Marketers already know it’s important to track social performance, monitor mentions and respond to customer comments and questions. Reacting quickly comes with the territory.
But there’s a more proactive approach that marketers can take: one that lives upstream from social monitoring, and allows them to take a peek into the minds of audiences. It’s called social listening.
Social listening is all about putting a spotlight on the conversations, trends and keywords relevant to your brand. It involves analyzing audience sentiments and learning what people say about you and your competitors.
In short, social listening allows brands to keep tabs on their reputations, stay ahead of potential crises, detect what’s going viral and gather intel on the trends and topics customers care about — all of which can be folded into their larger marketing campaigns and business strategies.
Lots of tools are available to help marketers automate and streamline these tasks.
Here are 15 you should know about.
Social Listening Tools
- Social Bakers
- Sprout Social
Like many social tools, Agorapulse lets you draft, schedule and publish posts, as well as manage comments and messages. Beyond that, it offers social listening capabilities, allowing you to create alerts for trends, hashtags and key influencers. It also comes with the ability to generate brand-related search results, surfacing conversations you may want to jump into.
Price: Several plans, with monthly or annual billing options, which range from $79/mo for small teams and solo operators to $399/mo for enterprise accounts. A 28-day free trial is available.
This social listening tool gives brands insights about their customers, competitors and popular online conversations by crawling the web for relevant keywords, mentions and discussions. Awario also lets you set up super-specific keyword alerts with boolean search. Plus, you can measure share of voice and compare your brand’s buzz with that of competitors across demographics and locations.
Price: Awario has three pricing packages, with options for monthly or annual billing, ranging from $24/mo to $249/mo. You can try it with a one-week free trial.
Companies use Brand24 to manage their online reputations, track competition and monitor media. The tool automatically performs sentiment analysis on social mentions, providing a quick read on how customers are feeling about your brand. It also lets you set up alerts for keywords (and other brands too) and track hashtags, which can be useful for influencer sourcing.
Price: Three pricing tiers of $49, $99 and $199 per month. Allows for a 14-day free trial.
Brandwatch, which bills itself as a digital consumer intelligence platform, appears to be geared toward agencies and larger marketing departments. Reviews say it’s very customizable, but comes with a bit of a learning curve. Companies use it to stay on top of what people are saying about them online; monitor publications, social feeds and influencers; and conduct competitive analysis and market research.
Price: Not available on website.
Buzzsumo gives marketers the tools they need to carry out competitive analysis, receive timely industry updates, attend to brand mentions and analyze customer sentiment. Among the features included are customizable feeds for different topics and ways to set up alerts for keywords and relevant journalists and bloggers. Buzzsumo also provides tools to help source influencers on various social media platforms.
Price: Four pricing tiers, with monthly or yearly billing, starting at $79/mo (billed annually) or $99/mo (month to month). Goes up to $499+ for custom solutions. A 30-day free trial is available too.
With Digimind, you can stay informed about relevant conversations taking place on social channels and in online publications. You can even view your social mentions with user sentiment automatically attached to each one. Digmind also gives you insight into what people are searching for on Google as it relates to relevant topics, your brand and competitors. And it comes with data visualization tools for quick analysis, and the ability to generate reports.
Price: Not available on website.
This versatile social listening tool positions itself as “the platform for every kind of social media marketer.” You can use Falcon.io to set up alerts and email notifications for unusual activity or specific mentions, perform hyper-specific search queries to gather valuable chatter and drill down into customer sentiment to inform future marketing campaigns. You can also follow conversations on specific topics and access Falcon.io’s “influencer tab,” which conveniently creates a list of each topic’s top influencers.
Price: Starts at $129/mo for single users and small teams. You can request a quote for larger companies and teams with specific needs. Interested users have access to a 14-day free trial.
While Hootsuite is commonly used for scheduling and publishing social media posts, it offers additional features for social listening as well. For instance, it keeps a close eye on customer comments, alerting you of any unusual spikes in brand sentiment; it notifies you about the online activities of your competitors; and it equips you with a personal AI sidekick for a hand in spotting up-and-coming trends, pre-viral hashtags and relevant conversations among your customer segments.
Price: There’s a free plan, but to access more features, you select one of three tiers — professional ($29/mo), team ($129/mo) and business ($599/mo). You can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
As its name suggests, Keyhole offers marketers a focused view of the conversations they need to keep track of. This platform crawls social media channels and collects data, organizing it into at-a-glance views of audience insights, sentiment analysis, engagement metrics and influential users. You can use it to learn all about your followers — and the followers of your competitors — and incorporate those findings into future campaigns.
Price: Choose from one of three tiers and if you want to be billed monthly or annually, at a reduced rate. Starts at $59/mo for basic suite and increases to $124/mo for professional package. Request a quote for customizable enterprise suite. Anyone can sign up for a seven-day free trial.
With Mention, marketers can create customizable dashboards and data visualizations to streamline all their social listening activities. They can use filters to surface key conversations and gauge audience sentiments, and get notified when specific keywords are mentioned on review websites or in blogs, social feeds and forums. Mention also lets users quickly generate insights and reports from all the data it gathers, making it easy to share with team members.
Price: Breaks down into three packages — pro, which is $25/mo ($29/mo if billed monthly), pro plus ($83/$99) and company ($450+). Mention offers a 14-day free trial.
Sentione offers several features, including chatbots, customer service automation and, of course, social listening. The tool lets you monitor brand mentions and crawl the web for hyper-targeted keywords, giving you the option to set up alerts and automate reports along the way. You can also use Sentione to mine for customer demographic information, track brand sentiment and conduct research on your competitors.
Price: The team plan is $299/mo. The price for the enterprise plan is available upon request. Users are encouraged to book a demo.
Socialbakers is a social intelligence platform that gives marketers an overview of what people are saying and how they feel about their brands, as well as how competitors stack up in those regards. To do that, it automatically employs sentiment analysis for brand mentions and conversations. Plus, the company says its AI-powered assistant helps define marketing personas, pinpointing what sort of content and products your audience loves — and what influencers they’ve come to rely on (and whom you should probably be reaching out to).
Price: The starting package is $200/mo. For full, custom access to the platform — which is what you need to access social listening features — you have to contact the company for a quote. Users can take a spin with a 14-day free trial.
Marketers use Sprout Social to perform audience analysis, as it gives them tools to explore consumer preferences and attitudes and track conversations with customers over time. It also surfaces audience demographics and flags potential influencers that savvy brands may want to leverage in future campaigns. In addition, Sprout Social lets you keep tabs on your brand’s share of voice in relevant industry conversations and track the topics your customers care about.
Price: Select one of three packages, including standard ($99/mo per user), professional, which you’ll need to access all of the company’s listening tools ($149), and advanced ($249). Users can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Synthesio is an audience intelligence platform that offers tools for marketers to “keep pace with the enduring shifts in consumer conversation surrounding your brand.” To do this, it uses something called a trend detector, which identifies viral content and spotlights noteworthy consumer interests and associations. Using Google’s BERT technology, it can strain out irrelevant mentions (like spam and job postings) from your data set, so you’re only seeing the brand mentions that should affect your decision-making. Marketers can also use Synthesio to analyze campaigns and competitors and track audience sentiment.
Price: Not available on website.
With Talkwalker, you can monitor brand mentions across just about every social network, and keep a close eye on relevant chatter that’s happening on blogs, forums and new sites. The tool lets you measure your brand’s health and take the emotional temperature of your audience too. It also comes with trend prediction charts, virality maps, crisis dashboards and image recognition capabilities, so if someone publishes a post on Instagrams featuring your logo — even if they don’t mention your brand name — you’ll be notified about it. It’s a pricey product, relative to others on this list, but you can use its Google Alerts alternative for free.
Price: The basic package, which the company website says is for growing brands and agencies, is $9,000 yearly. For higher-tier pricing, you have to contact the company directly.