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How to Track Social Media Analytics Free

You have heard it time and time again that social media marketing is the way to go, regardless of whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 company. What you likely don’t know is how to track social media analytics free with much accuracy. First, this article will discuss why you need to track your data. Second, we will cover some of the top social media analytics tools available for free. [Social Media Marketing]

Today I’ll show you how to track your Twitter, Facebook and other social media analytics for free. Don’t want to pay high monthly fees like HootSuite or TweetDeck? This video will teach you how to get the same statistics by using Google’s tools that are 100% free!

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS?

At NetBase Quid, we define social media analytics as gathering not only social media data from social channels, but other web-wide data as well – from both structured and unstructured sources.  The online content that forms the big picture to guide business decisions. It takes many forms, but is always about gaining actionable social insights – the intel you need to guide your business strategy. Though exploring ‘what social media analytics is’ can get rather complex, at its core are three stages:

  1. Identify primary business goals.

Whether it’s growing traffic, increasing downloads, or building positive brand perception, setting clear business objectives gives your web and social analytics investigation purpose.

  1. Determine social key performance indicators (KPIs).

What metrics indicate success or failure? They will differ according to your goals, but may include:

  • Engagement– specifically, a comparison of owned, earned, and paid media
  • Sentiment– how audiences feel about your brand, your products, and your category
  • Conversion– how social strategies impact sales and revenue.

And any other KPIs that align with your business objectives.

  1. Measure & Analyze Social Data.

Once you know what matters and why, it’s time to analyze the actual data. By applying one of the analytics tools below, you can assess the state of your business and make informed adjustments as needed.

WHY IS SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS IMPORTANT?

There are so many things brands can do with web and social analytics comparison tools, including:

  • Provide exceptional customer care to current and prospective customers and lower associated costs
  • Discover new customer segments that would’ve remained hidden otherwise
  • Identify unmet consumer needs ahead of competitors
  • Respond in real-time to a crisis, before it spins out of control
  • Track trends in your category and related to your brand specifically
  • Uncover new product and/or service ideas to pursue
  • Capture customer experience data to inform your next move and enhance acquisition
  • Boost campaign performance with create and engaging ideas
  • Identify competitor challenges and win their dissatisfied customers’ business
  • Monitor brand health and head off any trouble
  • See all brand mentions in context, including logos and photos that may not mention your name
  • Understand every bit of online data as it relates to a brand, including imagery, emojis, sarcasm and slang
  • Identify influencers and brand ambassadors to partner with and enhance brand awareness
  • Measure any campaign, idea, and/or influencer effectiveness to tweak efforts as needed
  • Capture structured and unstructured data in easy to read/navigate reporting dashboards
  • Communicate the ROI of social to key stakeholders
  • And so much more

But how well you execute all of this is entirely dependent on the social media analytics tool you’re using to power your efforts, and whether or not it is using best-in-class Next Generation AI to power its technology!

WHAT ARE THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS TOOLS?

Much like there’s an art to understanding which sort of tool is best suited for your brand at this point in time, the same considerations apply to selecting the right social media analytics company to partner with. The options there are as varied as the analytics tools themselves! There are four key areas you’ll want to explore to guide your decision: Customer care – how responsive are product specialists to customers? This can feel like a tough one to get an accurate read on, as it’s easy to assume that potential customers are given quicker attention than existing. Watching a few client testimonials, reading reviews and asking for current client referrals will give you a sense of things. If specialists are consistently receptive to concerns, that fact will shine through. And it will also be apparent if they’re not! Ease of use – During your product demo, ask to take the wheel and try it out yourself. Are the options intuitive, or fairly clear after a bit of explanation? What materials are available to help you overcome the learning curve? And how difficult is it to integrate with existing tools/data sourcesData transparency – Where is the data coming from? How granularly are you able to explore? Does what you’re seeing make sense and provide actionable insight? Being able to back-up a sound bite with sentiment analysis that makes sense is very important. Speed of algorithm/API adaptation – How quickly can each social media analytics company pivot to update their analytics tool to keep pace with API changes and such? Ask about the last Instagram API update and how that went for clients. And why. Product updates – How often does the social media analytics company update its offerings? Are they setting the pace for other social media analytics companies and pushing out new updates every couple weeks, or are they struggling to stay relevant? That matters – a lot.

Hootsuite Analytics

Key benefits: Performance data from every social network in one place with easy-to-understand reports

Paid or free? Paid tool

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: Business owners who run their own social media, social media managers at small-to-medium sized businesses, marketing teams

Most social media management platforms have built-in analytics tools. We hope you’ll forgive us for saying Hootsuite’s reporting capabilities are our favorite. But it’s the tool we know and love best.

viewing social media analytics on multiple networks in Hootsuite

Imagine Twitter analytics, Instagram analytics, Facebook analytics, Pinterest analytics, LinkedIn analytics all in one place. Hootsuite Analytics offers a complete picture of all your social media efforts, so you don’t have to check each platform individually.

It saves time by making it easy to compare results across networks.

Social posts metrics:

  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Reach
  • Engagement rate
  • Impressions
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Video views
  • Video reach
  • And more

Profile metrics:

  • Follower growth over time
  • Negative feedback rate
  • Profile visits
  • Reactions
  • Overall engagement rate
  • And more

Best time to post recommendations:

Ever spend a bunch of time writing and designing a social post only to have it fall completely flat? There could be a lot of reasons for that. But one of the most common reasons this happens is posting at the wrong time. A.k.a. Posting when your target audiences are not online or not interested in engaging with you.

This is why our Best Time to Publish tool is one of the most popular features of Hootsuite Analytics. It looks at your unique historical social media data and recommends the most optimal times to post based on three different goals:

  1. Engagement
  2. Impressions
  3. Link clicks
Best time to publish feature in Hootsuite Analytics

Most social media analytics tools will only recommend posting times based on engagement. Or they’ll use data from universal benchmarks, instead of your unique performance history.

Other cool things you can do with Hootsuite Analytics:

  • Customize report templates for only the metrics you care about
  • Get reports on your competitors
  • Track the productivity of your social team (response times, and resolution time for assigned posts, mentions, and comments)
  • Monitor mentions, comments, and tags related to your business to avoid PR disasters before they happen

Hootsuite Analytics is included in the Hootsuite professional plan, with you can try for free for 30 days.

Google Analytics

Key benefit: See how much traffic and leads flow to your website from your social media channels

Paid or free: Free tool

Skill level: all skill levels

Best for: all social media professionals should be familiar with Google Analytics, but especially those who work for a web-based business

You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics already. That’s because it’s one of the best free tools to use to learn about your website visitors. And if you’re a social marketer who likes to drive traffic to your website, then it’s an invaluable resource to have in your back pocket.

While it’s not a social media reporting tool per se, you can use it to set up reports that will help you:

  • See which social media platforms give you the most traffic
  • See what content drives the most leads and traffic on which social networks
  • Get to know your audience with demographic data
  • Calculate the ROI of your social media campaigns
Google Analytics dashboard showing sources of traffic for a blog post

With these data points, you’ll be able to get the most out of your social media campaigns and effectively strategize for the future. No social media strategy is complete without Google analytics.

 Buffer Analyze

Buffer Analyze: Buffer’s Facebook and Instagram Analytics and Reporting Tool

Buffer Analyze is our social media analytics tool for online brands that want to make better decisions about their social media strategy and measure their results without feeling overwhelmed.

3 cool features:

  • Instagram Stories analytics
  • Posting strategy recommendations
  • Create professional reports in as few as two clicks

Social media channels:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

What analytics you get for free:

  • All features for 14 days
    • Overview and charts for key metrics
    • Posts and Stories analytics
    • Audience insights
    • Answers
    • Easy-to-use report builder

Pricing options: $35 and $50 per month

 Sprout Social

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a comprehensive social media management and monitoring tool that provides a host of enterprise-level options. Its cross-channel social listening features you perform a contextual and qualitative analysis of topics, hashtags, and keywords. You can tell how your content is performing on various social networks from its visual and intuitive reports.

3 cool features:

  • Analyze paid campaign performance across networks
  • Get group report of your social media profiles
  • Analyze your team’s performance (task performance, response rates, etc.)

Social media channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

What analytics you get for free:

  • All features for 30 days
    • Report builder
    • Reports for each social media channel
    • Reports for internal team performance

Paid options: $99, $149, and $249 per month

 Zoho Social

Zoho Social

Zoho is a unique and powerful software suite that has CRM, collaboration, and other SaaS options that take care of your entire operational workflow. Zoho Social is the part that enables you to understand your social media audience and how they engage with you. You can listen to multiple channels from a single dashboard and respond in real-time. You can also dig deeper into each post to measure their reach and engagement.

3 cool features:

  • Create intuitive reports from a huge list of pre-defined segments based on demographics of your fans, influencers, or people reached.
  • Get a breakdown of the content formats that your connections are engaging with and compare it to those that you publish.
  • Compare fans vs. other people reached for every post.

Social media channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

What analytics you get for free:

  • All features for 15 days
    • Stats for individual posts
    • Analytics for content type, best time to post, etc.

Pricing options: $10, $25, $200, and $300 per month (annual pricing)

Conclusion

Among the many Social Media Analytics Softwares (such as HootSuite, SproutSocial and Social Mention), your business can now enjoy all the benefits of Analytics, without spending a dime.

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