time Activity Chart consists of a set of bars. Gray bars indicate the number of remaining messages in your inbox. As you and your team mark messages complete, green bars fill up the gray bars.

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Any user with the Manage Message Status permission sees both gray and green bars, so your front-line team members understand how many messages they’ve received in total, and how close they are to reaching inbox zero.

Customizing Your Timeframe

Adjust the timeframe in your inbox with the Date Selector. Choose from the following:

  • Previous 24 hours: see messages for the past day, displayed by hour
  • Previous 7 days: see messages from the last week, displayed by day
  • Previous 90 days: see messages from the past quarter, displayed by week
  • Custom Range: see messages from a custom range of time
  • All time: see messages from the time you connected your profiles to Sprout

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Additionally, hovering over a bar with your mouse cursor reveals stats specific to that bar’s timeframe. Click on a bar to isolate and display only messages received during that time frame.

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Search, Filter and Isolate

Under the Real-Time Activity Chart are filters for Profiles, Message Types, Brand Keywords and Tags relevant to your current group. Toggle these to show or hide messages associated with each filter.

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Note: Each user’s Smart Inbox is unique to their instance of Sprout, so toggling filters in your inbox won’t affect the experience of another.  

You can also search through your messages for keywords or phrases. For more information about defining your search terms, check out our article on Inbox Search.

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