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Social Media ROI: Best FREE tools for 2014

There are many social media metrics tracking tools on the market. While there are numerous paid services, there are also plenty of free options to improve your social media ROI. Unfortunately, there is not one comprehensive tool for everything you will need. At SocialNicole we use a mix of paid and free metrics tools for tracking our clients’ channels. Here are the best free tools for 2014:


This is by far my favorite tool for 2014…it has a lot to offer at the free level and even more at a reasonable paid level. If you have an event or hashtag that you want to track this is the tool for you! Keyhole tracks Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is a great way to track hashtags and keywords across channels for a campaign or event. The free social tracker offers a sample of the paid features. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.56.48 PM  


Hootsuite is a great overall tool to use for both management and metrics tracking. You can schedule posts from multiple social media channels as well as create over 30 individual reports. The free metrics are somewhat limited, but it is great for beginners. For a small subscription fee, you can create detailed reports that will highlight everything you need to know. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 3.25.44 PM


Tweepi offers tools for managing Twitter followers. There is a helpful “reciprocate” tool that shows users who follow you that you do not follow back. Twitter handles can also be copied and pasted into Tweepi to follow many people at one time, and you can follow specific @users’ followers. There is a “cleanup” feature that is great for unfollowing many users at a time. When necessary, it is even possible to force a user to unfollow you.

Tweepi SocialNicole


SocialMention is an aggregate tool similar to Google Alerts, but it is only used for social media. This will give you insight on what is being said, who is saying it and what the general sentiment is. You can set an RSS feed, email alerts or even add a real time widget to your website. You can also download a CSV/Excel file for further evaluation. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 3.31.52 PM


Monitoring influence is not an exact science, but having a tool to gauge someone’s online presence is useful. Klout is a free tool that will allow you to measure influence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and several other channels. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 3.35.33 PM

Facebook Insights

This dashboard provides comprehensive analytics data for your Facebook page. Facebook Insights allows you to understand your audience, what they are reacting to and how to adjust your content to meet their needs. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.47.41 PM

Twitter Analytics

Twitter now has its own analytics dashboard. Twitter Analytics can track timeline activity including tweets that were replied to, favorited and retweeted. The analytics also provide the number of mentions, new followers and newly followed users during a given time period. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.49.11 PM

Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

This is often overlooked, but it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to track success of a specific link within a campaign. Set up links for campaigns with UTM parameters to track the campaign on Google Analytics. Click here for helpful apps to create shortened links for campaigns. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.51.08 PM

Google Analytics Social Media Report

Google Analytics tracks the number of visitors to visit a website from different social channels. This provides insight into your most effective social media channels. However, if you are not blogging or creating new and useful content to draw people to your website, these numbers will stay low. This method requires strong content strategy to attract people to your website. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.52.35 PM


Buffer is an excellent tool for scheduling content. You simply fill up your Buffer account each day with relevant articles and it will automatically post the content to selected channels. Buffer also features a dashboard, which highlights posts with the most interaction. Additionally, you can attach UTM parameters to track traffic in Google Analytics. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.53.25 PM

This link shortener tracks any link you share. This is a great way to learn how your audience interacts with content and what they judge to be valuable. also integrates into many third party software packages so you can track within multiple platforms. For example, at SocialNicole we use Social Sprout, a paid management platform, and Buffer. Each one integrates with so we look at data within individual platforms, or as a whole through bitly


TweetReach tracks campaigns and conversations on Twitter. Simply enter search terms and TweetReach will analyze reach, exposure, activity, top contributors and more. At the free level, you can look at the past 50 mentions, but for $20 you get a report that analyzes the past 7 days of activity. Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 7.55.21 PM An effective metrics analysis does not necessarily depend on the tracking tool. What matters is how you interpret the data. Once you decide which metrics to track, create a spreadsheet and record the numbers each month. While flash reports may help you in the moment, monthly tracking long-term data will help you make decisions on your overall strategy. Looking for more help with your social media strategy? Click here to contact SocialNicole!

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