In a blog on my personal website, I once mentioned losing 60 followers from a single post about yoga-wear. Today, I'm going to reveal the free tools that I used to tell me this information.
Social intelligence is simply data and analytics that convey information about what is occurring across your social networks. Social intelligence tools are generally platforms that deliver information and correlated statistics to help you, at a glance, understand why your social networks behave the way they do.
These tools offer a proverbial light in the darkness that social media sometimes appears to be. The information gleaned from these tools will help you determine which social strategies work, which don’t work, and why.
These tools also help you better understand your audience.
Actionly is an awesome social intelligence tool that is available for free on a trial basis. My favorite feature on Actionly is its New Followers chart. In one glance, this graph can tell you how well you are doing at growing your influence across the Twitter platform. This chart even reflects minor changes in social strategy.
Actionly's New Followers Chart
I also love how Actionly tracks user-specified search terms and returns data for how many times the terms are found across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blogs. It returns stats for post volume and sentiment analysis that allow you to know what percentage of search term mentions were positive, negative, or neutral.
Actionly doesn’t leave you hanging though; most of the information that it returns is supported with weblinks, which enable you to see the reference for yourself. By looking at Actionly charts, it’s simple to see what’s working for you, where it’s working, and why. From here, all you need to do is stop doing what doesn’t work and start doing more of what does. It really is that easy.
Actionly Search Term Results
Hootsuite has a free Quick Analytics tool that will track your tweets and show you stats for the number of clicks per tweet that they generate. It also shows you stats for your top referring sites. If you pay for Hootsuite's service, you get analytics for what is happening on your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other place on the web where your posts are published. The only caveat to this is that you must publish your posts through Hootsuite in order for the platform to retrieve stats.
Hootsuite's Free Analytics Track Clicks per Tweet
Lastly, beyond having useful analytic capabilities, Hootsuite also allows you to connect up to five social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so forth) at no cost. Through the platform, you can publish posts and links to all your social accounts at once, if appropriate. You can even schedule posts in advance so that, if you’re a content marketer, you could plan many days worth of posts to multiple accounts in just one sitting. Within the same interface, you can also respond to your mentions and direct messages.
Connecting Your Networks
Commun.it is another great, free, social intel tool. My favorite thing about Commun.it is that it isolates your new followers and unfollowers into streams from which you can quickly follow or unfollow back. Commun.it makes things easy by showing who follows you, who doesn’t, and how many followers each person has. If I have a super-influential new follower, I want to follow him or her back as soon as possible simply because the more influential followers you have, the larger your potential audience. Commun.it helps me quickly catch up on my follows and unfollows.
Commun.it New Followers Stream
These are just a few wonder-tools that work for me. Do you have some fantastic tools that you would add to the list?
— Lillian Pierson is a data analytics engineer at Orange County Government, Florida. She also specializes in environmental engineering, GIS, world travel, tech journalism, and would-be digital humanitarianism. You can follow her on Twitter at @BigDataGal
For who to follow, it's not so much a question of analytics but preferences, I think. When I'm watching TV or waiting around for an appointment, I search Twitter for things I'm interested in following for work -- like #bigdata or #socialmedia -- or personally -- like #softball or #Yankees - and see who's tweeting about what. I've found some really interesting folk that way. It's not scientific, but it works!
I think finding someone who might be interesting to follow is easy. If it then turns out that content is useless, you can unfollow them--or ignore them, using something like Tweetdeck. There is trial and error.
Well, I have a hard time finding out who to follow or if someone is worth following. I know that depends on the person and my needs (wants) but I would like to know how often a user posts new tweets, what % are RTs, follower/following ratio, etc...
Given that everyone responding to Lillian's debut IE blog has experience with at least one social-analytics tool, what would you say is missing from these applications? What would you like developers to add--in terms of capabilities, simplicity, price, integration... anything, really--to make your life easier or your social performance even better?
Thanks for your question Nicole. These tools are free for individuals on a trial basis, but they are adaptable for enterprise use as well. Enterprise use is not free. There are other SI tools out there, but these are the ones with which I have the most experience. I feel confident saying that they could work just fine in providing adequeate insight for an enterprise. I covered only 1 or 2 of my favorite features of these tools. There are many other features on each of the platforms. In order to be sound, any social strategy should be based on SI, whether SBE or a large enterpise. Social analysis could be a full-time job, but analysts should be more adept than this... so that it does not take that much time. If you would like more information, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Didn't really know much about social intelligence so thanks for the article. You mention that these are some free tools that you use as a blogger but are there other tools that enterprises that have a heavy social media presence may use? I assume for these types of businesses that this could be a full time job analyzing and gathering this social behavior data.
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