Whether you are new to social media marketing or not, one aspect you need to be familiar with from the start is analytics. Analytics will help you dial in your social media strategy by learning key factors about how your audience behaves. There are many great analytic platforms out there which offer detailed reports to help you build your strategy. Paying attention to what your audience wants to consume will help put you ahead of others who are throwing darts with their social media strategy.
When looking for an analytics program take your time and see what’s right for you. Most of these tools have a free trial version of their platform which is helpful for starting your social media analytics endeavor. These 7 tools, in no particular order, are a must try for any social media professional looking to start and build a social media strategy. These services are useful for all businesses ranging from startups to multi-million dollar corporations.
1. Simply Measured
Simply Measured is widely respected by many in the social media world. This tool encompasses many much needed functions and can track analytics for many different social media platforms. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. These reports are extremely user friendly and can be exported as a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or even directly into PowerPoint format. Simply Measured’s free version allows you to generate three free reports in a 24 hour period.
Hootsuite is another great tool and like Simply Measured is highly respected by social media professionals. Hootsuite is able to accommodate many different platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. Hootsuites single online dashboard makes managing all of your social media accounts stress free. In addition to scheduling posts and following up with interactions from your followers, the built in analytic tools will keep you up to date on how you stand.
Similar to the first two, SproutSocial manages all of your social media accounts from its dashboard, allowing you to carefully schedule your social media posts to keep your social media strategy alive. This tool offers a variety of reports which not only will appeal to your marketing team, but other departments as well. A couple awesome features included with SproutSocial is the customer relationship management (CRM) tool and the helpdesk functionality. The helpdesk is great for organizations that do a lot of customer service because you are able to organize any complaints or follow ups you need to take care of. In most other social media tools this is a paid add-on.
Buffer is a very popular social media scheduling application. Scheduling your posts are extremely easy and all popular social media sites are integrated with this tool. Buffer allows social media teams to stagger posts throughout the day in order to keep social media feeds busy and alive. Not only does Buffer make it easy to manage your accounts, their analytics are in depth and will show you a range of metrics anywhere from engagement to the reach of your posts.
IFTTT stands for “If This Then That” and is a social automation tool that can save a lot of time and energy. IFTTT integrates with a lot of different services especially the major social media platforms. IFTTT follows a protocol that creates a “recipe” through factors (triggers, actions, ingredients) determined by the user. For example, if you post a new blog article and want that to post on Facebook at the same time, this tool will help. There are many integrations built into IFTTT and many different combinations of recipes can be created to accomplish what you want. An added benefit is IFTTT works well with Buffer and Hootsuite. This feature enhances those tools even further and needs to be given a try by social media professionals.
Unlike other tools, TweetDeck comes as a web AND desktop application to manage and monitor analytics of your Twitter account. TweetDeck has a dashboard similar to other management tools. The only difference is this is solely focused on twitter. Dashboard’s can be customized with many different variations to see all the most important factors of using Twitter in one place. TweetDeck is great if you are a heavy twitter user and prefer a tool you can use from your desktop.
If your team focuses on Twitter and want to know how far your tweets reach, TweetReach is the tool for you. TweetReach allows social media professionals to do research on a lot of different aspects of using Twitter. Whether you want to see analytics for a particular URL, Twitter name, or hashtag, TweetReach will provide all the information you need in an easy to read report. The free version only offers analytics for 50 tweets that match your search, but this should be enough to get a good idea of the estimated reach, top contributors to a certain hashtag or URL, and more.
Developing and launching a social media strategy is tough especially if you don’t really know what works. These tools are out there to help you manage your time and figure out what is best for your company’s social media plan. Use them. Try them all and see which one fits your style the best. Leveraging these tools will create an immediate impact from the beginning and draw the attention you are seeking.