By J.D. Lasica
As a green Web publisher or social entrepreneur, you most likely have your website up and running and have a presence on the major social networks. Now what?
Metrics. Your social media plan should include setting goals and measuring your progress. But cause organizations often overlook this part of the equation, partly because the tools for measuring are still maturing and partly because there’s no clear agreement over what to measure.
Not all tools measure the same kinds of things, so you may find several of these useful for your efforts. Here are 10 free tools to measure your green organization’s social impact. Please add your own favorites in the comments!
1. Klout: Scoring across three networks
Klout offers a daily summary of your organization’s or team members’ social media influence, with a ranking that factors in your reach and impact on Twitter (metrics such as retweets, follower counts, list memberships, unique mentions), Facebook and LinkedIn. Klout has an open API that’s integrated into many Twitter apps: More than 750 partners use Klout data, including Hootsuite, CoTweet and Attensity 360. For the end user, its analytics platform is rich and easy to use, even if the methodology used in spitting out a Klout Score is a bit opaque.
2. Facebook Insights: Stats you can use
Facebook beefed up its Insights service this year, to good effect. Now Facebook Insights resembles Google Analytics in many ways. As a Page admin, your dashboard gives you access to a trove of data: daily active users, monthly active users, daily new likes, daily interactions such as comments, geographic location of your visitors (broken down by country, city and language), external referrals, internal link traffic and more. When you have spikes of user engagement, Insights will show you caused them. It’ll show you what content most interests your readers, and it’ll let you and your team understand and analyze growth trends. One big limitation is that you can’t access a lot of the data older than a week.
3. Bit.ly: Are your promotions working?
Our favorite url shortener, bit.ly, provides double duty by offering analytics and click data for every link shortened. Click data lets you see how effective your social media promotions are. Just log into your account to see click-through numbers. A new feature, bundles, lets you group similar links together. The free version of bit.ly handles our metrics needs without the need to upgrade to Pro or Enterprise.
4. TubeMogul: Who’s watching your videos?
If you’re familiar with TubeMogul, you probably think of it simply as a way to upload your green videos to multiple sites, saving you the hassle of uploading videos over and over. But TubeMogul has developed a rich set of metrics lately, letting you see stats on how many people have watched your videos across networks. Real-time analytics include views, viewed minutes, audience geography, embeds, referring sites and search terms and more, all via your dashboard. Cross-compare by category, content delivery network, advertising mix or video player. All this – and it’s free.
5. YouTube Insight: What parts of your video are ‘hot’?
YouTube Insight is a self-service analytics and reporting tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the audience for the videos that you upload to the site. Use the information to analyze marketing your efforts — both on and off YouTube — and determine how best to optimize your campaigns. Watch the video (natch) and see metrics around views and popularity, how people get to your site, the content clicked on, average pages per visit, which parts of your video are “hot” and “cold,” demographic information and community engagement.
6. Google Analytics: Powerful & easy to use
Google Analytics has become such an indispensable part of the analytics landscape that it’s not surprising we get a little blasé about it. But let’s not forget the genius of this tool: You get super-rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness — for free. Create better-targeted ads, track sales and conversions, measure your site engagement goals, track Web-enabled phones and mobile apps, integrate business info and develop applications that access Google Analytics data.
7. Feedburner: Are your feeds radiating out?
Now owned by Google, Feedburner is the easiest way to roll your own feed — and then sit back and watch the stats roll it. It’ll tell you how many people have subscribed to your blog or site — or even a section of your blog, if you set it up that way. Dig deeper and you’ll find your Feed Stats Dashboard, revealing average subscribers, reach, popular feed items (recently and all time) and other interesting factoids.
8. Twitter tools!: A wealth of options
There are a ton of third-party Twitter apps to measure your Twitter grandiosity. Here are a few of my favorites:
Twitalyzer works for any Twitter account and gives you information about their impact score (percentile score) and the type of influencer they are.
Grader.com is a suite of tools that helps you measure and analyze your marketing efforts. It shows the bio, location, history and the number of followers of the Twitter user you’re researching, and more.
Twittercounter lets you count registrations and comments on a particular campaign you’re running.
Backtweets shows you how many people you reach on Twitter and helps you understand how people interact with your brand and your content.
How far did your tweet travel? tweetreach offers reach metrics, statistics and analysis for marketing and PR professionals. Retweetrank, Tweetmeme, Twitturly and Retweetist also measure how often you get retweeted.
Tweeteffect determines which tweets make you lose or gain followers.
My Tweeple is a basic tool that lets you manage who you’re following and who’s following you.
Twittersheep analyzes your follower profiles to assess their likelihood of engagement.
Plus, a whole lot of other Twitter analytics apps.
9. PostRank: A modest tracking dashboard
PostRank provides detailed information on Tweets, stumbles, Diggs and FriendFeed all in one place. It’s suited to blogs and websites with a lot of content. Under its free plan, you can track and compare your sites and your competition — up to five sites in all — to get the full picture of your social engagement. You can also track your static and offsite content (PDFs, YouTube videos, SlideShare content) for up to 10 sites.
10. Flickr: Are your pictures trending?
Good old Flickr was one of the earliest social networks to provide metrics about how many people are viewing your photos. For instance, you’ll be able to see such stats as views for your photos, sets and galleries — today, yesterday and all time (3.4 million for me, how about you?) — your most viewed photos and videos and how many have been geotagged or have comments. I just wish Flickr would tell you how many people are embedding your photos on their sites.
J.D. Lasica is the founder of Socialbrite: Social tools for social change. The Socialbrite team offers social media consulting to nonprofits and cause organizations.
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