Social media can be frustrating, even for the pros. There will always ups and downs when it comes to running and monitoring a successful social media feed but we’re here to help make the task just a little bit easier. We know the struggle all too well here at Data Nerds since it is, in fact, what we do as part of our company. Experience has taught us some awesome tips and tricks, and we’ve also been able to gather lots of inspiration from some of the top names in Social Media like Quick Sprout’s Neil Patel and Boom Social’s Kim Garst. So whether you’re just starting out, are stuck in a rut or just want some more tips and tools about how to perfect your social media strategy, this post is one you’re going to want to keep!
Step 1: Analyze
The first step when it comes to creating a better working social media strategy is to know where you are now. By looking at the insights and analytics for each of your platforms, you’ll have a better understanding of who your audience is, what they like and how to gain more engagement. In this section we have a few apps you can use to dig deeper and understand better.
1. Insights (FREE)
Most of the top social media platforms come with comprehensive insight tools that you can use to see how your handle is doing amongst the vast sea of competitors. Among the top social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have the most simple and easy to understand interfaces.
Twitter can instantly show the number of tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and followers you have simply by clicking the Analytics tab in your profile dropdown menu. You can see which of your tweets have made the biggest impact, who your top followers are and even your top mentions.
Facebook works much the same way, by simply clicking the the Insights tab on your Facebook Page (not personal profile) you can see your page likes, post reach, engagement and top 5 posts. There is even a spot to compare your brand to similar brands and follow them to see what they’re up to (more on that later).
Instagram works a little differently in that it doesn’t offer insights directly from the platform. In order to get complete insights, you have to use a third party app like Iconosquare. Once in Iconosquare you have access to one of the best analytics platforms out there which includes stats like new followers, lost followers, love rate, talk rate and spread rate. You can go into more detail by looking specifically at how your content is doing, seeing all your engagements and even optimizing your post times.
2. TweetReach (FREE)
TweetReach is specifically for seeing how much reach you have with each post (the name is pretty accurate) and also who your biggest contributors are. We recently ran a snapshot, as they’re called, using the word DataNerds and were pleasantly surprised to see that @bargainbri (who has a whopping 57K followers) retweeted our most recent blog post and got us 114.7K impressions! She deserves a shoutout don’t you think? Thanks Bri!
3. Social Mention (FREE)
Social Mention is similar to TweetReach but instead of only bringing you twitter results, it monitors over 100 social networks (we didn’t know there were that many either) to bring you the most comprehensive data there is. You can search any term you want so it’s easy to use for either looking up your brand or researching competitors online activities.
It has a unique measuring system that shows influence based on strength, sentiment, passion and reach. It also tells you the number of unique authors and real-time retweets.
4. Share Tally (FREE)
Share Tally probably one of the simplest tools you can use to quickly see how a specific URL is performing across the web. This is a big plus if you have a blog because you can see exactly where people are sharing your content and where your audience is coming from. To test it out, we decided to analyze our favourite blog post, 11 Clicks to an Optimized Inbox. You can see from the photo that most of our engagement came from StumbleUpon with the second most being from Facebook (NOTE: Twitter has pulled all of it’s link tracking tools, so it will always report as 0).
Step 2: Optimize
So now that you have a better understanding of your reach across all social media, who your audience is and what they like and are sharing, you can start optimizing your feed. Optimizing includes listening and learning from you audience and developing a strategy that they will enjoy and engage with. There are a few apps out there that can help you do this more efficiently than just tweeting or posting random content. Here’s a couple of our favourites.
(NOTE: You may notice we aren’t mentioning Facebook much, that’s because there aren’t a lot of third party monitoring apps and they also have very in depth insights on their base platform including scheduling, knowing when the most followers are online and competition.)
1. Scheduling ($$)
We kept this section labelled “scheduling” because as we’ve come to see, you guys all have your own personal preference when it comes to programs in this category. Here at Data Nerds, we like to use Hootsuite to schedule everything from Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram in order to keep our feeds full. Many of you enjoy using Buffer as well SproutSocial and Edgar, and when choosing a program it really just comes down to personal preference and what your brand needs.
All of these are good options and we’ve tried and enjoyed each of them, but when it came to what was needed at Data Nerds, Hootsuite fit the bill. Really, the moral of the story here is to start scheduling your posts!
2. Tweriod (FREE)
So now that you’ve chosen a program to help you schedule future posts, it’s time to find out just how active your followers are and at what time. Tweriod is our go-to app for digging deeper and finding out just when our followers want to chat. This can best be described in a photo of our most recent findings:
As you can see, most of our audience (aka, you guys!) are online at around 8am and 12pm. This tells us that we need to schedule our tweets around these times to get the most exposure we can. Scheduling tweets for 2pm on a weekday wouldn’t be our best bet. You can also check out weekend stats, hourly stats and more. This service is free, but there is a pro version if you want even deeper insights.
3. Iconosquare (FREE*)
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into just what Iconosquare has to offer. Iconosquare hooks up to your Instagram account and basically supercharges the features of it. There is so much to see in Iconosquare, we could make a whole post on that itself (let us know if you’d like to see that in the comments!), but here we will focus on the optimization factors. Once going into the Analytics tab you will see a side menu listing different overviews. Our favourites are Content, Engagement and obviously, optimization.
In the content tab, you can see how your page is performing overall all the way down to which filters you use most on your photos (ours is Lark). It also lets you know which tags you use most and if you use geolocation or not.
In the engagement tab, you’ll find things like top liked posts, most successful months, growth history and most commented on posts. Here’s a snippet of our most liked media (Fun Fact: our Donald post has had the lead for about 3 months now):
Last, but not least, is optimization. In this tab you’ll see your current posing habits vs. interactions form your community, your average media lifespan, filter impacts (yeah, that’s a thing) and tag impacts. For us, you can see that our community is most engaged during the week and generally later in the afternoon. This tells us that this is when we need to post to gain the most exposure. Also, people apparently really like Hefe and Clarendon filters. Who knew.
*Iconosquare will no longer be free starting December 1, 2015.
4. Tweepi (FREE)
Another crucial step when it comes to having an optimized Twitter account is to analyze your followers vs. those you are following. Tweepi is a free app that lets you login and manage both sides of your audience giving you the option to follow or unfollow people in the click of a button. Since growing your twitter following relies a lot on you following others (who quite often don’t reciprocate the kind gesture!) this is a great app to go in and clean up those who chose not to follow you back.
Tweepi makes this easy by giving you a, “People Who Don’t Follow Back” section to go through and purge some inactive or irrelevant accounts that you follow. We personally like to go through and unfollow people who haven’t tweeted in the past 6 months or more, which is easy to do using their search tools.
Step 3: Investigate
Well now you’re well versed in how your social media platforms are doing as well as how to optimize them for your audience. What more could you need? Well, the last, and maybe most essential step to having a truly kick-ass social media strategy is to know exactly what your competition is up to. Researching what, when and who your competition posts will give you an insight into just how they became successful, and give you a few tips on how to duplicate that success. Here are a few apps to help you get started:
1. Buzzsumo ($$$)
Buzzsumo is one of the number one sites we use at Data Nerds on a daily basis because it does a little bit of everything. Mostly, this program is used to search for a certain competitor or influencer’s reach and popularity by post. For example, if we wanted to see what the top blog post on Social Media Examiner was, all we would have to do is type their website into the Most Shared tab and it will instantly show us what their top ranking post is. If you’re wondering it’s 44 Social Media Tools Recommended By the Pros with a total of 20.9K shares.
If you’re wondering why you need to know what your competitors top sharing articles are, the answer is to optimize your content. Most Shared will show you what the majority of their followers liked and shared with their friends, you can then take this knowledge and apply it to your own content either by including some of their information, taking a different perspective on the topic or simply re-writing it. While you always want to come up with original content on your blog, a little inspiration can go a long way, especially when it’s already proven to be popular.
You can also use BuzzSumo to improve your social media feeds by sharing what is popular and interesting. In their Trending Now section, you can find the up-and-coming posts your readers are going to enjoy and what a lot of people are already sharing.
2. Twitonomy (FREE)
Twitonomy is the ultimate tool for finding out more about your competition (or even yourself) on Twitter. To demonstrate how this program works, we decided to look up another one of our favourite Social Media Guru’s, Kim Garst.
As you can see, with one simple search we can pretty much see all of Kim’s twitter activities (not creepy at all, right?). Well ignoring the creepiness factor, this information can also be extremely helpful! This is a great way to discover who the top influencers in your community are by checking out who retweets them most, who mentions them most and what hashtags they use on a regular bases. By seeing who Kim interacts with, it can show us who could potentially want to interact with us as well, and we can either reach out to them or give them a follow. We can also use the hashtags she uses most often to gain exposure in those specific communities.
3. BuiltWith (FREE)
This tool can be incredibly helpful when it comes to building a successful blog. When you’re first starting out, or starting to optimize, the number of different plugins, apps and widgets can be overwhelming. One way to find apps that work and that you like is to analyze URL’s that you think are doing a good job of it. For example, we are huge fans of Neil Patel’s blog Quick Sprout, so we thought we would dig a little deeper to see what makes his blog tick. Here’s a bit of the information we found using BuiltWith:
We were particularly interested to see what sorts of widgets and pop-up’s Mr. Patel used, and to no-ones surprise, he uses HelloBar to collect emails and gain followers. Neil is the founder of HelloBar so it’s only right that he uses his own products! He also uses KissMetrics, which he is also involved with to measure his success. So next time you see a competitors website and find yourself wondering what particular widget or app they are using, look no further than BuiltWith.
Many of the programs we’ve mentioned can be used in a variety of different ways. For example, Twitonomy & BuzzSumo can both be used for monitoring your own activity as well as looking up competitors. We also tried to keep most of this list FREE or free with an option to go pro for those of you who want to optimize but not spend a ton of money doing it. So, what are your favourite social media monitoring apps? Is there something you use that we missed? Let us (and our audience) know in the comments below!