If social media marketing is all about creating powerful, cost-effective method for connecting your brand or company with your customers, why are so many social media analytics platforms and tools so expensive? The price tags for some professional-level social media dashboard systems alone can add hundreds of dollars a month to even the most humble marketing campaigns. What gives?
The reality is that most individuals, small businesses and mid-size brands don’t need the high-powered, enterprise-level tools the big guys use. In fact, many of the best tools and platforms are available for free.
Take a look at the 15 best free social media dashboards and tools that can be used for free, and you just might become top banana in social media marketing.
1. SumAll: Sure, we’re a little biased on this one. SumAll provides the most insightful business and social media dashboard experience on the market, and we’re not shy when it comes to letting people know about it. We’ve spent countless hours of development time creating a beautiful, intuitive, extremely customizable service that is fully compatible with every major social media and digital marketing platform. SumAll reports are as elegant as they are informative, and they’re available on almost any device and in a wide range of formats. Unlike many of the services below, very few of those features are locked away behind premium accounts.
2. Buffer: When it comes to a user-friendly experience, Buffer is in a class by itself. Primarily designed as a cross-platform tool for scheduling social media content, Buffer’s dashboard also offers a fantastic snapshot of how those posts performed. Free accounts are limited to a single set of social media accounts, and the service only supports the major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
3. Hootsuite: As one of the most mature social media dashboards on the market, Hootsuite boasts a comprehensive feature set and a wide array of compatible networks. It’s an outstanding resource for social listening, and its customizable reporting tools are among the best available. Unfortunately, the free version has some severe limitations, making it substantially less powerful than the premium options.
4. SocialBro: Although limited to Twitter, SocialBro provides a useful range of tools for gauging the performance and engagement of your efforts. For a company that is highly focused on Twitter-based marketing and little else, SocialBro offers a focused experience and a reasonably advanced “community insight” dashboard. More advanced features, including overall tweet analytics, are only accessible to paying members.
5. Klout: Often dismissed as a simple tool for measuring online popularity, Klout is a surprisingly robust platform for gauging how effective your social media campaigns are. Klout claims to track over 400 metrics from eight major social networks on a daily basis, providing a comprehensive insight into engagement, reach and influence. In effect, it’s an at-a-glance dashboard for your entire social media presence.
6. Visual.ly’s Google Analytics Report: While technically not a social media dashboard, Visual.ly’s infographic-styled reporting tool does offer a great snapshot view of how well your website is performing, including results from major social media sources. It’s a great tool for putting your social media efforts in the context of your overall website traffic, without getting lost in the number-heavey details of a standard Google Analytics Report. It’s also completely free.
7. Visual.ly’s Facebook Insights: Much like their Google Analytics Reports, Visual.ly’s Facebook Insights generator turns the dry data of a page’s last 30 days into a simple, engaging infographic. While not useful for most people who actually manage these accounts, this is a great tool for giving other departments an easy-to-digest view of your Facebook page’s overall performance. It’s also free.
8. Edgerank Checker: The invisible rules and weights of Facebook’s Algorithm can make or break a social media marketing campaign. Although Edgerank Checker can only make a best guess at how your page is performing, it offers a variety of insights and hints about how to improve the odds that your content will show up in your followers feeds.
9. Social Mention: This real-time social media analysis tool provides a search engine-like view of user content from across the internet. In addition to identifying the keywords, hashtags and users most associated with a given website, company, or brand name, the system also provides a simple breakdown of user sentiment, passion and other revealing metrics from a variety of sources. Social Mention is completely free to use.
10. Tailwind: As one of only a handful of social media dashboards dedicated to Pinterest, Tailwind is in the enviable position of having a solid product in a niche with few competitors. The system features a robust analytics engine, although access to this is somewhat limited for free accounts, with only a handful of features and insights available. For a newcomer to Pinterest-based social media marketing, and simply looking to track the performance of recent pins, Tailwind’s free account is nonetheless a decent starting point.
11. SharedCount: If you’re looking for a no-frills report on how well a given website or page has performed on mainstream social media, look no further than SharedCount. The site’s strict set of social media metrics make it a quick, easy way to compare the performance of your content with those of your competition. While clearly limited in terms of depth and secondary insights, SharedCount’s system is completely free to use.
12. BuzzSumo: Instead of focusing on the performance of your existing social media content, BuzzSumo helps you craft better content that is more likely to be read, shared, and reacted to. Simply search for a specific keyword, topic, or category, and BuzzSumo will provide the best performing examples related to it. The system also offers insights into why the content was well-received, as well as the influencers who helped to share it. Sadly, the advanced reporting options aren’t available for free accounts.
13. NutshellMail: By connecting your company’s social media accounts to this service, you can generate simple, easy-to-understand activity reports in ready-to-email HTML format. Much like Visual.ly’s tools, NutshellMail has limited appeal for social media marketers, but as a tool for automatically generating and sharing reports with other departments, it has the potential to be a significant time saver. The Constant Contact-owned system is free to use.
14. Keyhole: Curious about the performance of a hashtag or keyword on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Want to know who is using it, what the demographic breakdown is, and where the phrases is most popular? Wonder who the most influential people using the tag or keyword are? If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you need to take a look at Keyhole. The basic real-time search data is free, although long-term tracking and some advanced features are limited to premium accounts.
15. Wolfram Alpha Facebook Report: What happens when you leverage one of the most powerful calculating engines on the internet to provide a statistical breakdown of a Facebook profile? Incredibly accurate and revealing information, that’s what. This particular tool is not useful for companies and brands, but for people who use their personal Facebook pages primarily to promote themselves or their companies, it can be hugely insightful. Social networks and connections can be visually mapped, for instance, as are geographic and demographic details about friends. The tool is free, but requires registration with Wolfram Alpha.
By combining these tools and services, you can create outstanding reports and insights for all aspects of your social media marketing plan. Many of these providers also have relatively low-cost premium plans, allowing you enterprise-level details at a fraction of the cost. In a world where a few percentage points on a conversion metric can mean the difference between the success and failure of a marketing campaign, it helps to use every advantage you have