Sifting through the noise of social media is no easy task.
Luckily, there are social listening tools designed specifically to hone in on what matters most to your brand.
That’s why I’ve put together a full review of three of my favorite social listening tools – so you can stop guessing and start listening.
Social listening lets us track what’s being said in social media, without having to monitor all networks 24/7. It tells us things like:
- What’s being said about your brand
- When you’re branding is being mentioned on all channels
- Important metrics to analyze trends
So without further adieu, let’s dive in.
Best Social Listening Tools – Mention
Mention is one name that’s synonymous with social listening.
It’s a tool created to monitor the web and major social media tools, and informs you everytime someone mentions your name, brand or target keywords. Combine that with analytics and competitor analysis, and you have a social listening tool that’s hard to beat.
- Set up monitoring for over 1 billion sources daily – including social media, blogs, forums, etc.
- Monitor your own brand, competitors, and/or keywords
- When a mention is reported, you’ll be notified via email or view directly through the site
- Find details on each mention; you can click on each to go to the source (the website that mentioned you, Twitter bio, etc.)
- Priority alerts are highlighted; generally, priority means your name was mentioned or they come from a site with high traffic
- Alerts that aren’t important to your (alerts that come from the same source and are consistently deleted) will be removed
- Use the My Team page to add team members and assign them tasks and mentions to monitor
- Customize your results by adding, combining or excluding keywords
- Create and export real-time reports
- Filter your mentions and results by language, location, date, or sentiment
- Integrate with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reply directly from your Mention dashboard
- Use influencer scores, which will show who the most important influencers are in your niche
- Use sentiment analysis to gauge how people feel about your brand, be it positive, negative, or neutral
- Competitor analysis dashboard lets you view analytics for you and your competitor’s mentions right next to each other
Getting Started With Mention
Set up is a simple process with Mention (and you have the option to try a free demo to get your feet wet).
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be prompted to set up your first alert. First, you’ll choose a name. This could be a recent blog update, a specific product or category, etc.
Then, choose any terms you’d like included or excluded, and set your language preferences.
Next, you’ll choose which sources you’d like to monitor, such as:
- Specific social sites
- Images (from Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)
- Web (all other sites)
You’ll also select the brand you’d like to monitor. This will most likely be your business name, or perhaps your given name if it’s closely tied to your brand.
As soon as you’ve saved your alert, Mention gets to work.
Mention has three pricing tiers:
Solo – $29/month
- 2 basic alerts
- 3,000 mentions
- 1 user
Starter – $99/month
- 5 basic alerts
- 5,000 mentions
- 3 users
- Sentiment analysis
- Influencers dashboard
Company – Custom, starts at $299/month
- Boolean alerts
- Custom mentions
- Unlimited users
- Everything included in Starter plan, as well as:
- Data exports
- Facebook crawling
- Historical data
- Insight Center
While the pricing starts out very reasonable, to really make the most of Mention I’d recommend springing for at least the Starter plan.
Also note that some sources are only available for monitoring at a higher level.
Mention’s biggest con is in the price tag. Though not outrageous for a tool so robust, it can prove a burden for smaller companies.
That’s only because so many of its major features, including data exports, are only available at the top level.
When it comes to social listening, Mention is hard to beat. It’s easy to use and features and intuitive interface, allowing you to get to work immediately.
Best Social Listening Tools – Keyhole
Keyhole is a tool aimed primarily at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This one is unique in that it goes beyond brand mentions to track URLs, hashtags, and keywords.
Keeping a close eye on the hashtags and keywords most relevant to your business can help you stay on top of important trends, monitor what your competition is saying, and form more relevant content for your audience based on how those hashtags and keywords are being used.
- You create “tracks” (the hashtags or keywords you want to monitor) and Keyhole will track and report on all posts that mention your track in real-time
- Provides details on each of your campaigns, including retweets, replies, and the source’s demographics and location
- Creates downloadable reports
- Its real-time dashboard will show you how many people posted with a particular hashtag or keyword, along with the number of likes, retweets, and impressions
- Tracks the most influential engaging with your keywords and hashtags
- The “Tracker Volume” section allows you to measure spikes in popularity for your keywords, so you can capitalize and join the conversation
- You can track specific influencers and competitors, and receive notifications whenever they use your keyword
- You choose how often you want to receive alerts: weekly, daily, or in real-time
- You can also target influencers by follower size, so you’ll know when someone with a significant following mentions your keyword (and can therefore promptly reach out to new influencers)
- Use it to track hashtag campaigns and their performance – overall impressions, reach, top influencer, location, etc.
Getting Started With Keyhole
Nothing fancy here (and that’s a good thing.)
After your free trial period, you’ll register with Keyhole and immediately set up your first tracker.
That will likely be a hashtag or keyword relevant to your business, though you have the option to choose @account, a URL, or @mention.
Next, you’ll be able to choose up to four variations of your keyword or hashtag, which will also be tracked.
Choose your settings, and you’re ready to go.
There are multiple plans available through Keyhole:
Professional – $249/month
- 3 hashtag & keyword trackers
- 3 account trackers
- 50,000 posts
Team – $314/month
- 5 hashtag & keyword trackers
- 5 account trackers
- 125,000 posts
Corporate – $539/month
- 10 hashtag & keyword trackers
- 10 account trackers
- 250,000 posts
Agency – $899/month
- 25 hashtag & keyword trackers
- 25 account trackers
- 250,000 posts
Enterprise – custom pricing
- Unlimited hashtag & keyword trackers
- Unlimited account trackers
- Unlimited posts
As you can see, there’s an obvious price jump associated with the number of trackers you can have at one time. Therefore, the plan that’s best for you will be directly tied to the size of your business
Keyhole’s biggest strength is, in a sense, its greatest weakness: it works extremely well doing very specific things; namely, keyword and hashtag tracking.
And while that’s a good thing, it can easily become a con when combined with a pretty hefty price tag, and the fact that you’ll likely need to use another tool in conjunction with it.
For bigger business, this won’t be as much of a problem. But smaller ones may find themselves leaning towards a more comprehensive social media tool.
Keyhole Bottom Line
Keyhole serves a very unique – and extremely helpful – purpose in the social media world. By closely monitoring hashtags and keywords, brands can capitalize on relevant content, trends, and influencers.
Not only that, but its ability to help identify influencers, monitor competitors, and better understand your target audience makes it an ideal tool for understanding and planning future campaigns.
Best Social Listening Tools – Hootsuite Insights
HootSuite is no stranger to the social media scene. It’s been one of the more popular platforms for publishing, reporting, and monitoring since its debut in 2008.
With all that under its belt, it’s no surprise that Hootsuite also extends to social listening. The biggest benefit Hootsuite brings to the game is its integration with its scheduling and monitoring tools. So when someone does mention you, you can reply back ASAP, regardless of the channel.
- You can filter your results by sentiment, location, platform, or language
- It gauges the overall sentiment around your brand so you can understand how people are feeling and reacting, and allows you to filter results to see which segments of your audience feel certain ways. This information helps you identify which content is resonating with your audience, and which should be adjusted for better engagement and sentiment.
- Reply to mentions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ through the platform, so you can quickly answer any customer service questions or respond to negative (or positive!) feedback
- It can access data from over 100 million sources, so you can monitor your mentions and conversations on blogs, news sites, forums, etc., as well as social media channels
- One comprehensive dashboard is updated in real-time
- The Signals feature alerts you to any spikes in volume or tone of conversations you’re tracking.
- The feature also alerts you if there are spikes or drops around any of your keywords
- Set alerts to be notified of any spikes in sentiment, customer complaints, or any other measure. Users will also be alerted to trending news stories and real-time influencers
- Its Conversation Maps feature shows you the most commonly used words and phrases related to your search
- Has full team integration, so you can add members and assign them tasks
- Track influencers, stories, and trends in a single, visual dashboard
Getting Started With Hootsuite Insights
After your free demo, you’ll start with Hootsuite Insights by setting up your first stream. This is based on the whatever you’re trying to monitor in that particular stream.
This could be straightforward, based on brand mentions or specific keywords. Or, you can go much more in-depth to gauge people’s sentiment around a particular brand or industry (Hootsuite has an example here).
Once your stream is set up, it’s time to start trackings. All results will appear in your dashboard, where you can manage and respond.
Hootsuite Insights Pricing
Hootsuite Insights is separate from Hootsuite, and you’ll need to contact them for subscription plans and pricing information.
Hootsuite Insights Cons
Hootsuite Insights – and Hootsuite in general – is an extremely complex platform, and doesn’t come without a learning curve.
And keep in mind, you can use Hootsuite software to track your social mentions and reply in real-time, without springing for the added Insights capabilities.
Hootsuite Insights Bottom Line
Hootsuite Insights is an excellent tool for social listening, analytics, and monitoring capabilities.
Whether or not it’s right for you will depend on what you’re looking for. If you simply want to track to brand mentions, stick to Hootsuite.
But if you want to take things a step forward and monitor the sentiment around your conversations and topics, segment your audience, and track important keywords and conversation spikes in real-time, Hootsuite Insights is the way to go.
Social Listening Tools FAQ:
1. What Can I Do With The Data Acquired From Social Listening Tools?
The data from social media listening tools can be used in a variety of ways.
In short, this data can be used to help you make informed business and marketing decisions.
Having this access to customer insights can help you hone in on where your focus should be in terms of customer service, lead generation, new trends and so on.
Because the results are in real time, this data can also help you catch any pain points and address them quickly.
2. Do Social Listening Tools Only “Listen” To Social Media Channels?
While social listening tools do focus on social networks, most tools can crawl many different websites such as blogs, review sites, forums, and so on.
It’s important when choosing a tool, to do some research beforehand to make sure it offers the coverage you’re looking for.
3. Are The Use Of Social Listening Tools Ethical?
Yes. Social listening tools are only able to crawl data that is already publicly available.
They do not have access to private social media accounts, privacy protected posts, private messages and so on.
Get Started With The Best Social Listening Tools
There you have – the top three tools for gaining in-depth information on your brand, keywords, and conversations.