Brands have been scrambling to get into social media marketing. For several years, it has been a buzzworthy that has captivated marketers. But, before diving into social media marketing, you have to understand the basics first. At its core, it really all revolves around building your brand awareness and equity through various social media channels, including but not limited to; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Social Bookmarking sites and, Interactive blogs.
Once you understand how social media works and get started, the next thing you need to do is track your progress. Tracking social media is vital; social channels directly link to website traffic, following, and engagement, thus, measuring assists you in a number of ways.
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In this article, we will examine some of the best social media monitoring tools. They range from free to paid options as well as tools that are good for small tasks to enterprise level tools for large corporates.
One of the sticky points in social media monitoring is that there are too many tools to track the same thing in different ways. In fact, novices can quickly be overwhelmed by the sheer range of choice of social media monitoring tools.
Cyfe makes things simple by making it easy to create a custom dashboard and track only what you want. It also has pre-built widgets for all the major social networks.
Cyfe is free for 5 widgets. For $19 per month, Cyfe Premium gives you unlimited dashboards and widgets, historical data, exports, sharing options, customizations, and more.
Google Analytics is a great product from the stable of Google’s products. With Google Analytics, you can track how social traffic finds its way to your website. Some of the features include:
- Clicks social messages are receiving.
- Networks referring traffic.
- Traffic conversions
In addition, you can also use Google’s URL builder to add special parameters and collect more precise data. You can also add goals to keep your eyes firmly focused. Google Analytics is free.
Mention is built specifically to “listen” to the web for mentions of your brand. It is heavy on stats that can be exported in a variety of formats such as CSV or JSON. Monitoring occurs in real-time so you can respond quickly. For teams, Mention has in-built task management.
Mention is free for 250 mentions each month.
SproutSocial is great for starting, monitoring and joining conversations, responding quickly to customer questions, amongst other things. Some of the detailed features include:
- A unified Smart Inbox to streamline engagement.
- Advanced scheduling tools.
- Customer support features like tasks and Helpdesk.
- Social CRM tools including shared customer records.
- Sophisticated analytics and unlimited custom reports.
- Team collaboration tools including live activity updates.
SproutSocial plans start at $99 per month and all plans include a free 30 day trial.
While all the other tools are good for individuals, small businesses and large companies, Brandwatch is exclusively an enterprise level tool. It is quite powerful and is used to monitor conversations from not only social networks, but the larger Internet as well. If you want to get deep insights into consumer opinion on any topic from across the web, then Brandwatch is the way to go. In fact, you can visualize the data in a variety of way included via an interactive map that shows you where in the world the conversation is taking place.
Brandwatch plans start from £500 per month.
It isn’t a good idea to be in all social networks. In fact, many companies only focus on one network once they figure out the main network frequented by their audience. If your audience is predominantly on Twitter, Twitter provides you with a nifty and easy-to-use analytics platform. With Twitter Analytics, you can track your tweets, followers and much more. Twitter Analytics is free.
Social Share Buttons
Finally, did you know that one of the easiest ways to find out how much your content is being shared on various social media networks is by installing social share buttons? Depending on the content management system you use, the installation could be as easy as installing a plugin, for example, in WordPress, or, more complicated. Once installed, you can see how many times your content has been shared. This can be a useful test to decide which topics are popular.
There are hundreds of other tools available on the market. We have only highlighted some of the major social media monitoring tools that we believe are useful in the current environment. However, this is not a must-use list. There are instances when a tool mentioned here may not be suit your particular needs. In such a case, keep experimenting by taking advantage of the free trial offered by most tools until you find something that suits you.