In this day and age of digital marketing, every business from big to small is coming to know the importance of social media. However, knowing the importance and knowing impact are two very different things, the latter of which can be far more difficult to come to understand. It is now that we are coming to redefine the need for digital analytics – ways to measure the strength and effectiveness of social media campaigns.
“What gets monitored and measured, matters.”
– Mark Farmer, digital strategist, York University
Type ‘social media analytics’ into Google and you’ll get a million results, including Google’s own News Alerts. The purpose of this post is to look at four platforms (three free and one paid) currently on the market, and give a quick view as to what they can offer for your own measurement needs.
Measuring your social media activities gives you objective metrics that can tell you if your approach is working or not. More so, it gives you a chance to listen to your audience, which is the key to successful social media presence.
Listening to your target audience, to what they are saying, and to how they view your organization will help you build your reputation through effective branding – because in this world, your brand is what your customers say it is.
The first of these tools is Social Mention, an online social media dashboard that tracks and measures data from over 100 social media venues, presenting it as a simple single stream.
The Three Pros:
Social Mention measures your organization’s influence with four separate categories: strength, sentiment, passion and reach. This gives you a quick overview of who is seeing your posts, and how they feeling about them.
A series of filters allow you to analyse your top search by top keywords, top users, top hashtags, sources, sentiment, source, date and time. With more in-depth knowledge of the elements of your topic, you are able to target the best users and create the most appropriate posts for the audience at hand.
Instant notifications of conversations allow you to stay on top of current trends, topics and engagements so you never fall behind in the game.
Next up is Twazzup, which I’m assuming is deliberately channeling the 90s vibe for all the Gen X and early Millennial techies out there. This platform is a good introduction to Twitter monitoring tools, pulling the data together into a clean dashboard site.
The Three Pros:
Sort users by Top Influencers, Most Active or Latest to decide who should be targeted by current campaigns or outreach programs. Each profile includes the number of followers and the number of tweets on the searched topic.
The sidebar shows top RT links and photos, and wells as a stream of Google News Alerts so suitable content for posts and retweets is always at hand.
Real-time updates mean the dashboard is continuously refreshing data. However, the handy pause button means you can keep important updates on the screen until you’ve caught up.
The last of free platforms is IceRocket; originally created as a blog monitoring tool, this dashboard has since expanded to include data from Twitter, Facebook and mainstream news sources.
The Three Pros:
IceRocket can analyse sites in 20 languages, including Persian, Norwegian and Vietnamese. It is one of the few platforms that has multi-lingual capabilities.
The advanced search page allows you to filter by exact words or phrases, omitted words, domain name, author or date.
Trend charts show quick overviews of data for a period of up to three months. Up to five search terms can be compared on one table.
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Many of the free platforms lack the heavy data analysis that most companies would require, but then, you get what you pay for. So while they may be good for beginners just learning the gig, or even start-up ventures, once you really have truly emerged yourself in the world of social media, you’ll be looking for an upgrade – and probably one that will cost.
Sysomos Heartbeat and Salesforce Radian6 are two of the better paid dashboards, with starting costs around $500/ or $600/month respectively. This is the step up, with it higher value (including unlimited users) reflected in its $1500/month price tag, Lithium monitors Twitter, blogs, mainstream news, photo- and video-sharing sites, forums and comments.
The Three Pros:
Real-time feed keep you constantly up to date: Quotes lets you see real-time comments from customers so you can react quickly to anything that comes your way, while Buzz Tracking allows you to analyse real-time metrics of chatter in the industry, comparing your brand and the competition.
Saved Items is a database of bookmarks, notes and social media mentions that you can share with all the members of your team, or individuals. This makes a quick way to spread information that can then be posted to followers, or simply maintained for review in hindsight.
An abundance of snazzy charts and graphs gives you dozens of ways to view and present your data. It’s not just pretty, but a quick way to scan quantities of mentions, associated search terms, and even top posts.
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Whether free or paid, each social media analytical platform offers a plethora of pros and probably more cons. It is important to evaluate not only your personal dedication to your monitoring, but also the needs of your industry before you can choose which one – or more – of these sites will suffice.