Using social media isn’t enough; effective use is what counts. But how do you know if you’re being effective? Analytics. There are dozens of social media analytics applications that will help you measure and analyse your use of the social media platforms. But the precise solution will depend very much on your particular problem. Here we look at six that might help.

Radian 6



























DEVELOPER Salesforce.com
SOLUTION Radian6
CONTACT URL www.radian6.com
PHONE +1 888 672 3426 OR +44 (0)203 468 3939
PRICE From $600 (up to 10,000 mentions) to $4000 (up to 200,000 mentions) per month, or custom pricing based on requirements

 

THE VERDICT:


Radian6 is expensive, but excellent for the larger company that has either much to gain or a lot to lose from its social media visibility. It is particularly good at separating and categorising sentiment. At the very basic level, this means it can separate out and analyse personal and brand conversations – which could be important, for example, to prevent personal popularity disguising product disappointment.

At a deeper level, it will enable you to distinguish between positive and negative brand or product sentiment. Excellent reporting, including graphs over time, help you understand what events are good or bad for your company; which people or publications are advocates or critics of your products; and how you are doing in relation to your competitors.

This is perfect fodder in planning future campaigns. We particularly like the ability to highlight negative sentiment. Since unfounded (and founded!) rumour and gossip spread faster than wildfire across the social platforms, being able to analyse this negative sentiment in real time, provides the perfect weapon for effective fire fighting.

  • Implementation: 4/5

  • Versatility: 4/5

  • Usability: 4/5

  • Value for money: 4/5


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 4/5




 

Klout



























DEVELOPER Klout
SOLUTION Klout
CONTACT URL http://klout.com/
PHONE via web form
PRICE Free

 

THE VERDICT


Klout is not merely, but perhaps best viewed as, a social visibility meter: it rates your online visibility on a scale of 1 to 100. It’s detractors say it merely measures your internet noise; but the reality is we can no longer ignore Klout.

Thomas Power, the founder of the Ecademy business network, told me that recruiters in the States are beginning to demand candidates’ Klout score as part of their CV – and won’t countenance an applicant with a score of less than 50. The reason is obvious: a high Klout score demonstrates an ability to fully engage with the outside world, and that is essential in modern business.

Klout analyses your presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other networks to rate your True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Influence. While the algorithms that provide the score are still far from perfect (but continuously being improved by the Klout team), you cannot afford to ignore it.

Thomas Power has a Klout score of 65. When he saw my score of just 30, he commented, “You realise that makes you a social muppet.” The reality, however, is that it puts me at a distinct disadvantage in the modern business world. Having said that, Klout is not without its critics: there are some concerns over privacy and Klout.

  • Features: 3/5

  • Implementation: 3/5

  • Versatility: 2/5

  • Usability: 3/5

  • Value for money: n/a


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 3/5




 

TweetDeck


 


























DEVELOPER Twitter
SOLUTION TweetDeck
CONTACT URL http://www.tweetdeck.com/
PHONE via the internet: https://twitter.com/about/contact
PRICE Free

 

THE VERDICT


TweetDeck is a little disappointing. In itself it can hardly be called a social media analytic; it’s more like a social media organizer (and for that it is excellent). It helps you monitor subjects of interest across Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and Buzz. Buzz? That’s what I mean about being disappointing: it offers you Buzz (which no longer exists) but not Google+.Frankly, it is best with Twitter, which is not surprising since it was bought by Twitter last May. What Twitter will do with it, if anything, remains to be seen. TweetDeck’s strength is in helping you rapidly and continuously research a subject or person or product or company of interest. You do this by creating a new column on the subject, which displays all the relevant postings. It doesn’t understand analysis and has no comprehension of sentiment. It does, however, make it relatively easy for you to do a visual analysis yourself. A useful free tool, then, for the sole trader, but of little use for corporations.

  • Features: 2/5

  • Implementation: 2/5

  • Versatility: 1/5

  • Usability: 3/5

  • Value for money: n/a


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 2/5




 

NodeXL (used to be called .NetMap)



























DEVELOPER Open Source
SOLUTION NodeXL
CONTACT URL http://nodexl.codeplex.com/
PHONE Discussions page: http://nodexl.codeplex.com/discussions
PRICE Free

 

THE VERDICT


NodeXL is definitely one for the geeks. It is a free open source Excel template built around network analysis theory. The result is a powerful and immensely flexible tool, provided that you have the time and understanding to use it.Most of the mainstream social media analytic programs use algorithms to automatically extract the data you need from the enormous pool of useless noise and useful data; and it’s only the useful data that you seek to use.

NodeXL is different: you build relevant data rather than extract it from the noise. Consider this: build a list of journalists, build a list of bloggers, build a list of publications, map them together and then use NodeXL to visualise the relationships. Pretty soon you’ll get an excellent view of prime influencers. Build other lists and map them.

You’ll discover which publications or blogs are most likely to carry your stories. And because it’s open source, you can add to or amend the template as you wish. One option, of course, is to use the mainstream social analytics to discover the lists you use in NodeXL. The bottom line, though, is that NodeXL serves the same purpose as all social media analytics: to help you discover the information you need to develop effective campaigns.

  • Features: 3/5

  • Implementation: 4/5

  • Versatility: 4/5

  • Usability: 2/5

  • Value for money: n/a


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 3/5




 

Sprout Social


























DEVELOPER Sprout Social
SOLUTION Sprout Social
CONTACT URL https://sproutsocial.com/
PHONE +1-866-878-3231
PRICE From $39 per month (up to 20 profiles) to $899 per month (unlimited profiles)

 

THE VERDICT


It is tempting to say that Sprout Social is the poor man’s Radian6; but that would be a disservice. It is, however, fair to say that it bears some similarities to Radian6 at a fraction of the cost – making it more suitable for smaller and medium sized companies.At one level it is an excellent aid to measuring and managing your social interaction with all of the major platforms. It gives you a score per platform rather than the overall social media Klout score, so you can see at a glance where you need to improve.

And it provides excellent demographics on your reach. Its analysis tools help you understand the effect of individual engagements so that you can more effectively plan future campaigns; and the ability to integrate Google Analytics allows you to monitor the effect of these campaigns on traffic to your website. Overall, especially since it offers a no-hassle 30-day free trial, Social Sprout is certainly an analytic worth evaluating.

  • Features: 3/5

  • Implementation: 4/5

  • Versatility: 3/5

  • Usability: 4/5

  • Value for money: 4/5


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 3/5




 

PeerIndex


 


























DEVELOPER PeerIndex
SOLUTION PeerIndex
CONTACT URL www.peerindex.com/
PHONE www.peerindex.com/help/contact
PRICE Free

 

THE VERDICT


PeerIndex is a social media reputation and authority rating platform – in other words, a British-based alternative to the American Klout. Some people will be attracted simply because it gives an apparently higher score than they get with Klout – notice that this social muppet’s PeerIndex is 35 against his Klout of 30. But notice also that Ecademy founder Thomas Power is even further away on 71, which is to be expected.PeerIndex rates on activity, audience and authority; and as with all the analytics programs it does so using its own proprietary algorithms. But I have some concerns here. Users can generate their own rated ‘groups’ or lists of individuals. This, in itself, is a good thing. I checked the UK journalist group curated by Sarah Booker; and found that I have the same PeerIndex as the Times political columnist Danny Finkelstein.

So, if you use PeerIndex to find a UK journalist with reputation and authority, I have to tell you that there is nothing to choose between me and dannythefink. I’m waiting by the phone.

  • Features: 2/5

  • Implementation: 2/5

  • Versatility: 2/5

  • Usability: 3/5

  • Value for money: n/a


  • USM OVERALL RATING: 2/5




If you would like your company's social media analytics tool to be reviewed by the USM team, please get in touch.