Do you know what consumers are saying about your brand? Millions of customers are online chatting about you, your products, and your services. They detail their needs, wants, challenges, and all sorts of insights that your competitors are capturing with a social media monitoring tool. Competitors are paying attention and tapping into these relevant conversations, monitoring social media, and creating new strategies to connect with your potential audience—and your brand needs to do the same!
In this article, we’ll demystify the whole social monitoring process and offer guidance to get you moving in the right direction! And we’ll also provide a list of top social media monitoring tools to explore.
Table of Contents
In this post, we’ll break down the following social media monitoring questions – and feel free to skip ahead to sections that most interest you:
- What is Social Media Monitoring?
- How Do I Choose a Social Media Monitoring Tool? (Bonus List of 7 Tools!)
- How Does Social Media Monitoring Work?
- Social Media Monitoring Tips
And if, after all this, you still want more guidance on monitoring social media, take a look at our Social Media Analytics Guide. It was created to break down and define what to look for in a social media monitoring tool–so you understand how to use them for maximum brand impact without feeling overwhelmed.
What is Social Media Monitoring?
Social Media Monitoring is often confused with other terms like social media listening or social media intelligence. But it’s different. And each of these monikers has its place in your social media analytics toolbox.
Social Media Intelligence is an overarching term covering a few key areas of social analytics, including social media monitoring and social media listening, with a focus on Competitor Analysis. It represents the sum of the parts (i.e., data) these other tools unlock.
Social Media Listening uncovers audience insights you can apply to your social media brand strategy. It’s an ongoing task focusing on getting to know your audience and their emotions so you have a baseline understanding of the consumers you want your brand to reach. A social listening tool aims to learn what consumers care most about and bring those social media insights into your customer experience at every level.
Social media monitoring is also an ongoing endeavor with a slightly different focus. If you think of social listening as creating a baseline for what your audience feels, social monitoring is about maintaining that baseline.
And not all social media monitoring tools are created equally. Many offer the basics, such as monitoring volume, reach, and brand mentions. They may even include some basic demographic information. And these aspects are critical. However, the best social media tools will offer details that provide a more accurate picture of your social presence. These crucial elements include the following:
1. Next Generation AI-powered Social Analytics– Next Gen AI Analytics is now the gold standard for achieving next-level speed, accuracy, and control of analytics data. And this is key to capturing big ideas. Suppose social monitoring is your car’s instrument panel, telling you how fast you’re going and whether you need gas or an oil change. In that case, Next Gen AI Analytics is the engine – powering everything and ensuring you can rely on what your instrumentation shows. Because it uses natural language processing (NLP), it captures everything related to your search parameters, including slang, common misspellings, emojis, and even brand logos captured in photos. Next-generation AI also categorizes social media posts by grammatical structure. This makes it easy for brands to isolate areas of interest within a conversation for things such as behaviors, people, brands, objects, hashtags, etc. It can also profile the social media users themselves for demographics, psychographics (beliefs, interests), geodata, and much more.
1. Social Sentiment Analysis—It’s more than just red and green colors indicating good or bad feelings. A sentiment analysis worth its weight should allow brands to peek behind the curtain of colors and figure out what’s driving sentiment. It can reveal common pain points consumers have with your brand. You can use this insight to inform your customer relationship management and revitalize your messaging and customer experience strategy to address these issues head-on. It can also pinpoint the ever-changing consumer behaviors and help brands locate and meet consumers’ unmet needs on and off social media.
2. Social Media Monitoring Alerts–The best social media monitoring tools provide brand alerts. So you know when a spike in sentiment indicates a topic or social media mentions you shouldn’t ignore—that way, you can address issues quickly and stop angry social media posts from going viral. Or at least not get blindsided by them when they do! These social media alerts use relevant keywords you choose, and a metric called passion intensity that lets you know the strength of emotions in social posts. When passion intensity spikes, it’s time to investigate why. Defining alerts around your social media metrics, such as net sentiment and passion intensity, adds that extra layer of security and compensates for human error.
3. Image Analysis—Social media has gone the way of photos and videos. When your brand logo appears in these social media posts, it’s part of your brand conversation–they contribute to potential impressions and influence how people see your brand. So, it’s critical to pull these social media “brand mentions” into your brand conversation to determine how these posts contribute to perception. And this includes photos of your logo without brand mentions in the text field or backward and altered logos.
Your social media tools should capture all of it. Imagine the damage your brand could suffer if someone misappropriates your logo. Or how much visibility complaints with images could garner. Image Analysis of social media content is essential.
How Do I Choose a Social Media Monitoring Tool?
A question often asked – especially by smaller brands – is whether you must pay for social media monitoring tools. After all, there are a lot of free tools out there. That’s true – and when you’re just getting started, they’re better than nothing. But you have to remember, you get what you pay for.
Here are some top social media monitoring tools to inform your efforts – and then we’ll share criteria for selecting one! Here are our picks.
1. NetBase Quid®
NetBase Quid® offers social media monitoring tools and social listening for every use case, from social media tracking and measuring followers to shifting consumer demographics and trends. And it uses historical data to inform brands of shifting sentiments over time and has everything your team needs to set your company up for success.
Powered by next-generation AI, its natural language processing (NLP) capabilities capture social media and online chatter, dissecting it to reveal what your customers care about. Assumptions are dangerous, after all. And it also captures the contextual insights behind words, offering an accurate, in-depth understanding of consumer needs and market shifts – in real-time.
Additionally, it’s a comprehensive tool for brand monitoring, specifically when measuring brand health. Locate social mentions and what is being said and shared about your brand at all times by doing a scaled, real-time analysis of massive amounts of customer experience data from any source:
- Real-time brand perception tracking using consumer feedback channels, news sites, and different social media platforms
- Get insight into the interactions and context that influence how consumers think.
- Access historical data and monitor brand sentiment and discussion volume over time to determine whether things are improving or worsening.
Additionally, discover what most excites your customers, then use this knowledge to gain their loyalty:
- Determine the features, events, and problems with the service that motivate brand loyalty.
- Discover the reasons why buyers adore your brand and play to your advantages.
- Stay aware of how your clients perceive you in comparison to your rivals
- Identify the global, regional, or local perceptions of the audience across different social media platforms and news sites
There’s not much our social media monitoring tool doesn’t do. NetBase Quid® is committed to innovation, so you’re sure your brand is always getting the best that social media analytics and market research can offer. Reach out for a free demo or to inquire about pricing.
2. Rival IQ
Rival IQ informs social media marketers by offering robust analytics and social media tracking for every conceivable competitive measurement here, including followers and engagements. And one of the biggest highlights here is its best-in-class competitor analysis.
The adage guiding readers to “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” is undoubtedly applicable to business. With Rival IQ’s social media monitoring tools, you can set alerts to notify you of any move your competitors make. This tool has a valuable set of audience growth metrics, locating which social channels are seeing the most follower growth, so you can plan accordingly and aren’t caught off guard by a competitor snagging your market share.
And it gets even more detailed, offering you a look at the average activity of your competitors. You’ll get intel on social media post frequency, emojis used in their bios, and even hashtags utilized to drive significant traffic.
But it’s not merely about watching your competition’s steps, as Rival IQ offers competitive benchmarking to see how your brand measures up in the industry – how it stands alone. And you can identify phrases, hashtags, and topics that drive conversation within your category to see where your brand can start interacting with those relevant conversations.
In addition to all of this, Rival IQ offers free head-to-head social media monitoring reports for quick yet comprehensive competitor comparisons via major social media platforms Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok. And they provide free live benchmarks of any industry. For example, in the beauty industry, these metrics reveal how many consumers post about beauty, how many engagements per post, the overall engagement rate, top brands mentioned, and key trends. And it can go deeper with a paid subscription.
Rival IQ offers a free 14-day trial with three pricing tiers starting at $199 a month annually.
Reputation helps companies track social mentions and what consumers say about them, not just on social media but also on review sites. With their social media monitoring tool, you can get a good idea of your brand’s perception by:
- Monitoring brand keywords at scale
- Analyzing industry trends within your customer base
Additionally, with their social media monitoring tools, you can track, manage, and respond to reviews from all over the web in one platform. Or take advantage of their review booster and get access to custom response templates to use for automatic responses to reviews. This option saves you valuable time that is better directed in other areas – like social monitoring.
And when it comes to competitor analysis, Reputation offers a decent competitor comparison which allows you to benchmark your social media performance against other known competitors on social media platforms. This tool offers sentiment analysis, a big bonus, so you can get a good read on how consumers feel about you or your competition.
The downside is that you have to hand-select the brands you want to evaluate, which means competitors that may be unknown to the tool yet still pose a threat aren’t considered. And this could leave your brand at a disadvantage. Aside from that, this social media monitoring tool is a solid choice.
Reputation offers a free demo, and pricing is by request.
Regarding social media monitoring tools, Monday is social monitoring light. That being said, it’s a valuable social media management platform. Its approach is to help teams stay on the same page when mapping out and planning social media content. Brands can collaborate with their entire team, ensuring you’re all in the same pond and swimming in the same direction.
Their social media planner template offers ideas for posts, so a brand could alternate between quotes, questions, resharing funny memes in your industry, or current world events, for example. The template keeps you on track and prevents your social media page from becoming too repetitive. Once you have everything planned, you can schedule your posts to be published immediately or later.
With this, Monday’s social media management tool has a Roadmap Overview, which provides visual insights illustrating your team’s progress, showing where you may need to tighten up and where you’re right on track. Additionally, if something needs to be done, team leaders can assign a project to a team directly in the dashboard, keeping communications much more transparent.
Monday is a fantastic social media management tool and an excellent option for social media management teams trying to keep pace in the busy world of social media marketing and improve their social media marketing strategy–and it’s an excellent option for any brand.
You can use Monday for free as an individual account to test its features. Monday is also an affordable tool, as there are several tiers of pricing beginning at $24 a month with an annual plan.
TikTok is trending—and more consumers of all age groups are flocking to this popular app to make videos or research subjects of interest. And it’s become a haven for influencers. As a social media marketer, it’s more important to have asocial media monitoring tools to track these video-sharing influencers.
Storyclash offers social media monitoring and social listening via an AI-powered search engine that allows brands to track relevant keywords, hashtags, account names, and swipe-up links in every part of influencer content. Discover new influencers which are rated according to brand fit. Or track your current social media influencers. You can even look at your competitor’s influencer marketing campaigns and their influencer marketing strategies and copy their winning moves or avoid their failures.
And because they offer text recognition, brands can track the text in your logo. This way, you can capture and measure all brand mentions. This is particularly helpful when running an influencer campaign or just watching how your logo is used.
And with Storyclash’s social media monitoring tool, you can keep track of KPIs, making better data-driven decisions. And it offers influencer reporting so you can create and share reports across all platforms.
And Storyclash monitors more than TikTok; it also monitors social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram—ensuring all your influencer bases are covered!
There is a free demo, and pricing begins at €599 a month.
Loomly’s social media monitoring tools help brands create and maintain a consistent brand voice across multiple social channels. With their platform, you have numerous social media management tools and collaborative views at your disposal, keeping all team members on the same page at all times. With Lommly, you can manage organic and paid social media postings from a single platform. Also, you receive email, push, Slack, and Microsoft Teams notifications whenever a member of your team edits or comments on a piece of content. In the dashboard, you get the following:
- List view
- The ability to see everyone’s calendar
- Overview of post notifications (email, push, Slack, Microsoft Teams)
It also offers ad mockups, commenting version logs, and approval flow, so everyone speaks the same language.
And there’s a database of ideas to pull from when you’re feeling stifled on what to post. Loomly provides post ideas based on trending subjects, RSS feeds, upcoming events, and social media best practices.
Once a post has been published, you can track its performance in real-time using Loomly’s analytics. Though fairly basic, it offers insights every brand needs, such as the themes and content types your audience is most interested in. You can incorporate this information into your social media strategy and planning process.
This social monitoring and social media management tool offers a free 15-day trial and multi-tiered pricing beginning at $26 a month annually.
“Turn creators into revenue.” Upfluence social media monitoring tools are influencer focused. Upfluence locates possible influencers for your company and allows you to track them on social platforms, measure their social media performance, and see if they fit you. Not every influencer will reach the demographic you need nor want. And in fact, you may have followers already that are influencers in their own right. Upfluence locates these micro-influencers for you.
Upfluence’s social media monitoring tool is an all-in-one influencer management platform. It begins with the scouting process and takes brands straight through to the hiring, managing, and tracking process. With this valuable tool, companies can:
Manage each of your creators from one location–If you want to know who is active and who has been paid or needs to be, you may filter your influencers by name, area, campaign, and more to locate and assess your influencers quickly. You can also keep track of their most recent activity.
Keep an eye on the ROI of your influencer marketing–Get a breakdown of your ongoing negotiations, and overall influencer marketing spend with your customized dashboard. Using links and sales tracking, you can accurately and automatically calculate the ROI of your influencer marketing. Take measurements for each creator, campaign, and overall performance to make data-driven decisions. Maintain a record of each step and keep track of the development of your campaign. Keep track of which influencers have been asked to participate, who has said yes, and the status of price discussions.
Upfluence has a free, live demo. Pricing is by request.
At a certain level, making do with subpar social media monitoring tools is like trying to hit a home run for the Red Sox using a child’s toy bat. It simply won’t get the job done. But we understand it’s overwhelming to sift through the numerous solutions. So, here’s what matters:
Accuracy and Speed: Social data is useless if it’s inaccurate. The ability to parse multiple languages – including slang and emojis – is critical to this point. So is the ability to analyze the sentiment behind posts and images. And it all must happen in real-time. Today that means AI analytics driving your social data engine. And it needs to be transparent. Your social media monitoring tools must climb into the posts behind the pretty charts and graphs. If your tool says your net sentiment is 95% and you can’t click into the posts that compose this number, then you need to look elsewhere.
Integration: Social monitoring only works well when combined with other modalities, like social listening. Additionally, you may want the ease of engaging back through social scheduling software or combining CRM and other relevant data. You want a social media monitoring tool that can interface with your existing tools.
No 3rd Party Add-ons: They might seem cool, but they won’t be under the control of your vendor. It’s better to go with a vendor dedicated to innovating independently. Otherwise, you may fall in love with a feature that disappears.
Commitment to Innovation: Tool providers that don’t update their offerings regularly may fall behind when significant changes happen suddenly –and it’s not like social platforms are going out of their way to let you know they just changed their algorithms. When your tools fall behind, they take you with them. Meanwhile, those who invested in best-in-class tools fly further past you.
Industry/Peer-Recognized: The one thing the internet offers is transparency. The reviews reveal all you need to know if you’re unsure of a tool’s merit. Just as consumers rely on Consumer Reports when purchasing things like cars and appliances, there are places to look when you want reliable information about social media analytics tools. TrustRadius, Forrester, and G2 Crowd are just a few where you can compare top solutions. We’ve been listed at all three and more.
How Does Social Media Monitoring Work?
Social media monitoring allows you to establish benchmarks around what matters most to your brand. These center around brand health, customer service initiatives, campaign tracking, product reception, etc.
Of course, the nightmare scenario for any brand is reputational damage from a viral post, and safeguarding against it is one of the many ways social media monitoring works for brands. This is why it’s critical to be alerted to and take care of anything brewing at the moment. The most important thing is awareness – and knowing your text analytics tools are accurate.
When your data is reliable, knowing about harmful or potentially damaging posts means you can make smart decisions and act quickly when appropriate. Erring on the side of caution by handling problems when they’re small is always best.
In addition to crisis management, your social media monitoring tools can function in a predictive capacity to help spot disruptions from competitors. That’s because everything you’re tracking on your own brand online can be done in a competitive intelligence capacity as well. And brands should be doing this already, or they may lose favor. An excellent example of where incumbents in industries with significant capital investment barriers are being threatened and unseated by unorthodox players is Amazon. In 2021, Amazon shipped more packages than UPS, and in 2022 this giant of eCommerce was set to unseat UPS as the package delivery leader.
Though Amazon is not a “little guy,” this factor could spell the potential downfall for brands that aren’t taking companies, no matter how big or small, into account going forward. Savvy brands can set their social media monitoring sights on category innovations and up-and-coming start-ups with disruptive power to safeguard their competitive advantage.
Social media monitoring isn’t all about gloom and doom. You also want to be alerted to positive swells in sentiment – because anything surrounding your brand garnering positive sentiment can be seen as a rung on the upward ladder.
And you can monitor sentiment in a competitor’s online conversations to uncover what their consumers love about their products and services. This is strategic intel that brands can use in their marketing and R&D departments.
Additionally, you’ll want to monitor the positive side of emerging trends to understand who views them favorably. This is extremely helpful in justifying whether to align your brand with a particular trend.
Brand Health Management
Brand health is a big reason social media monitoring should be part of your daily operations – but it’s hardly the only one. Social analytics uncovered through social media monitoring are also not limited to the marketing department. Your monitoring tools will find relevant conversations and social media mentions within your brand narrative. These can all be explored to monitor movement over time, so you’ll know whether interest is waxing or waning.
This type of brand monitoring allows you to grow your brand in the areas of positive sentiment while addressing the concerns found in others. For example, here’s a one-month snapshot in Quid Social of a top makeup brand’s social conversation showing brand attributes colored by sentiment. Tracking this analysis over time will show you where to apply to message and product innovation, helping to galvanize your brand health.
You can identify if there’s a specific area where you’re not making par in your category or not meeting consumers’ expectations of your brand or products. It’s also how you know you’re doing better than expected or better than competitors and why.
Identifying new influencers and monitoring the activity of current ones is another area where social media monitoring comes in handy. Those positive sentiment spikes may lead you to a social celebrity worth putting to work for your brand. You can also monitor influencers you’re already using, setting alerts for any upticks in action.
Social Media Monitoring Tips
You can slice and dice your company’s current and historical data in many ways, but there are a few key steps that we suggest everyone takes. Below we detailed some top tips for social media monitoring.
You may be based in the US, but you may be turning heads in Asia. And you won’t know this if you’re only using social media listening tools that monitor the US or English-speaking countries. Brands need to know who is talking and where they’re located so they can best serve their customers, target messaging, and monitor impacts on their brand health no matter where they’re coming from.
Monitor Hashtags and Trending Keywords
Tracking hashtags help you reach a wider audience, generate more comments on your posts, and gain more followers. You become more noticeable to niche audiences by using hashtags related to your brand, and they may become more inclined to follow you. The best social monitoring tools help brands understand which ones are resonating with consumers to help amplify their voices.
Additionally, keeping track of keywords via a social listening tool helps identify trending topics that you can get in on. It can also open your eyes to terms consumers use to describe your brand, products, and services.
Monitor for Influencers and Detractors
Influencer marketing is growing with each passing day. Influencer marketing accounted for 10 to 20 percent of marketing agencies’ budgets, and 5% said they spent more than 40 percent of their budgets on influencer marketing. Using social monitoring and social listening to locate these highly sought-after people should be a part of your marketing strategy. Additionally, consumers trust influencers more than brands, making them more likely to purchase a product an influencer recommends.
And you want to keep a close eye out for detractors—if a person has a negative experience with you and posts about it on Facebook or Twitter, it’s liable to go viral and do some damage. Monitoring for these detractors will keep you proactive in your brand health.
You must know immediately if your sentiment takes a nosedive at 3 am. Or if your competitor releases a new product everyone is raving about, you want to know about it. Setting social listening and social monitoring alerts for anything you want to know about it—from tracking brand mentions to sentiment spikes and dips-alerts keep you proactive and engaged in your business, your consumers, and the actions of your competitors. By choosing a social monitoring tool with alerts, you can act fast and pivot at a moment’s notice should you need to. Your tool should also allow you to add subscribers to your alerts so your entire team is informed immediately.
Communicate with Your Team
Your team members need to know and understand what you see, which is why customized social media monitoring reports are essential to your social media monitoring tool. Your shareholders, CEOs, and sales team need to be on the same page so that you can speak with one voice.
How Can I Learn More?
When brands use AI-driven social media monitoring with other social analytics components, they thrive. The rest of our Social Analytics Guide discusses each of these components in-depth. Still, we also have several other posts illustrating how to use varying facets of our tools smartly, along with success stories from global brands that use NetBase Quid® to stay on top every day.
And be sure to check out our other Social Media Analytics Guide sections, which include:
- What is Social Media Analytics, and Why Is it Important?
- What Is Social Media Monitoring?
- What Is Social Campaign Analysis?
- What Is Social Sentiment Analysis?
- Social Listening: What, Why & How
- What Is Image Analytics?
- What Is Audience Analysis?
Each section explains and explores the many types of Social Media Analytics Tools available and how to use them to achieve specific brand goals and maintain optimum brand health!
Social media monitoring benefits all areas of brand operations, from customer service to marketing, sales, and research and development. So when you spend on social media monitoring tools, you make an investment that brings far-reaching returns.
If you want even more tailored information or need a tool that does more than track social media mentions, reach out for a customized demo of our suite of products.