Social Media Monitoring Tools - with Tips from Experts
Social media monitoring, a.k.a. social listening, plays an essential role in a brand, company or organization’s marketing strategy. People of all ages and backgrounds use social media - complaining about products, customer service, bad movies. Sharing photos of cats, talking politics, sharing recipes, and inciting riots. There’s feedback to be found, but you need the best social media monitoring tools.
Social media monitoring tools can track public opinion and help with reputation management, market research, customer service, and campaign tracking. We’ve selected some of the best tools for you to test. Now’s not the time for false modesty, so we’ve included our own monitoring tool, Free Social Search - give it a whirl and let us know what you think in the comments!
So here’s our list of the best of the rest of social media monitoring tools, with tips and recommendations from experts in the industry.
Hashtagify: Choose the Best Hashtags
Hashtags have become part of our language, #bigtime! They were born on Twitter but have since been adopted by Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Google search. Using a # means your content will be found by anyone interested in your chosen hashtag; they don’t even have to be followers.
The trick is to get your posts noticed by the right audience, the audience that’ll engage with your content.
Whilst there are many social media monitoring tools that’ll help you track and analyze hashtags, Hashtagify will help you choose the best one to optimize your post’s reach. Enter a keyword and Hashtagify will show you the top 10 hashtags; hover over each and you’ll find the relevancy and popularity.
Including the best hashtag can be the difference between your tweet reaching 200 people or 2000. Don’t waste your content; take your time, give Hashtagify a go (it’s a freebie), and find the right one for your needs.
Pro Tip: Peter Trapasso (@petertrapasso), Social Media Consultant
“Hashtagify is great for finding related tags. Simply search on any hashtag and get 10 related tags all for free. If you need more you can upgrade to a paid account. Another way to use this tool is to switch to ‘Table Mode’. This lets you see the popularity of a tag and how closely correlated related tags are.”
Iconosquare: Instagram Analytics - Measure, Understand, Improve
Instagram was designed for sharing photos and videos on mobiles. If you have a business profile, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights. Whilst the stats are useful, they’re not 100% accurate and only being available on mobile, visualization is not great. But, using social media monitoring tools like Iconosquare, Instagram users can not only view their posts, comments, and followers on a larger screen they can also find analytics and marketing insights such as follower growth, followers global location, comment rate and spread rate - which looks at the levels of engagement your photos are receiving beyond your follower group. You can check out your performance and benchmark against your competitors, track your hashtags, schedule your Instagram posts, and create your own influencer network. Iconosquare even lets you promote your Instagram feed on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.
The platform has four types of account, each offering different features. If you’re interested in trying before you buy, Iconosquare provides a 14-day free trial.
“Easily scan how many likes and comments you had for the month. Then, see how that relates to the previous month. I also love being able to scan and see what your most popular posts were in the last month, in terms of likes and comments.”
BuzzSumo: Create Better Content - Research, Amplification, Monitoring
BuzzSumo has several features for monitoring activity on social media. One great function is the content virality search. By entering a keyword or topic of your choice, you can quickly see the top performing blogs, articles, infographics, and see how often they have been shared and on which social networks. Another feature of BuzzSumo is the trending tab which lets you see not just the content but all the social media posts that are trending around a certain topic or interest area in one easy-to-understand screen.
BuzzSumo offers three types of account: Pro, Agency, and Enterprise. If you want to try before you buy, you can take advantage of a 14-day free trial.
“I’m a huge BuzzSumo.com fan. I use it to find the most shared content and key influencers in the topics that I’m most interested in. It’s super easy to use, and it has a great visual interface.”
TweetDeck: Fast & Easy Twitter Monitoring
TweetDeck is more about social media monitoring than analytics. With its multiple streams making it easy to track a variety of Twitter conversations. Customizable columns show your Twitter feed, direct messages, mentions, hashtags, trends, lists, favorites, search results, or all tweets by or to a single user. You can also create columns based on specific searches, trending topics and Twitter lists to keep track of every topic that may need your attention. It’s a great tool for using in real-time as it updates automatically, meaning you can monitor conversations as they’re happening. TweetDeck lets you send tweets immediately or schedule for later. There are a few tricks you can incorporate that give you even more precise results but I’ll leave it to Ann Smarty to explain …
…btw, it’s a freebie!
“My favorite monitoring tool is TweetDeck. Here I explain how I am using it to track all sorts of mentions including my favorite brand reputation management search trick allowing me to track all sorts of possible mentions of my name. For example, I use: “ann smarty” -> for mentions of my full name, seosmarty -> for mentions of my moniker whenever it happens to be untagged, and -from: @seosmarty -> to exclude my own tweets.”
Buffer: Manage Accounts on Social Networks
Buffer is an app intended for managing and monitoring social media content. It lets you schedule and share posts to send to your social media accounts. With its free plan, you can post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+. Rather than logging into your accounts, Buffer does it for you, simultaneously.
You can make status updates and create tweets using the default timeslots in the tool or by choosing your own times, depending on when your audience is online. As far as social media monitoring tools go, Buffer’s free version is great and allows up to 10 posts to be scheduled. You are limited to one social media account per platform.
There are built in analytics that count the number of clicks, likes, retweets, mentions, favorites, and potential views each post has.
If you’re happy to pay, Buffer offers the Awesome Plan. You’ll get additional features such as being able to add 15 RSS feeds of content per profile. You’ll also find more analytics, including the number of posts sent out and how many active users there were over a period of time. You’ll be able to schedule up to 100 posts and manage 10 social profiles, either Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, or LinkedIn.
The free and Awesome plans are designed for individuals, teams and agencies have a choice of small, medium, and large, depending on the number of team members using. All the paid plans offer a free trial so you can try before you buy.
“Do I recommend Buffer? Yes, yes and yes! I love it and it frees up so much of my time. If you’re struggling right now to get a foothold on social media and would like to minimize the effort while amplifying your results, then Buffer is definitely for you. I suggest you start out on a free trial and if you like it, feel free to go on to premium.”
AgoraPulse: Create a Strong Online Presence
AgoraPulse offers features to cover social media marketing, monitoring, and management. It focuses on real-time tracking of your brand and keywords in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’ll receive alerts when mentions are found so you can respond immediately, plus you can tag them so you can find at a later date.
The tool reports on audience, engagement, management, and awareness, and you can invite your team to view or post on your social networks, depending on the levels of access you assign. Keep your online presence active by tracking and responding to posts and comments quickly.
Analytics are will show your biggest fans with regard to engagement, shares, and mentions. These stats can then be downloaded to PowerPoint so you can share results across your teams.
AgoraPulse is an affordable social media monitoring tool for small businesses, depending on the plan you choose. There’s a 15-day free trial, just to be sure it’s the right monitoring tool for you.
“AgoraPulse is a competitively priced tool with some great functionality. One of the nicest parts of AgoraPulse is that it’s very simple to use.”
If it’s comprehensive social media monitoring and social media analytics that you’re looking for, including hashtag tracking, brand listening, crisis management and more and more, try Talkwalker. In the meantime, these are some of the best social media monitoring tools we’ve found but if you’ve been using a tool that you think is great and we haven’t included it, let us know in the comments below.