When you take the time or resources to invest something, you want to make sure it’s working properly.  And if that investment is made towards your business, it’s even more critical that you get the expected return. But how can you tell if your investments are helping you achieve your goals if you aren’t measuring them?

When it comes to social media, it’s tough to know what works best for you and your business unless you are measuring & tracking your efforts. There is no magic bullet when it comes to social media, so it’s important that you find out what is and isn’t effective. Setting a strategy is key, but that doesn’t mean it is set in stone. Before you can make adjustments, you need to make sure you have the tools & systems in place to evaluate your efforts. Here are a few simple tools to get you started:

Hootsuite offers a variety of analytics tools to help you track your social reach and beyond. A few of the tools they offer include:

  • identifying share of voice within your industry
  • brand sentiment
  • custom URL tracking
  • and social media reach

Sprout Social
Sprout’s social media analytics suite can help you measure, optimize & improve your online strategy by looking at online engagement and competitive analytics. If you have more than one person managing your social media accounts, they also offer a report that shows how efficient different users are and highlights biggest opportunities for improvement.

Sysomos provides insight to help you make the most of your online endeavors. Their technology collects data from blogs, social networks, message boards and major news sources to show you who is driving the conversation around your brand. Their analytics measure tone and break down sentiment by gender, age and location.

All of these tools are great for looking across multiple platforms, but if you are looking for something a little simpler and easier to manage, don’t forget that you can use analytics directly from many online sites. Try getting started with Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics. One you get your feet wet, you may find yourself ready to take an even deeper look with the tools outlined above.

Many tools offer a free version, or a free trial period, of their services. Take advantage of these offers to see what works best for you. As with your social media strategy, one size does not fit all when it comes to measuring your impact. Use the service that you are most comfortable with and provides you with the information you need to track progress towards your goals. Once you get comfortable with your analytics, start adjusting your strategy as needed to get the biggest bang for your buck.