Getting the measure of social media

It used to be simple. To influence your audiences all you had to do was build a strong relationship with the most influential journalists covering your industry. Measurement was easy, you read what they wrote about you.

The rise and rise of social media means those days are long gone, and so has the ease with which an organisation can manage and monitor its reputation.

The viral nature of social media can spread good or bad news across the internet at warp speed and leave a permanent mark in the minds of influencers and potential buyers. What’s more yesterday’s news is no longer today’s chip wrapper. What’s on the internet stays on the internet for anyone to look at any time they want.

So at Pelican PR, our award-winning digital PR experts believe monitoring your online reputation is vital. The sheer size and complexity of the internet can make this a daunting task. But by following some simple principles and using some of the many freely available tools you can quickly start tracking trends and real time issues as they arise.

There are three key principles of monitoring your social media profile:

  • Tracking and reach – it’s vital to establish where your press releases get published and how far they reach across the web via tweets, re-tweets, comments and sharing.
  • Map public opinion – establish the sites, bloggers and tweeters who are the most influential and find out what they are saying about you, then engage them in conversations about your organisation.
  • Protect your reputation – keep a close eye on comments, trends and feedback using a range of online tools to track changes and emerging trends, so you can take action before issues snowball.

There are numerous free and low cost tools you can use to measure your social media activity. But it is important to be clear about what it is you want to monitor. Do you want to track the number of conversations about your organisation, track the number of brand mentions, see how quickly you are attracting new followers or keep an eye on what your competitors are doing? Whatever it is you want to do there will be a monitoring tool for you.

So here’s a list of 20 free social media monitoring tools worth checking out, courtesy of San Francisco-based social media expert Ilana Bercovitz:

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a web-based dashboard that allows you to monitor multiple social networks in one place. You can collaborate with fellow employees, schedule messages, and assign tasks to your team. It’s particularly great for managing multiple accounts on the same platform.

2. Klout

Klout provides an influencer score based on your social media activity. Your Klout score is determined using over 400 variables. In addition to working on your own Klout score, you can look at your influences and who you influence to regularly share content that is of the highest quality from trusted sources.

3. TweetReach

Who is reading your tweets? How is it being shared? What is the measured impact of what you’re putting out there? TweetReach is a social analytics tool that helps you capture this valuable information.

4. TwentyFeet

TwentyFeet aggregates your activity from various social media platforms so you can get the full picture of your online presence. Then, you can determine which of your activities are most valuable.

5. Twitalyzer

Measure your impact, engagement, and influence on Twitter with this tool. They offer three plans, depending on your needs, individual, business and agency. They do offer their three most popular reports for free, so just connect your Twitter account and start Twitalyzing.

6. PeerIndex

Use this tool to determine your online authority and who your online brand advocates are. Learn which topics are best for you to focus on and who to connect with to spread the word.

This dashboard gives you all of the analytics data related to your Facebook page so that you can track growth and impact. Use the Insights to better understand your followers and reach the right audience.

8. SocialMention

Track and measure who is talking about you, your company, your product, or any topic related to your industry. SocialMention pulls data from hundreds of social media services to give you the most accurate, real-time information.

9. SocialPointer

This tool allows you to track and monitor social mentions and respond in real-time. Find potential customers, listen to what your competitors are saying, and get immediate feedback about your business.

10. SocialBro

Manage and analyze your Twitter account with SocialBro. This tool gives you detailed information about your Twitter community so that you can interact with followers more efficiently and garner the best results.

11. FollowerWonk

This Twitter analytics service, now owned by SEOMoz, allows you to understand and sort your followers. Learn when your influential followers are most active so that you can select the best times to engage your community and to ensure you’re reaching the right people at the right time.

12. HowSociable

Measure your brand’s impact online with this tool that provides you with a magnitude score. The score analyzes your level of activity online so that you can determine whether you have enough of a presence.

13. Seesmic

Manage all of your business’ social media accounts in one place with Seesmic. Quickly view and respond to social activity in real-time even from your mobile devices.

14. Engag.io

This is a great tool for managing your conversations on social networks. Engag.io provides you with valuable insights into the people you are talking to via social media and also gives you a place to track whether or not you’ve responded.

15. TweetDeck

Arrange feeds from all of your social networks in one place using the TweetDeck dashboard. You can also schedule tweets and set-up customizable feeds for your social search needs.

16. Brand Monitor

Track your brand across numerous social media sites. Find where conversations relevant to your business are taking place so that you can start becoming an active social media participant. Learn trending keywords and measure conversation engagement to help bring more valuable brand content to social media platforms.

17. Kred

Similar to Klout, Kred mines social data to give you a Kred score. The score is a combination of your influence and your outreach activity. Kred measures how often you tweet or post, how people interact with you, and the growth of your audience. Kred gives you a detailed breakdown of your score so that you know exactly where you should improve and the areas in social that are working well for your company.

18. Google Analytics Social Reports

Nicely integrated into your Google Analytics platform, Social Reports helps measure how social traffic is directly impacting your conversions. Using an overview of your social networks, this tool allows you to visualize your social traffic so that you know where your time is best spent in the social world.

19. TwitterCounter

TwitterCounter tracks Twitter users to give you statistics and usage information for your account. This service offers a very basic free package with graphical data, but you can pay a bit more for access to an account comparison feature, more updates, report exports, and more.

20. Topsy

This is a real-time social search engine. Sort through the latest social activity related to your industry, brand, or community and apply that knowledge to future business decisions.

There’s a lot of overlap in the services these social media monitoring tools provide. It’s most important that you find the tool that aligns with your business needs and personal preferences.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.