The 10 best social media monitoring tools
Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed social media evolve from being a channel to post messages on to a game-changing channel for marketing. While having a social media presence and monitoring social media engagement is important, choosing the right social media monitoring tools is confusing. In this post, I'm going to cover the uses of social media monitoring and share my list of tools you can use to start or improve your social strategy.
What is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring refers to the process of tracking conversations about your brand or a topic across different social media channels, blogs, forums, news, reviews, etc. We’re talking millions of sources here — where people are sharing about their experiences with your product or service.
Quick Search word cloud - top hashtags from ~50M mentions about social media over the past 6 months.
How do you find all these relevant conversations and information online and process these to get useful insights to get a 360 view of your company or brand?
Let me paint a picture for you: how social media monitoring tools work is that they crawl and index these millions of sites and channels. Making it possible for us to search through this overflowing amount of information to find mentions of our brands or specific topics.
Of course, these social media monitoring tools vary from one to another, some are specialized in certain channels, regions or languages, while others have much wider coverage. Ultimately, it is a question of why you’re monitoring social media and what your social media listening strategy is in the first place.
Let’s review what are the more common reasons in which businesses can benefit from using social media monitoring tools.
Why you should use social media monitoring?
There are a lot of benefits to social media monitoring.
According to Smart Insights, 1 in 3 social media users prefers using social media when reaching out to a brand or business for customer service.
More than audience engagement, businesses today are facing an even greater challenge. To be able to monitor customer feedback on social media and publicly respond to any concerns in a timely manner.
Protecting your company’s reputation online. This is one of the most common uses of social media monitoring. As a company, it is not what you say but what your customers say that defines you. The more time your customers spend on social media, the more likely they are to talk about your product or service. And whether they say something positive or negative, is out of your control. Hence, at the most basic level, you should be using Talkwalker Alerts to find whenever your brand is being mentioned online.
Use Talkwalker Alerts to find mentions of your company, brand, executive team, or keyword.
It doesn’t stop there. Social media analytics is useful in gaining detailed insights on what customers are saying about your company, what the sentiment is towards your brand, what the trending topics are in your industry, and how you can stay ahead of the competition.
Here are other uses of social media monitoring:
- Trends analysis
- Hashtag tracking
- Brand listening
- Product strategy
- Campaign management
- Social channel analytics
- Competitive intelligence
- Crisis management
- Customer experience
To help you in your journey, here's a list of social media monitoring tools that’ll give you insights about your business.
Talkwalker Free Social Search | Track campaigns and hashtags
Free Social Search lets you find insights by searching for virtually any topic. It could be your brand, your competitor, a hashtag or any keyword that you’re interested in. Or it could be multiple topics you’d like to compare.
A simple search can instantly show you the number of conversations there are across media types, languages, and countries. Apart from monitoring the actual conversations, you would also be able to see the engagement, sentiment, audience demographics, top themes, and top sharers or influencers. For more focused searches, you can go granular into the data by filtering according to certain parameters like media type or location.
Free Social Search - easy way to search for your company, brand, competitors, industry trends and other keywords.
Buffer Reply | Track social media chat
In the earlier section, I covered how getting feedback from customers is one of the primary benefits of social media monitoring. When you know what customers are saying about your brand, you can put yourself in a better position to jump into those conversations when necessary. Using Buffer Reply, you can monitor the social media chatter across Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, and organize all of these conversations in one inbox for your team to manage.
Buffer Reply - get feedback from customers.
TweetDeck | Listen, post, schedule on Twitter
TweetDeck is one of the easiest social media monitoring tools for listening on Twitter. First, all you need is a Twitter account to log in to TweetDeck. Once you’re logged in, you could create lists of Twitter accounts (read: influencers) or search for topics you want to monitor. TweetDeck also lets you post or schedule tweets directly and see all your messages, mentions, and latest posts in your Twitter feed.
TweetDeck - manage multiple Twitter feeds.
SocialMention | Real-time social search and analysis
Designed like a search engine for social results, SocialMention aggregates content generated around your brand or topic on the web and social media space. It’s useful in giving you a basic overview of top keywords, users, and hashtags associated with the topic you’re searching for. The tool looks a little bit like Google and is just as easy to use.
SocialMention - overview of top keywords, users, hashtags.
Hootsuite | Social media management
Hootsuite is best known for its social media management platform. From scheduling posts to monitoring keywords, to delegating responses within your team, Hootsuite serves as a central location allowing teams to keep up with messages, comments, replies, and any mentions about your brand.
Hootsuite - social media management platform.
HowSociable | Measure and compare social performance
HowSociable is useful if you’re looking for a way to measure and compare your performance on different social media platforms individually. The tool gives a score for each of these platforms (free up to 12), giving you a way to gauge which platform is working best for you and which one needs improvement.
HowSociable - compare performance on different channels.
Tailwind | Monitor the visual web
Tailwind is specifically designed for monitoring the visual web, particularly Pinterest and Instagram. It lets users monitor you and your competitor’s content as well as emerging trends within the social platform, allowing you to identify opportunities for marketing your brand. Apart from the monitoring, Tailwind also has scheduling and management features.
Tailwind - monitor Pinterest and Instagram.
HubSpot | Marketing automation
HubSpot is a marketing automation software that lets users publish content on a website or on social media. You can then track the performance of these social media posts and channels from within the HubSpot tool and these statistics are made available across your team.
HubSpot - track the performance of your social media posts.
MavSocial | Manage social media presence
MavSocial lets you manage your social media presence and track hashtags, user IDs, or keywords that you want to monitor. Depending on how narrow you want your search to be, you can also filter these searches by excluding keywords, retweets, languages or certain media types.
MavSocial - track hashtags, user IDs, keywords.
AgoraPulse | Community management tool
AgoraPulse is more known as a community management tool. On top of their social media management functionalities, AgoraPulse also enables users a way to schedule posts and monitor their brand and respond to mentions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all from within one interface.
AgoraPulse - schedule posts and monitor your brand.
How to do social media monitoring
Now that you know the tools to help you get started, the next question is: how do you go about monitoring social media?
It starts with the what and the why: what do you want to monitor on social media and why? From there, you should set goals and timeframes for your monitoring. Once all these are in place, you can start tracking activities and mentions.
For example, if you’re tracking a certain campaign, then you could filter through the results according to media types or locations, depending on where the campaign was done. Look through the top themes and influencers to understand the trending topics, what brought the most engagement and how to further fuel the conversations.
After analyzing the different data points, collate the key metrics that you’ve identified into one dashboard so you can compare the results of your campaign alongside your goals. Find other relevant trends that you need to incorporate in this report. When you have every bit of relevant data in one place, share the results with your team or organization.
Here’s an infographic to show you the 10 steps we just went through:
Need more inspiration? Here’s a bonus to keep you inspired. Download free samples of social media reports below and get started in your journey today!