Social media has opened a lot of opportunities for gaining market insights and gathering customer feedback, and if you’re a smart business owner or online marketer, you’ll know just how powerful social media has become as a marketing platform.
Social media creates an active and direct line of communication between you and your target market. More importantly, it brings your products and/or services in front of practically anyone with an Internet connection, considering that a huge majority of Internet users these days spend most of their time online on social networking sites.
This means social media helps you build brand awareness, earn customer loyalty, and generate more revenue at the same time. With all these potential benefits, there really is no reason for you not to take advantage. Furthermore, the vast potential for growing your business through social media makes it essential for you to do things right. You can’t just walk into social media marketing (SMM) unprepared and unarmed.
You need to plan your strategies well and execute them properly. You then need to regularly monitor your performance so you’ll know if you’re on the right track towards the achievement of your SMM goals or if you need to make some adjustments. The good news is that there are a number of tools that not only allow you to monitor your performance on social media, but also helps you identify the areas where you need to adjust your strategies.
Who Are Buying/Using SMM Tools?
Perhaps it would help in your decision whether to use social media monitoring tools or not if you knew who else are using them. In a survey conducted by Oneforty, it was seen that 42.9% of those who buy or use SMM tools are social media managers. This is logical, of course, since social media is their main concern, they should be the people who use those tool the most.
Other than social media managers, people who call themselves “agency professionals” also use SMM tools (19.3% of survey respondents). Consultants comprise 17.1% of those who say they use SMM tools, small business managers 10.7%, and marketing executives 10%.
Most Popular Social Media Monitoring Tools
The number of available social media monitoring tools can be overwhelming. It pays to know which ones are among the most popular. As you start to take advantage of what social media has to offer, you may want to use a few of these popular tools to keep track of how you’re doing:
1. Google Analytics Report
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can take advantage of the Google Analytics Report, which is an app that presents you with an infographic of your site’s activity and performance. Now, you may wonder how this tool can help you monitor your SMM performance if it only shows the activity and performance of your website.
Well, it among the things it does is show you where your site’s wins for a particular week came from. You will therefore see if you’re getting significant leads from your social media efforts or not. You can have the report delivered to your inbox on a fixed schedule each week. The best news is that this report is available for free!
2. Meltwater IceRocket
This tool is basically a search engine for Facebook statuses, tweets, and blogs that contain certain terms. You could, for example, use this tool to search for blogs, statuses, and tweets that mention your brand name or products. This helps you determine what your audience’s general sentiment is towards your brand. If there are significant complaints, you can address them promptly and properly.
IceRocket also shows you what links, if any, users included in their blogs, statuses, and tweets when they mentioned your brand or products. This gives you an idea which sites your audience deems most relevant and which ones you should engage with to give your brand more exposure.
This tool offers a boatload of information that tells you who your biggest social influencers are, which of your tweets were shared the most, what the general demographic of your social media audience is, and what impressions your shared articles have made so far. The tool also shows you if users mentioned any of the hashtags, keywords, or URLs you wish to rank for. You can use the information you get from this tool to improve your content and to engage with your audience better.
Keyhole offers a boatload of information that helps you improve your content and enhance customer engagement. Flickr.com photo by John-Morgan
You can use this tool to discover photos and videos on Twitter that contain hashtags related to your brand. If you sell lingerie, for example, you can use the tool to find photos and videos that use hashtags such as #lingerie, #silkunderwear, and #cutebra. You can also use the tool to find photos and videos with hashtags that mention your brand directly or to find competitor-related hashtags.
What can you do with these photos and videos? Well, they show you which lingerie products people are highly interested in, which allows you to modify your content to focus more on those products. As a lingerie seller, the information you get from this tool also helps you adjust your inventory to carry only the most popular and sellable products.
This is another free tool that allows you to easily manage your Twitter account. With TweetDeck, you get to see all the aspects of your account in just a single interface. The tool also enables you to customize your display and presents you with everything from your Twitter home screen to popular search terms.
Of course, the fact that this tool is specifically designed for Twitter makes it less than ideal for those who wish to manage accounts in various social networking sites on a single dashboard. Nevertheless, it can still be very useful, as it keeps you in control of your Twitter profile without having to navigate across a variety of profiles.
Now this is one tool you can definitely use for managing accounts in a number of social networking sites. It is understandably quite difficult and time-consuming to work across several social platforms. Hootsuite gives you the opportunity to easily and effectively manage a wide range of social streams. It helps reduce the stress of coordinating your responses to your audiences on different platforms and helps you avoid overlooking some valued followers.
The one thing Hootsuite lacks that you may want to use another tool for is the ability to show images as previews rather than collapsed links. You can use this tool for free for up to five different social profiles. If you go beyond five profiles, you will have to pay $8.99 a month for managing up to a hundred profiles.
7. Sprout Social
This is another tool that allows you to manage and monitor multiple social accounts on a single dashboard. Its biggest advantages are its user-friendly dashboard and clear interface. It suggests new people you can follow or unfollow and offers various ways for you to schedule updates. It still has a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the range of social networks it allows you to manage. However, it does pave the way towards a truly effective way of managing your social media accounts.
Factors Affecting Tool Selection
When asked how they arrived at the decision to buy or use a particular social media monitoring tool, the respondents of the Oneforty survey mostly pointed to the metrics offered as the most important factor that influenced their decision. Other factors that make a tool worthwhile include a clear interface, integrations with a good number of social networks, a reasonable price, and the ability to schedule updates.
These factors may also be what you deem important as you make your own decision in terms of social media monitoring tools to use. With the tools discussed above, it’s safe to say all these factors are adequately addressed. There may be other tools you may also find very useful in achieving your SMM goals, and we’re pretty sure you’ll come across those tools in good time. For now, the seven tools discussed above should set you off to a good start.
You can’t take full advantage of the opportunities offered by social media unless you work on your campaigns in a smart way. And a good part of being a smart social media marketer involves keeping track of how your brand is doing. After all, how will you know if you have achieved the things you set out to do unless you measure the results of your efforts in some way?
So, choose your tools wisely and use them to determine whom you should be interacting with so as to improve social engagement, how you can adjust your offerings to enhance customer satisfaction, and what types of content you should focus on to encourage social sharing and strengthen your presence on social media. Many businesses fail on social media simply because they entered the game unprepared and unarmed. Do not make the same mistake.