January 2019 Update: As trends change and technology advances, social media tools become more powerful as well. Here’s an updated list of some of what’s out there right now, as well as what you should look for in a social analytics tool. Already know what matters? Skip right to the list of tools!
A Quick Refresher on Why You Need Social Analytics Tools
Social consumers are constantly evolving. They know they have choices, and they know they’re in charge. Brands that don’t connect at a human, personal level may never break through the noise.
Brands that succeed on authenticity, but fail to respond when things go wrong, risk not only losing customers, but seeing those customers shame them publicly – sometimes with disastrous results.
The good news is, consumers share, share, share on social – and if brands only listen, they have access to everything they need to soar in every area of brand operations. Here are a few ways social data empowers your brand:
Identifying Influencers: Consumers trust other consumers more than they trust you, so influencers with a passion for your brand are very valuable. Social listening helps you find them.
Trend-spotting: Whatever topics have audiences chattering obsessively – you have the option to weigh in. Beyond that, social insights reveal industry and category trends worth embracing – the kind that inspire new products and/or changes in how you do business. It’s no longer just about marketing.
Creating Engaging Content: What does your audience want to see, and where? Social data tells you, so you can provide the right content, on the right channels, at the right time.
Keeping an Eye on Competitors: Available competitive intelligence alone is worth the price of admission, and it’s one reason social listening tools are a must. Everything your shared audience thinks and feels is available to you – and you better believe your competitors are taking advantage of it. So you should too!
Guarding Your Reputation: There’s no margin for error in the current competitive climate, so avoiding a brand crisis is critical. After all, it only takes one post to start the snowball rolling down the hill. Social monitoring alerts you to potential problems, so you can nip them in the bud before they go viral.
Create, analyze and edit campaigns in Facebook, Instagram, and Google AdWords using AdEspresso by Hootsuite. Their SMB option offers AdEspresso University, to help you improve your advertising skills, while their agency option allows integration with clients for easy approval of campaigns. Create experiments to test ad options in minutes, or auto-optimize, or auto-boost campaigns for best performance.
Price: Starts at $49/month.
AgoraPulse lets you monitor social conversations on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and engage from a single inbox. Keep content organized and monitor competitors by tagging important content. You can also manage Facebook and Instagram ad comments – though you’ll want to be sure they’ve got workarounds for the new Instagram API changes.
Price: Starts at $39/month when billed annually.
The ability to speak to social consumers personally is a big piece of the puzzle, and audience segmentation is the best way to do that. Grouping consumers together by interests and appealing to them with individualized messaging is a crucial component of social marketing. Audiense focuses on identifying those interests and breaking them down so you can learn about the people who like your brand (or your competitors). It doesn’t really delve into the why, which makes it hard to act, but it’s a good first step.
Price: $696/month when paid annually.
For indie creators and innovators, crowd funding is a must – but it’s not just for unsigned bands and the like. High-profile projects like the Veronica Mars movie have been funded in just this way, so it makes sense there’s a solution for wrangling social influencers for this purpose. CrowdBooster helps you reach your target audience on Instagram and Pinterest to grow your campaign and get the funding you need for your latest invention.
Price: Starts at $26/week for Instagram/Pinterest audience growth.
Visual and multimedia content is essential to standing out, so Everypost helps you curate and schedule content from sources like YouTube, Flickr and more to ensure your content is eye-catching. Easily customize content for differing social channels to keep cross-posting from being repetitive. Use built-in analytics to understand number of fans/followers, post frequency and breakdown of post type, best posting times, top posts, and how you rank against competitors.
Price: From free to $99/month.
Boasting an impressive 405 data source integrations, Funnel brings all your advertising data into one place for easy analysis. See how you’re tracking against budgets and targets in real-time, and tie data insights back to ROI for a clear understanding of your marketing efforts’ impact. Pull data into any other dashboard tool for a comprehensive view.
Price: Starts at $499/month.
Community management is important – and for many brands that means Facebook Groups. Grytics is designed to help you manage multiple groups from one platform, compare insights and best practices, collaborate with team members, stay organized with their Tags System, and analyze and schedule content. If Facebook Groups are a big part of your social strategy, this is a useful app.
Price: Starts at $15/month.
Kicksta helps Instagram brands and influencers attract more followers by targeting the followers of similar accounts, liking their posts, and assuming they’ll check you out and follow-back. It’s not the worst idea – especially for smaller brands without the budget for more comprehensive tools, or the time to do such work manually. By automating the process, Kicksta builds your following more quickly, putting you on the radar of additional followers, and helping you increase sales, paid partnership opportunities, and more.
Price: Starts at $49/month, but $149/month gets you gender, hashtag and location tagging.
MavSocial’s strength lies in streamlining the content curation, publishing, and analytics process. There are stock image libraries and editing tools so you can create eye-catching graphics, and you can monitor content performance, track keywords to identify trends, and reply to all social feeds from a singular inbox. Sentiment appears to be lacking – which is a big oversight.
Price: Starts at $16/month, but $65/month is the minimum tier that gets you social listening.
If Twitter is your primary – or only – channel, Narrow helps you understand and attract a relevant audience there. The app interacts on your behalf with Twitter users talking about subjects relevant to your target audience. Narrow uses keywords, hashtags, and locations to build a bigger following, and also lets you track performance of keywords to see what’s working.
Price: Starts at $19/month
This industry-recognized platform is powered by AI-boosted Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis. This contextualizes insights found via social listening, social monitoring, image analysis, competitive analysis and more. Understand the voice of the customer to create an unparalleled customer experience, and guard brand health with real-time visual reporting and alerts. A commitment to innovating as the industry changes, and stellar customer service, round out this comprehensive solution.
Price: Request a demo.
Geared specifically to B2B brands, Okotopost allows you to “Measure the impact of every post, network, and campaign.” Features include lead generation, ROI analysis based on assigned monetary values, engagement metrics, audience trends, employee advocacy insights, and more.
Price: Request a demo.
Instagram is an important channel – especially if you’re a brand where influencer marketing factors in. Owlmetrics offers Instagram analytics to measure audience growth, see who unfollowed you, and understand those who are following. Metrics like what resonates with followers, when posts get the most likes, which hashtags trigger engagement, and how much traffic Instagram drives to your website are super useful – but be sure to ask whether changes to Instagram’s API impact these insights.
Price: Starts at $25/month.
14. Rival IQ
There’s a lot Rival IQ offers – like insights on Facebook and Instagram ads, Google Analytics, and whether competitors have had success with boosted posts. You get performance data on Instagram Stories, follower adds and removals, LinkedIn post insights, and more. The problem is you don’t get to see why posts are performing well (or not), so it’s hard to strategize next moves.
Price: Starts at $199/month
Geared toward agencies – or any business with multiple brands under one umbrella – Sendible has a lot to offer. Unique inboxes for each brand make it easy to organize your workflow – as do well-thought-out collaborative tools. Be alerted to troublesome keywords, discover and publish content, and more. Sentiment analysis identifies potential brand risks, but doesn’t seem to reveal what’s driving the emotion. Which makes it hard to know what to change.
Price: Starts at $24/month when billed annually
Social is more than just Facebook, Twitter, etc. News, blogs, forums, portals, etc. also matter, and that’s what SentiOne helps you explore. You can also track influence and buzz, filter and tag mentions so you only see what matters. With sentiment, competitor analysis, geolocation data and more, there’s a lot to like here.
Price: Starts at $59/month.
17. Sprout Social
One of the more comprehensive solutions, Sprout Social aims to impact content quality, social customer service, and more with its analytics. Trend analysis, productivity measurement, and customized reporting are just some of the features on offer. They also make it easy for employees to amplify brand reach, which is a great asset.
Price: Starts at $99/month.
Storytelling is everything – which is why Stories are so popular on Instagram and Snapchat. Storyheap is all about telling you how those Stories are doing – from follower growth, to how many opens, completed views, and screenshots you’ve gotten. Not bad – if very, very specific.
Price: Starts at $49/month
Search hashtags to find the most popular content trending across social channels, or create your own hashtag campaign. Add-ons let you measure ROI of campaigns, obtain licensing to broadcast user-generated content, photos and videos, add social commerce buttons to posts, share live Snapchat Stories on-air or in-stadium, and more. It’s a limited tool, but if hashtags are part of your success, it could be helpful.
Price: Request a demo.
If you need more followers on Twitter, set up your account with @users, @competitors, and hashtags – then Tweepi’s AI will get to work to find your targeted group of users. “Most probably to engage” users are categorized as reply, follows, like, retweet, or unfollow inactives so you can your actions accordingly. Interacting with these highly relevant users helps you grow your audience. At least, that’s the idea.
Price: Starts at $10.75/month when paid annually.
Yotpo does have sentiment analysis – something many of the tools here are missing – but it appears overly structured. It’s great to understand how consumers feels about your brand using the attributes you care most about – like size, price, service, etc. And you can see how your rank against competitors on those attributes, too. But the best insights are often surprise discoveries you didn’t realize mattered – and those don’t seem to be available here.
Price: Start for free, then request a demo.
Social Media Tools Promote Brand Growth
Choosing social analytics tools can feel daunting – especially for smaller brands, or those just getting started with social analytics. For those using fewer platforms, or with smaller budgets, built-in analytics like Facebook Audience Insights, Twitter Moments, Pinterest Discover, and YouTube Trending you can uncover some basics to help you engage your audience effectively for free.
But ultimately, social listening tools are an investment worth making.
You may start with a less expensive tool that excels in one or two areas, as many of the above do. Or you may choose a provider like NetBase to cover all the bases social media listening requires.
At a certain point, a more streamlined and powerful platform will earn its price-tag quickly.
We’re ready to help you when that day comes. In the meantime, start “listening” and see where better insights take your brand. It’s bound to be someplace amazing.
Ready to embrace all that social listening can do for your brand? Reach out and we’ll show you how our tools do the job.