Updated April 2019.
Spring is a great time to perform a social media audit, to check in and ensure your brand goals are on track for the next quarter – headed towards back-to-school campaigns and ultimately the holiday season.
Which tools are best for assessing your social performance? It depends on where you are in your social analytics journey, and what you need to audit. But the tools below – updated for 2019 – will surely get you started.
Why perform a social audit? Because everything your brand does can be impacted by social insights. If sales are up or down, social data – i.e., consumers talking to you on social media – tells you why. How are you doing with customer care? Look to social for answers. What do consumers want from brands in your category moving forward? Listening to what they tell your competitors as well as yourself sets you up to give them what they want!
A social media audit shows you how the insights you uncovered and applied in the past quarter or year panned out for your brand. If you like your progress, keep doing what you’re doing. If you don’t, maybe you need to look a little deeper, or employ more comprehensive tools.
Here’s a quick refresher of areas to analyze to recalibrate your brand for the remainder of 2019, along with tools that will give you the data you need. These 19 tools have something to offer brands at all levels, but if you’re focused on a particular area, click the sections below to skip right to those tools:
- Where Is the Love?– 3 Tools That Measure Sentiment
- Where Is Your Audience?– 4 Tools to Assess Your Best Channels
- Content Is Still King– 3 Tools That Offer Keys to the Kingdom
- Forecasting Future Trends– 3 Tools That Track Short- And Long-Term Trends
- How Do You Measure Up?– 3 Competitive Analysis Tools to Keep You on Your Game
- How Safe Is Your Brand?– 3 Crisis Management Tools for Brand Health
And now… the list of tools!
WHERE IS THE LOVE? – 3 TOOLS THAT MEASURE SENTIMENT
Sentiment is the barometer by which all social insights are measured. Without it you have no idea if a mention is positive or negative, if a desire for a product is real or just a passing thought in consumers’ minds. Sentiment contextualizes and prioritizes social data so you know what actions to take and when.
Sentiment analysis tells you what consumers care about, who your influencers are, and where your brand could be in trouble. It’s super important, but not all tools offer it. Here are three that do:
Racking up mentions seems like a good thing, but without knowing the sentiment driving those mentions, you don’t really know much. What if the million people mentioning your brand are trashing it? Because you need to know, sentiment is at the heart of the NetBase social analytics suite. Boosted by Next Generation Artificial Intelligence (AI), NetBase offers the highest speed and accuracy of insights for audience segmentation, real-time trend tracking, influencer identification, competitor analysis, image analytics, social monitoring for brand health, and more. Customizable, visual dashboards make NetBase ideal for social auditing, as it’s easy to see where you started against where you are now, and where you want your brand to be.
Price: Get in touch for custom pricing
Digimind shows you which “key concepts” are popping up for your brand on social, and the sentiment of those concepts, to help you understand where consumer energies are focused. Additionally you can analyze content performance, with the option to schedule and interact through their interface with Hootsuite. Reputation insights and competitive analysis round out this nicely-equipped tool.
Price: Get in touch for custom pricing
Tracking earned media, including the ability to analyze and share broadcast media coverage from 2,000 global television and radio sources; and, millions of online newspapers, magazines, blogs, trade publications and forums. Also offers automation and mobile sharing capabilities, along with real-time data access. And its visual monitoring via “density maps” and word clouds make it easy to spot emotional extremes you need to act on.
Price: Get in touch for custom pricing
WHERE IS YOUR AUDIENCE? – 4 TOOLS TO ASSESS YOUR BEST CHANNELS
Knowing where to engage your audience is a key part of the equation – and you should never assume you know where that is. Only a social audit can tell you where your best engagement is coming from, and where potential new audiences might be.
4. Built-in Analytics Tools
CAPTION: A look at Twitter Analytics’ “Audiences” tab
You can use built-in analytics to assess your performance on the channels you use – like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, and Pinterest Analytics – but that only tells you how you’re doing on those specific channels. If your social activity is limited to these, you can certainly use these built-in analytics tools to assess how you’re doing on each, then compare to see where you are having the best reach, engagement, etc.
Price: Free (with business accounts/pages with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest)
However, understanding your audience isn’t simply about comparing performance from channel to channel. It’s about finding new audiences on channels you may not have considered. For this, you need more robust social analytics tools. Here are a few to consider:
Combining two customer engagement platforms into one (Spredfast and Lithium), Khoros offers a “connected experience” by helping customers engage with consumers via meaningful, data-informed campaigns that enhance loyalty and grow sales. A significant focus of the platform revolves around creating exceptional customer care and nurturing/activating communities.
Price: Get in touch for demo/custom pricing
With search engine simplicity, HowSociable turns up a Magnitude Score on your brand (or any other), revealing engagement across a number of social platforms so you know where your fans are. You can see 12 metrics with a free account, or 36 with a paid subscription. The great thing about this tool is its range. Instead of stopping at the most popular social networks, it looks at a number of less obvious social apps, blog, and review sites as well. You may discover fans you never realized you had on a number of social channels.
Price: Starts at $9 per 3 months to $99 per year
Just as its name suggests, Mention alerts you to mentions of your brand across the Web and social channels – which is a great way to find out where undiscovered audiences are lurking. It tracks “every major social network, plus blogs, forums, news, and review sites.” Of course, you can also use this information to find out about competitor mentions, and they have other features for monitoring brand health to round out the tool.
Price: Starts at $25/month for solo users to $600+ for enterprises
CONTENT IS STILL KING – 3 TOOLS THAT OFFER KEYS TO THE KINGDOM
Once you understand what consumers care about, you’ve got to learn how they want to talk about those things. Is video their favorite medium? Or do funny memes really get them going? Are they addicted to Stories? Would they rather an educational infographic? These are the questions content analysis answers, and these are some tools that provide them:
Content that doesn’t convert isn’t really doing its job, so Curalate ensures your content gets results. The platform leverages brand images and videos to make your social feeds shoppable, as well as makes it easy to display user generated content (UGC) of fans, influencers and partners to show consumers how your products fit into their lives. Lowered bounce rates and increased conversions are the result of honing in on content that connects.
Price: Request a demo
Stories are a major content trend. If your Snapchat audience is all about them, before to track your results using Snaplytics. Create and distribute engaging stories, measure impact, and deliver insights on Snapchat and Instagram. Post, repost, and reply through the Snaplytics platform. Great for identifying best performing content, branded hashtag performance, how new followers find you, and performance against competitors.
Price: Free 2-week trial, then contact Snaplytics for upgrade details
Video is another content type of major importance, which makes a tools like Vizia very useful. Use tools like questions, polls, and multi-choice quizzes to encourage active participation from your fans to improve your content based on their feedback. Easily embed and share videos, capture leads, and increase virality using Vizia – all for free.
FORECASTING FUTURE TRENDS – 3 TOOLS THAT TRACK SHORT- AND LONG-TERM TRENDS
There’s nothing worse than being the last one to know something – whether it’s an of-the-moment conversation, or the spark of a new long-term trend. That’s why there are tools to help you track trends as they emerge – so you never have to be out of the loop. Here are three of them:
The visual marketing trend isn’t going away, making Instagram and Pinterest valuable platforms for brands – so that’s where Tailwind focuses its offerings. Track top keywords, hashtags, and trending topics to discover what consumers are obsessed with right now – and what might explode in the near future. Compare to your last social audit to see whether trends have picked up steam or fizzled.
Price: Request a demo
Trendspottr uses predictive analysis to spot “emerging trends, viral content, and key influencers” from social, news, events, memes, crises, and more. That way you’re ahead of the curve, where you need to be.
Price: Starts at $49/month after a 7-day free trial
With the ability to track keywords and hashtags in real-time, Keyhole lets you easily track any social trend to see how things are shaping up. See the conversations happening across several social channels, monitoring events in real-time, and more.
Price: Starts at $44/month for a solo account
HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP? – 3 COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS TOOLS TO KEEP YOU ON YOUR GAME
Making sure you aren’t overtaken by competitors means knowing what they’re up to at all times – and how consumers are receiving their efforts. Social media’s transparency makes it easy to see how they communicate with their (a.k.a. your) audience, as well as how their audience responds. These tools help you make the most of this intel:
Kompyte has a number of competitor alerts to keep you up-to-date on things like price changes, promotions, and new product releases – all the things you want to know about in the moment. You can also track competitors’ AdWords campaigns, and find unique keywords no one else is using. This is in addition to identifying hot topics on social channels, and which are doing well for the competition.
Price: Start with a free trial and upgrade based on your needs
Rival IQ lets you set benchmarks and compare yourself to your competitors, highlighting progress by measuring against past results. You can see when competing brands have boosted posts, and receive alerts when competitors have “breakout” content. This tool also lets you incorporate SEO into your analysis – to track keyword rankings, Domain Authority, external links, and which organic keywords your competitors aren’t using. You can even track PPC to find out where competing brands are spending money on keywords.
Price: Starts at $199 per month
SEMRush offers a different spin on competitor analytics, revealing data about competitors’ display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building. See сompetitor ad budgets and keywords, ad copy and landing pages, find unexpected rivals via AdWords and Bing Ads, localize ad campaign efforts, dig into backlinks strategy, and more.
Price: Starts at $99.95 per month
HOW SAFE IS YOUR BRAND? – 3 CRISIS MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR BRAND HEALTH
Under the right conditions, it doesn’t take long for social complaints to go viral – which means you can’t afford to miss or ignore any that crop up. You have to know when consumers are unhappy – and take action before things snowball. These social monitoring tools keep you alerted to potential problems:
Awario offers real-time social monitoring of keywords and mentions in any language and location across the web. Track mention growth and reach, sort by sentiment, identify influencers by social network, compare alerts and track your progress – just in time for your social media audit.
Price: Starts at $24/month
The Social Mention website offers the simplest explanation of what the tool does: “Social Mention is a social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the web into a single stream of information.” That information includes 80+ social media channels, as well as strength (the likelihood your brand is being discussed), sentiment, and passion. Use this data in your social media audit to see if your brand is being talked about more or less, and in what context.
As Talkwalker’s website notes, “Your reputation is everything.” So they offer real-time monitoring of social channels in 187 languages to understand consumer opinion of your campaigns, products, events, earnings calls, and brands. Their analytics extend to print and TV/radio as well, making them extra versatile Updated features like AI technology and image recognition are noteworthy.
Price: Request a demo
A COMPREHENSIVE PICTURE NEEDS COMPREHENSIVE TOOLS
It’s clear there are a lot of areas to approach when conducting a social media audit – and the tools above will help, but some of them have too narrow a focus.
It might seem like content is all you need to look at – but you can’t understand the content that matters if you don’t know what topics appeal to your audience. And you can’t fully understand topics of preference without sentiment analysis. Meanwhile, it doesn’t help to know which channels your audience is using if you don’t know what will engage them.
Each area leads into the next and requires information from the previous – that’s why you need comprehensive social analytics tools that do everything you need, without being cluttered by things you don’t. And if your insights aren’t accurate – what’s the point. Beware the tool that doesn’t allow for following data down to the post level for clarification.
Also be wary of tools bragging about unlimited historical data. Yes, it’s important to analyze historical data as well as the data coming in real time – that’s part of the point when auditing – but you don’t have to go back farther than a year or two to understand your brand’s trajectory, or how your audience has changed. The gold standard, which NetBase offers, is 27 months.
What you want overall are reliable insights covering all aspects of your brand – so you can move forward confidently when your audit is complete. Otherwise, there’s no point in performing one.
Time for a social media audit? Reach out to see how AI Analytics tools can power your operations.