Over the past few years, the market has been transformed with shifting consumer behaviors, challenging brands to keep up. And answering the call of this challenge is social listening. Social listening tools are transforming marketing, and we have 20 tools that are leading the charge.
The time for social listening platforms l adoption is now:
- Globally, over 4 billion people use social media and this number is projected to increase to 6 billion by 2027 .
- In a report by Digital Information World, it was found that 86% of consumers would switch brands after having a single bad experience, and 83% would be tempted to switch if their consumer experience was improved elsewhere.“In the last quarter of 2021, 77% of social media marketers said social media marketing had been somewhat to very effective for their company.
- Highly engaged consumers buy 90% more
Additionally, more than 91.9% of U.S. marketers in businesses having 100 employees or more are using social media for marketing their business. If you’re just starting out, you are starting behind, which is why you’ll need the best social listening platforms available. Before exploring those, we’ll look at some ‘faqs’ on what social listening can do for you, and why social media analytics is important. We’ll cover:
- What is Social Listening?
- What are Social Listening Tools?
- Why Do Brands Need Social Media Listening?
- How are Social Listening and Social Media Monitoring Different
- 20 Best Social Listening Tools to Consider
What is Social Listening?
Simply put, Social Listening is tracking online, social media conversations via social media platforms, blogs and forums. These conversations come in the form of comments, mentions, or even just discussions relating to your brand. By listening into the thousands of conversations happening about you or your industry, you can analyze them for insights and uncover opportunities to improve your marketing strategy. Your social media management needs these invaluable tools, but what are they?
What are Social Listening Tools?
Monitoring social and online data on your own would be a huge undertaking and impossible to find every brand mention or comment, let alone tracking them to see their impact. Social media management tools monitor social media platforms all in one place. Here you can track brand mentions, keywords, hashtags, targeted conversations and much more.
It’s important that brands find the right social media tracking tools that fit their needs best, as not all listening tools offer the same tracking abilities. For example, some tools won’t offer hashtag tracking, or influencer identification. And some may be geared towards a wider array of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram-while others may be more singularly focused. And then there’s historical data to consider for benchmarking purposes.
Additionally finding a listening tool that allows you to integrate your companies own data is an important aspect to consider. Not all of them will offer this option.
And finally, some social tool options are an all-in-one tool, marrying together a publishing tool with a metrics tool.
Why Brands Need Social Media Listening
Globally, over 4 billion use social media and it is projected to increase to 6 billion in 2025. That’s a lot of consumers not only talking about brands, but having whole conversations on what they want from brands.Social media networks house conversations which are enlightening and act as a guide for campaign planning, product innovation and creating an authentic, personalized experience at every touch point. Armed with the best social listening tools,, your brand can understand the nuanced, hidden emotions behind consumer purchases, understanding what’s driving them to buy, or identifying what’s holding them back. Pinpointing these things on social media helps a company create a smooth experience for the consumer from start to finish and moves them along the purchase path. And of course, this means increased revenue, and a happy consumer who could be yours for life. Simply put social listening is important because it:
- tracks sentiment to help you safeguard brand health
- identifies content which will help you maximize and meet your engagement goals
- informs campaign design, providing intel for targeted messaging
- reveals what consumers want, providing your brand ideas for conceiving new products for an audience ready to embrace them.
Boiled down, social media analytics is a virtual map showing you which turns to take to get you home the quickest, safest, and most fuel-efficient way.
How are Social Listening and Social Monitoring Different?
These two terms often get used interchangeably, but there are a few key differences.
Social Media Monitoring:
- Uncovers social media mentions on a smaller scale-mentions that are happening right now.
- Is reactive-Social media monitoring aids brands in helping them address negative comments that have been made. So, the damage may already be done, but it gives brands the opportunity to respond, and then make a plan of action from there.
- Is a short-term solution- For example social media monitoring tools will make you aware of a client complaint about your slow shipping times, or a product that made them break out, but it doesn’t prepare you for the unknown.
- Analyze brand mentions on a macro scale, uncovering how consumers are discussing your brands, products, and even your competitors.
- Is proactive-keeps you alert of issues that could be looming by uncovering consumer sentiments and identifying trends in conversations surrounding keywords and topics, including your campaigns and posts.
- Is a long-term solution. Because it is continuously tracking conversations and providing consumer insights, marketing strategy is improved and you are able to pivot before a complaint is made.
And both social listening and social media monitoring are needed if you hope to keep your brand flexible and healthy.
But for now, let’s look at social media management tools that amplify your social listening efforts!
Social Media Listening Tools Every Brand Can Appreciate
1) NetBase Quid®
Netbase Quids® objective is improving brand management and brand health by providing a holistic tool which focuses on building, growing and protecting your company. No matter what your goal is, NetBase Quid® social media tracking tools have you covered. It uses machine learning to gain actionable insights and take you beyond basic social listening and social monitoring. And this opens the doors to targeted campaign strategies, product innovation, competitive benchmarking, consumer journey and much more. Our market and consumer intelligence platform dives beneath to unveil drivers in consumer sentiment, purchasing behaviors and opinions to discover why your brand is, or isn’t being mentioned. Without it, you’re just fishing blindly and hoping something takes the bait – any bait. With NetBase Quid®, you’ll know exactly which bait to cast using capabilities such as:
- Topic comparison – Uncovers trends on social media and news sites, highlighting which are resonating – and why.
- Competitor analysis – What is your competition doing well, so you can mirror their successes; and where are they struggling? Each offers lessons – and potential customers to win over.
- Sentiment analysis – Understanding sentiment can be difficult, but NetBase Quid’s sentiment analysis tools drill into the meaning behind the words. Know instantly what your consumer means and how they feel about you, your products or any given topic.
- Demographics and psychographic intel – Who are your consumers beyond surface intel? What are their professions, their hobbies – where do they live? Connecting the dots and identifying similarities and differences is key to creating tunique messaging for a target audience.
- Semantic analysis – NetBase Quid® creates a visual map of your data. It surfaces underlying themes by categorizing a large number of social posts based on semantic similarity. Exploring these relationships, brands can understand similarities, make comparisons, and reveal multi-dimensional relationships.
- Image analysis – Many times, consumers will share a picture of your logo, store or products but they won’t necessarily tag you or even name you! A robust image analysis tool keeps brands apprised of these instances, and on top of any brewing concerns.
And all of this data can be exported into customizable PowerPoint presentations, or CSV or PNG formats.
AI empowered social media listening tools that offer actionable insights are non-negotiable. And when partnered with complementary options like Rival IQ, brands will have a more complete view into competitive waters.
Keeping an eye on your competition is good business practice and should be at the top of your social media strategies list. This way, you can emulate and improve on of all their right moves, while making note of their missteps so you don’t experience the same fate. And being there when they fall short allows you to swoop in on their disgruntled customers and play Perseus to their Andromeda. When done right, it’s a consumer love story that will last.
Rival IQ is one of the best social listening tools to offer complete competitive analysis capabilities and social media campaign analysis. Social media professionals can add a little pep in their social analytics step with the competitive benchmarking, comprehensive analytics, and automated insight generation offered by this social insights tool. And because its software is intuitive, your analysis is simplified-taking billions of social posts, placing them in context. This improves decision-making, aiding your marketing strategy.
Hootsuite gets a lot of mentions when it comes to helping brands listening in on social media… This is because it acts as a great intro to monitoring your social media and organizing your social posts. From your Hootsuite dashboard, you can plan and schedule social media posts ahead of time. And it offers light analytics tools to help you navigate social media waters, by understanding your post engagements and seeing your follower count. It also provides a smart inbox, allowing you to reply in dashboard to social comments.
If you’re new to social media tracking tools, they have free classes to help you grasp why they’re important. After all, 61% of marketers have a social listening system in place, according to Social Media Today, so you don’t want to be left behind. This tool also integrates with NetBase Quid to a deep dive on social conversations.
4) Google Analytics
Understanding consumer buying behavior is the key to getting your timing right when advertising and engaging with your customers. Push too hard when they’re not ready to make a purchase, and you could lose them. Google Analytics provides a number of reports to help brands in understanding how they’re performing, including Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversion. But it’s the shopping behavior reports that will aid your brand in staying on top of where your consumer is within the purchase funnel. And when using this tool, you can discover what content keeps your users engaged by tracking what pages they click on, and where they go from there. This helps identify potential problems and deal with them before they’ve grown too large to handle.
Additionally, you can discover how they found you in the first place. Google analytics categorizes your traffic by paid and organic, so you know where your efforts are paying off.
Buffer is known for its scheduling tools but it’s social media management platform also offers light social listening capabilities as well! Discover mentions in their mentions feed and track your social media campaigns, discovering which posts of yours are garnering the most engagements by using Buffers social analytics tools. Maybe your followers love your videos, in which case, your brand will want to focus on video content creation for maximum results. This isn’t obvious intel without analytics offering an assist. And once you’ve done this, you can track your videos’ reach to get a view of how your content is performing across multiple social channels all at once to see where your audience is engaging the most – and where your brand should be focusing its efforts.
With F5bot you can track your brand mentions, monitor your current projects and discover the topics that interest your brand, and consumers, the most. Unlike a lot of other simple brand mention tools, this one notifies you instantly, as opposed to gathering it up in a once-a-week email. This enables you to act quickly as consumer and social media trends can change overnight.
Setting keyword and hashtag alerts is not only helpful and smart when it comes to tracking online consumer conversation, but it should be a part of your social media strategy. These alerts let you know what’s being talked about, what’s trending and if you’re being mentioned. Keeping track of these items allows you to create targeted messaging that hits home with consumers – and all while keeping an eye on your brand perception.
Sendible also offers branded reports which allow you to see your combined impact across social media platforms. And with their light analytics, you can view optimal posting times, as well as locate your most engaged followers, and top performing posts.
. This is YouScan’s crowing jewel, their logo recognition tool allows your company to see how people are talking about you in picture form Find out how people are using your products when they don’t mention you, and protect your brand from trademark infringement. . Additionally, it offers tracking of product mentions and preset keywords, as well as their Relations Graph. This handy tool provides deeper understanding of meaningful brand connections and perception amongst consumers. This graph also acts as a discussion volume chart, showing size of various conversations. Unfortunately, this relation graph doesn’t reveal the why behind these conversations, so social data is somewhat limited.
Digimind offers more complete social media management, it helps you compare how your company is doing in different areas. They have a broad offering of tools from Brand Reputation, Consumer Insights, Competitive Insights, Influencer Identification, Trend tracking and Innovation, and Campaign Analysis. Digimind can showcase and measure your performance when it comes to customer care, value, quality and sustainability, or anything else really. It then puts these in one table so you can see how they measure up, spotting any weak areas. And this allows you to improve your game in very specific, and meaningful, ways.
10) Google Alerts
Google Alerts is not a complete social media management tool. However, when it is used as reference tool to ensure you’re staying on track with what’s important to you – it delivers. Track conversations online across multiple channels and platforms including blogs, by setting alerts for keywords you may be interested in, such as sustainability or equity. You’ll receive ‘as they happen’ or weekly emails which deliver all of these relevant conversations in a bundle for you to click through and read. Used on its own, it’s a simple tool which will be helpful in uncovering trends. Used with another social media marketing tool, it’s a good temperature check to make sure what was trending last week, is still being talked about this week.
This tool is CX focused and it helps track consumer conversations with its consumer journey mapping. Online conversation is segmented by customer journey stages, channels and touch points. From here you can understand customer feedback “in relation to the customer lifecycle.” And if there’s one thing you can count on – it’s this: consumers are fickle. Praises one week can turn into complaints the next. Keep on top of it with DataEQ’s tool. Once identified, you can deal with it head-on and hopefully turn things around before the negativity spreads too far.
And on that same note, Khoros helps you identify friction as well, and then it goes deeper to reveal what is at the root of it. Understanding why is critical if you hope to change a consumer’s mind. And their crisis management feature uncovers online conversations that reveal what consumers think of you or a product. If need be, you can make changes for the good of your brand reputation. And Khoros doesn’t stop at crisis management! They offer a full range of online marketing tools such as competitive intelligence, campaign optimization, and audience insights. Additionally, they organize this social media data all within a dashboard for easy access.
A good social listening strategy should include influencer marketing. Forty-nine percent of consumers depend on these brand ambassadors for recommendations. Having one your side could increase brand love, and ultimately your ROI. Keyhole identifies influencers in your industry and then analyzes their accounts pre-agreement so you can see what their organic numbers are. Once you identify influencers and team up, you can then use Keyhole’s social listening tools to listen in and gauge their performance over time.
Keyhole social media management platform tracks post volume, number of users, engagement volume, reach volume, and number of impressions. And it’s not focused solely on influencers, you can track any account, monitoring for keywords and hashtags as you go, as well as keeping an eye on your social media campaigns.
Notifier has a different approach to social listening. In order to search social media channels, you first must create a Searcher, and then choose which platform it should monitor. It covers an array of the most popular social medias, including Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, and tracks social media posts daily.
Here you can track social mentions of your brand, and social conversations, including customer feedback. And notifier is prompt with alerting you of new comments-within 30 seconds of comments being made, your brand is notified, enabling you to jump into action and increase social engagement. And their social media tools offer keyword tracking, which will keep you abreast of what‘s happening on social media.
Loomly is a hybrid social media tracking tool, meaning it combines basic social media management with creation and publication tools. In the creative department, it can enhance your social presence by discovering trending content to post about, so you never run out of ideas. And in the analytics department, it allows you to track and measure your posts’ performance in real-time. It surfaces your most popular marketing campaigns, revealing topics of interest and content that your consumers value. From here you can take what you’ve learned and tweak your campaign or create more like it if it’s a success! And because it’s built for teams, it provides a collaborative review and workflow, so everyone stays on the same page.
This tool is standout because it’s meant for B2B companies – after all businesses are consumers too! From the dashboard, you can measure several social platforms. Then track mentions to keep up with what your consumers want, handling crisis as they happen, or use another competitor’s crisis to your advantage! You can follow relevant keywords, competitors, or just the industry in general to keep up-to-date on what happening so you never skip a beat. Additionally, this tool has excellent team management tools, so everyone stays up to date with the brands social listening strategy.
Tailwind is more for social media managers who need less metrics. It’s a social media planning tool with light social listening capabilities included. It helps you come up with fresh ideas for your posts and then identifies the best time to post them for maximum exposure. Afterwards, you can do a search for best performing hashtags to pair with your post – and then use their analytics to measure engagement on your social accounts.
This tool offers online reputation management. It works a little different. The software provides you an aerial view of your company’s online reputation. by way of review sites. And as a part of your social listening strategy, reviewinc helps you to create a customized review campaign, where consumers can chime in on you as a brand. Then, once received, you have a starting point to see what needs changed. However, in the meantime, reviewinc takes those positive reviews and broadcasts them to the world. Additionally, you can track ratings over time, as well as perform sentiment analysis.
This is another a great option for smaller brands seeking to enhance their social presence across social channels. By setting alerts for brand mentions or keywords, you can be alerted to relevant discussions happening online. Highly engaged consumers buy 90% more often. By tracking online mentions, and then responding to them, you have the opportunity to turn non-engaged consumers into some of your biggest fans. Staying in the know pays off in customer acquisition, customer retention and increased revenue for your brand over time!
If This, Then That isn’t your traditional listening tool. Its strength revolves around helping your social platforms “play nicely together.” Use this tool to combine social media platforms with various services and outputs by setting up actions via applets. And as you can choose which applets to add to your social media dashboard, you can curate your own social media management platform, listening in for company mentions, hashtags, keywords and more. Brands can create blog posts from an Instagram post, for example. It’s a pretty neat tool.
Overall, there’s a lot of valuable consumer intel online if you have the right social listening tools that dig beneath the surface. And if you’re ready to see what lies beneath consumer love, hate, wants and needs, reach out for a demo!