The free tools in my social media marketing toolkit — Part 2: Management & measurement

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By Alexandra Reid

In my last post, I shared and reviewed my favourite (free) social media monitoring tools that I use regularly to carry out social media marketing strategies on behalf of clients. Today, I reveal the management and measurement tools I use to organize and keep track of the zillions of conversations I monitor daily across multiple channels.

To summarize, these tools are free and therefore great for small businesses and new ventures. However, they are useless if they are not aligned with a sound social media marketing strategy. They are also far from perfect so we must always cross-examine data with information provided by other tools and sometimes even check information manually to ensure everything is accurate.

I decided to combine my favourite management and measurement tools because many of them do both functions. Technically, some of these can be used for monitoring social media as well. At the end of the day, it’s not so much the tools that matter, but how you use them. These are the ones that I’ve found excel, particularly in the management and measurement departments.

Without further ado, here are my favourite social media management and measurement tools:

Hootsuite and TweetDeck

I explained and reviewed these tools in my previous post on monitoring, but thought it was worthwhile to explain how they are also useful for management and measurement. Essentially, both tools allow users to organize the flood of social media content into relevant “streams” for easy digestion. This is fundamental for time-management, helping you find the right conversations in which to participate quickly with engagement options available at your fingertips.

On the measurement front, Hootsuite beats TweetDeck hands down. With customizable reports, Hootsuite analytics allow users to track follower growth for individual social profiles, monitor brand keywords, measure sentiment (though I’m always skeptical of this) and manage reports from multiple team members. While, the URL shortener used by TweetDeck, can integrate with Google Analytics to track click-throughs on links shared through the tool, the amount of data available is inferior to what can be gleaned through Hootsuite.

Google Analytics

This is a great (free) tool for measuring blog traffic that provides detailed information on how many people are coming to your site, how long they stay on a certain page and where they come from geographically and online, whether that’s search engines, direct or social media. With its new Real-Time reports, users can measure the immediate success (or lack thereof) of social media activities, including campaigns.

We use this tool for management as well, using the insightful data to gear blog content towards stuff that our readers respond to. As Google Analytics charts the growth path of your blog over time, it serves as a great resource for content management.

KloutPeerIndex and Grader

These three tools purport to measure influence online. I am reluctant to include them in my measurement system because they are flawed (read my rant on Klout for more information). However, they are the best tools out there for now, and do provide some indication as to when social media influence has increased or decreased, as well as where we stand among all others measured by the same algorithm.

However, these tools on their own don’t provide us with the full picture and shouldn’t be used as a sole means of measuring influence online. The only solution I have found to understand general trends over time is to track Klout and compare those results with PeerIndex and Grader scores. If all three are moving up, I can reasonably assume that what I’m doing is working. If one goes down while the other two go up, which happens on a regular basis, I know there is something happening that is discrediting my results.

Keyword Rank Checker

Very straight forward, this tool checks the ranking of specific keywords per URL for Google and Yahoo. It’s a great tool for optimizing your blog and social media content for search. Keep track of competitive keywords discovered as part of your management activities and measure progress over time.

Google Docs (spreadsheet)

We use simple Google Spreadsheets to track our progress because they are secure, organized and can be shared. For example, we have one spreadsheet that tracks social media contributions each week, including how many blog posts we commented on, Quora and LinkedIn questions we answered, how much content we shared on Twitter, and so on, to determine if we are meeting our goals. At the same time, we track how much time we committed to these activities. We also have a spreadsheet that tracks our Twitter accounts each week, including how many followers we have, how many accounts we’re following, Klout, PeerIndex and Grader scores, how many retweets or mentions we received, and so on. Over time, this gives us a good understanding of how effective our efforts have been and where we should steer our social media activities for greater success.

If you are experiencing any difficulties in monitoring, managing or measuring your social media activities, we encourage you to give us a call.

I’m also always interested in hearing about new social media marketing tools. If you are a new company with a neat and helpful new social media tool, share it here. I love test driving!


  • Tom W

    January 22, 2013 3:20 pm

    Hi Alexandra,
    Appreciate your posts. Do you have a twitter acct I can follow?

  • Francis Moran

    January 22, 2013 3:26 pm

    Hi, Tom.

    You can follow this blog’s Twitter account at @FrancisMoran. (There’s even a handy dandy button at the top right of this page.)

    Alex, who is no longer with us (but may return as a guest blogger) tweets as @TechAlly.

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