As if floundering through a sea of social media platforms was not intimidating enough, now we have a flurry of independent social media tools mushrooming in every nook and cranny of the web to baffle the wit out of you. Every social media marketer, today, has the working knowledge of social media analytics, that is, if that person is not a wizard at it already. Any brand that is just there to leave a footprint on social media is an antiquated species and will be looked upon with scorn by those who matter. That being established, the challenge is how to navigate through these myriad social media tools and know what exactly is right for you.
Before I embark on my recommendations, let us try and understand what all is there to measure and track:
Listening & Monitoring – When you want to know what is trending and where the conversations about your brand, your industry and your competitors are taking place. At times, these can give you a whiff of an imminent crisis or even an opportunity that you can encash on.
Measuring Influence – When you want to raise awareness of your brand, product or service, spread word-of-mouth recommendations, and identify your key influencers. After all, when it comes to social media, it is the consumers that drive the brands popularity today.
Measuring Performance: When you want to know how your campaigns are being received, what are the most receptive time of the day, day of the week, time of the year and so on. What kind of content is more engaging, what is being viewed more or shared more?
Managing Multiple Accounts: When you have multiple accounts to manage, either across geographies, or multiple brands as well as platforms, you want a tool that will help you manage everything at one place.
There are a multitude of independent tools that deliver on these criteria with different focus and limitations. To add to the pandemonium, there are paid and non-paid versions of the same. Once you know what you want, we can then perhaps narrow it down into a few categories. Many nuanced insights are hidden deep inside the data you collect on social media. With that in view, some of these independent tools do assume importance. In no way is this a comprehensive study, but can provide you with a sneak peek. So, here goes the recommendations:
|Listening & Monitoring||Measuring Influence|
|Radian6/Salesforce||It monitors and consolidates all mentions for keywords you provide Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums and so on. The reports are very elegant and intuitive in design.||Klout
|Measures a person true reach i.e. how many engaged with his/her content, amplification and his/her network’s reach.|
|Sysomos||In addition to monitoring the keywords, it allows you a history of more than two years. The report are in a simple charts and diagrams format.||Kred||Like Klout it measures true reach, influence and network. In addition it does it in real time.|
|Social Mention||Being a free tool, the downside is that its representation is unimpressive. Does allow you to dig out information from one or two years behind.||PeerIndex||This tool does all the above with in-depth analysis giving you a more granular insight.|
|Measuring Performance||Managing Multiple Accounts|
|Adobe Social||Allows you to measure web traffic from social media, conversions, clicks and so on.||Shoutlet||Allows a single dashboard to manage all your social media platforms and automate your posts.|
|Simply Measured||Only allows campaign performance on social media with limitations.||HootSuite||In addition to single dashboard and automation, it provides real-time monitoring and multi-lingual support.|
|Cyfe||This too is very comprehensive tool with web and social media integration.||UberSocial||UberSocial helps you manage multiple account at one place but with the limitations.|
Having said that, it makes no sense to run after vanity metrics unless you know where you are going with it. As a final word, the social media ROI represented by these tools is still evolving and to make the best use of it is to experiment, albeit, not randomly but with a clear focus on the end goal in mind.