Social monitoring is a form of market research where the focus group is entirely comprised of people already engaged with your brand. So, why wouldn’t you be interested in accessing this organic business intelligence? You should, yet many companies are still in the dark on the importance of social listening.
According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, 90% of companies now use social media, but $1.3 trillion in business value still remains untapped. That’s because most businesses are only using social platforms in a superficial way.
Implementing a social listening strategy requires finding a means to track, analyze, and respond to the online conversations happening around your brand. To get started, you need to find a platform that fits with your business model. Here are some of the best social monitoring tools on the market to give you a jump:
A website that wears many hats, Hootsuite is like owning the Swiss Army knife of social monitoring tools. Serving over 15 million websites, it’s one of the most popular tools in the world of social media marketing, and it’s easy to see why. With Hootsuite, you can monitor your audience on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
The methodology behind the platform is quite simple. Hootsuite listens to your audience across your social platforms and then shows you what to focus on. After that, the program will monitor your performance and compare it to competitors. This allows you to not only discover great opportunities, but also keep users extra engaged.
The core function of Google Alerts is web monitoring. It’s the ideal tool for a business that wants to keep their content as fresh as possible through social listening. One of the easiest tools to use for social monitoring, it’s also considered one of today’s top social intelligence systems.
All you have to do is enter a keyword or event and Google does the rest. The system will e-mail you in real-time every instance someone mentions that term. You can also schedule when you want alerts to hit your inbox.
Of course, to use the service, businesses must have a g-mail account, but all of these platforms are free. Google Alerts can be used to monitor everything from relevant discussions to YouTube videos or mentions on news sites.
The potential of Google Alerts is better than any other social monitoring tool in the sense that it is connected to the search engine itself. With a feed of over one million users, you are sure to find the social data you need to make informed decisions.
If you want precise advertising connected to your social listening, then HubSpot marketing might be the best fit.
In addition to monitoring important and relevant conversations across a variety of social platforms, the tool also allows users to perform tasks like:
- Automate engagement tracking
- Schedule posts according to when your audience is online
- Design appealing calls-to-action
- Measure performance to optimize click-through rates (CTR)
- Track the ROI of advertising on platforms like Facebook Ads and AdWords
- Optimize blog posts
- Sync all data with a customer relationship management system (CRM)
If you’re simply looking to see what people are whispering about your brand, this tool may be overly efficient for you. However, it’s the best bang for your buck on the web.
One of the older kids on the block, Mention monitors everything across social media and the web in real-time. This is the type of tool that works very well for a social marketing team, as it enables users to share mentions and assign tasks to each other.
In addition to a task management and social monitoring tool, Mention gives you benefits like:
- Sentiment analysis
- Influencer score report
- Geographical and language filters (shows where people are talking about you)
- Topic clouds of related keywords
Mention is indeed a great tool for sharing. However, the dashboard is limited to engagement across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram only. So, if your business is active on other platforms, this may not be the tool for you.
Any keyword can be monitored through Awario, whether it is related to your brand, a person, sentence, or common word. The tool has a built-in Boolean search that makes for an extensive keyword database and an efficient monitoring system. This allows you to cast a much wider net in terms of your search relevancy.
One key feature that sets Awario apart from other social monitoring tools is that it will prioritize conversations on your search term. It does this by measuring the influence of the author based on their website traffic. Therefore, you hear about the most “popular” people speaking your name first. And the best part? Awario lets you reply to all these important new influencers, straight from the dashboard itself. How convenient!
Similar to HubSpot Marketing, Zoho Social is another platform that has a large productivity kit. The social monitoring tool allows you to manage several networks at a time, monitor keywords, schedule as many posts as you need, and then trigger real-time communication based on results. The tool was originally created to help users develop engaging content and then automate it to the masses. It has now grown to include features like predictive analytics to increase customer engagement and drive ROI.
What’s special about ZoHo Social is that it will listen to your audience and determine the time of day they are most active on each platform. It will then suggest these times for you to schedule content and post accordingly. Your customers will never miss a beat!
This social monitoring platform is more of an aggregator than it is a management tool, but it is super informal and has a variety of filtering options. Buzzsumo is a great content research tool, but the reason it made this list is for what it can do with Facebook. The platform allows you to analyze your Facebook pages down to the post and establish which content is performing best.
With little to no market experience, you can also use this social monitoring tool to uncover opportunities and collect insights. Buzzsumo can give you data like:
- What day and time to post
- The length of posts
- The type of content that works best
- Weekly and monthly stats over time
- Progress of competitors
- Performance metrics
- Detailed keyword analysis
Buzzsumo is focused on competition. They can also offer you an index of social backlinks and trending data that is constantly updated. You can then use this real-time social data to communicate better with your customers.
This social monitoring tool is known for being friendly to small business. It has a well-organized dashboard where you can track things like messages, publishing, tasks, reports, feed, and discovery. In addition to listening, the platform offers a “Social Customer Service” feature which allows a company to establish conversations with customers across a variety of platforms. The beauty of using Sprout Social is that it gives you the ability to have your customer conversations all in one place.
The platform also serves as a social media management tool where you can schedule content across your social networks depending on the behavior of your audience. The collaborative calendars and built-in messaging will ensure your team is working together to not only listen to your customers, but take action too.
Although the name may sound obscure, Google will tell you this is the crème de la crème of social monitoring tools. The system has served as a role-model for the industry and was designed for deep analysis and identifying growth opportunities. This is purely done based on the needs and wishes of your audience using automation and machine learning.
Additionally, Crimson Hexagon doesn’t just analyze data from social media, it also listens to people from sources like:
- News sites
What sets Crimson Hexagon apart is that it is not just a listening tool…it’s a thinking one too. The program was designed to take it a step further for the convenience of users. It prioritizes the most important social insights to help you make informed decisions and puts them in front of you first. Not only does the system track the impact of your brand, it also looks at the trends that may influence your marketing and the sentiment in social conversations. That’s why it’s one of the smartest tools out there!
The best social monitoring tools on the market aren’t just listening to what your customers are saying. Machine learning, business intelligence, predictive analytics, and other smart functions are now being offered along with the simple monitoring services.
Be prepared to take action. Social monitoring is not just about metrics. It’s about addressing your customer’s needs through intelligent social insight. Tracking trends and patterns is an ongoing process. Allow yourself the time, budget, and proper tools to get the job done right. Then you should have no problem developing an effective social strategy that will have a positive impact on your business.