best in classLike any good business practice, participation in social media must be measured in order to gauge its effectiveness.

But what’s yet to be agreed upon is exactly how and what metrics should be measured.

Traditionally, ROI or Return On Investment is the cornerstone number that rules all else, but as discussed in a previous article Why Social Media ROI Doesn’t Matter (yet), the ability to measure social media’s direct effect on the bottom line doesn’t exist yet.

5 Best in Class Social Media Measuring Tools

There are plenty of social media numbers that can be tracked and there’s no shortage of services claiming to be the definitive answer to your measurement questions.

To save you from having to sift through the mountains of options, here are the 5 best in class social media monitoring tools:

Social Media Influence – Klout

KloutQuickly becoming accepted as the industry standard for measuring influence in the social media community, Klout provides its users simple, easy to read scores.

The first level is the Klout Score, which is a single number between 0 and 100 that is intended to reveal overall influence of a user. Beyond that anchor number, Klout breaks down your social media presence into dozens of specific stats that attempt to answer why and how you accumulated your overall influence score.

Tweet Frequency and Focus – TweetStats

TweetstatsTweetStats is basically a series of charts that tell you what time of the day you’re tweeting, how many times you tweet and what you talk about most often.

The data is very comprehensive and reveals information about your online behavior that’s often surprising. Stats displayed include Tweets per hour/day/week/month, Tweet density, who you replied to and who you retweeted. Further, ‘tagclouds’ display the most common terms found in your messages as well the hashtags that you use most frequently.

Visibility – TweetReach

TweetReachTweetReach is a simple tool that displays how many people have seen your previous 50 Tweets, what types of messages they were and who is creating the most impressions for you.

The major actionable piece of data supplied by TweetReach is found on the bottom right side of the screen: “Impressions Contributed By”. Here you’ll see exactly who is generating exposure for you when they pass your information on to their followers.

By using the 80/20 rule you’ll then be able to more specifically engage the top 20% of your followers that account for 80% of your visibility.

Reactions to Your Tweets

TweetEffectTweetEffect draws a direct line between the tweets that you sent and the followers you gained or lost.

It graphs your gains and losses, then displays all of your Tweets with the response that resulted. Obviously there’s a short-sighted fallacy inherent in this type of tool where oftentimes follow/unfollow decisions are unrelated to the previous message that was sent out, but valuable information can be gained from spikes and trends nonetheless.

On the day that you talked continuously about the inner workings of your company, for example, did you gain or lose interested people? Conversely when you went off-topic and discussed the Yankees vs. Red Sox game was the crowd attracted to your human approach or put of by your irrelevant content? Use TweetEffect to answer those type of questions.

Social Media Dashboard – Sprout Social

Sprout SocialSprout Social is a social media dashboard that puts all of your social media activity in one simple interface.

In general, dashboards enable you to monitor and interact with a variety of outlets simultaneously.

Sprout Social has also integrated statistics, displaying engagement, influence, follower demographics, clickthroughs and a host of additional strategic information.

You can also use Sprout Social to update your social media status across a number of different social media outposts – all at the same time.

Wherever there’s a conversation about your business across the web, use an application like Sprout Social to monitor and manage it all in one place.

Have any other social media monitoring tools you might add to this list? Which tools do you consider mission critical? Let us know by leaving a comment below.