Social media is quickly becoming a main focus of marketing for businesses. Social media can be an excellent tool to build a community around your product or service, expand your target market, and to listen to what your customers want. It’s clear that social media is valuable, but measuring ROI proves to be a challenge. And, with all of the statistics available, it can be difficult to distill what is most important and useful. It can also be out of budget for many businesses to employ an expert or any of the robust reporting tools that are available. There are some simple ways for monitoring activity on social media platforms. Some obvious ways are internal methods such as monitoring Facebook likes, retweets on Twitter, basically tracking what your customers are interested in and changing what isn’t working. I would suggest making a weekly or a monthly plan outlining status updates and competitions etc. There are also external sites which are ideal for monitoring and analytics. Useful external sites for social media monitoring and analytics:- # 1. Social Mention Social Mention will allow you to track and measure who is talking about you, your company, your product, or any topic related to your industry. Social Mention pulls data from hundred + social media platforms to give you the most accurate, real-time information landscape in real-time. # 2. Tweet Deck TweetDeck is an effective and useful tool that allows you to 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. Lists can also be created of the people you follow. These lists can allow you to manage different target groups you want to interact with and keep an eye on what’s being tweeted about. # 3. Hootsuite Hootsuite is my personal favourite. It’s easy to use and allows you to organize and execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Hootsuite enables organizations launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences. Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and more. Hootsuite’s geo-location and geo- targeting can help get your business more seen on social media platforms. HootSuite also offers tools to help multiple collaborators be assigned to manage your social media accounts more securely. Analytics tools are also available on Hootsuite to get more of an insight into your businesses participation on social media platforms. # 4. Twilert Twilert is a Twitter monitoring application that monitors all mentions of your chosen keywords across the Twitter-sphere. What’s best about Twilert is that it doesn’t simply monitor @mentions or hashtags, but monitors all words within a tweet. So you will never miss out on anything you are searching for. It’s an easy platform to use for social analytics. You can sign in to Twilert with your Google or Twitter account. The keywords you search can be sent directly to your email address. What’s great about Twilert as well is that you can do an advanced search for any topic. You can choose a particular geographical area. Maybe a certain target audience you haven’t quite targeted yet that you want to do some market research on, to see if your product or service meets their needs. You can search by peoples attitude either positive, negative or asking a question. This could be quite useful. See picture below to get a better understanding of the advanced search tool for Twilert. # 5. Sprout Social Sprout Social lets you monitor your business & manage conversations with one simple marketing analytics tool. Publish & schedule updates across social channels with a single click. Manage teams, large social channels, tasks and assignments to make life a bit easier. Sprout Social allows you to monitor your business efficiently and effectively and help manage&grow your social presence across different platforms. Sprout Social integrates with Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, FourSquare and other networks where your target market could be engaging with businesses similar to yours. Other useful tools on Sprout Social are contact management, competitive insight, lead generation, analytics. Sprout Social offers a thirty day free trial. So give it a try if you think it would be a useful analytics tool for your business. # 6. Social Oomph Social Oomph is a useful marketing tool especially for Twitter. Twitter is an excellent way for a business to build relationships with customers and assist in retaining them as well. There are different tools that will let you manage multiple Twitter profiles and you can configure lots of features such as Auto Direct Message, Auto Follow and Auto unfollow. If it’s suitable for your business then I would suggest sending an auto direct message to all your new followers. You have more than likely been sent one by someone you have followed. Here an example: Thanks for connecting here on Twitter, will love to see you on Facebook [Link] Twitter users will usually follow you because you follow them back and later on if they unfollow you. Social Oomph’s Twitter auto unfollow tool will come in handy to help clean up your newsfeed. # 7. Sysomos Sysomos another great social media analytics tool for businesses. Sysomos is the greek word for “everything together “. You will be provided with intelligence and insights needed to measure results and ultimately make decisions on what’s working and what’s not working. Sysomos collects data from blogs, Twitter, social networks, messages, boards, wikis and major news sources. Sysomos give you the ability to notice the tone of conversations and identify opinions by gender, age and location. Some of Sysomos’ products include: Heartbeat, a social media monitoring and measurement tool. Heartbeat provides constantly updated snapshots of social media conversations delivered using a variety of user-friendly and intuitive graphics. Sysomos MAP, and Traffic Analytics. You can request a demo here. # 8. Brand Monitor Brand Monitor is an easy-to-use social media monitoring and engagement platform. Brand Monitor provides a powerful blend of consumer brand choice, multi-dimensional insights and relative acumen. A dashboard is available for you to view weekly trends, reaction meter, posts volume, reaction graph and top referrals. A graph with positive and negative response trends for the past month can also be viewed. Sentiments can be manually updated and Brand Monitor is capable of learning this and using this information to assign sentiment for future posts. An email can be sent to you daily, weekly and monthly that will keep you updated. Dashboard Charts and other data can be easily exported into an editable Excel sheet or CSV file. # 9. Google Analytics Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and easy to use analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and analytical marketing purposes. There is an endless amount of data available to analyse on Google Analytics. I will recommend some resources that will be beneficial for your business. Monitoring traffic sources: Tracking which keywords are driving the most traffic to your website is essential. Using these keywords then throughout your website will help you rank higher in SEO Monitoring referring sites: Understanding which websites are sending the most quality traffic to your website will allow you to focus more effort and time on those sites, and less of your time on under performing websites. Monitoring the types of visitors: Analysing how much of your website traffic is new visitors against returning visitors? This information will help you run certain marketing activities aimed at new visitors or returning visitors. A dedicated part of your website could be created to inform returning visitors of new products or services available by your business Monitoring popular pages. Analysing what pages are performing best on your website will give you an idea to what your visitors are most interested in and what needs work on your website Monitoring visits. Analysing what days visitors are coming to visit your website will allow you to publish new content or launch a new marketing activity on those days in order to attract the most attention Monitoring geographical location. Google Analytics presents data that will let you analyse the top ten countries that visit your page. This could be useful data for your business that may help you decide on entering into a new market or increase your product or service offering in a new market. # 10. Google Alerts Google Alerts is another effective monitoring system to analyse social media. You can track anything you want. It can be a useful way for finding out what’s being said about you or your company. You can keep track of articles you write under your name; monitoring the competition or simply to keep up to date on any given topic. You can set up Google Alerts to monitor certain keywords, such as your blog name, your business name and your personal name, and you will receive an e-mail any time they find those keywords in their search. With Google Alerts, you can be instantly notified when and where any bad content was placed on any social media platform and be able to respond accordingly. It is essential for every organization to monitor and track what is being said about them. It is especially important to interact with customers through social media platforms and analyse any areas of their social media platforms that need to be improved and essentially keep up to this on this very fast paced environment. Obviously there are lots more Social Media monitoring and analytics tools. I’d love to hear any recommendations you have below. Images: ”Business man paint social media word on white background / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator. Want to get your business featured on Tweak Your Biz? Check out #TYBspotlight.