If you’re responsible for your brand’s social presence, you have a lot of explaining to do.

Because your business’ ability to build a following and convert customers means answering questions backed up by data.

For example, which social network deserves the bulk of your time and budget? What are your top-performing pieces of content? What’s the overall impact of your brand’s social presence on your business?

These answers can’t just be question marks anymore.

That’s exactly why businesses need to invest in the right social media analytics tools.

Based on Sprout’s 2019 Social Index, 63% of marketers are expected to discuss social ROI with their bosses to justify their spending for campaigns. Even still, measuring the ROI of social media is still a thorn in the side of so many marketers.

It doesn’t have to be, though. Whether you’re laser-focused on a single channel or need an all-purpose solution, the following list of tools essential for social media analysis can help you better understand how to grow and optimize your social presence.

1. Sprout Social

Naturally, we’re going to give Sprout the top spot on our list.

Given that so many brands spread their social presence across multiple platforms, an all-in-one social media analytics solution flat out makes sense.

For starters, Sprout’s social analytics track engagement and growth across the following channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Perhaps the most notable feature of Sprout’s suite of social media analytics is the shareable, easy-to-read reports.

For example, check out how Sprout’s Group Report provides an at-a-glance overview of your brand’s social performance across multiple channels. These sorts of reports are tailor-made for sharing with your team and don’t require a data science degree to break down.

Don’t let the simplicity of Sprout’s social media reporting tool fool you, though. The platform digs deep to help brands track the KPIs of their campaigns. Want to know what your top-performing hashtags or pieces of content are? Sprout has the answers.

Oh, and let’s not forget Sprout’s advanced social listening features which are becoming increasingly important for brands today. Tools such as sentiment analysis allow you to track your brand’s health by the numbers rather than let your reputation fall by the wayside.

The ability to break down your data in a single platform not only gives you a more comprehensive understanding of your social presence but it also a major time-saver. Definitely a win-win for busy brands and social managers out there.

2. Awario

As noted in our guide to social media listening, brands need to be aware of the conversations their customers are having in a timely manner.

Tools such as Awario specialize in tracking brand mentions and industry conversations across the web. From social mentions to shout-outs throughout the blogosphere and review sites, Awario lives up to its namesake by providing real-time insights behind those mentions.

Where Awario shines is its ability to help brands prioritize which mentions deserve a speedy response, though. For example, the platform analyzes the reach of any given mention and likewise which channels are scoring you the most mentions.

Beyond direct mention, Awario also conducts social listening by analyzing relevant keywords and terms related to your industry.

3. TapInfluence

The boom of influencer marketing has created a need for social media analytics tools specifically tailored for influencer campaigns.

Enter TapInfluence, an analytics platform which removes many of the “what-ifs” related to influencer marketing. This includes metrics such as reach, engagement rate and the potential price tag behind any given influencer.

In short, TapInfluence highlights relevant influencer metrics in black and white so brands can better understand whether or not a potential relationship makes sense prior to outreach.

Influencer campaigns shouldn’t be a black hole of ROI. In addition to individual influencer metrics, the platform also measures the performance of overall campaigns against industry benchmarks.

 

4. BuzzSumo

Although not strictly a social tool, BuzzSumo is an awesome resource for analyzing the social engagement of any given piece of content.

If you want to see how many shares your latest blog post received on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, BuzzSumo can provide you with that data. You can also monitor the performance of content competing for relevant industry keywords, allowing you to see how your content marketing campaigns are stacking up against the competition.

 

Social media remains one of the top distribution channels for content. By analyzing social shares, you can see which types of posts receive the most engagement and use that data to inform your own content strategy. BuzzSumo can also help you understand variables in top-performing content such as length, publish date and headline type.

5. Snaplytics

The popularity of ephemeral content on social media speaks for itself.

Snaplytics focuses solely on analytics for Snapchat and Instagram Stories. The platform looks at metrics such as open and completion rate, allowing brands to see where story engagement peaks and likewise at what point viewers drop off.

The need to optimize story-based content is something that modern brands should overlook at their own peril.

Although Snapchat might have fallen out of favor for some brands, bear in mind that the network still boasts hundreds of million active users among millennials and Gen Z.

Meanwhile, Stories represent one of the most-engaged methods of Instagram promotion. Going beyond native analytics is a smart move for brands who want to craft more compelling Stories or eventually run story-based ads.


 

6. Curalate

More and more brands are trying their hands at direct social selling.

Platforms such as Curalate serve as a hybrid storefront and analytics tool for companies looking to maximize their sales from Instagram

Chances are you’ve seen a branded or unbranded “Like2Buy” link in the wild. Major brands like Bose take advantage of Curalate for social sales – take a peek at their Instagram bio.

Upon clicking through, we’re led to a social storefront where users can shop directly.

Curalate’s platform empowers businesses to understand which products score the most clicks and sales. This can directly inform your future campaigns and product strategy as you learn which sort of posts click with customers.

Additionally, Curalate tracks product tags and mentions, making it a cinch to spot and analyze the performance of user-generated content campaigns.

7. Keyhole

For the sake of expanding your content’s reach, hashtag analytics are a must-have.

Tools such as Keyhole provide a real-time performance analysis of the industry and campaign-specific hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. Doing so allows brands to promote during peak times and likewise understand which tags are most popular among their followers.

8. Google Analytics

While it’s not solely a social media analytics tool, Google Analytics is one of the best ways to track social media campaigns and even help you measure social ROI.

You likely already have an account set up on your website to monitor and analyze your traffic right now. But did you know you can access and create reports specifically for social media tracking, too?

For instance, you can see how much traffic comes to your website from each social network, or use UTM parameters to track specific social media campaigns.

9. ShortStack

Typically, running a social media contest requires a surprising amount of legwork.

From the process of picking a winner to analyzing engagement from a giveaway campaign, ShortStack can pick up the slack.

For brands running frequent contests or giveaways, a dedicated contest analytics tool ensures that you aren’t just giving away freebies for no reason. ShortStack looks at everything from entry data to long-term campaign performance to do just that.

 

By analyzing your contest’s performance with a social analytics tool like ShortStack, you’ll be able to see engagement metrics and identify which types of contests work best with your audience.

10. Meltwater

Social media is a crucial piece of any given PR campaign.

For businesses looking to make the most of social mentions related to earned media, Meltwater is primarily PR-focused. Meltwater’s analytics include top share sources, sentiment analysis and trending content themes related to your brand.

11. SHIELD App

As the source of 80% of B2B social leads, B2B brands are paying more and more attention to LinkedIn. Meanwhile, the increasing need for employee advocacy means that brands should be tracking the LinkedIn presence of individual salespeople in addition to their company page.

Up-and-coming social media analytics tools like SHIELD are helping bridge that gap. For example, SHIELD examines the performance of individual employee profiles and their posts. Content analytics including average likes, comments and hashtags can help employees optimize their posts prior to sharing to maximize their reach.

Additionally, SHIELD’s team report allows businesses to showcase side-by-side the engagement and growth of individual employee profiles over time.

What about native social media data analysis tools?

Hey, fair question.

Sure, there are valuable insights you can glean from Facebook or Instagram’s Audience Insights, for example.

The reality, though? Sticking solely to native tools limits what you can learn about your social presence.

Not only can third-party social media analytics tools provide you with more data, but multi-purpose tools like Sprout mean that you don’t have to bounce between platforms. In addition to saving time, this means you can see by the numbers how your campaigns are stacking up across platforms with no second-guessing involved.

What a brand needs in terms of analytics will obviously vary from business to business. That said, we adopt a “the more, the merrier” mentality when it comes to gathering data.

And with that, we wrap up our list!

How can you use social media analytics tools to grow your business?

The takeaway from all of these tools? Marketers need to own their data.

Doing so is the difference between running data-driven campaigns that result in a positive ROI versus just winging it.

The amount of information available to brands today via social media analytics tools is absolutely staggering. No matter what tools are in your arsenal (and we hope Sprout is one of them), make a point to dig deeper into your data to get the most out of your future campaigns.

We still want to hear from you, though. What’s your biggest challenge in choosing between social media analytics tools? Any features you’re still itching for? Data points you have trouble tracking? Let us know in the comments below!