We all know monitoring your social media campaigns is essential to their success, but where do you start?

Tools are indispensable assets for helping you monitor your social activity. Knowing what you want to monitor first will help you chose the right tool.

Select the best for your budget

When choosing a social media tool, it’s important to know what exactly you want to measure, how many campaigns you’ll be running and what your budget it. Don’t waste time or money on a fancy tool that will take your budget away from your campaign objectives.

To help select the right tool for your money, I’ve compiled a list of the best monitoring tools.

Big Budget

Big budget tools are for campaign managers who will be running multiple campaigns and have a large presence on social networks.

These tools are great for running  campaigns internationally, for large networks with enormous followings. They’re great if you have a lot of customer comments to deal with on a daily basis.

Hootsuite Enterprise

Hootsuite Enterprise boasts a lot of nifty features designed to help your social activity run seamlessly.

Its team management functions are great. They’re designed to help teams easily collaborate. So, for example, one team member can publish a message to another team member within the interface,  ensuring the smooth running of each campaign.

It’s also possible to assign certain people to particular social media accounts too, so there’s a clearly defined team of people working on each campaign. This functionality is ideal for large organizations running multiple campaigns simultaneously. This way, there’s less time wasted managing cross campaigns and more time to push out your brilliant content!

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Hootsuite’s reports look physically beautiful – sometimes you need an attractive interface to make the data crunching bearable.

Medium/Small budget

For small to medium businesses who manage a number of campaigns but don’t have the enormous following that the powerhouse brands have, these tools are for you.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a popular dashboard in the UK, and reasonably priced. Its interface is certainly one of the easiest to navigate and more cost effective than Hootsuite Enterprise. Sprout Social also has a 1 month free trial, so you’re able to get to grips with it before you buy.

The engagement metric shows you – in real-time – how well you’re responding to messages. It also flags up if there are any gaps in your coverage. This means you’ll be on top of any important issues, especially keeping potentially unhappy customers sweet.

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The draft feature allows you to quickly jot down ideas that you haven’t fully formulated yet. This means you can queue ideas for review and keep content for future posts. The team content calendar is a useful resource for a small team to manage  what each other are doing on the account. So, for example, one person can add a piece of content for review and another team member can publish it.

The single stream inbox feature is ideal for the small to medium business. It combines every message, alert and action from all your profiles into a single, filterable stream. It may not match the heavyweight monitoring of Adobe, but it’s scalable so you can track any keywords and mentions associated with your brand, all in one place.

You can also combine profile-level look-ups into one integrated analytics report. It’s highly customizable, so you can report on your social activities in a way that’s relevant to your business.

Sendible

Sendible is of a similar ilk to many social media monitoring tools out there but with some very impressive data and reporting packages. It’s dashboard has some of the best auto-post features I have come across, which are regularly updated.

Sendible lets you monitor the big three – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – as well as the popular image sharing sites and blogging platforms.

One of the best features of Sendible is the ability to drilldown into particular networks so you’re able to post in specific locations. So, for example, you could decide to post in a specific group on LinkedIn or on a predefined stream on Twitter.

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No Budget

If you’re just starting out there are plenty of free tools out there if you’re just starting out that can assist your social media monitoring management. Some of my favourites are:

Klout & Kred

Klout & Kred track social influence and the reach of your posts and can also be used to reveal your competitors’ data.

Kred is cracking for tracking the past; so, for example, if a competitor of yours has suddenly jumped from 200 followers to 10,000 in a matter of weeks, you can use Kred data to discover what’s been going on. They may have bought followers, posted some really good updates or simply have become famous overnight. Kred’s “Influence Scores Tracking” allows you to make your own judgement.

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Klout is great for tracking influence topics and showing how well you’re doing across the board. It gives insight into where your interactions come from and which networks you’re performing best on. If you’re a Twitter wiz, but everyone ignores you on Facebook, then it might be time to  give up on Facebook or start tailoring your updates to fit that demographic accordingly – different posts for different folks.

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And tools you probably haven’t considered!

Social networks that you may already be using  have their own monitoring tools too!

Facebook Insights & Twitter Analytics

They are there, they are free – use them! Facebook Insights drastically improved at the start of this year, meaning you can feel confident enough to trust their analysis. Their data is exportable which makes for easy pie-chart making and they are updated daily.

Twitter Analytics is accessible through your Twitter Ads;  and  is the only data available. Don’t be discouraged though! Twitter Analytics is great for a brief overview of how you’re doing in terms of engagement and follower frequency. If you see certain updates receive a lot more engagement than others, simply tailor your future updates so that content is published at the optimum time of day and  see if this improves interaction levels. Experimentation is key on Social.

What lets Facebook & Twitter analytics down (ever so slightly) is that all the data is very ‘surface level’, meaning you will need to spend more time interpreting it before you can start to make a real difference to your social engagement. Nevertheless, if the only thing you are spending is your time – these tools are well worth it. Check out metrics such as “Page Impressions” and “Device Data” to find out exactly where most of your traffic and “Likes” are coming from and make sure you edit your posts accordingly.

SocialSafe

At a starting price of £4.99 per year, SocialSafe is an affordable tool for everybody. It is  a social network back-up tool, but also has some interesting analytical data. As this is a relatively ‘new’ tool, you can expect the interface to update  frequently which is a bonus as everything “buggy” tends to get sorted out quickly and new features are added monthly.

The great thing about SocialSafe  is that it acts as a last line of defense should anyone hack your account, as well as offering some great insight data for posts that were most popular across your social engagement during a specific time period. Fantastic!

Hootsuite Free

On Hootsuite free, you can manage up to 5 social networks which should be fine if you’re working on a zero-budget campaign. You don’t have access to any extensive reporting, however you can effectively keyword ‘listen’ using their stream function.

Utilising their geographical keyword targeting, you can listen into brand mentions, industry mentions and even competitor mentions – this kind of data is essential if you are looking to use social as a sales feature ( I wouldn’t recommend tweeting everyone who mentions the term ‘Social Media’). As your social media campaigns progress, the keywords you will want to track will start to change and this tool allows for easy editing, which is great.

Hootsuite support team are some of the best in the biz, so don’t be shy about asking for assistance or using their help forums. You will always pick up something new from their tech-bods out there.

 

For more information on social media monitoring and what the heck the point is, you can contact our consultants who will be happy to talk to you about all-things-social. We can set up your own social media monitoring dashboard in no time at all.