No matter your platform selection or general attitude toward social media, the changing landscape of this digital avenue doesn't preclude your brand from engaging—particularly when it's direct-to-consumer. So when time is limited—and perhaps budget is too—how can you ensure you're making the right decisions on your channels of choice?

Here are four free tools to consider using to monitor your social prowess.

Sprout Social

One such free tool is Sprout Social—the platform's free trial can give you a taste of how your social channels are performing through an audit tool that measures ROI. While the tool is a freemium option, rather than outright free, it can be good for a one-time sweep of your channels to identify content themes worth publishing on, tracking campaign engagement and analyzing trends. (You might just find it's worth the investment to keep it in your arsenal long-term.)


If your brand trades on the immediate when it comes to social marketing, Twitter might be a major part of your platform roster. As such, a tool like TweetDeck can prove very useful for monitoring your content plays, brand sentiment and interactions with your profile in a command-center format. The tool allows you to track conversations, tags and trends in a one-stop-shop setup to maximize efficiency and speed of response.


One of the best ways to monitor your performance on social media is to compare your brand's efforts to your competition—Buzzsumo proves a useful tool in this regard. For one, you can track keyword mentions and effectiveness of potential influencers worth engaging with—including full-detail analyses. You can also do apples-to-apples comparisons of competitor content against your own.


While the HubSpot platform comes in a variety of shapes and sizes in terms of pricing, the free version of HubSpot's marketing tool can prove very useful for small or startup businesses testing the waters on inbound marketing and customer-relationship management. One part of the free tool is a social-media-monitoring component, which allows you to track particularly interactive users or common search terms. The HubSpot Social Inbox can help you stay on top of what's worth responding to and help you spend your precious social-management dollars wisely.

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