Social media monitoring tools have been around for years. I think they are still underutilized, even though there are so many of them to choose from. The main reason is probably the fact that many business owners think media monitoring tools are for big brands only, and they don’t consider themselves to have an online presence requiring the use of social media monitoring tools.
Sure, there are businesses that are hardly ever talked about online, but a vast majority could take their marketing to the next level with the use of a social media monitoring tool.
Even though they can all be labelled as social media monitoring tools, they somehow vary a lot from each other.
There are social media monitoring tools that are totally free and those that you need to pay big bucks for.
Then, some of them are dedicated, standalone social media monitoring tools, whereas many of them are all-in-one solutions that combine monitoring, scheduling, publishing, content creation, etc.
I decided to make it a little bit easier for you folks and picked the 12 best media monitoring tools for small and medium businesses that offer a great bang for your buck!
The 12 best social media monitoring tools
Of course, you can do social media monitoring manually. This approach has many drawbacks, though.
Firstly, you have to put time aside to browse through all social media platforms and look for mentions. That requires a massive amount of time, and you’ll never be sure if you’ve missed a social media mention.
Secondly, you will have to set up a a reporting panel for your research. Some of the metrics, for example, the volume of mentions, you can measure by yourself. Others, for instance, brand awareness or social media share of voice are hard to track manually.
All of the tools listed below offer a free trial period. You can test them and choose the social media monitoring tool that suits your needs best.
Whether you want to collect mentions of your brand, keep an eye out on your competitors or evaluate the results of your marketing campaign, it’s all there for you in a single dashboard.
Brand24 crawls both social and traditional web so results from forums, blogs or news sites are there for you as well.
The sources covered by Brand24 include:
- public posts in which your Facebook Page has been tagged;
- public posts that were published by your FB Page
- public posts published by individual users on your FB Page
- comments to public posts published by your FB Page
- Facebook Page reviews
- public photos and videos on Instagram containing a specific hashtag
- public photos, videos and comments in which an Instagram Business or Creator Account’s alias has been tagged or @mentioned
- public photos, videos posted by an Instagram Business or Creator account
- Twitter mentions containing your keyword
- TikTok mentions
- Twitch mentions
- YouTube mentions
- web mentions
You can quickly get to the mentions that matter to you the most with a range of filters related to sentiment, influence, social media reach, etc.
One of my personal favourite features that saves a lot of time is the Slack integration that helps me keep track of all the most important mentions in a Slack channel while collaborating with my teammates at the same time.
It’s delivered within 1 business day and, as far as I know, is only included in the enterprise plan. However, it’s optional for plans below that and can be purchased on a per-project basis.
Apart from the core product, you can also make use of free hashtag and account trackers that that will help you monitor posts containing your hashtags, keywords and post by your competitors and yourself.
When I first got into the digital marketing, it thought Hootsuite was just a scheduling app, but there’s so, so much more to it than that!
In fact, it’s a robust tool offering a range of features beginning from scheduling, content curation, analytics, monitoring, etc.
You can either start a 30-day free trial or schedule a demo before you choose from 4 different plans depending on your needs and budget (Professional, Team, Business, Enterprise).
4. Sprout Social
Sprout Social categorizes its services by three different segments – business type, need and network.
Whether you’re a small business, agency, or an enterprise, you should find it useful.
It’s got quite a few features ranging from analytics, engagement, publishing, and listening.
Sprout offers three different pricing plans – Premium, Corporate and Enterprise that cost $99, $149 and $249 respectively.
Tweetdeck is a free tool that helps you set up streams of mentions.
It’s fully customisable, so you can set up a column that will help you track either a hashtag, keyword or a user.
On top of that, you can also monitor the activity of the people you follow or add a list column.
What I find particularly cool about it is the ability to schedule tweets. I used it quite often for content promotion on Twitter and found it highly useful for the Twitter chat I used to run in the past.
The only downside I can think if is it only monitors Twitter and no other social media platforms.
6. Buffer Reply
Buffer is yet another robust tool with a range of features at your disposal.
Famous for its transparency and company culture, it offers 5 different plans, one of which is free.
Social media monitoring is not available within the core product, but you’ll have access to it with the Bussines plan offered by Buffer Reply product. The monitoring feature only works for Twitter now.
Once again, we’re talking about a primarily social media management tool.
Supporting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and Youtube, Agora Pulse helps you publish, engage, listen, report and collaborate on your digital marketing projects.
It caters to small businesses as well as agencies and large teams.
Once you’ve done with the 14-day free trial, you can pick one of the plans ranging from €49 to €249.
8. Social Mention
Social Mention is a free social media search engine that aggregates user-generated content from across the web.
Following the information from their website, the tool monitors 100+ social media properties.
You don’t need to set up an account to start monitoring a topic or your brand, which is pretty cool, but you also won’t be able to save your results for the future.
Still, considering it’s a free tool it provides valuable information for those just starting with social media monitoring.
Talkwalker is a bit of both worlds – you can go for its pricier version or settle for one of the free products – Talkwalker Alerts or Talkwalker’s Free Social Search.
While Alerts seem to be a Google Alerts alternative, social search is all about tracking your brand, company, or hashtag across the web.
The main product consists of social listening and analytics suite, influencer marketing platform and AI engine.
As far as the plans are concerned, the Basic one aimed at smaller brands or owned media-focused organisations costs $9,600 yearly. The prices of the two remaining plans, Corporate and Enterprise are discussed on request.
Falcon is another product that took the all-in-one approach.
It helps you manage your content in one calendar, monitor the social web for insights, use one inbox for all your interactions, track your performance across channels, create automated ad campaigns and see all your audience data in one place.
It has a pretty standard division of their plans, so we’ve got Starter, Pro and Premium. There’s no free trial and all pricing details are available upon requested demo.
11. Zoho Social
Zoho Social is yet another robust tool that helps you in a number of different areas from creating, scheduling and publishing content to monitoring brand mentions and keeping all your social conversations in one place.
You can engage people mentioning your brand directly from the dashboard, but what makes it stand out from the rest is the Facebook Lead Ads integration that helps you capture and monitor leads in real time.
Test the tool for 15 days for free before you choose one of the available plans.
Standard and Professional are available for Individuals & Businesses that are available for both monthly and yearly subscriptions, whereas Agency and Agency plus aimed at Agencies are available only on yearly subscriptions.
Based in Paris, France, Mention has recently been acquired by Mynewsdesk, an online newsroom and PR platform provider.
However, both tools continue to provide separate services and Mention helps people monitor their products, industries, competitors, etc. anywhere online.
You can take it for a spin with a free trial and then choose one of the three available plans, $29 a month being the most affordable.
There’s also Mention for Enterprise and Agencies that you need to request demos to get all the details.
What is social media monitoring?
Before you decide on the best social media monitoring tool, let’s answer some basic question first – what is social media monitoring? Does your company needs social media monitoring?
A social media monitoring tool helps you track publicly available mentions containing your predefined keywords. You can find a lot of pieces of information relevant to your industry, including:
- brand mentions
- branded hashtags
- trends within your business niche
- brand mentions and branded hashtags of your competitors
Social media monitoring is not only about collecting mentions.
The best social media monitoring tools will also analyse the results, providing you with key social metrics.
By adding a social media monitoring tool to your marketing stack you can track social media metrics and KPIs and identify marketing activities that have a positive impact on your bottom line.
A social media monitoring tool will help you measure:
- the levels of brand awareness
- social media KPIs, for example, social media reach, the number of comments, likes, and shares
- the sentiment around a brand, product, or service
- the share of voice
- top public profiles and the most active profiles talking about your brand
Collecting the data is the first step to success.
Once you start drawing actionable conclusions from social media monitoring data, you move from social monitoring to social listening.
What’s the difference between the social monitoring and social listening?
Social media monitoring focuses on collecting the data. You know what people are talking about, you measure the results of your social media campaign, and keep finger on what’s happening within your business niche.
Social listening is more proactive approach. Social listening can have a direct impact on your overall marketing strategy. Social listening involves using the insights you gathered to improve your social media marketing.
How to set up a social media monitoring project?
We’ve already discussed this topic in the beginning of the blog post. You can monitor keywords related directly to your brand, for example:
- the name of your company or product
- your branded hashtag
- your campaign hashtag
- your slogan
- the name of your CEO or other employees active online
Moreover, you can track the keywords related to your competitors or industry in general.
But social media monitoring tools will give you much more than just your brand mentions, provided you type the right set of keywords.
Social media monitoring tools will provide you with information about people looking for solutions you offer.
Combine words such as “recommend” or “suggest” with keywords related to your business or industry.
In the panel you will see results linked directly to your product. Just like in the mentions below, where a Twitter user is looking for a take our restaurant recommendation:
Why do you need social media monitoring?
The benefits of using a social media monitoring tool for your business are hard to miss.
First of all, you can measure the results of your social media activities.
A social media monitoring tool will help you measure key social media metrics, for example, the level of brand awareness or social media reach of your posts.
The data gathered in a social media monitoring tool can encourage you to change your company positioning.
Furthermore, social media monitoring will help you prevent social media crises. A social media monitoring tool will let you know about any unhappy customer talking about you online.
Which social media monitoring tool should you use?
That’s a question only you can answer.
You’re the one who knows your needs and budget the best.
With a majority of tools offering free trials, your best bet would be to spend some playing with the ones that seem the most interesting to you to pick the one that aligns with your requirements the most.
Hopefully, this list will make your search easier and less time-consuming!
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