- 90% of CMOs say social data has impacted at least some of their decisions; only 47% use data to make predictions or forecast sales. (source: Bazaarvoice)
- 87% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities (source: Social Media Examiner)
- 85% use social networks in some way; only 14% tie financial metrics to it (source: AdAge)
These facts indicate most companies use social media but don’t measure it. Yet, virtually all agree they would make better business decisions, possibly determine their return of investment, if they did.
Social media measurement is the use of tools to monitor what is being said on the internet. It also is called Social Listening, Online Analytics, Buzz Analysis, Social Media Measurement, Social Media Intelligence.
Admittedly, it’s a hard area to get your hands around. There are hundreds of social media measurement tools. Costs range from free to upwards of $20,000/year and, as with any tool, they have specific strengths and weaknesses.
What to do? You’ll never know until you get started. The risk of doing nothing may be greater
To help you get going, here are the Top 7 free social media measurement tools from 7 experts.
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS: Has Social Visitors Flow. It is a visual presentation of how visitors from social properties are navigating your website. Assuming the goal of your social media campaign is to get more traffic to your website, this report quickly gives you insight into which social platforms are sending the most traffic to your site and what your social visitors are doing once they get there. – Lisa Peyton, Social Media Examiner
- HOOTSUITE: Is one of the best free social media management tools available, and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts. – Ruxandra Mindruta, Brandwatch
- MARKETING GRADER: Has been modified over the past few years to focus on your social media presence. Scoring low in these areas is a far greater problem than say, not having alternate text tags for your images. Marketing Grader makes recommendations on how to perform better keyword searches and to ‘power up’ your site’s engine. – Nader Mahmoudi, Business2Community
BRANDMENTIONS is a brand monitoring tool designed to identify key topics and give you endless resources for your content. It can provide the necessary information for you to rank higher in Google, spy on your competitors, reveal popular keywords and monitor fresh topical content related to your business and create better content in your niche. Using the social monitoring tool BrandMentions will give you insights based on what do people say about your brand online. – Andreea Sauciuc, cognitiveSEO
- SOCIAL SEARCHER: Is a social search engine with strong social analytics and excellent dashboards for a free tool. Enter a brand, topic or keyword and the analytics display mentions by social networks. They also have sentiment analysis. There are pie-charts showing type of posts (e.g. status, link, video) for social networks . The dashboards look good for presentation purposes too. – Rob Petersen, BarnRaisers
- SPROUT SOCIAL: Is the perfect social monitoring tool for small-to-medium sized franchises, local businesses with a handful of locations and smaller companies on a limited budget. I can imagine restaurants monitoring their reviews and tips on Foursquare using Sprout Social. The integration of Klout scores of authors also helps brands to identify influential mentions. I highly recommend Sprout Social for business owners. – Diedre Drewess, DragonSearch
- TOPSY: One part virality tool, one part tracking mechanism, one part social listening post, Topsy is becoming one of new favorites. I’ve moved from Tweetmeme to Topsy on my embedded tweeting, due to improved metrics, and Topsy’s competitive intelligence capabilities are impressive. Find a tweet your competitor sent, and see how many times it was retweeted, by whom, which among them are influencers. – Jay Baer, Convince and Convert