In my post titled, Social Networking Platforms Part 2: Facebook, I mentioned that I’d cover Facebook’s built-in analytics capabilities and some other tools you can use to measure how you’re social media efforts are doing. I covered Facebook’s built-in analytics last week. This week, I look at other options.
Before we look at the tools themselves, let’s consider what they’re for. Essentially, they are for listening, monitoring and measuring. Listening is tracking conversations that are important to you and looking for opportunities to engage and make yourself known. Monitoring is tracking posts that mention your company or products—whether negative or positive—both for awareness and potential engagement/crisis management. Measuring is tracking different metrics to see how your social media efforts are progressing over time, such as the number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter.
When it comes to listening, monitoring and measuring, there are probably as many tools available to you as there are B2B accounts on Facebook—a lot. Some are free, some require you to pay for them. Some have both free and paid plans with added features available at a price. The complexity of the sheer number of tools is too much to cover here. But if you decide you’ve outgrown Facebook Insights and need more or want to measure multiple channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) from a single source, there are tools that can help and make your job of managing social media easier.
Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are the tools I’m going to cover today, because they’re among the ones the Symantec partner team uses right now.
Hootsuite lets you do anything Facebook Insights and Tweetdeck do and more, but for multiple social media accounts, including Twitter and LinkedIn—making it a great time-saver. It lets you use its dashboard to see all your accounts, what’s happening and publish content. It’s essentially a one-stop management, measurement and monitoring console. What’s more, it lets you create teams with different levels of permissions and capabilities, so that as your organization and social media needs grow, you’re ready to tackle the challenges that can come with multiple accounts and content owners.
I can’t possibly cover all of Hootsuite’s features here, but recommend you check it out if your social media efforts have evolved to the point of having multiple accounts on multiple platforms and needing—or being ready for—more control with less hassle.
As with many things in life, Hootsuite isn’t necessarily free. Basic features are free, which is nice, because you can begin to try it without investing any budget. More advanced features do come with a cost—but as little as $10 a month, which isn’t bad at all.
You can find Hootsuite at http://hootsuite.com to learn more and see how the features might fit your specific needs.
Tweetdeck is Twitter’s version of Facebook Insights. Unlike Insights, it lets you monitor both Facebook and Twitter. It really is for monitoring and not for analyzing or measuring, but I wanted to include it here, because it can be very useful if you have the time for it.
I say if you have the time, because personally I don’t find Tweetdeck as user friendly as I’d like and it can be visually cluttered, but it can also be very powerful if you have the time and/or resources to spend with it. It lets you monitor and post to multiple accounts and inputs—favorites, messages, mentions, trends, activity and more—perform searches on anything and filter out content text, author or source to refine your data.
I can’t find that Twitter provides anything in the way of help or a manual, but there are some independent tutorials on YouTube.
Other tools you can consider including in your toolkit are web analytics, such as Google Analytics, Radian 6 and Bit.ly or Ow.ly.
- Web analytics tools, such as the free Google Analytics. lets you track how many hits are coming from your social media accounts back to your main website or promotional landing page. Google Analytics also includes a URL builder, but I find the URLs to be long and cumbersome compared to Bit.ly and Ow.ly mentioned below.
- Radian 6 is not unlike Hootsuite in the capabilities it offers, but comes with a much higher price. It does integrate with Salesforce.com.
- Bit.ly and Ow.ly, let you quickly create short URLs for your posts and Tweets. Ow.ly is owned by Hootsuite. Bit.ly lets you come back to the site (bitly.com) and see statistics about your links—how many have clicked on a link, the referring site, location of click’s originating viewer. It doesn’t necessarily tell you anything you can’t find in Hootsuite or insights, but is a quick, easy-to-use and view way to compare the success of posts. Ow.ly isn’t quite as robust as Bit.ly.
I recommend checking whichever tool you’re using regularly—at the beginning of the day, the middle of the day and before the end of the day. That way, you won’t miss an important conversation and the chance to respond in a timely manner. With as fast as social media moves, a slow response (even a few hours) can result in a lost response as people move on to other posts and topics.
What about you? What tools have you looked at and used to listen to, monitor and measure your social media efforts to-date?
Also in this series: