Social mention: how to track them and how to respond to them? 2021 Guide

July 26, 2017 ・ 12 min read

Whether you’re a small business that gets little to zero social media interactions, or a brand investing thousands of dollars into its social media presence, you’re most likely talked about by other people online. Every time you appear in other people’s tweets, Facebook updates, or Instagram comments, it counts as a social mention.

Social mention is the reason you are building a robust social media presence.

The more people talk about your company online, the bigger brand awareness you have. And brand awareness translates directly to increased sales and your overall position on the market.

Here is everything you wanted to know about it:

What is a social mention?

Social mention is an online piece of content that mentions a particular keyword or keywords in social media and beyond. They can be connected to your business and brand, but not only.

Social mentions can be tracked using media monitoring tools, for example, Brand24.

Start using a media monitoring tool for free!

Such a media monitoring tool, apart from social mention tracking, offers a deeper insight into a mention in the shape of quantitive and qualitative data, such as:

  • Volume of mentions
  • Social and non-social reach
  • Sentiment
  • Influential authors of mentions
  • Most popular mentions
  • … and more!

Social mentions are important to brands on many different levels and we’ll outline some of the crucial use cases down below.

Social mention in reputation management

As I mentioned above, some businesses are talked about more than others. It doesn’t change the fact that all of them should keep track of their social mentions.

Building an online reputation as a business takes years of dedication and hard work. You need to put a strategy in place to thoughtfully create your brand identity and personality and yet it all can go to waste with one bad move.

That’s because people won’t take a step back when they want to attack you on social media. It’s not that bad when they’re just trying to troll you, but it could do much harm if there’s a genuine reason for them to trash talk you on social.

In such situations, timing is of the essence. If you don’t monitor your social mentions closely, one negative comment can quickly escalate to a PR crisis that’s going to hit you hard.

On the other hand, these are not just bad people out there only waiting for a chance to put you in a bad light. Unless there’s some major fuck-up on your side, a majority of social mentions of your brand are probably going to be positive.

Stay in control of your reputation.

Social mention in competitor monitoring

If there are people talking about your business, they are also talking about your competitors.

They might say good things and that’s totally fine, you’re not going to engage such social mentions.

But some social media users are going to say negative things about them. Or ask them for support only to receive no reply in return. That’s when you should come on stage.

Don’t get me wrong – you’re not going to join people attacking your competitors, but if you see your business rivals ignoring people dissatisfied with their service, that’s where you step in. Let them acknowledge you’re there for them and will happily help them out with their problem, as long as you’re capable of doing it, of course.

Not to leave with too many doubts, here’s how I handled a similar case quite a while ago:

an example of a social mention of a competitor
an example of a social mention of a competitor

As you can see, it took five days for our competitor to get back to Hailey, and that was way too long. You can’t leave a customer waiting so long these days. And we couldn’t be happier about the outcome of this situation:

An example of a social mention of Brand24

This was all down to monitoring social mentions of our competitors and a prompt reply, obviously, which leads us nicely to customer service.

Apart from this, it’s always good to be aware of what your competitors do. By tracking social media mentions about your competitors, you can discover valuable information:

  • New product or feature releases
  • Performance of their marketing efforts
  • Number of conversations and their social media reach
  • Pain points
  • Customer complaints
  • … and more!

Start tracking your competitors!

Social mention in social media customer service

It’s another area where social mention is of the essence.

32% of users who contact a brand expect a social media customer service response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a reply within 60 minutes.

You’ll be able to google hundreds or maybe thousands of articles on why social media customer service is so important these days and there’s a reason for it.

Remember how you’d file a complaint a decade or so ago that hardly anyone but you and the company involved would know about? Well, it’s been a different ball game for at least a few years now.

Been to a restaurant and were unsatisfied with the service, food, whatever?

Unfortunately for brands, many people wouldn’t hesitate to post lengthy descriptions of their experiences on social. If businesses fail to pick up on such social mentions, they are exposed to things we’ve already discussed above, like serious damage to their reputation, or a competitor taking advantage of their mishap.

Consumers’ behavior changed drastically over the years and they tend to make their choices based on opinions they find on social media. Many people assume businesses are online at all times and expect replies almost right away.

It’s no wonder customer satisfaction rises when a brand responds to people on social media. A consumer survey conducted for Sprout Social indicates that when this happens:

  • 70% of people are more likely to use a brand’s product or service
  • 65% of people have more brand loyalty
  • 25% of people are less likely to go to a competitor
  • 25% of people are less likely to post negative things about the brand, product or service
  • 75% of people are likely to share a good experience on their own profile


Those stats should be shown to any business that is not taking care of their social media customer service. Ignoring consumers will eventually affect the bottom line of such businesses, and that’s something none of the business owners wants.

If you track social mentions about your company, such as company or product name, you can spot your customers seeking assistance.

The good thing about social media monitoring tools is that they identify and track social media mentions in real-time. It means that you get to see them the moment they appear online.

Start a free trial and improve your customer service!

These days, consumers expect companies to react immediately. If you’re keen on providing lightning-fast customer service, there are ways to receive notifications the second a social mention appears online. For example, you can receive real-time notifications in Brand24 via email notifications or push notifications in the mobile app.

Social mention in public relations

Spotting and responding to social mentions in public relations is crucial for your brand reputation.

Reacting swiftly to a negative mention can prevent a PR crisis from escalating. All you have to do is regularly track social mentions and keep tabs on the sentiment of your brand.

By tracking social mentions you can also track your PR and all online publications mentioning your business, brand, product, or service.

Social mention for customer insights

Get to know your customers.

There has been a shedload of studies on why people are so eager to share on social media. Here are the most common reasons:

  • To bring value to others
  • To define ourselves to others
  • To grow and nourish relationships
  • For self-fulfilment
  • To support causes that matter

People share also their experiences connected to products and companies. They are happy to recommend good products and feel much obliged to warn their social networks about all sorts of negative experiences.

You can track social mentions connected to your business and products to see if and how people talk about them online. This way, you can learn about a number of things:

  • Who are your customers
  • How they use your product
  • Are they happy with it
  • Would they improve something
  • Where does your target audience hang out online
  • … and even more

Discover consumer insights with media monitoring!

Social mention for tracking hashtag performance

It’s good to have your own branded hashtags.

Not only do they support your brand image, look cool and boost brand awareness, but also help you measure a few important things:

  • Brand awareness
  • How often people mention your hashtag
  • Social media reach of these mentions
  • Effects of your hashtag marketing campaigns
  • Identify advocates of your product or business
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To put it shortly, hashtags let you analyze how your business is doing online. They come in handy, especially on social media platforms.

How to track social mentions?

If you’re interested in trying social mention tools and you want to track any of these things mentioned above, you can try out Brand24 for free.

If you already have your account, here’s how to track your social mentions.

Set up a project

You want to track social mentions connected to your business, so it’s good to monitor a couple of keywords:

  • The name of your company
  • Names of your products or services service
  • Your branded hashtags
  • Social media handles of your business profiles
  • A type of product / service you offer
  • Company names of your competitors and their products

Start your free project!

Here’s what an idea of the keywords we, at Brand24, track:

Create your company project.

Once you click save, the tool starts mentions tracking for you and loads them into your dashboard. You’ll be able to see how many mentions of a given keyword appeared across various online sources, including social media platforms:

A list of sources Brand24 collects social mentions from

And browse mentions individually:An example of a social mention on Twitter

Apart from mentions themselves, what probably matters, even more, is the graph displaying the engagement and sentiment of your social mentions over time:Engagement graph inside Brand24 dashboard

A number of mentions, social media reach, interactions, such as likes, shares and comments, as well as positive and negative sentiment, it’s all there for you, reflecting how all those things change in relation to your social mentions.

You can find a round-up of the most active locations inside the Summary and Analysis tabs of your dashboard:

An example of the most active locations inside Brand24 dashboard

On top of it all, Brand24 helps you find influencers and much, much more!

How to respond to social mentions?

Whether you’re a small or mid-sized business that collects dozens of social mentions per day, or a large company that gets tens of thousands of social mentions per day, what matters most is what you can do with a social mention.

How do you respond to the very people who are behind each social mention: your customers, your clients, your users, and your fans?

There are a few types of social mentions: positive, negative, and neutral.

A positive social mention gives you an opportunity to show appreciation to the person behind it.

A negative social mention gives you an opportunity to potentially solve a problem. Or, it lets you display some sensitive smarts and show sympathy for customers who didn’t have good experiences.

A neutral social mention is an opportunity for you to collect feedback about your service or product that wouldn’t otherwise have been shared. Collect these social mentions for:

  • information on how to improve user experience
  • ideas about the changes to be made for the next version of your product
  • research on your target audience
  • a deeper look into the factors that influence purchase decisions

Whether it’s a positive social mention, a negative social mention, or a neutral social mention, each social mention is an opportunity for you to engage with your audience.

What to do with a positive social mention

If only every social mention could be ego-boosting flattery! Unfortunately, that’s not the case. But that only makes us appreciate each positive social mention even more.

DJ and record producer Alan Walker spends his entire day making music, but he still finds time to let his listeners know how much their support and opinions matter to him with posts like this on his social channels:

“Reading all your comments. Thanks for all the kind words, I’m glad you like it!”

A screenshot of a response to a positive social mention

If you’re still at the point where you think a positive social mention isn’t worth any response, just wait until you receive your first negative social mention.

Then, you may even be tempted to respond to each positive social mention individually. If your brand doesn’t generate too many social mentions yet and you can handle this, great!

Nothing beats personalization and individual attention.

If, however, you receive more than 400 comments & 16k likes from a single post, just take a cue from DJ Alan Walker and simply acknowledge that your listener, user, customer, or client has taken personal time to praise you in a social mention, and thank them for it!

What to do with a negative social mention

The example below is our favorite kind of negative social mention. A specific problem has been addressed, which gives us an opportunity to offer a solution.

What to do with a negative social mention

The T-Mobile customer above is experiencing trouble with coverage and is unable to work because of this problem. They clearly anticipate a quick response from T-Mobile.

If you receive a negative social mention like this, which poses a problem that you can solve, fantastic!

Any viable problem has a viable solution. Just remember to respond with patience and kindness in your answer.

It’s understandable if you need time to find an answer, or to contact a colleague in a different department. But the person who posted the negative social mention will still appreciate a speedy response, even if it is just an initial message to let them know that you’ve seen the negative social mention.

Now, what if the social mention is more of a scathing insult, and there isn’t a particular problem for you to solve? What should you do then?

A scathingly negative social mention is ruled by emotions. The customer who posted the negative social mention didn’t take personal time out of their day to do so because he or she had a wonderful and problem-free experience.

Whether the problem occurred with your company, a partner, retailer, supplier, or shipping services provider is irrelevant. In the eyes of the customer, you’re guilty by association.

The best way to handle a situation like this is to be direct and apologize.

Acknowledge any mistakes or oversight that may have occurred.

Be sympathetic and truly listen to your customers.

Document the exchange with this negative social mention so that you can learn from it, use it to train future employees, and improve the way that you handle situations like these in the future.

Here’s a guided infographic with more details on each step of the process for handling negative social mentions.

Don’t get upset if the customer doesn’t immediately change their tune afterwards.

Your goal isn’t to change their mind. When you’re handling any negative social mention, remember that:

  • If there is a specific problem mentioned, try to solve it.
  • If there isn’t a particular problem for you to solve, at least acknowledge that your customers did not have a positive experience, and apologize for their inconvenience.
  • If applicable, offer compensation or a small token as a gesture of your appreciation that personal time has been wasted.

What to do with a neutral social mention

A neutral social mention is an opportunity for you to collect feedback about your product. Take the example below:

A screenshot of a neutral social mention from Instagram

While this social mention neither raves nor complains about the Lays’ vs. Doritos versions of wasabi chips, it provides relevant marketing information to both Lays and Doritos (both are actually part of the Frito-Lay family, but that’s another topic).

This neutral social mention shows Lays which other chips their consumers compare them to (Doritos), and the flavors that their customers enjoy (wasabi).

Collecting other social mentions like this (and unlike this) will give you access to all kinds of information that will be helpful to your market research.

Neutral social mentions can help you fill in the gaps and answer questions like:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Who is my main competitor?
  • What do my customers like about my product?
  • What do my customers dislike about my product?
  • How can I improve my product?
  • Why do they choose my product?
  • Why do they choose my competitor’s product?