, ,

9 Social Listening Tools for Brand Monitoring

Table of Contents

Get fresh AI and VA news and tips!

We share new guides and tips once a month.

The world today is hyper-connected—thanks to digital evolution like social media. It’s actually a huge asset to keep tabs on your online brand image, so it’s not surprising that 88% of executives already have reputation management practices in place.

Here’s the truth: if you’re not doing so, your reputation can unknowingly take a hit from all the social chatter. It turns out that 94% of consumers would prefer to avoid businesses that have negative reviews. But don’t worry! Help is here. Enter social listening tools—your digital watchdog that makes it easier to steer positive conversations about you. 

In this article, we will discuss the real power of top social listening tools for businesses. We’ll also go through our handpicked list of the nine best social listening tools for effective brand monitoring.

First, what is brand monitoring? 

A marketing team with valuable insights on a brand's logo and social media presence

Brand monitoring is being on top of how your brand is perceived online. It’s an active practice of tracking and analyzing online conversations and interactions related to your brand across various digital channels like your owned platforms, social media, news sites, review pages, and forums. 

To effectively understand public opinion about your brand, the practice of social listening is an absolute must. But why should you really care? Well, 90% of consumers read online reviews before engaging with a business. 

The real power of social listening

Social listening platforms being used by marketers to gain valuable insights and identify key influencers

Social listening specifically refers to the processes used to capture and make sense of all the data that brand monitoring surfaces. About 41.5% of marketers and communication pros (in the Asia-Pacific region) run social listening programs, according to Statista. 

One of the most common questions about social listening is this: Does social listening only pertain to social media conversations?

No. While social listening initially existed for social media monitoring purposes, its use has expanded to include monitoring online sources related to your business, company, product, or brand. Sure, your social media presence is a major hub. But there’s a whole world of digital chatter out there that can also provide valuable insights into how your brand is perceived.

Here are some other important key points about social listening:

  1. It goes beyond analytics as we know it. While traditional analytics provide useful metrics like website traffic, downloads, and conversion rates, social listening focuses on the qualitative side of things—capturing the tone, sentiment, and context of online conversations (the voice of the people behind the numbers).
  2. Social listening is conducted real-time and focuses on the present. Traditional analytics are often retrospective, needing past data to inform future strategies. On the other hand, social listening is real-time. It lets you unfold rising trends and identify early reputation threats.
  3. The social listening process is now more manageable with the aid of social listening tools. Considering the volumes of data generated across social media, forums, news, and review sites today, it’s next to impossible listen manually. Today’s listening tools handle the heavy lifting of data gathering, processing, analysis, and reporting (all in real-time) actionable insights. This way, businesses can truly listen, learn, and respond to their customers across channels.

Top 9 social listening tools to explore

Best social listening tools being assessed by marketing and sales teams for in depth analytics

Social listening tools are the ultimate ally for brands looking to stay on top of their online reputation and make data-driven decisions. A survey revealed that enterprises spend over $500K per year on a social listening platform. This goes to show that today’s businesses already know the value of these tools. But which one should you go with? Here are the top nine social listening tools on our list.

Google Trends (Free tool) 

Google Trends is one of the best free social listening tools. This tool lets users explore the popularity of search queries across different regions and track search interests, but it can also be used as a social listening tool to a certain extent. 

Users can enter keywords related to their brand or industry and analyze trends in search volume alongside demographics and geographic information.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • Real-time data on search interests. Search volume spikes and dips for keywords related to your brand or industry can help you identify emerging trends, monitor marketing campaigns, and even predict potential crises.
  • It has a huge reach. This tool has access across Google’s search data from around the world, making it a social listening tool worth checking out.

Best for: small businesses or startups with limited resources but want to get started right away

Sprout Social (Price starts at $249 per month, 30-day free trial available)

Sprout Social is primarily a social media management platform. One of its premium solutions is for social media listening. Aside from scheduling and analytics, Sprout Social allows users to monitor brand mentions, track relevant keywords and hashtags, and analyze sentiment across various social media platforms. 

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • No search volume limits. This standout aspect helps you monitor customer conversations and track brand mentions very thoroughly. 
  • Centralized monitoring. It has a strong network of partnerships and integrations with major social media platforms. This allows 

Best for: businesses looking for a comprehensive social media listening solution

Brandwatch (Brands need to schedule a free demo to know the plan that’s right for them)

Brandwatch is an all-in-one solution when it comes to social listening—trusted by big analysts.  Not only does it analyze social media platforms, but it also allows users to monitor online conversations across digital forums like Reddit. 

The tool’s data visualization and dashboards are amazing for quick and easy viewing of actionable insights in real-time. According to the 2023 State of Social Listening report, this is the most mentioned brand by their respondents. 

Unique aspect for brand monitoring:

Its advanced AI-powered technology (which took 17+ years to develop) analyzes vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, giving users valuable insight into their brands.

Best for: medium to large businesses that need enterprise-level solutions

Hootsuite (Price starts at $99/month, 30-day free trial available)

As one of the best social media listening tools, Hootsuite is a comprehensive social media management platform that offers a wide range of capabilities, including many social listening features. It also lets you schedule, engage, and advertise across multiple social media platforms within the app.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • Customizable streams and filters make it easy to focus on the most relevant conversations. 
  • The insights from your streams guide your customer-first strategy so you get better ROI from social media. 
  • It integrates seamlessly with different social media platforms and third-party tools, letting users consolidate their social media efforts in one central location. 

Best for: businesses focused on social media management and ROI

BuzzSumo (Price starts at $199/month; 30-day free trial available)

In terms of social media monitoring tool, BuzzSumo is a great contender.  It’s very helpful in tracking comments and trends so you can respond as soon as possible—thus capturing the right moments. Its keyword alerts (topics and brands included) are very useful in monitoring your online presence and mentions by third parties.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • BuzzSumo stands out as a valuable content marketing tool too. 
  • Brands can quickly generate content ideas, view trending feeds, and use it as a research keyword tool. 
  • Its content analysis capability enables users to analyze the performance of their content and identify which pieces resonate most with their audience. 

Best for: businesses that prioritize content marketing

Keyhole (Paid plan starts at $89/month; free trial available)

Need timely marketing decisions? Use Keyhole as your social media listening tool. For starters, Keyhole has a visual and clean interface. But when used, it’s so versatile that you can track direct and indirect brand mentions, hashtags, influencers, and keywords.

In fact, it doesn’t end there. It even analyzes the sentiment behind every brand mention, the change over time, and why it changes.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • In a single dashboard, you can access your accounts or your client’s accounts against any and every competitor out there
  • Ability to create ready-to-print PDF reports in minutes

Best for: businesses that need advanced analytics and reporting capabilities 

Meltwater (Request demo to know about their plans and pricing)

Meltwater can scale with your company’s needs. It’s the holistic social listening tool you need with integrations you didn’t know you wanted. 

With Meltwater, you get in the conversation and be proactive while anticipating a crisis response immediately. Furthermore, it easily integrates with tools like Tableau and Power BI, making visualization more seamless.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • It consolidates a wide range of media monitoring and social listening capabilities into one platform. 
  • In addition to tracking social media mentions, Meltwater enables users to monitor online news articles, blog posts, and other digital content related to their brand or industry.

Best for: businesses looking for holistic social media analytics and monitoring.

Zoho Social (Plan starts at $30/month; Free 15-day trial available)

Zoho Social is best for comprehensive social media management. It has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for non-techies to listen to online conversations, engage with your audience, and measure the impact of your various social media marketing efforts.

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • Zoho Social’s customizable social listening dashboard is its most impressive feature yet. You can sort the posts relevant to your brand into columns so there’s in-depth tracking for hashtags, page reviews, and user profiles. 
  • This level of granularity lets companies monitor specific aspects of their brand’s performance with precision.

Best for: Zoho Social is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses requiring an affordable social media listening solution. 

Mention  (Plan starts at $41/month; Free 14-day trial)

Mention is a powerful social listening tool if you like to find good and bad reviews from your customers in the wide world of the web. You can also control your social media channels through Mention’s free social media management tools. It’s good at finding sources where your brand is referenced and discussed. The tool is simple to set up and easy to navigate. 

Unique aspects for brand monitoring:

  • It has a suite of features available for free. There are both for social media platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok) and web services (like Reddit and Twitch). 
  • Free tools for general marketing tools for brand monitoring, like Share of Voice Calculator, Campaign URL Builder, and Brand Grader.

Best for: cost-effective brand monitoring across various digital channels. 

5 quick tips for choosing the right tool for your brand

A person choosing between key features and which sentiment analysis tool can help with social listening

#1 Pin your purpose in social listening

Before anything else, it’s crucial to pinpoint your targets so you are better equipped to hit the mark with your brand monitoring. You see, different tools have different strengths, so outlining your objectives beforehand will help you choose one that meets your needs. 

A platform-specific tool is sufficient if your goal is brand-monitoring social media conversations. However, if you want to track a broader range of online conversations, you will need an all-encompassing tool.

#2 Don’t go over your budget 

How much do you plan to invest in a social listening tool? Budget limitations oblige you to prioritize your most important needs when choosing the best social listening tool for your business. While some offer more advanced features for a higher price, others may be more budget-friendly but with basic functionality. 

#3 Look for relevant filters

Social listening brings back large amounts of data, so it’s normal to get overwhelmed. Look for a tool with good filtering power. Filters let you find just the conversations relevant to you. They keep your listening focused on your objectives. For example, you can filter by campaign hashtags or product names to gauge performance.

#4 Review integration possibilities 

There are a few key reasons why reviewing the integration options is important. One, certain integrations may be crucial for your specific workflow. 

For instance, integrating with a social media scheduler could allow seamless content creation based on listening insights. Second, integrations let you pipe social data wherever it’s needed—be it PR, customer support, or product development. Additionally, tools with robust integration options provide the flexibility you need as your needs scale or change.

#5 Go for tools that offer customization 

Always choose a tool that you can modify. Every business is unique, and you must tailor the tool to meet your specific needs. Check if you can customize elements like dashboards, alerts, metrics, reporting, and workflow integrations to display data that is most relevant for you. Also, custom controls and settings empower advanced users to work more efficiently with monitoring capabilities tailored to their expertise level. It’s key if you want to build a social listening tool completely aligned with you.

What is the future of social listening?

Discussions on what the future of social media listening tools and social listening features holds

After seeing what our list of top 9 social listening tools currently has, it’s safe to say that the future points to more powerful analytics made possible by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Over time, social listening tools will become increasingly advanced at automating insights—from using historical data to identifying trends and emerging issues to analyzing sentiment.

We can also see a bigger spotlight on real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and sentiment analysis. It might involve volumes of complex conversations across various platforms and touch points. This will enable brands to stay on top of trends and anticipate consumer demands. 

Lastly, we predict a wider integration of social listening tools with other marketing technologies. This means they will only get better at more personalized engagement strategies. 

Overall, the future is bright for more intelligent social listening that extends past just data collection and reporting to active listening, strategic analysis, and optimized decision making. 

Your next step: to champion brand monitoring using social listening tools

Virtual assistant using various social media channels for their clients

The power of social listening in brand monitoring has the full potential to foster deeper customer relationships, align better to business needs, mitigate risks earlier, and ultimately drive growth. No serious brand today should ignore the competitive advantage gained from social listening. 

But like any other customer-centric approach, you need skilled human experts to make social listening tools work. Our experienced Virtual Assistants at TaskDrive specialize in leveraging cutting-edge and AI-powered tools to help businesses thrive in the digital landscape. 

Contact TaskDrive today to see how our team can customize a plan for you and maximize the effectiveness of your social listening efforts.

Book a free synergy call

Learn how our AI-powered VAs go beyond traditional support to actively drive your business growth.
Share the Post:

Related posts