There are a lot of great paid tools for analysis, monitoring and content management for your social media channels. But if often happens that some nice free tools may completely fulfill your needs, so why to pay more? Here I want to tell you about 5 great social media marketing tools for monitoring and analytics every marketer should try before going for paid services. 1. Compfight As you probably know from many researches, posts with photos draw more attention and are the best way to engage people. Such posts get more likes and shares on social media channels. Sometimes it may be hard to find nice free images suitable for commercial use on your blog. Compfight searches Flickr's photos with Creative Commons license for commercial use. The only requirement is to give attribution to the photographer, and Compfight will provide you with the HTML code for proper attribution. Just enter search keywords and select pictures that you like. What can be easier? 2. Twitter Analytics Not everyone knows that twitter provides its own free analytics tool. It is available to users who primarily tweet in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and have had an account for at least 14 days. Analytics dashboard has 3 main options: Timeline activity, Followers, or Twitter Cards. First the dashboard gives you a summary of total impressions in the last month near the top, which Twitter compares to last month's performance. Followers dashboard shows follower growth over time, highlights followers' most unique and top interests, the distribution of their locations and gender, and the top-most followed people your followers also follow. Twitter Cards lets you attach media experiences to tweets that link to your content. Most of you likely don't have it set up. Click here to learn more about them. 3. Facebook Insights Did you know Facebook provides its own great analytics and monitoring tool for free? It's easy to use and very useful to optimize your posting time and analyze user engagement. It provides page and posts metrics, including page likes, post reach and people engagement, data when most of your audience is online on Facebook. Don't trust marketing researches. Everyone has different audience. Depending on your target market location, times with highest online presence may vary significantly because of cultural differences and traditions. So try Facebook Insights yourself and find out as much information about your audience as you can. Tip: your page has to have at least 30 likes before Insights become available for it. 4. Wolfram Alpha Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine or answer engine which can also be useful for our marketing purposes. Facebook Insights provides statistics only for pages, but not for profiles. Wolfram Alpha can analyze your profile data, including all your posts, your friends' info etc. You should simply type "facebook report", connect Wolfram to your Facebook account, and it will generate awesome report, including your posting time distribution, your friends' age, your friend network and much more cool stuff. Even if you're not going to use it, it's definitely interesting to try, as it generates very nice looking graphs. 5. TweetDeck TweetDeck is undoubtedly the best free Twitter tool on market. Some people like to compare it to Hootsuite. Well, Hootsuite is a nice app as well, but its interface is somewhat overwhelming. TweetDeck has nice column based interface, so you can easily view all profiles in one screen of your browser. It's also available as downloadable app. TweetDeck is great for managing multiple profiles and scheduling posts in advance. The service itself is very lightweight and fast. And, unlike Hootsuite, it's very intuitive and user-friendly.
Alexander Atkins is VP Business Development at 999Sales.inc (http://999sales.com/), proven revenue generator with broad experience in business development, strategic planning and marketing.