I’ve been to a lot of lunches and seminars with “experts” from social media tracking firms, who describe what you should be looking for to determine social media success. When engaged in follow-up conversations about recommended tracking tools to use, I often get a short, vague list of things that could work, and then the sales pitch about their suite of tracking products and services.
The truth is, for most small- to medium-sized businesses, you don’t need to pay for analytics. If you are Budweiser or McDonald’s, knock yourself out. But the rest of us can keep our cash by getting smart about free analytics – as long as you are willing to make a plan and collect the data.
Facebook offers Facebook Insights (which I’ll cover in a future post), a free service that gives you all of the data you will really need. YouTube offers similar insights.
Social Mention is a great website for getting a general idea of what is being said about you or your company online.
This article from Ragan’s PR Daily profiles “20 free and extremely useful social media tools.” These tools measure a variety of social media statistics. The article offers you links to and helpful descriptions of each product.
Now comes the hard part. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the stats in the world don’t mean diddly-poo if you don’t know what you want to know.
The best thing to do is to get a small group of people together, whether that is your marketing team, social media team, whatever, and take a look at the various types of free measuring tools are available, and determine the ones that make the most sense for your business and social media goals.
I know the list can look overwhelming, but you can find usable metrics by using just a few of these measuring tools together. While it may not be the comprehensive report that a tracking firm will deliver, it should be more than sufficient to track your social media progress (or lack thereof).