Social media long ago became a place where people voice their opinions on everything. Though we often want to ignore posts on politics and other sensitive subjects, what we absolutely need to know is attitudes about our brand, company, and products. Maybe also about key company leaders, like the CEO, CMO, public speakers, and others.
That's why social media monitoring exists. Now, dozens of social media monitoring or social media listening tools gather data from social media platforms, blogs, forums, and news sites. Those tools range from the simple and absolutely free to complicated Big Data machines that perform comprehensive analysis and cost a fortune. (Article updated Oct. 2021.)
What these tools have in common is that they work well. (Unfortunately, that's not a universal feature: Some tools on the market (e.g., Google Alerts) simply don't collect the data they promise to collect).
Awario (my company) is an optimal social media monitoring tool. It monitors all major social media platforms, forums (including Reddit), blogs, news sites, and the Web in general. You get mentions of given keywords in real-time, and you also get unlimited historical data. If for some reason the keywords you use are problematic—in that you get loads of irrelevant data when using other tools—use Awario's Boolean search, the type of manual search that lets you write a very specific query that eliminates most irrelevant results.
For customer service and reputation management, the tool lets you reply to mentions straight from the dashboard. For lead generation, one of the most recently discovered uses of social media monitoring, Awario offers Awario Leads—a feature that uses predictive insights to determine prospects who are looking for recommendations about a product or service like yours online.
Price: Starts at $29/mo. You can also sign up for a free 14-day trail.
Mention covers all major social media platforms, forums, blogs, news sites, and the Web in general. It delivers fresh results and ignores historical data. Mention lets you work with mentions of your keywords in multiple ways: You can tag and organize them, build custom reports, and export them in various formats.
You can set up a feature that updates the reports every time something happens to your alert: for example, if there is a sudden spike in negative mentions. You can also assign mentions to other members of the social media marketing team.
Like Awario, Mention does sentiment analysis and finds social media influencers in any given niche. Mention even shows your influencers' interests, locations, and follower count, simplifying influencer marketing.
Price: Starts at $29/mo. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial.
Brand24 is another tool that monitors pretty much everything you'd like a tool to monitor. It also saves historical data for 12 months. The tool allows multiple-user access: You can have up to 99 people dealing with mentions. I doubt anyone's social media marketing team is that big, but it's always good to have an option.
Brand24 shows basic mentions stats, including mentions' volume over time, languages, and countries, and it performs sentiment analysis. It also shows social media influencers and provides users with reports on social listening stats and influencers.
Unlike most other social media monitoring tools, Brand24 has a mobile app, making monitoring while on the go less problematic.
Price: Starts at $49/mo. You can sign up for a free trial.
Reputation management is one of the main goals of social media monitoring. It's so important in today's world, where social media can cause a crisis unlike anything else, that some tools focus on just that aspect of monitoring.
Reputology monitors Google, Facebook, local search directories, employee review sites, and app directories to find reviews and comments about your business. It monitors mentions in real time and sends email notifications to make sure you reply as soon as possible to avoid a potential reputation hazard. At the same time, robust sentiment analysis and basic analytics allow you to keep track of your KPIs and to spot important trends.
Price: Starts at $10/mo. You can sign up for a free trial.
TweetDeck is a tool far less comprehensive than the ones described so far, in that its focus is entirely on Twitter—no other platforms. But it does a great job: You don't only listen to conversations TweetDeck, you can also schedule posts and look at analytics.
TweetDeck is owned by Twitter and is a reliable tool. So if you're focusing on Twitter in your marketing efforts, this tool is definitely a consideration go. After all, the average Twitter user follows five businesses, so this platform is made for marketers.
Keyhole monitors keywords and hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, news sites, and blogs. It delivers data is in real-time, and its historical data is offered as an option. Keyhole also provides automated posting on Twitter and Instagram. It does a fair share of analytics, such as advanced sentiment analysis, geolocation and language filtering, and influencer identification.
Keyhole's true power, however, lies in reporting. In more expensive plans, you can create PDF reports that are completely customizable and professional-looking. They make reporting back to clients a task that is pleasant and rewarding.
Price: Starts at $199/mo. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial.
Digimind is a powerful social listening tool and analytics platform. It finds mentions in real-time on most social media platforms, blogs, news sites, and the Web generally. It tracks mentions in any language and in any location; it performs sentiment analysis, shows key themes for a given keyword, and finds social media influencers in any given niche. It shows you in graphs what your current growth on social media is and the opportunities for future growth.
Moreover, Digimind is often praised by users for being visually appealing and having an intuitive, user-friendly design. It transforms the tons of data it gathers into meaningful content that is easy to process and act upon. It also lets you create dazzling, fully customizable reports in seconds.
Price: You can request pricing; its offerings are tailored to you business's needs.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform; however, it also does social listening. It covers multiple social platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Foursquare. It was developed for social media marketing teams; therefore, Hootsuite's primary advantages lie in the ability to organize mentions and assign posts and comments to other team members so that they can reply quickly.
You can filter your results by language and location, as well as perform sentiment analysis. You also get key performance metrics for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and a chance to see how your employees are doing: The tool tracks how long it takes your team to respond to tweets, Facebook posts, mentions, and comments assigned to them.
Price: Starts at $19/mo. You can sign up for a free trial.
Brandwatch is a star in the world of social media monitoring tools. It's an enterprise tool that requires a huge budget, but it's worth it if your goal is extensive, detailed market research and brand health analysis.
Brandwatch monitors all social networks, blogs, forums, and the Web in general. It analyzes the mentions found and presents information in professional, fully customizable reports. Brandwatch's Vizia tool combines data from its own sources together with that of Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, and Google Analytics to let you know everything and more about your audience's demographics, interests, language, location, sentiment in relation to your brand, and so on. Brandwatch also analyzes your industry, showing things like trending topics in your niche.
Brandwatch goes beyond analyzing text and goes on to analyze imagery, which is both impressive and undoubtedly useful for large brands.
Price: Starts at $500/mo. A free trial isn't available, but you can book a demo.
Talkwalker is also an enterprise tool; however, it has some free features. Talkwalker monitors most social media platforms, even niche ones such as Flickr and SoundCloud. It also performs comprehensive analysis of both text and images, and it reveals all possible information about people who mention your brand (or any other keyword) online. Talkwalker analyses age, gender, occupation, location, and the languages of your audience. It shows attitudes toward your brand and presents main content themes that come up together with your mentions.
Talkwalker also does automated reports, allowing you to share key findings in seconds.
Price: Freemium model; paid plans start at $700/mo, but you can start for free here.
This is the year of Big Data, deep analytics, and social media. Social media monitoring covers all three of those, and that's how we know it's worth giving a try.
Any of the great tools on this list will make sure your knowledge about your audience is accurate, your social media marketing strategy is justified, and your customer service is top-level. Besides, nothing beats seeing the word-of-mouth spread online in real-time: That's the power of social media, and it's worth harnessing.
More Resources on Social Media Monitoring
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