Need to measure social media and don’t know where to begin? Start here.

“Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan.” – Zach Dunn

With all of the success and case studies about how effective social media can be, it amazes me that some companies and organizations think results are all luck. There are companies, who want every “tweet” and every “like” to result in something tangible and measurable. As much I would like to stress how social media is about creating a community and personifying a company, (i.e. Southwest on Twitter and Bare Escentuals on Facebook) I would be completely naïve to think we didn’t need a way to measure social media. Luckily, if your boss wants numbers to back up the expense of the company’s social media efforts, there are very helpful tools available.

The biggest mistake I see social media newcomers run into is they do not set any goals. They rush into social media simply because other companies are utilizing it effectively, yet they don’t have any goals. How will you ever know if you are successful if you don’t know what you are aiming for? The following tools will certainly help validate your social media efforts to your boss, but you must have goals placed in the first place. Oh yeah, the best part about the follow tools…they are all free!

Backtype – Backtype will send you an email every time a certain word or phrase is used in a comment. So if someone is praising or trashing your company, you can be alerted right away. Backtype was also recently acquired by Twitter, so I do expect some integration in the near future.

Bit.ly – bit.ly is a website which allows you to not only shorten URLs (which is very useful for tweets and posts), but it allows you to track who clicked on link and what website they found it on. You’ll need an account to use the analytics part, but an account is free.

Google Analytics – This is the most used analytics tool for websites, but one great thing about Google Analytics is it can specifically measure social media as well.

Hootsuite – This one is a personal favorite! Hootsuite allows you to monitor all of your social networks on one dashboard. You can schedule posts and tweets while getting a weekly email with the all of the activity from the previous week.

Klout – By definition clout mean’s “influence,” so it is no surprise that Klout measures people’s influence on social media. This site will not only rate you, but also allow you to see who centers of influence are and you can target these people to talk about your company or brand.

Socialmention – Think Google search of only social media sites. Super easy to use!

There are many tools on the Internet, which can help validate your social media efforts to your boss. Many sites and tools do similar things, and it will be up to you play around and see which ones work best for you, but these are the ones I have found to be the most useful. But remember…before you look into monitoring social media and deciding if your efforts are a success or not, set goals! Social media isn’t as quick and easy as some companies make it seem, keep in mind what Monty Hall said, “Actually, I’m an overnight success. But it took 20 years.”

 

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