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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

4 Ways to Measure Your Social Media Success

Your business is off to a great start—you know your market, you’ve developed a great presence, and you’re keeping your audience engaged. And you know your social media efforts play a significant role. Naturally, some are more effective than others—but how do you really know what’s working?

Measuring the overall success of any type of PR strategy can be complicated business. While a variety of media monitoring and sentiment analysis tools are available, the parameters that determine how well you’re telling your company’s story, influencing people’s opinions, and protecting your brand remains heavily debated—and, quite frankly, oftentimes confusing.

Luckily, at least as far as social media goes, there are a number of tools that can help. Great platforms have been created that enable brands to track the reach and effectiveness of their social media campaigns. And, while these options come in every imaginable price range, we think there are a few guaranteed to fit your budget (or lack thereof).

Check out these four tools—all free—to help you get a handle on which messages, engagement strategies and pieces of content are working across your social media channels—and which ones aren’t.

1.  Google Analytics

Google has a comprehensive analytics service that helps track user activity on your website in real-time. Within a matter of minutes, you can have Google Analytics set up to tell you, among other things, the number of daily visits to your site, the demographics of your users, how they got to your site, how long they stay, and which of your pieces of content are most—and least—popular. Once you’re set up, the real trick will be keeping yourself from spending too much time cutting and re-cutting your graphs.

2.  Klout

The Klout Score measures influence, which Klout defines as “your ability to drive action on social networks,” and, increasingly, in the real world. Specifically, it tells you how many people you influence, how much you influence them, and the influence of your network across your social media platforms. Once you’re signed-up, Klout will let you see a map of your social media activity over the past 90 days, enabling you to cross-reference the exact moments your score increased (under their algorithm, at least) with the content you posted or ways you engaged at that time.

3.  Wildfire's Social Media Monitor

Wildfire is a social media marketing company that was recently acquired by Google. While the majority of its tools require payment, Wildfire does offer a free social media monitor that can help you understand your Twitter and Facebook presence versus that of your competitors. Wildfire’s tool will let you easily compare the number of likes, check-ins, and followers each page boasts.

4.  My Top Tweet by TwitSprout

Want an easy way to know which of your tweets got the most retweets? Check out My Top Tweet, which ranks your top 10 most-shared tweets and the number of times they were retweeted. Not only is this helpful for your own brand, but it allows you to educate yourself on what works well for other brands—including for your competitors.

Bonus: HootSuite

And, here’s one bonus suggestion for good measure: social media dashboard HootSuite. While most of its analytics tools are behind a paywall, they do offer a complementary dashboard that allows you to manage social media activity for various accounts all in one place. A major time-saver when you have multiple brands, strategies, and sites to monitor.

Once you can see the analytics behind your social media outreach, you’ll have a much better idea of what’s working and what’s not. With this new intelligence, you can experiment, learn, and get smarter with the content you’re posting and your engagement tactics. Just remember to keep an eye on those analytics tools to see what sticks.

Have a free social media analytics tool you love that we didn’t mention? Tell us all about it in the comments section!

Photo of Twitter screen courtesy of Annette Shaff and Shutterstock.