• Social media managers, community managers, and digital marketers, are all faced with the same dilemma - bridging the gap between business metrics and social media efforts.
  • While marketers understand the value of social media as an upper-funnel player in a consumers journey, there has still been lack of buy-in from internal management stakeholders. So how do the employees behind the social media accounts combat the doubt? Numbers, charts and insights as proof.

    Thanks to the proliferation of social media analytics and management tools, marketers have the opportunity to use data to prove the ROI on the hours they spend curating and creating content, identifying influencers, and spreading brand messages online.

    As an I.T. decision-maker, its your job to help marketing determine which solution will work best within your organization. Heres a list of the top 10 social analytics companies you should consider when thinking about implementing a measurement platform.

    1. Brandwatch

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    Brandwatch is a player that has come up under the radar and recently made a splash by raising $22M, led by Highland Capital Partners Europe, for further engineering and expansion into international markets. The platform is similar to Radian6 (see below) in that it focuses on social listening for online conversations about particular brands, companies or products.

    With this tool, marketers receive insights in the form of big data to help inform future initiatives and efforts. Social sentiment analysis shows the tone of the data collected from connected profiles, while influence statistics determine who is important for a brand to engage with. The platform projects sophisticated topic clouds, determining key trends and themes.

    The strongest feature of the platform is the human aspect – clients can choose to pay for the addition of live network analysts on hand to perform manual sentiment validation, categorization and data cleaning.

    2. Buffer

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    Buffer is a simpler tool that proves useful for less-experienced social media managers, providing analytics in real-time. With a recent partnership, Buffer paired up with Followerwonk to provide users the opportunity to optimize posting times by finding out what times followers are online, when followers of influential people or friends are online, and easily exporting optimal tweeting times straight into Buffer for use across the web.

    There is also an option to examine the best performing messages by selecting the "Top Post" icon to compare different forms of content to see which works best for each network. Buffers application also allows for seamless Google Analytics integration for campaign tracking and appending UTM parameters from directly within Buffer. This is a perfect feature for marketers looking to gain insights into specific acquisition and retention campaigns.

    3. Google Analytics

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    For a free tool, Google Analytics provides a lot of important value. The platform has a narrower scope of measurement, focusing on determining conversion value for visitors from social sites. With its most recent updates, Google created several social monitoring reports that can help determine whether social media efforts are making an impact on customer acquisition.

    An Overview Report shows how much conversion value is generated from social channels, using a Social Value visualization that compares monetary goals against what resulted from social referrals. The Conversions report measures the value of each individual social channel to see conversion rates by social network.

    The Social Plugin report shows which articles on a site are receiving the most engagement and which social buttons are being used to share them. Engagement and conversion metrics for each social network allow community managers to see how people are interacting with published content and whether it is leading to the desired outcome.

    This tool is perfect for marketers who are hard-pressed to deliver ROI metrics to C-Suite stakeholders.

    4. HootSuite

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    HootSuite offers extensive profile connection options and ease of publishing and monitoring through a classic multi-column layout. The tools also sends weekly analytics reports by email depicting key metrics such as most popular posts published and number of clicks per day.

    At the start of 2014, HootSuite became more robust with the acquisition of uberVU, which turns data from forums, social networks and blogs into actionable business insights. While the initial arrangement left uberVU and HootSuite separate, earlier this month, HootSuite announced the launch of Boards, using uberVUs technology to combine real-time social analysis with an engagement solution. Boards allows users to identify a particular metric, pin it to a dashboard and easily generate granular reports.

    This product update is great for tracking new campaigns, building conversation maps, monitoring sentiment, and monitoring progress toward specific goals to ensure objectives are met.

    5. Radian6

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    Part of Salesforce.coms Marketing Cloud, Radian6 is one of the best social listening tools available. The platform is extremely scalable and easily integrated into other enterprise applications like Google Analytics and Omniture.

    Radian6 provides insights into sales, customer service and PR through conversation analysis about a specific company, product or competition. Depending on the noise in a particular industry (i.e., spammers), finding meaningful conversations to monitor and act on can be very difficult.

    Recently, Salesforce.com blended Radian6 with Buddy Media to create Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio as part of its ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. This solution draws strengths from Radian6s social customer monitoring and engagement management, as well as management across multiple channels with Buddy Medias social campaign management capabilities.

    6. Simply Measured

    Simply Measured provides reporting available both online and offline (in Excel form). It boasts granular analysis for individual tweets and reports across all channels focusing on number of unique people engaged, total organic engagement and potential reach and impressions.

    The app provides date and time engagement analysis, as well as content type analysis to help optimize what types of content work and when. This is a complete solution that also provides data and analysis on community, similarly to SocialBro but with less robust data only showing most followed users, most engaged users and top users by Klout score. Users are able to track progress over time to see the progression of engagement.

    7. SocialBro

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    This European platform provides a wide range of Twitter analytics to measure the level of interaction each tweet receives and help determine who has interacted with the brand. Using the Twitter Dashboard within SocialBro, social media managers are able to monitor what is happening in their Twitter community and identify the quality of it.

    A Global Stats graph demonstrates the evolution of a community in terms of followers, friends or a specific segment (i.e., followers from NYC). The platform stresses quality of community, allowing deep insights into followers, both active and inactive. Using the Kred score and Peerindex, community managers can determine how influential their followers are based on how frequently they are @ replied to, retweeted and followed.

    Using language and time zone graphs, avatar analysis, URL analysis and private versus verified user identification, users are able to get granular data about their followers to ensure that they are focusing on and reaching the most productive audience. They can also do this analysis through the scope of comparing with competitors communities.

    8. Sprout Social

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    Sprout Social is a fully comprehensive and user-friendly option for social media communicators looking to build their social media presence. The platform has a full suite of features that take the user from content planning and creation through to analytics. With an attractive single-column interface, the company has a huge focus on user experience, starting with a useful homepage dashboard providing a snapshot of connected accounts and aggregated trends.

    A customizable inbox allows for monitoring of any combination of new followers, retweets, and keyword searches across all connected profiles. The inbox also provides engagement monitoring and reporting, tracking response times to identify gaps in coverage to keep users accountable for customer service and responses.

    The strongest feature of the platform is the "collaboration for teams" options. Sprout Social integrates many aspects of a "Social CRM" solution, allowing managers to customize contact details, keep a history of interactions, assign tasks to team members and then turn messages into HelpDesk support tickets, tracked and managed in Zendesk and Uservoice without having to leave the dashboard. All of Sprout Socials reports are presentation-ready and considerably digestible, even for less informed stakeholders.

    9. Sysomos

    Recently acquired by MarketWired, Sysomos provides the best historical data with up to two years worth of backlogging. The platform splits into a two-pronged approach. MAP (Media Analysis platform) is the flagship product used to analyze and understand social media conversations, much like Radian6 and Brandwatch. The platform attempts to provide an explanation for who is driving conversations and why theyre happening by mapping the conversations and identifying the people leading them.

    Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool, which takes snapshots of social conversations delivered using user-friendly graphics. This arm of Sysomos manages workflow and provides geography and demographics of followers by country, state or city, as well as gender or profession.

    10. Topsy

    10 social analytics companies you need to know

    Topsy is another useful analytics tool that has a free option. It is like a more powerful version of the advanced Twitter search. Using Topsy, social media managers can search URLs of web content to see who shared the article and how many times.

    The platform has a robust influencer search, allowing users to identify topic-based influencers to follow and engage with. They can also see all the links to a specific site that a person shared.

    While the free version has some great features, there is a noticeable disparity with the Pro version. With Topsy Pro, users gain the ability to track the geographic demographic of users who interact with their content, measure contents reach and exposure, further narrow-down search, and more.