Where do you turn for meaningful stats on your social media marketing?
I’m grateful for the insight from some incredible tools that help make sense of my activities on social media. How have my followers grown this month? Which posts seem to perform best? Which times make the most sense to post?
The answers are out there—and so are the tools to help you find them. I’ve collected a bunch of my favorites here in this post. Feel free to give them a try and see what insights you can find.
19 free social media analytics tools
With Buffer’s free plan, you get all the major engagement stats for every update you post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. My favorite feature-and one I’m always stoked to see!-is the Top Tweet/Top Post badge that pops up when an update goes above and beyond the average performance.
One of our favorite Twitter tools, Followerwonk shows you detailed breakdowns of your followers and activity. Click on the Analytics tab, enter a Twitter username (either yours or someone else’s) and view information on followers and following. See stats like when your followers are usually online, when you typically post and how your followers fall into categories like social authority, activity, total tweets and follower count.
This Pinterest tool helps with much more than analytics. You can schedule pins, promote pins and gain new followers all through Viralwoot. The analytics on the free plan show you basic account metrics (boards, pins, followers, etc.), Pinterest stats (Pinfluence, reach, activity and engagement scores) and how to increase those stats. Paid users have more comprehensive analytics, including data on the best day and time to post and the best-performing colors.
The No. 1 use for Google Analytics is for analyzing website traffic. And as part of the analysis, you can dig into the referral stats on your social media marketing as well. Click through to Acquisition > Social > Overview and you can check out how many visits your site receives from each of the major social networks. If you choose to add goals to your GA tracking, you can see the direct impact of social on your goals and paths as well.
The free plan on Quintly lets you access analytics for up to three Facebook pages, offering stats on the main engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares) plus stats on follower growth. When you add multiple pages, you can quickly see at a glance how the pages compare on the graphs.
The robust features at Cyfe let you create a custom dashboard filled with stats from dozens of marketing tools. Its social media section lets you sync up all the major networks and pull overview reports or individual reports for the accounts you manage and the accounts you want to follow.
Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram marketing solution that helps you schedule content, monitor conversations and analyze performance. For Pinterest, the analytics give you such insights as the number of pins with your domain, potential impressions and the number of followers for your boards. For Instagram, it tells you basic metrics such as followers, posts, comments and likes.
Keyhole offers a free yet powerful preview of its hashtag, keyword and account tracking service. For hashtag and keyword tracking, it provides a wealth of information such as reach, top posts, share of posts and more. For account tracking, you can monitor your brand’s or competitor’s engagement on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Working with your profiles and pages across the major social channels, Klout puts together a score from 0-100 on your influence on social media. Klout also suggests content you can schedule and share through its app to improve your Klout score.
Once you connect your Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook pages, Klear will analyze your profile and your followers. Two of my favorite pieces of information are profile insights (whether I’m active and approachable) and followers’ interests.
If the sum of your followers and following is less than 5,000, Audiense provides a free analysis of your Twitter profile. You can learn your followers’ demographics, interests and influence. You can also use its tool to manage your Twitter contacts and find your optimal time to tweet.
Type in any keyword, hashtag or username and TweetReach returns a snapshot of analytics on your search, including charts and graphs for reach, exposure, activity and contributors. It’s quite useful for checking on mentions of your Twitter username and tracking branded hashtags and industry keywords.
If you are ever curious about your (brand) personality and tone on Twitter, this tool by IBM uses linguistic analytics and personality theory to work out your personality from your tweets. It’s a neat way to find out if your perceived brand personality and tone match what you have in mind.
Peakfeed sends a simple report with your key social media profile stats to your email every week. You can connect up to three accounts for the major social media platforms. Peakfeed seems to be still in beta at the moment, so you might be able to grab a lifetime free account!
A fun tool built by the team behind the Wolfram Alpha search engine, the Wolfram Alpha Facebook Analyzer shows you all sorts of fun and useful information for your Facebook profile and posts.
The free plan for SocialRank allows you to manage and analyze your Twitter and Instagram followers. It also provides a summary report of your followers, including their distribution, top locations, popular words in bio and more.
WEBSTA is an Instagram-only management tool that goes beyond just Instagram analytics. You can also reply to comments, create up to three custom feeds of Instagram accounts you’re interested in and explore featured users and top hashtags.
Talkwalker gives you unlimited free searches for hashtags and keywords across major social media platforms, news, blogs and forums. It provides a wide range of data such as mentions, sentiment, distribution of conversations, top posts and more.
Pop in your Facebook page URL and LikeAlyzer will analyze your Facebook page and provide metrics such as posts per day, engagement per post, timing and length of posts. It also offers recommendations for improving your Facebook page.
7 social media analytics dashboards from social networks themselves
Several of the major social media networks have their own built-in analytics that offer some great insights into your activity on each network. Here’s how to dig into the analytics offered by the social networks themselves:
1. Facebook Insights
Available for all page admins, Facebook Insights shows you the full stats behind your posts, your fans and your reach. Additionally, from the Insights tab you can set up a list of Pages to Watch, which gives you information on the performance of other Facebook pages.
To access Insights, click the Insights tab in the menu bar across the top of your Facebook page (the menu bar is visible only to admins of the page).
Quick tip: You can click on the “people reached” text at the bottom of any individual post in your page’s timeline to see a pop-up of the full stats for that post.
2. Instagram Insights
If you have an Instagram Business Profile, you have access to Instagram Insights-Instagram’s native in-app analytics. It offers a comprehensive range of data about your profile, posts, stories and ads. It also provides detailed information about your followers, such as their most active times and days.
To access Instagram Insights, all you have to do is to convert your personal Instagram profile into a Business Profile and navigate to your profile page in the mobile app. Click on the graph icon in the upper-right corner.
3. Twitter analytics
Twitter provides a 28-day overview of how your tweets have performed in all the major engagement areas—retweets, mentions, favorites and clicks. One of the most useful bits of analysis here is seeing the impressions of each tweet. You can export all the data and run some pretty neat reports for yourself.
Clicking on any individual tweet in your list will show a complete breakdown of every element of engagement on the tweet, including clicks on URLs, clicks on your username, clicks on images, expanded details and a bar chart for engagement over the first 24 hours and the past 24 hours.
To access Twitter analytics, log onto Twitter and go to analytics.twitter.com.
4. Pinterest analytics
One of the best sources for Pinterest analytics resides is Pinterest itself. From the Pinterest analytics dashboard, you can see insights into every relevant aspect of your Pinterest marketing.
The dashboard shows growth in impressions and followers, audience stats and website engagement. You can click into more in-depth reports for each of these and see which posts and boards have performed the best.
To access Pinterest analytics, log onto Pinterest and go to analytics.pinterest.com. Pinterest analytics is available to business accounts; you can convert a personal account to a business account for free.
5. LinkedIn analytics for individuals
LinkedIn provides analytics for your long-form LinkedIn articles (for example, LinkedIn Pulse articles). It shows you the total number of views and engagement for each article, the demographics of your readers and the people who have engaged with your article.
It seems like the full analytics isn’t available in all locations yet. For those who don’t have the full analytics and are curious (like me!), here are some screenshots and descriptions of the analytics.
To access your LinkedIn Pulse analytics, go to your LinkedIn homepage and click on the view counts on the left column and then the “X views on this post” link.
Quick tip: You can also see the number of people who viewed your profile in the last week on the right column of your LinkedIn feed.
6. LinkedIn analytics for businesses
Much like Facebook’s Insights tab, LinkedIn’s analytics include data of all the posts on your organization’s page as well as a breakdown of your followers and follower growth.
To access LinkedIn analytics, log in at LinkedIn and go to your business page. Click on Analytics next to the Home link at the top of the page.
Quick tip: For the new Company Page design, you’ll be able to see stats on each post, such as impressions, engagement rate, clicks and social actions.
7. Google+ Influence
Google+ seemed to have removed its analytics and insights dashboard, but you can still access some basic stats. Google+ calls it “Your Influence,” showing you basic stats on your posts and your reach.
To access Google+ Influence, log in at Google+ and go to your business page profile. Click on the three vertical dots by your cover photo and “Your Influence.”
Bonus: 5 Paid Social Media Analytics Tools
The analytics at SumAll come from a huge number of assorted, connected apps. You can wire up your unlimited social media profiles—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more—and SumAll will send out a weekly or monthly email with insights on how things have changed. All the info is saved to a web dashboard for easy viewing any time.
Price: $99/month with a seven-day free trial
Some of our favorite social media studies have come from the team at Socialbakers. Their analytics tools include all the fundamental resources you might need-tracking of multiple profiles, key performance indicators, competitive intelligence and automated reports. Beside analytics tools, Socialbakers also offers tools for publishing and optimizing your content.
Price: $24/month per page of analytics report with a 14-day free trial
3. Rival IQ
Rival IQ lets you track a number of different organizations (up to 75 for their business plans) and compare performance across not only social media metrics but also SEO. The social media monitoring includes Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.
Price: Plans starting at $99/month with a seven-day free trial
Social Report provides an overview of your activity on any of the 20 supported social networks, plus allowing you to track new topics, measure ROI and export the data into a handy report layout.
Price: Plans starting at $49/month with a free 30-day trial
Simply Measured gives you the full picture of your social media efforts, from social media metrics to business value—something that many social media managers, including us, struggle with.
Price: Simply Measured does not share their pricing publicly. According to GetApp, the plans seem to start from $500/month.
Kevan Lee is the director of marketing at Buffer. A version of this article first appeared on Buffer’s blog.