Are you listening to members of your audience? There are lots of ways to listen, yes? These ways include many social media monitoring and marketing tools.
As I have said many times, all of us need to treat social media more like a telephone and less like a megaphone. This is an important fact to know about social media monitoring and marketing tools.
However, some might not know how or where to listen. This is important because you want to know what’s being said about you and where are they saying it. You’ll also want to know how to respond. It’s an essential part of online marketing.
Finding and tracking conversations on social media was once a hurdle for digital marketers. Now, with a range of tools available, the challenge is finding the ideal one.
And since listening to social conversations can deliver clear business benefits, many community managers are quickly looking for an option. Luckily, social media monitoring tools that differ between price, user experience, and tracking capabilities are filling the market.
Before listing my recommended social media monitoring and marketing tools, it’s important to set a few definitions.
What Is Social Media Monitoring?
Don’t think of social media monitoring as a one-time, or sporadic, activity.
Also called social listening, it’s the ongoing process of tracking online conversations to find information about customers.
The goal of this process is to understand better different target markets, ranging from prospects to competitor customers. Specifically, digital strategists can use social media monitoring to determine how a brand is perceived, analyze consumer behavior and identify issues those consumers may have.
Now that we’ve clarified the definition, here’s our list of the top tools:
TweetReach is a great monitoring tool for your business if you’re interested in checking how far your Tweets travel. TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.
It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.
HowSociable is a handy tool for measuring your and your competitors’ social media presence.
A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is required.
HowSociable’s approach to social monitoring is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.
Use HowSociable to measure a keyword’s “magnitude score” — its level of weekly activity, given on a scale of 0 to 10. The tool provides the keyword’s score on 36 sites, ranging from major social platforms to forums such as 4chan and Reddit. Pay extra to receive historical data going back to the platform’s launch in May 2008.
Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media monitoring tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (a curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services).
On the other hand, some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter. It is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.
Using the Klout score, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.
Widely known as an influence measurement tool, test out Klout to monitor which types of posts and topics are most talked about. By grading your ability to engage on each social platform and giving you a mark out of 100, you’ll learn which content pieces best drive conversation and resonate with your audience.
Use Keyhole to track URLs, hashtags, keywords and @usernames on Twitter and Instagram. It collects data and posts in real-time, offering historical data separately or in advanced plans.
The platform gives a timeline that illustrates flows and spikes in posting frequency. It provides a stream of posts to complement this feature. Along with sentiment data, Keyhole has demographic information such as heat maps that measure activity levels across the world and United States.
If aiming to get an overall view of a brand, Addictomatic can be very useful and as straightforward as Twazzup. The only difference is that Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms, including Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc.
It’s useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.
Type a keyword into Addict-o-Matic’s search bar to scan platforms such as YouTube, WordPress and Bing News for mentions. The results are somewhat customizable — if you don’t value a given platform, you can delete its feed or move it to the bottom of the page. Bookmark the page and visit again whenever you want.
Quite popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. It is probably one of the best free listening tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with four categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion, and Reach. It also displays top keywords, hashtags, and sites.
Use Social Mention as a search engine with a complementary analytics suite, collecting data such as sentiment. Inputting a keyphrase will generate results pages filled with user-generated content up to a month old from more than 100 platforms. But since the program doesn’t continuously monitor your terms, you’ll have to start a new search when you need an update.
Try CyberAlert if you need to monitor mainstream news. Along with some popular social media platforms, the tool can track keyword mentions from 60,000 online news sources in more than 250 languages. It allows you to segment these mentions by brand, campaign, media type and more criteria.
Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool. You just enter the name you want to track, and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, most retweeted photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.
Give Brandwatch a shot to monitor and collect data from 80 million sources. These include blogs, forums, review sites, news sources and popular social platforms such as Facebook. It adds context to online conversations by measuring analytics such as audience interests and gender ratio. You can also receive alerts whenever specific terms are mentioned.
TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. There is a web app, Chrome app, or Mac app. The Windows app ceased functioning in April 2016.
Track your mentions on major social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, with the aptly-named Mention. Not only can you interact with posts using your tracked keywords directly from the dashboard, but assign them to different team members. The platform can also alert you whenever someone includes your keyword in a post.
Mention monitors million of sources in 42 languages, helping you stay on top of all your brand mentions on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page.
The app lets you keep track of your team’s actions, share alerts and assign tasks. Generating reports and exporting mentions can help you get a snapshot of your mentions by source or language over a selected period. They offer a 14-day free trial.
Twitonomy offers a range of metrics for free, with premium features enabled for $19/month. Simply sign in with your Twitter account for robust monitoring and metrics about your account.
You can add your competitor’s Twitter handles to gain insights about their activity too.
Twitonomy shows you details of your Twitter lists, followers and followings, your most popular Tweets, engagement statistics and much more.
You can track conversations on Twitter based on hashtags, users, or lists. The details are displayed in graphs and easily digestible stats.
Focusing specifically on Twitter, Followerwonk is the right tool to find, analyze and optimize your online presence for social growth.
The tool is perfect for planning outreach campaigns by allowing you to search Twitter bios, connect with influencers or fans and break them out by location, authority, the number of followers and more.
Interestingly, with Followerwonk you can compare your social graph to competitors, friends or industry leaders and measure how well you are doing.
Described as an influencer marketing tool, use Little Bird to monitor close-knit social media communities. For example, you can identify and listen to conversations topic thought-leaders are having about a relevant keyword. This allows you to spot social trends before they become widely popular.
Acting as a blog and Twitter search engine, try IceRocket if you value a range of results filters. You can narrow results by domain, author, language, publishing date, and secondary keyword use. But since you can’t save or continuously update your mentions, you’ll have to perform a new search whenever you want an update.
This tool offers a blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as results graphs that you can play with. It allows you to choose the period you are interested in monitoring.
It can be used for keeping an eye on blog activity mentioning your brand, as they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.
Social media monitoring and marketing tools … NetBase
Targeting enterprise-scale brands and agencies, use NetBase to read and analyze social media posts in 42 languages. The platform tracks keyword mentions from millions of sources around the world, advertising that it processes posts nine-times faster and 50 to 70% more accurately than other tools. Subscribers can also receive up to 27 months of historical data.
Another social media monitoring tool that targets enterprise-scale brands and agencies try Synthesio to track mentions from more than 195 countries and 100,000 websites. These include niche social networks in China, Russia, South America and the Middle East. The tool delivers analytics such as activity heat maps and common phrases used with your keywords.
Use the Sysomos “Heartbeat” tool to monitor up to two years of historical data, along with real-time conversations in almost 190 languages. It scans major social media platforms, plus blogs and news media sources. You can tag different conversations to analyze and compare against each other, helping identify engagement opportunities.
The bottom line
For social analysts with general needs, there might not be a clear, must-use option. But as your focus grows more specific, some platforms should emerge as favorites.
Use this list as a guide — you’re sure to find a social media monitoring tool that tracks the platforms you value and delivers the information you need.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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