Three Free Tools for Auditing Your Social Audience

Purposeful Social Media Engagement
Photo Credit: Flickr User, krisolin

I came across this quote recently on Pinterest: “The essence of social media is knowing your audiences and engaging them in something they love.” Totally agree.

But here’s the thing: I think a lot of us who manage social communities have a sort of instinctual understanding of who our audiences are and what engages them. However, we may lack a data-driven profile that could further optimize our efforts.

A social audience audit can give you confidence that you’re reaching the right people (or help you pivot if you’re not). It also can help you uncover new influencers to engage. After all, creating brilliant social content for your brand is pretty pointless if it’s not reaching the right people.

Fortunately there are lots of free (or relatively inexpensive) tools available to help analyze your social audiences. Here are a few I’m digging:

Facebook Graph Search. If you haven’t explored Facebook’s open graph, it’s definitely worth a few minutes. You can pinpoint trends among your followers, such as common interests and what other Pages they like, or you can drill in on other specifics to see what kind of movies and bands they like.

At a minimum, this exercise can give you a good gut on whether the folks that like your Facebook page are the audiences you’re hoping to target. You can also gather new insights that can be plugged back into your content strategy. Let’s say you’re a food brand and you find your followers are also interested in photography. Sounds like a photo contest might be a great strategy. Or you’re a healthcare provider and your fans are major yogis – perhaps you could ask engagement questions on their favorite poses, or run a sweepstakes to win a personal session with a well-known instructor. Social Media Examiner offers some great tips for leveraging Facebook Graph Search.

Followerwonk. A Twitter analysis tool owned by Moz, Followerwork is a rich source of Twitter analytics that can shed light on your followers and help identify influencers. They offer a number of free reports. Their follower analysis assess followers based on a variety of factors like social authority, following, frequency of retweets and @contacts, gender, location and more. The tool also provides word clouds based on keywords in follower bios – a great way to understand (on a high-level) whether followers are on-target for your brand or organization. This info also can help pinpoint more specific follower interests that can evolve your content strategy. Say you’re a spirits brand and your followers often cite hip-hop music in their profiles – perhaps you could quote popular song lyrics, or host a digital battle of the bands.

Tailwind. Pinterest continues to gain popularity, but the native channel offers very little insight when it comes to analyzing your audience. Tailwind to the rescue. The site offers a free membership with some very basic data on profile trends. If Pinterest is a strong focus, it’s probably worth checking out a paid membership (plans start at $29/month and you get a free 14-day trial).

There are a ton of great features that you can explore, but some of my favorites are the ability to identify top repinners and most influential followers – and the tool pulls in the full social footprint of these folks if you’d like to engage them on other social channels. The tool also offers great analysis around which Boards and individual pins are performing well, and offers recommendations on the best days of the week and times of day to pin.

So those are a few faves of the moment. When’s the last time you audited your social audiences, and what are your favorite tricks and tools?

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