The 12 best social media monitoring tools
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 software.
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 social media monitoring tools for small and medium businesses that offer a great bang for your buck!
- Sprout Social
- Buffer Reply
- Social Mention
- Zoho Social
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.
Thirdly, thanks to professionals tools with robust analytics sections, you can use the power of social media listening. Social listening will provide you with actionable insights that are based on the data you gathered from social networks.
All of the tools listed below offer a free trial period. You can test them and choose the social media monitoring software 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, news sites, podcasts, and newsletters 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
Brand24 will collect every social mention that will occur on these social media platforms in real-time and analyse them thoroughly.
Moreover, Brand24 analyses social media conversations and provides you with social media analytics. Inside the dashboard, you can find metrics such as:
- sentiment analysis
- the volume of mentions
- estimated social media reach
- top public profiles talking about your brand, product, or service
- identify trending topics by monitoring trending hashtags
Another useful feature are custom reports. Whenever you need to present the results of your work to your supervisors or share the customer insights you collected, you can do it by preparing a social media report.
You can choose the metrics that will appear in the report and add your company branding colours and logo.
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.
Price: Brand24 starts at $49 per month and offers a 14-day free trial.
Keyhole helps you in many different areas, from brand monitoring, market research, event monitoring, influencer marketing, social media insights, to collecting historical data from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Historical data are 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.
Keyhole is a robust social listening tool that offers sentiment analysis and other useful features, for example, tracking engagement or reach of social media posts, and social media reporting.
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.
Price: Keyhole Suite — Social Listening and Account Analytics starts at $59 per month. The tool offers a 14-day free trial.
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!
Hootsuite is a social media management software that not only monitors different social media platforms for mentions of your brand in real-time, it also offers robust social media analytics section.
Hootsuite allows you to track your online presence, analyse your performance on social, create and manage advertising campaigns, create and publish posts, and manage incoming messages.
Hootsuite is the tool of choice if you need to manage multiple social media profiles. Hootsuite will help you manage your profiles on most important social media networks, for example, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
Price: 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). The basic plan starts at $19 per month.
4. Sprout Social
Sprout Social categorizes its services by three different segments – business type, need, and network.
Sprout Social works on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The tool covers four major aspects of social media management:
- publishing and scheduling
The tool will let you uncover customer insights from online conversations and improve your overall social media strategy. You will be able to better understand your customers, prepare campaigns that will reach the right audience, and measure the results of those campaigns.
Sprout is a robust social media listening tool that will help you manage various social media accounts in one dashboard.
Price: Sprout offers three different pricing plans – Premium, Corporate and Enterprise that cost $99, $149 and $249 per month.
Tweetdeck is a free tool that helps you set up streams of mentions of your brand that appears on one social media platform — Twitter.
It’s fully customisable, so you can set up a column that will help you track your Twitter presence and manage messages.
On top of that, you can also monitor the activity of the people you follow or add a list column.
Tweetdeck is a great tool if you want to take a closer look at your Twitter presence. You will be able to spot trending topics, and prepare content that will boost your brand awareness.
This management platform has a few drawbacks. Firstly, it does not offer any social media analytics. You still need additional tool to measure social media reach or track your keywords in real-time.
Price: Tweetdeck is a free tool.
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 Business plan offered by Buffer Reply product. The monitoring feature only works for Twitter now.
If you want to focus your social media presence on Twitter, take a closer look at Buffer.
Once again, we’re talking about a primarily social media management tool.
The tool works across various social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Agorapulse helps you publish, engage, listen, report and collaborate on your digital marketing projects.
Agorapulse is one of the multipurpose social media monitoring tools. It lets you schedule social media posts, listen to your customers online conversations, and measure the impact of your content.
Moreover, you can report the results of your activities and report them to your colleagues and supervisors.
It caters to small businesses as well as agencies and large teams.
Price: Once you’ve done with the 14-day free trial, you can pick one of the plans ranging from €49 to €249 per month.
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.
Compared to other social listening tools, Social Mentions is a very basic one. It doesn’t cover major social media channels, but blogs, forums, news sites, Flickr, and Reddit. The tool offers a limited analytics section.
If you want to analyse your online presence mention by mention and you don’t focus on major social channels, Social Mention is a provider worth considering.
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.
Besides real-time social monitoring, Talkwalker offers customers insights. The tool gathers data from social networks and other online sources and combines them with market data. This will help not only your customer service, but will help you make smarter and more informed decisions regarding your products, brand, or services.
The main product consists of social listening and analytics suite, influencer marketing platform and AI engine. Thanks to KPIs and machine learning algorithms, you will be able to produce and distribute content your audience wants to interact with.
This social media monitoring software covers multiple social networks to give you the most comprehensive data possible. The KPIs you can find inside the tool include:
- readership or how far your owned and earned media traveled
- global coverage or where in the world are customers talking about you
- message pull-through or is your message getting through to the right audience
- consumer sentiment or how consumers feel about your products
- website traffic or how much traffic are your campaigns driving
- share of voice or how many people are talking about you compared to your competitors
Price: 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, and schedule social media posts.
This social media listening tool covers all major social media platforms, such as: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, news sites, blogs, forums.
The tool helps you set benchmarks for your business, identify trending topics, analyse the sentiment around your brand, examine demographics, and find influencers. Of course, the tool collects mentions in real-time.
Moreover, it is a neat management platform. You can schedule all your content within one calendar across all social media channels.
Price: 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 social media management 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. In other words, Zoho Social makes social media management a piece of cake.
You can work with major social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
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.
Zoho Social helps you better understand your audience, prepare the most engaging content, and prepare pre-built reports to share the results of your work.
The platform examines every social mention to provide you with the most accurate set of data possible.
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. Mention focuses on three key areas:
An interesting feature are Advanced Alerts that help sift through the Internet noise and get to the information you need to make better decisions.
Moreover, Mentions allows you to precisely track the impact of your work and compare trends by filtering key online conversations.
Analysing online content will help you manage your customer service and stay one step ahead of your competitors.
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?
Since now, you have a list of the best social media monitoring tool, let’s answer some basic questions – what is social media monitoring? Does your company need social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring tools help 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.
Social media monitoring tools 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 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 various social media activities and campaigns.
Social media monitoring tools will help you measure key social media metrics, for example, your hashtag campaign performance or social media reach of your posts. You will be able to closely track your social media marketing campaign, the results of cooperation with social media influencers, and everyday activities.
Active social media monitoring will help you prevent social media crises. Once you spot a sudden spike in the number of negative mentions, you can take an action and prevent the crisis from escalating.
Media monitoring tools not only collect social media mentions, but also analyse the results. In the Analysis tab you will find a lot of actionable insights on how to boost your online presence.
For example, you can closely examine the question your customers pose on social media and answer them extensively or include the answers in your promotional materials. That way, you can reach your target audience with a precise message.
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.
Remember to test the tools to find the perfect match. There are several areas you should take into account while choosing the right social media monitoring tool:
- how much does the tool cost? can you get a discount if you pay for a year in advance?
- can you test the tool during a free trial period? Can you schedule a demo?
- do you need a standalone tool or are do you want social media monitoring to be a part of social media management tool?
- what social media platforms are covered?
- what features does the tool have?
A carefully-chosen social media monitoring tool that fits your needs will help you bring your social media game to another level.
Hopefully, this list will make your search easier and less time-consuming!
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