Social listening tools help you identify exactly what consumers and customers think about your brand and your competition on social media networks.
The best social listening tools like Mention and Brand24 make it easy to track brand mentions, important keywords and hashtags in your industry, as well as what consumers think and say about your products and services.
And even more important, social listening tools provide you with a view beyond the numbers, allowing you to measure and track consumer sentiment - giving you real-time insight into whether social media mentions about your brand are positive or negative.
Brands use social listening tools to improve brand positioning, run competitor analysis, inform product development, scale up customer service, and initiate influencer marketing campaigns.
Before you invest in a social listening tool, it's important to consider whether you need a wider set of social media management tools, or whether you're buying a social listening tool in isolation. There are other important features to look out for.
Best Social Listening Tools
We've reviewed all of the best social listening tools online so that you can make an informed decision on which social listening tool is right for your business.
Focused Look At The Best Social Listening Tools
Brandwatch is more than just a social listening tool.
Used by global brands like Unilever, Havas, and Delta, Brandwatch helps make sense of consumer sentiment and behavior across social media channels.
In fact, Brandwatch stores over 1.7 trillion conversations dating back to 2010, and allows access to real-time data analysis with 500+ million conversations added to the platform every day.
Using AI, automatic segmentation, and image analysis, Brandwatch provides you with the tools to monitor millions of social posts and comments that are relevant to your brand, products, and services - categorizing social media mentions into buckets based on consumer sentiment.
Results can be analyzed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and shared with teams to initiate action. Alongside this, Brandwatch offers a full suite of social media management tools that allows social teams to manage social media activity from one central dashboard and smart inbox.
Pricing starts at $108 per/mo for small businesses looking to access the Brandwatch Essential package. This package provides access to post scheduling, one central smart social inbox, and social media performance measurement.
To access Enterprise Plans, you need to get in touch with the Brandwatch sales team.
Features we like
Real time analysis - monitor social media channels in real-time
Sentiment analysis - automatic segmentation buckets mentions by sentiment
- Essentials package - post scheduling, social inbox and monitoring for $108 per/mo
Brandwatch offers an Essentials package for those looking for a start-up plan. This costs $108 per/mo.
It's also possible to buy full access to their Consumer Intelligence and Social Media Management tools (or full suite access) by speaking with the Brandwatch sales team.
- Essentials - $108 per/mo
- Consumer Intelligence, Social Management, Suite Access all custom
Sproutsocial is an all in-one social media management tool that allows brand owners to carry out social listening, social monitoring, publishing, and measurement.
Trusted by over 30,000 brands including Eventbrite, Shopify, and Havas, Sproutsocial's social listening tools help brands track and monitor trending topics related to their brands, competitors and wider industry from one central dashboard.
Sproutsocial integrates across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Reddit, and enables you to bucket listening responses by sentiment - meaning you can assess positive, neutral, and negative social mentions about your brand and products.
On top of this, you get access to a suite of analytics tools that enable you to track share of voice, reach of those talking about your brand, as well as overall sentiment analysis and engagements per post.
Sproutsocial offers 4 pricing options starting at $249 per/mo. If you want to access social listening tools then you need to get in touch with the Sproutsocial sales team.
Features we like
All-in-one social media management - manage you entire social strategy from one tool
Multi platform - carry out social listening cross-platform
- Include/exclude feature - setup unique social listening criteria to include and exclude only the things you care about
Sproutsocial offers 4 different pricing plans, social listening tools are available as an optional add-on.
- Standard - $249 per/mo, track 5 social profiles, no competitor analytics
- Professional - $399 per/mo, unlimited social profiles, competitor reports enabled
- Advanced - $499 per/mo, advanced functionality and reports
- Enterprise - custom
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools online.
Used by thousands of brands and startups, Hootsuite helps brand owners manage all of their social media activity under one roof, including publishing content cross-platform, monitoring social media activity, analyzing performance, and more.
With Hootsuite, you can use their social listening tools to track brand mentions across social media, alongside key trends, topics, and competitor social mentions in real-time.
In fact, Hootsuite allows you to search for any topic or keyword, filtering by date and location to zone in on the specific area of social media you want to monitor - you can also set up alerts to tell you when mentions of your brand spike.
And if you want to integrate social listening tools like Brandwatch and TalkWalker directly into your Hootsuite dashboard, this is also possible.
Hootsuite offers 4 different payment plans, starting at $49 per/mo.
Features we like
Access to more tools - plan and publish all of your social media content using Hootsuite
Recommended time to publish - recommended publishing times accessible on all plans
- Integrations - access Hotsuite's social listening tools or integrate Brandwatch or Talkwalker
Hootsuite offers 4 different pricing plans starting at $49 per/mo. For Enterprise plans, you will need to reach out to the Hootsuite sales team to request a demo.
- Professional - $49 per/mo, 10 social profiles, 1 user
- Team - $249 per/mo, 20 social profiles, 3 users
- Business - $739 per/mo, 35 social profiles, 5 users
- Enterprise - customized
Mention is a social media monitoring and listening tool used by over 75,000 brands globally.
Mention is used for competitive analysis, social media management, brand management, and social media listening - integrating directly into other platforms like Buffer.
Mention's social listening tools are widely used and allow brands and agencies to monitor social conversations across all of the major social media platforms - including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
As a stand alone social listening tool, Mention helps brands monitor social media conversations based on defined filters, and returns comprehensive analytics which can be used to inform strategy and future direction.
The Mention Insight Dashboard allows you to track competitor mentions, product mentions, industry topics, and analyse consumer sentiment at scale - you can also pull demographic information on who is talking about your brand, and understand when spikes in conversation flow occur.
Mention allows you to schedule reports, share reports with clients and colleagues, and also sends you reports directly to your email as and when you want them.
There are 4 pricing plans on offer, starting at $41 per/mo for Solo Entrepreneurs. For bigger businesses, there are also scale up plans available.
Features we like
Affordable price plans - social listening accessible on Solo plan starting at $41 per/mo
Social listening capability - unlike other tools that only offer social listening on their enterprise plans, Mention includes social listening on all paid plans
- Scheduled reporting - get alerted when there are spikes in mentions about your brand, products or competitors
Mention offers 4 different pricing plans, starting at $41 per/mo, allowing you to track 5,000 mentions per month.
- Solo - $41 per/mo, 5,000 mentions, 1 user
- Pro - $83 per/mo, 10,000 mentions, 5 users
- ProPlus - $149 per/mo, 20,000 mentions, unlimited users
- Company - custom
Brand24 is a dedicated social listening and monitoring tool, built for scale up brands.
Used by thousands of startups, as well as big businesses like Intel and McCann, Brand24 is a brand protection tool which provides you with the analytics you need to stay on top of brand mentions, as well as any speak on social media about your products, industry, or competition.
Brand24 features automatic, real-time sentiment analysis, instant notifications whenever someone mentions your brand or products negatively, and allows you to engage with negative comments within the platform to help reassure customers.
Brand24 is also used by brands to measure the impact of PR, and enables hashtag tracking to help you stay on top of key trends in your industry.
Pricing starts at just $39 per/mo which allows you to track up to 2,000 mentions, providing access for 1 users, beyond that there are 3 pricing plans for larger businesses.
Features we like
Influence scoring - assess who has the biggest influence in your industry to uncover partnerships
Track positive, negative and neutral sentiment - understand sentiment analysis at scale
- Free trial - access 7-day free trial to test Brand24's social listening tools upfront
Brand24 offers 4 different pricing plans that support solo entrepreneurs, through to enteprises.
- Individual - $39 per/mo, 2k mentions, 1 user
- Team - $99 per/mo, 5k mentions, unlimited users
- Pro - $149 per/mo, 25k mentions, unlimited users
- Enterprise - $249 per/mo, 100k mentions, unlimited users
Talkwalker is an enterprise level social media listening tool that is also used for competitive intelligence, brand management, content marketing, market research, and more.
Talkwalker tracks over 187 languages and 30k images, combing through social media, blogs, forums, websites and other sources to find your brand mentions - in fact, Talkwaker individually tracks over 150 million websites.
There is access to real-time sentiment analysis, mentions over time, and automated alerts that notify your team when there are spikes in negative mentions of your brand.
It's also possible to track topics and trends across social media to see what is hot and what is not relative to your product or service.
Unlike other social listening tools, Talkwalker also offers conversation clustering which allows you to zone in on the pockets of conversations that can provide meaning for your brand when it comes to optimizing messaging, marketing strategy and brand positioning.
Talkwalker also offers visual listening thanks to their image recognition capability. If you see a spike in images relevant to your brand or products online, Talkwalker should flag it.
Talkwalker offers a host of SMB and Enterprise plans for small businesses through to enterprises. To get set up, you have to speak to one of the Talkwalker sales teams.
Features we like
Image recognition - Talkwalker offers visual listening when your brand imagery is being shared
Conversation clustering - important conversation clusters are formed so that you can zone in on the conversations that matter
- Real-time sentiment analysis - track positive, negative and neutral mentions of your brand and products in real-time
- There are SMB and Enteprise plans available but you will need to speak to the Talkwalker sales team
What is social listening?
Social listening is a marketing strategy that brands deploy to listen and track brand and products mentions on social networks.
Social media listening tools make it easy to listen for mentions of your brand, your competitors brand, your products and services, as well as keywords and hashtags that relate to your marketing campaigns and product launches.
All of this insight can beused to inform your marketing strategy, product development strategy, and how you position your messaging on social media. It's also a great way to stay on top of your competitors strategy, by monitoring what is and isn't working for them
The key difference between social media listening tools and social media monitoring tools is sentiment analysis.
Social listening tools don't just show you numbers relating to mentions, they pass back real-time analytics on whether those mentions are positive, negative or neutral. Meaning you can react and place your attention in the areas that matter.
Why invest in social listening tools for your business?
Investing in social media marketing is becoming a more and more important requirement for startups, scaleups and established businesses.
There are now over 4.5 billion social media users utilizing social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Linkedin. Not to mention the billions of users accessing blogs, newsletters, and review sites.
What's more, social media advertising spend is exploding. In 2022 alone, brands spent over $200 billion on advertising across social media platforms, in order to drive sales, and develop brand awareness.
And by the very nature of social media, where consumers are swapping stories about the brands, products, and services they consume, it's vital you understand what's being said, and how it's being said.
Social listening tools give you the ability to look beyond the numbers and to start understanding what consumers actually think about your brand (and your competitors) on social media.
Still not convinced, here are further tactical reasons brands invest in social listening tools.
Enhance your social media strategy - when customers make reference to your brand on social, listening tools alert you immediately so that you can be the first to react and shape the conversation. Drop a comment on their post, throw them a discount, or bring light to the situation
Competitive analysis - understand in real-time what consumers think about your competition. If you are using competitive analysis tools like Semrush or Similarweb, social media listening can give you additional perspective from social channels in real-time. If someone makes a negative comment about your competition, then you can decide whether you want your brand to be part of that conversation
Monitor product mentions - if you are hearing negative sentiment about your products and services, then you can respond to those comments and make changes to your existing product strategy. Likewise, you might spot an opportunity to develop a new product or spot a flaw in a competitors product strategy that you could leverage. Social listening tools provide discussion volume chart information to track this seamlessly
- Influencer marketing - social listening tools also ensure that you don't miss when big influencers in your space talk about your products and services. The last thing you want to do is miss the opportunity to collaborate or jump on sharing tweets put out by big names in your industry
How to pick the best social listening tools
Investing in social media listening tools takes you closer to customers and what they actually think about your brand, products, and services.
But before you pick a social listening tool to start testing, consider these important functionalities that will help you maximize the impact of your social listening.
All-in-one solution - social listening tools can be bought in isolation or packaged into an all in one social media management tool like Sproutsocial or Hootsuite. If you need a tool to take care of your social media monitoring, social scheduling and publishing, one central smart inbox and other social media tasks, then it's best to think more broadly before making a decision
Listen for what matters - ensure that your social listening tool can track your brand name, product name, competitors brand and product names, as well as campaign names, branded hashtags, industry terms, and names of key people relevant to your business (for example, your CEO). The best social listening tools allow you to track and monitor mentions and brand awareness seamlessly
Access to the social networks that matter - if you are a B2B brand you want to ensure that you can listen across Linkedin and Twitter, if you're a consumer facing brand, ensure you can listen across Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok. Some tools also allow you to track blogs, newsletter, and other websites
Geographical targeting - what markets do you care about? If you are selling in the US alone, then it makes sense to drill down and target mentions in the US, for brands selling Worldwide, ensure you're not limited by geographic region and that you can track sentiment analysis for your specific target audience
Real-time tracking - if you are going to track consumer sentiment, then it's important to do so in real-time. There is nothing worse than missing the opportunity to respond to customers when they're frustrated, or having to pass up on the opportunity to leverage what's trending to promote your brand
Influencer marketing - the best listening tools provide access to historical data which is a great way to indentify influencers that have made a positive impact on your social media reach and that of your competitors
- Budget - a lot of the biggest and most established social listening tools are enterprise grade tools that come with a hefty price tag. For startups and scale up brands, pick platforms like Brand24 to mix functionality with affordability
Sign up to the best social listening tools
Once you've signed up, select what brand, product, and industry terms you want to track, focusing on the geographies and social media platforms you care about.
Track sentiment, and start collecting these insights to help your brand thrive.
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