It might seem obvious, but Google Analytics really is the best place to start to begin analysing your audience. At its simplest, you’ll be able to see where they’re coming from and what they’re looking at. If you opt for a more sophisticated implementation, you can track conversion goals, ad-word and paid search performance, tag management, campaigns and remarketing, and more — and that’s just within the free account.
IBM ‘Watson’ analytics
If you’re already collecting some data about your business, you can use IBM’s Watson analytics platform to perform some pretty nifty exploration on it. Create an account and upload your data to take advantage of what IBM calls “smart data discovery services” — things like automated trend identification, predictive analysis, creation of data visualisations, or analysing the value of your customers. With its guided ‘natural language’ input (basically, just type in a question), it’ll help you find answers and insights you mightn’t have expected.
Amongst the choices of social media listening tools out there, Social Mention is perhaps the most useful. It aggregates content from across 100+ social media platforms and analyses it for you, without even the need to create an account. Search specific words or phrases, or explore the trends it identifies. It serves up its analysis on an easy to read dashboard, providing scales to quantify content relevance like Strength, Passion, and Reach.
Flipboard is essentially just a (very slick-looking) news collation tool, but its value to small business comes from how precise its news categories are. Rather than just receiving curated stories about, say, ‘tech’, you could specify ‘wearables, futurism or health tech’. There are more conceptual options too, like ‘Frugal Living’, and you could follow branded feeds — what Wharton’s Magazine likes for business, perhaps, or the trending items from Canopy.co. It makes browsing the news more efficient, and infinitely more inspiring.
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