Monday, November 7, 2011

Free Social Analytical Tools For Marketers

You've heard about the importance of monitoring and measuring online discussions about your brand. The question is, are you actually doing it?

As an experienced marketing professional and graduate student in the IMC program at Northwestern University, I’ve had a lot of exposure with using and developing social monitoring systems. It’s ironic to me that hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on marketing campaigns, and that many marketers fail to close the loop and identify the ROI associated with these expenditures.

Before you spend another dime on social media (or traditional for that matter), you need to ensure that you have the appropriate metrics in place to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of these campaigns.

I’ve identified some of the best and free(!) social media tools on the web to help you close these loops. Take advantage of these resources to better understand your customer base, evaluate your competition and more effectively manage and benchmark your marketing campaigns:

Alexa is a handy site analysis tool that offers comprehensive site audits on the competition. Curious about your competition’s keyword usage and the type of visitors that are attracted to their site? Alexa’s analytical tools reveal demographic characteristics, top keyword search queries, traffic stats and more.

Listorious is an influencer search tool that allows you to indentify the most influential advocates for your brand. This site has tagged millions of authoritative resources on Twitter, and allows you to search by subject, region or profession. It also offers a directory of twitter lists so that you can identify areas of opportunity for your marketing activities.

Social Mention is a comprehensive social media monitoring tool that offers the capability to measure sentiment, passion, reach and strength (volume/day). The ability to track real-time sentiment is critical in order to gauge the influence of a campaign launch. It also offers insight so that you can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Searches on this site can be saved as an RSS feed so that you can constantly stay abreast of situations impacting your brand.

Topsy is a Twitter focused real-time search engine that allows you to quickly gauge the scope and influence of a topic, brand or campaign. The site offers an intuitive interface that allows you to easily sort by recency in addition to source. 

Topsy automatically ranks the content so that the most relevant and important content is weighted towards the top, and it recently announced capabilities to search and analyze Google+ conversations. 

These four tools represent some of best free social media resources that I have come across on the web. Remember – whether you are monitoring conversation or not, people are talking about your company and your competition online. It is your responsibility as a marketer to monitor these discussions to better understand your current customer base and key influencers for your brand. Once benchmarks have been indentified you can more effectively measure and evaluate marketing activities for campaign planning in the future. 

For more social media dashboard tools to increase your marketing productivity, click here.

Natalie Johnson@nj_tweets
M.S. Candidate 2011, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University 

1 comment:

  1. Social media intelligence is powerful. Here are 4 ways businesses can use social media intelligence to learn about customers & inform business decisions.

    Social Media Marketing Management Agency