The 11 Best Social Media Listening Tools Compared [Infographic]

Emily Mendoza    By under Social Listening, Social Media Marketing.

When you want to know what your customers truly want, a focus group may come to mind. But imagine having a focus group made up entirely of people already engaging with your brand or industry. That's why a great social listening strategy comes into play. It's crucial to strategically analyze and respond to online conversations about your brand.

Social media is another playing field of customer service. About 59% of Americans agree that customer service via social media is more efficient to get questions and concerns resolved. There's no stopping customers from bringing the conversation to social platforms. Shoppers increasingly Tweet brands to get information, and nearly 77% feel more positively toward the brand when they receive a response.

Whether the conversation is good or bad, don't be surprised if people complain about your brand on social media. Most of the time, they won't even "@mention" you. Almost 96% of online conversation is unbranded, meaning they're talking about you but not featuring or mentioning you.

The 11 Best Social Media Listening Tools Compared [Infographic] 1

Implementing social listening may sound time-consuming, but you don't have to search for every mention on each platform. With great social listening strategy and tools, you'll know immediately when someone says something positive or negative about you.

Here are some tools that you can keep in your social listening toolbox:

  1. Sprout Social
    Sprout Social allows you to track specific keywords related to your industry and business, generate visual reports on every keyword you're tracking, get real-time alerts on hashtags, and integrate inbound message tagging in your social media campaigns.Sprout recently released a new social listening tool called "Listeners". The Listeners experience starts with the Query Builder, an intuitive interface to easily create basic and advanced queries. This helps marketers search for keywords, hashtags, brands, industries and multimedia content to analyze sentiment, find topic correlations and uncover trends.Also, you can receive Listener Insights that uncovers what people are saying, how they feel, and where these conversations are happening. However, Sprout's helpful features are only available for enterprise-level customers, influencer and listening tools are workable but not robust, and access to historical data is limited. Their plans start at $99/per month.
  2. Simply Measured
    Simply Measured offers some serious sentiment analysis. Find out how your audience perceives your brand and your content in addition to how many people you're reaching. Also, discover emerging conversation trends and capitalize on them, rather than playing catch-up with your audience and competitors.A major benefit is the ability to aggregate a word cloud of top hashtags and key terms broken down by location, which is important for brands with an international reach. However, there's still room for improvement. Simply Measured doesn't have the ability to create custom reporting and the social media analytics solution offers sentiment data feature, but only at an additional cost.Simply Measured monitors: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, G+, and Reddit.  Bonus:Simply Measured is part of Sprout Social too!
  3. Mention
    Mention monitors the entire web, including sites like Yelp,, Trip Advisor, and Amazon. With Mention, you can take a few minutes every day to scroll through your feed and read up on what the public has been saying about you lately.Besides being a monitoring tool, Mention offers a thorough competitive analysis, which compares you and your competitors mentions side-by-side. This is crucial because you're able to compare your competition's social strategies.  However, the downside of Mention is that the pricing is a bit steep if you're a small company and it has strict limitations in pricing; starting at $29 you only receive 2 alerts and 3,000 mentions for 1 user.
  4. HootSuite
    HootSuite allows you to set up an unlimited stream of social media content based on your mentions, selected keywords, hashtags, and locations. Not only does it give you the ability to monitor mentions in real time but you can also respond to customers right away. With HootSuite, you're able to find and filter social conversations about your brand, competitors, and industry, then gives you a chance to respond quickly. Dealing with a customer complaints right away can increase customer advocacy by 25%.HootSuite has the ability to create side-by-side listening, which you can fit up to four on a screen. However, the downside is that the reporting does not come cheap and can cost up to $50 per report and it changes per-module.
  5. Keyhole
    It's important to track specific industry words on top of watching your brand name. Keyhole provides real-time tracking of hashtags, accounts and specific URLs relevant to your brand on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It also breaks down top influencers based on specific hashtags or terms, giving you a sort of "who's who" for any given keyword.Keyhole's features make it better for gathering data and reporting results than replying your social media mentions. It also easily exports your tracking data and creates a cloud of relevant tags you could roll out in future posts. If this is something you're looking for, you're going to have to dish out $179/per month after your free trial.
  6. Trackur
    Trackur is similar to Keyhole. It helps you find keywords and mentions of your brand all the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Google +, Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter. Trackur provides executive insights including trends, researchers keywords with custom feeds, automated sentiment analysis & influence scoring. However, the interface is a little outdated and if you want to try this monitoring tool, don't expect a free trial. Prices start at $97/per month.
  7. BuzzLogix
    BuzzLogix will be a handy tool for both social listening and engagement. They ensure that your relevant conversations and images are collected in real time from millions of media sources. Automatically track relevant conversations for instant access to emerging issues, analytics, and themes across social conversations over time.They specialize in competitive tracking that analyzes competitors, benchmark performance, and trends across your industry.  Also, brand tracking that monitors your brand's social sentiment and perception. BuzzLogix allows you to extend your search to monitor text across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, web pages, and discussions to see what resonates on owned and earn conversations.
  8. Brand24
    Brand24 is very similar to Mention considering that it's functionally identical and is much cheaper for the numbers of monitors that you get. They still discover what people are saying online about your brand in real time, and grants you instant access to mentions about your brand across the web, from social networks to influential publishers. Brand24 allows your to monitor blogs, forums, and other sites for mentions of your brand.Brand24 gives you the listening tools to find these leads, identify where to promote products and find customers before they find you. Get the chance to react and engage quickly to real-time comments made about your brand. The only downfalls with this tool are that their historical analysis only dates back to a month and it's fairly expensive.
  9. Social Mention
    Social Mention is a free social media search engine for user-generated content across the web. This unique search engine easily measures what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time, in places such as Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. It measures your search in four categories:

    1. Strength -  The likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media. A very simple calculation is used: phrase mentions within the last 24 hours divided by total possible mentions.
    2. Sentiment - The ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative
    3. Passion - The likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly. For example, if you have a small group of very passionate advocates who talk about your products or brand all the time you will have a higher Passion score. Conversely, if every mention is written by a different author you will have a lower score. Most frequently used keywords and number of times mentioned. The number of mentions by sentiment.
    4. Reach - a measure of the range of influence. It is the number of unique authors referencing your brand divided by the total number of mentions.
  10. Boardreader
    Boardreader is a forum search engine that is capable of searching thousands of forums instantly. This search engine statistically puts the number of forums on a graph to show topic popularity.
    With Boardreader, you can keep up with popular forums, track forum activity, search topics and top results in forums. Their analytic suite allows for thread popularity results, and top forums and threads are listed first for quicker access.
  11. Notifier for Reddit
    Notifier for Reddit allows you to get notified when keywords you care about are mentioned on reddit. Use it to track mentions of your product or company and respond quickly to drive the conversation. Many are also using it to find new customers by tracking keywords potential customers might mention. For example, if you are a VPN company, you might search for "looking for VPN" keywords, then you can chime in and recommend your product.

Don't let negative customer experiences go unnoticed on social media. While some bigger brands receive hundreds or thousands of messages a day, the right monitoring tool helps you dig through the noise and find the biggest issues to address. From shout-outs and mentions to everything in between, social listening doesn't have to be a daunting task with these tools. Knowing what people are saying about your brand and responding in a timely manner can strengthen your social presence.

If you're feeling stuck, check out our social listening services or request a free 30-minute consultation.