Social Media Analytics: A Roadmap To Succeeding In The Social Media Frontier

There’s social media and analytics, but what about social media analytics? More importantly, why do businesses need social media analytics?

Social media is the new frontier for marketing. Even in 2015, we’re learning how to harness it while it is evolving, and in five years there will be new ideas and new methods for marketing on both new and old platforms. I’m constantly asked how to stay on top of this, and my answer is always “social media analytics.”

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With social media analytics, you get a clear and comprehensive view of the numbers behind your social media engagement. This lets you see what is gaining traction, who is engaging, and how you compare against competitors. Regardless of how the industry evolves, this perspective gives you all you need to know when making social media strategy. Simply put, any business should embrace analytics.

That doesn’t mean that one tool is necessarily better than others. In many cases, it’s based on your situation and goals. I’m going to introduce you to five tools that I use regularly. Remember, though, that what you ultimately use depends on your own social media strategy. So while I don’t advocate one over the other, I do advocate that you use at least one.

Five Great Social Media Analytics Tools

Followerwonk

Followerwonk provides in-depth Twitter analytics in easy-to-digest visual reports and detailed lists. Followerwonk will break down the demographics behind your follower list to see who they are, where they’re located, and how often they actually engage on Twitter. Followerwonk also lets you compare your data with others while gauging the quality of influencers, thus creating a strategy for engagement and building your follower base.

Buffer

Buffer is a fantastic tool that combines multi-platform management with analytics. At its core, Buffer lets you schedule social media posts in advance, including assigning them to specific profiles. However, from an analytics standpoint, Buffer tracks engagement for each of these posts so all you have to do is plan ahead and check the results at your leisure.

My Top Tweet

Sometimes, the most important analytics are not your own. MyTopTweet, from the same development team behind Riffle, lets you view the top 10 tweets for any Twitter user (order sorted by number of retweets). This is a valuable research tool that lets you see what content is driving engagement in just about any industry, which can then inform your social media strategy.

HowSociable

Available in both free and premium versions, HowSociable is a valuable research tool for assessing how any brand — yours or otherwise — rates in the social media landscape. Enter the name you want to research into the search tool and HowSociable returns a score. The free default version indexes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn over the past seven days, though further networks are available with a paid subscription. Not only can you track your brand’s reputation, HowSociable reveals what is trending and how other brands are reacting to it.

Google Analytics

Google’s tool offers robust web analytics with plenty of drill-down capabilities for traffic flowing to your site, including by acquisition source. Social media and referral links are two of the source options, giving you a comprehensive view of how social media is driving traffic to your site. Outside of traditional website analytics, Google also provides a Social Data Hub which digs deeper into individual social networks while the Activity Stream offers a real-time perspective of social media chatter. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? You can’t argue with free!

Which Should You Use?

howsociableTools for social media analytics come in a variety of proverbial shapes and sizes. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach so the best thing to do is consider your platforms and strategy, then review the capabilities of the tools above to see what combination makes for the best fit. Don’t forget to check your platform’s native analytics tools; those often provide a good starting point. From there, you can start integrating external tools to create your comprehensive social media analytics strategy.