Analytics crunch time: Ton of tools to measure social media success

Look at all these colors and then tell me analytics aren't fun.
Look at all these colors and then tell me analytics aren’t fun.

Social media is fun, and you should be using it. As an individual, you get to connect with your friends as well as complete strangers who interest you; you also get to learn about new topics, people, places and products. As a business, you can utilize social media to reach your existing and potential customers, which ultimately leads to a better bottom line. But how do you really know that all your social media work is paying off?

According to this infographic, 50 percent of businesses are unsure of their ROI through Twitter. There are so many numbers you could point to — followers, mentions, retweets — to try to prove whether your business’ Twitter account is successful. But those numbers are only part of measuring social media success. You can’t just collect followers; you have to understand their behavior. If people aren’t clicking on the links you share on your social accounts, you need to revise how you’re communicating with your audience. But first, you need to figure out whether people are clicking. Luckily, lots of smart people live on the internet, and businesses (and individuals looking to up their social media game) have a plethora of social media analytics tools to choose from.

Link tracking allows you to figure out not just a total number of referrals from a certain domain like facebook.com or t.co (Twitter), but how many people clicked on a specific link sent from your account(s). This helps you determine both what topics are popular with your audience and which platforms are giving you the biggest return on your time spent. Tools for link tracking include bit.ly, ow.ly (within Hootsuite), Tweeterspy and Clickmeter. [See more link tracking options in this list from Razor Social.]

Tracking links is only the beginning of better understanding your audience. There are also tools like Sprout, which helps you break down your follower base by demographic, and Tweriod, which analyzes your followers to show you (in graph form) what times they are online. [See the full list of cool analytics tools from Tech Radar.] Pieces of information like these help you create a formula for what works well (and what doesn’t) in engaging your followers and enticing them to click through from social media to you.

Once you’ve properly acquainted yourself with the audience you’re trying to reach, get busy! Some businesses may stick to using each network directly to post updates and talk to followers. But there are some great social media management suites out there to make wrangling multiple accounts easier. Mashable dives into the pros, cons and costs of several CRMs — including Hootsuite (my personal favorite), Sprout Social, Wildfire, Spredfast and Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Do you use a CRM for your business social media needs? Which one, and what do you like or not like about it?

Have you ever used any additional analytics tools, such as WolframAlpha, SimplyMeasured or the others mentioned in my post? How did you apply the results?

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5 thoughts on “Analytics crunch time: Ton of tools to measure social media success”

  1. Hi Julie,
    I have used bit.ly enterprise both to schedule posts and track engagement and like it a lot. It’s very user friendly, moreso than HootSuite (at least to me). The only thing that I’m not crazy about on bit.ly is that it can sometimes time out when you are trying to make a post, or it will not allow you post a Tweet (i.e.: it will let you shorten a link, but not post it to Twitter). The tracking side of bit.ly enterprise I really need to get more familiar with. Right now, I have just been tracking overall site traffic, but it would be best to break down those clicks and know exactly where they’re coming from.

    1. Hootsuite definitely takes some getting used to. I had to go through a bunch of company training and stuff on Hootsuite, so I feel pretty comfortable there. But I would agree that, no training involved, bit.ly is the more user friendly tool. I haven’t used bit.ly enough to experience all the hiccups, but I think that’s so with pretty much any tool. Hootsuite has had a few outages recently, which is pretty annoying when you’re trying to get your stuff out. I use Hootsuite’s analytics frequently in tracking company accounts, but I, too, need to get better at tracking my personal accounts. Happy tracking!

  2. Julie,

    I have tried Wolfram and several other analytics tools. I would say that there are a number of applications to social media analytics. I see two main areas, analysis of owned accounts and competitive analysis. When you can analyze your own account using such tools as Wolfram and Page Insights you gain a wealth of information that is relatively easy to analyze. However when it comes to competitive analysis it becomes a lot more complicated. I believe that both are incredibly important and will guide online strategy.

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