4 New Free and Low Cost Ways to Measure Social Media Results

Do you use social media to market your design business? Are your social media efforts working? How can you find out?

Six or seven years ago, these were very difficult questions to answer.

After all, back then social media was a relatively new phenomenon. Facebook wasn’t available until 2004. LinkedIn was founded in 2003. Twitter was just getting started and Google+ didn’t yet exist.

Back then, an accurate method for measuring the effectiveness of social media participation was hard to find. If you were able to find a tool that worked, you could expect to pay a lot for such information.

Fortunately, things have changed. Social media has matured. And along with that maturity comes the ability to measure your social media results. While you can still pay good money for high quality social media analytics, there are now a lot of tools available to measure results at very little cost to you.

In this post, I profile four new tools designed to help you measure your social media results. If you like this post, you may also like 6 Ways to Use Social Media Successfully as a Designer.

Image Source: Skakerman

Twitter Analytics

Recently Twitter began rolling out a new analytics feature that lets you analyze the effectiveness your individual tweets. The feature used to only be available to paid advertisers, but as of the time of publication the feature was free to all Twitter users.

To access the Twitter Analytics tool, go to the Twitter Analytics site and use your Twitter user name and password to sign in. The Home page defaults to instructions for advertisers, but don’t worry about that. Click the Analytics option on the navigation menu at the top left of the screen. You’ll see a choice between Timeline activity or Followers. Choose Timeline activity.

Timeline activity analytics basically lets you measure the effectiveness of individual tweets. For each tweet you can measure how many times other users:

  • Retweeted it
  • Favorited it
  • Replied to it
  • Clicked through to the story

So, if you’re wondering what your Twitter followers are really interested in, now you can know for sure. If you’re trying to brand your design business through Twitter by sharing relevant materials, this tool can be really handy.

The same view also displays about a month’s worth of mentions, follows, and unfollows. So, if you’re upsetting a large percentage of your followers, you can tell right away.

Google+ Ripples

Image Source: Phillie Casablanca

Ripples is a recent Google+ tool that lets you examine the reach of your Google+ posts (material that you share with others on Google+). If you’re like me, you totally missed this free feature that measures the reach of the material that you share on Google+.

Here is what you need to know about Google+ Ripples

  • You can only use the Ripples tool for information that you have shared or reshared. You cannot use the Ripples tool for material that you simply gave a +1 to.
  • The tool does not track comments unless there were reshares. It’s possible to get a lot of comments on a Google+ post (indicating engagement), and not get any reshares and so not trigger the Ripples tool.
  • Google+ Ripples only shows public reshares. If your share was reshared on a limited basis, that reshare will not show up in the Ripples too.
  • You can also use Ripples to show how post popularity spreads over time.
  • If the post was not reshared, the Ripples option will not even show up on the drop-down menu.

To use the Ripples tool,

  1. Go to your Google+ profile to see the posts that you have shared.
  2. Hover your mouse over the upper right corner of a post to see an arrow that leads to a drop-down menu for that post.
  3. If the Google+ post was reshared, the Ripples option appears last on the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Ripples option to open the tool.

Ripples is especially helpful if you’re trying to see who was interested in a particular Google+ post. It’s also a great way to find out what material elicits the most response. Best of all, it’s free.


When Klout first came out, it was somewhat controversial. It seemed to be little more than a popularity contest. People voted you up and down in certain categories. Their judgment may (or may not) have been valid. There were also were those who worried that Klout could be easily manipulated.

If you haven’t looked at Klout in a while, though, it’s worth revisiting. Klout has matured a great deal in the last year. Klout can now measure engagement across six different social media platforms. Those platforms include:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Foursquare

Klout was started to measure social media influence. It assigns users a score between 1 and 100, with the higher scores being more influential. While the exact algorithm used to calculate your Klout score is unknown, there’s a lot more to Klout than just your score.

The other information available at Klout is quite helpful. Of particular interest is the ability to compare your social media presence across several platforms over a 90-day period.

If you click Network Breakdown in the top left of the right column on your Klout dashboard, you will see which social media tool gets you the most interaction. For example, my own breakdown shows that 76% of my interactions occur on Twitter, 15% on Google+ and 8% on LinkedIn. (I’m actually quite proud of those numbers, because I’ve been making an effort to increase my presence on LinkedIn and Google+ over the past year. A year ago, those numbers might have been quite different.)

Plus, answering questions on Klout can boost your visibility in the Bing search engine. You can read more about how Klout affects search results in this post on The Verge from Casey Newton.

Pinterest Analytics

Image Source: StockMonkeys.com

Pinterest is another social media tool that has added a lot of new measurement tools.

Since Pinterest is visually oriented, designers might want to pay particular interest to the recent addition of Pinterest Analytics. This is especially true if you are using Pinterest to promote your design business.

Pinterest Analytics is designed to help you track how your website is being shared on Pinterest. It’s surprisingly full-featured, considering that it’s included for free in Pinterest as long as you set up a Business Page.

To use Pinterest Analytics, you first need to verify your website. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Upload a file to your server.
  2. Add a meta tag to your index file.

You must also switch to Pinterest’s new look to use Analytics.

Once you’ve verified your Pinterest account, you will have access to Pinterest Analytics. With Pinterest Analytics, the information you can track the following Pinterest information concerning your website:

  • Number of pins
  • Number of people pinning materials
  • Number of pins being re-pinned
  • Number of re-pinners
  • Number of times your pins are viewed on Pinterest
  • Number of unique visitors to your pins
  • Number of times visitors click through to your website

You can also track the most recent pins, the most re-pinned pins, and the most clicked pins.

As you can see, that’s a lot of information. So, if you use Pinterest, don’t ignore Pinterest Analytics.

Your Turn

What free tools do you use to measure social media? Do you use any of the tools we’ve discussed in this post?

Share your tips and experiences in the comments.

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