…We’re not in Kansas anymore. Like the day Dorothy and Toto first set foot into the Technicolor land of Oz, many of us have realized that today’s “social world” is perhaps just as bright, shiny (and at times, just as baffling.)

THE BACKSTORY

Social channels abound – and like any horse of a different color – they seem to be constantly changing and adapting. Take for example, Pinterest’s recent launch of their new web-based analytics platform. These changes and others like it indicate a demand for more than the simple claims of the Great And Powerful Wizard – we need the capacity for measuring impact in the social world. To prioritize the investment and opportunity of the myriad options that exist, we require access to metrics that measure “performance” and “reach” as well as a way to measure the variables we can control such as message content, frequency and timing.

OUR TAKE ON IT

For channels that currently do not offer built-in analytical insights, it can feel like you’re a scarecrow without a brain – going about normal behaviors without real intelligence (read data) to prove or discredit your messaging’s effectiveness. But alas, we’re not truly brainless! In addition to social channels’ built-in measurement tools, we can also supplement with a variety of 3rd party tools to measure our social messaging performance.

OUR RECOMMENDATION

A wide variety of platforms are available for social media measurement, depending on your needs and your budget. Before pursuing a weighty investment in some of the more expensive tools, consider these free (or low-cost) options.

Facebook Insights – Built into Facebook’s administrator panel, this user interface provides data related to the size of your audience, the reach of your content and the degree of interaction each post receives, among other metrics. The first place to look to assess your Facebook performance.

Google Analytics Social Reports – It requires upfront manual setup, but Social Reports can illustrate the relationship between your social traffic and your site conversions. By integrating analytics of your site and your social instances, this tool provides a holistic perspective of your constituents’ online behaviors.

HootSuite – A web-based social media management dashboard, Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple social media accounts all in one place. Offers customizable report templates measure multiple channels of social traffic.

TweetReach – Provides Twitter-specific metrics to illustrate the reach of your hashtags, brand name or URL. A great tool to indicate the reach and impact of your Tweets.

PinReach – A tool to measure your success on Pinterest based on analysis of your pinboard performance and number of repins. Are you a “Pinfluencer” in your field or expertise?