GUEST BLOG: Seven free tools for measuring social media

The number of businesses experimenting with and finding value in social media as a promotional and customer engagement tool is on the rise. Yet, according to a 2009 study, 84% of professionals from a variety of industries reported they didn't measure ROI (return on investment) when using social media.

This is suprising. By using simple ROI models you can measure your output and uncover the cold hard figures to prove whether social media is delivering for your business objectives. This means it's much easier to justify sustaining your efforts or stopping them. It can also help you decide whether to make further investments in specific social media areas which are showing promising results.

Here are seven free and simple tools to measure how effective your social media strategy really is:

1)  Twittercounter

This shows you how many Twitter followers you have and provides a graph of the growth of your followers over time. It highlights how fast your base is growing and informs you of your behaviour at the time of growth so you can act in that same way to achieve further success.

2)  TweetReach

This allows you to search hashtags, URLs, Twitter names and highlights tweets that match your search, demonstrating how much exposure they achieved.  The starter service provides an initial lead on the last 50 tweets for free.

3) Facebook Insights

This tool provides Facebook Page owners with metrics around their content. By understanding and analysing trends within user growth demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, you will be better equipped to improve your business through Facebook. The data can be exported in a handy excel or word document and the metrics are updated on a daily basis.

4)  bitly

This service not only shortens URLs but also provides real-time traffic and analytics data for all links created. Monitoring which links are popular with your followers allows you to tailor your posts to satisfy existing followers and attract new ones. Ultimately growing your overall social media traffic.

5)  The Archivist

The Archivist is a free desktop application that lets you run any Twitter search and create a self-updated permanent archive. The tool also provides an easy way to export the whole Archive to Excel, enabling you to store and analyse relevant data regarding your business.

6)  Social Mention

This is a search and analysis tool providing a single stream of real-time content to show what people are saying about your company. It enables you to access information across a range of social media channels, all in one place.

7)   Klout/ Peer Index

These tools enable users to measure their online influence. Influence is measured by the way you share, create and recommend content as it engages your 'audience' and has an impact on your online communities.  Calculating these scores can show you how many people in your online community rely on your recommendations and opinions.

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