Social Analytics for Small Businesses

Indicators series (3d character isolated and percentage graph bars)It should be an undeniable fact that your best tool for social analytics is yourself. It’s important that you see the “value in understanding motivations, trends, and behavior of the people that should matter most“. You must be present and engaged in your own social media. You can learn an enormous amount of information about your audience just by combing through the conversations. Many of the analytics tools that are available can help you sort out the relevant information but without a basic understanding of how your audience uses social media, it could be very difficult to know how or where to start. If your intention is to create a social media marketing plan for another company, social media will help you to see the trend in their particular industry. Without knowing anything about their industry, it can be challenging to know how to come up with a successful marketing strategy. A tool like SocialEars can help you to weed through the noise to find important articles that are relevant to the company you are researching. SocialEars offers great analytics but it’s more appropriate for larger social media marketing companies.

When trying to identify the best tools for a small business or individual social media marketer, price and function are most important to consider. HootSuite is great if you need to manage multiple accounts and profiles but it lacks the ability to give robust Analytics. If you need better analytics, you could go with Sprout Social, which integrates with Google Analytics. Because you can manage nearly all of your social media accounts with Sprout Social, aside from Google Plus, it would be best to combine it with a tool that will allow you to incorporate Google Plus (like HootSuite).

Google Analytics introduced a new Social report suite in March 2012. This makes it much easier to evaluate the contribution of traffic from social media domains and sharing of content from your site on social networks.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 8.52.03 PM

ViralHeat and SimplyMeasured give you a look at a variety of reports for multiple channels. There are many channel-specific tools that your should consider if you A) concentrate only/heavily on one particular channel, or B) need to fill in the gap from another tool you’re using that lacks a particular channel.

Twitter ToolsTweriod-900-90

Social Crawlytics
Tweeterspy – great for finding influencers sharing your link

Facebook Tools

EdgeRank Checker
WolframAlpha – It has acquired a Facebook analytics tool

As I stated before, price is most likely one of your biggest concerns when considering appropriate analytics tools for your small business. This infographic shows a great list of free tools that you can investigate further.

Free Tools

Social Mention
Whos Talkin
BackType – acquired by Twitter

Bitly-Who-SharedUsing some of the tools listed above is a great start but they might not give you the full picture for what you need in your analytics. For example, you can see that you might be getting a lot of traffic from various channels but you wouldn’t know exactly which links are bringing in the traffic. Tweeterspy, listed above does allow for tracking links shared to Twitter but there are many other tools that allow you to track any links shared out on social media. My favorite is because it serves another purpose. I like to use it as a link shortener when I’m posting long links on Twitter. Once you create a profile, you can shorten and track your links. HootSuite offers the same ability through

As you see, it can take a bit of research to paint a complete social analytics picture for your company, or companies for which you manage social media. After considering your needs and evaluating the available options, you should be able to find the right combination.

Questions to consider:

  1. If you follow all of your social media channels closely, do you think it is necessary to utilize additional analytics tools?
  2. What combination of the above examples do you think would be best suited for a small business or individual needing to manage accounts across multiple channels?

9 thoughts on “Social Analytics for Small Businesses

  1. Hi Erin,
    I post as myself and as 2 small businesses, my own and a clients. At this time since I do track all engagement closely, I don’t think I need to use additional tools. Although I do enjoy using Klout to see if I am improving when it comes to engagement at all. I do think that if engagement grew using various tools would be helpful. For instance, now I am making all of my links links so I can see where they get shared the most. I think I am also going to start using Tweriod, since I am still Twitter-challenged, it seems like that may benefit me. Great post!

    1. Amanda, I just looked at the tracking tools offered by Klout and I really like them. I might have to start using it too. I love how it shows engagement results for posts and assigns a score to it based on the people engaging. Thanks for mentioning that. I had only really used the app which is limited but there is so much more you can see from the website.

  2. Hey Erin,
    I don’t think there is any downside to monitoring analytics, even if you do follow all your social media channels closely. You might see something that you didn’t recognize just by closely following your channels. I think these analytic tools are worth using so you do have that information, even if you don’t think you need it. As you and Amanda have encouraged the use of Klout, I do as well. Klout seems to be the most responsive and user friendly. I still closely monitor social media profiles without analytics, but I’ve noticed once I started to use these tools, I’ve actually gained some valuable insight.
    Great blog post and very well organized.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Gavin. I still feel like I need work on actually using the various analytics tools. I understand their importance but at times I feel a little overwhelmed with too many options and not always know which one I should used. I think I just need to keep playing around with them to see what seems to be the best for me.

  3. Erin, I loved your post this week. You framed it really well, and it was so easy to understand!

    Yes it is absolutely necessary to use social analytics tools! Even if you follow your channels, your naked eye can’t see the data accruing. You don’t know the level of reach and influence you have, the demographics of your followers, the conversations going on near you about your brand. I

    1. Thank you Lisa! I know the benefit of using tools to uncover your influence and demographics of followers is very important to the success of your brand. I’m sure there is plenty of data that can easily be missed without the use of specific tools.

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