This week, I'll be leading a social media audit class at The Startup Institute. Many of the students will go on to work at startups.
For startups, as well as established businesses, it makes sense to test out social media measurement tools before investing in expensive metrics you don't need or use.
Because every smart social media marketer relies on a well-stocked social media toolbox to measure results, here's a list of free and low cost tools.
Question for You: What's Missing? What tools would you add??
Social Media Search Tools for Startups
To measure traffic from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social sites go to Acquisition, then Social, then Overview. Look at the stats to get insights on how social media is driving traffic to your site.
Free, up to 3,000 daily page views, $14.99/month or $119.99/year for premium features
Real-time analytics show you who's on your site and where they are. I like Clicky's display of visitors by location and actions. The social insights tell you who came from where. A Big Screen option gives you an at-a-glance dashboard and the app gives you traffic updates anytime.
Free version, $9.99 per month for sites with up to 10 million monthly views, $49.99 with competitive views
Alexa provides global site metrics by keyword, category or country. Paid features include competitive analysis and benchmarking. Register for a user profile and claim your site.
Focus in on your Instagram account activity and find out insights like total number of likes received, most liked photos ever, average number of likes and comments per photo, and follower growth charts. Also shows you the best times to post, top tags and who's followed, and unfollowed, your Instagram account.
Free to $99/month to track one profile and up to five competitors.
Looking for Pinterest insights? Here you go.
Twitter Analytics, Measurement and Management Tools
Free trial, then $39.99-$149/month
Twitter manager that identifies actions to take, influencers to engage with, who to follow and more.
Free trial, then $13.95-$149/month with an 8% discount for annual payment
SocialBro allows you to monitor up to five accounts with 20,000 contacts for $13.95/month. Features include targeting, engagement, analytics and management.
Free with pro options at 49 and 99 euros/month
Instantly see top links, top topics and top mentions from your twitter followers or from one of your twitter lists. You can change the timeline from one hour to 24 hours.
Social Media Search and Analysis
Free analysis, monthly services start at $500
Looks like a really comprehensive tool and it's great that the site offers so many free analysis options. Start there and then see if this is the right platform for you.
A full-featured search tool, Social Mention tracks mentions, sentiment and activity across Facebook, twitter, flickr, YouTube, blogs and the web.
Talkwalker Alerts are an easy and free alert service that delivers email updates with the latest relevant mentions on the Web directly to your email box or RSS feed reader. Google Alerts offers a similar service.
Free with a pro option.
Three twitter tools in one, Topsy is a social search engine that searches links, tweets, photos, videos, influencers or everything. You can also take a look at social analytics and social trends.
Social Media Management Dashboards for Reporting, Monitoring and Management
Free for up to 5 profiles, then $8.99/month and up with additional fees for custom reports
Great for managing, monitoring and publishing to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, WordPress, and Google+ Pages, Hootsuite acts as a community dashboard with room for several team contributors. Hootsuite apps allow you to add even more networks and functionality.
Free trial, then $39-$99/month
A Chicago based company, SproutSocial combines monitoring, publishing and reporting in an easy-to-use dashboard.
What tools do you use on this list?
People love to talk about social media tools. Here's a recent presentation. My favorite part is at the end when everyone shares their favorites. Who wants to strike up the conversation here?