Everything you need to know about social media monitoring tools

A complete rundown of all the social media monitoring tools you should know about.
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Find out how to monitor your brand’s social media conversations so you can build better social media strategies and campaigns.

If you really want to get the most out of your social media strategy, then you should invest in social media monitoring tools for your brand. 

These help you to listen to what your market is saying and make better decisions about how you talk to audiences, what channels you use, and so much more. 

These tools give you information that you can use to really refine your social media engagements.

What is a social media monitoring tool?

Social media monitoring tools help you track conversations on social media using keywords and very specific searches. You can use them to filter specific keywords, get insight into specific conversations, and see what people are saying about you and your competitors. 

In addition to using these tools to find out what your competitors are doing – and what waves they’re making – you can assess other factors, such as sentiment, post reach, and audience engagement.

Top reasons to use social media monitoring tools include:

  • Track hashtags and mentions
  • Discover social share of voice (how much of the conversation is about your brand versus your competitors)
  • Monitor complaints 
  • Assess customer service 
  • Uncover commonly asked questions
  • See conversation volume
  • Monitor sentiment and reach
  • Assess return on investment 
  • Check for trends

Why use social media monitoring tools?

A social media monitoring tool gives you the ability to dig into all the areas of your social media strategy. it  allows you to refine it and make the most out of your social campaigns and investments. 

These tools are designed to make it easier for you to find out the information you need. Many of them let you dig into conversations and insights across several different social media platforms and profiles. 

You can combine monitoring tools with social media management tools to really transform your social media engagement and planning. 

Best social media monitoring tools

Your quick rundown of the best social media monitoring tools right now:

What are the best social media monitoring and listening tools and why?

There are quite a few different types of social media monitoring and listening tools available on the market today. These tools don’t all have the same features and functionalities, so you need to choose the one that best suits your budget, your brand, and your social media monitoring goals. Let’s take a closer look at the top tools to help you decide which one is right for you.

#1 Hootsuite (30-day free trial then $49 per month)

This is one of the most popular of the social media monitoring tools, and includes coverage of Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. Depending on the plan you choose, you can monitor incoming messages, manage your social inbox, handle team assignments, and undertake in-depth searches across keywords, dates, locations, and demographics. 


#2 Sprout Social (Free trial then $249 per month)

Sprout Social includes a lot of features to really enhance your social media. One of the most powerful tools on the market, it tracks mentions, comments, and keywords across all platforms and accounts; it offers you visibility into your social interactions on a centralised dashboard; and you can use it to track very specific conversations and keywords in real-time. 


#3 Agorapulse (30-day free trial then $49 per month)

Agorapulse offers you a variety of tools and benefits that  range from social media ROI to analytics, social listening, and intuitive publishing. The platform is integrated across most social media channels – it recently integrated with TikTok – and helps refine all the data into easily understood insights.

#4 Zoho Social (15-day free trial then $10 a month)

Zoho Social has a dashboard, real-time updates, smart publishing tools, and superb social media engagement tools. It’s one of the cheapest options available and still manages to squeeze a tonne of value into its offering.

#5 Mention ($41 per month)

Mention has been around for a while, which means it’s spent quite a bit of time refining its abilities. This service offers you two months free if you purchase a full year in advance and it helps you to track mentions of your brand across every crevice of the internet, from websites to social, and beyond.

#6 Tailwind ($12.99 a month)

Designed for Pinterest and Instagram, this tool helps you to refine your engagements very specifically on these channels. As a result, it comes with a bunch of features and tools that are curated for Insta and Pinterest, and gives you a variety of different insights that you can use to boost your performance.

#7 Sendible ($29 a month)

Sendible is used by some of the big names in the business and is often the first choice for agencies because it has so many cool tools. Smaller brands shouldn’t feel intimidated though as it brings you rich features at a really great price point.

#8 Loomly ($26 a month)

Used by brands like L’Oreal and BBDO, Loomly comes with a fat suite of tools designed to help you grow your audience and build a solid social foundation. This is a rich packet of social media monitoring functionality at a really good price point for those starting out.

Free social media monitoring tools 

On a tight budget? Dip your toe into social media monitoring for free…

#1 Nexalogy 

Nexalogy is a free service that’s designed to make it easier to understand and interpret information online. It helps you to visualise this information with graphs and maps, and you can refine your searches based on volumes, concepts and hashtags.

#2 Mentionlytics 

This app provides you with a very detailed monitoring platform across the web and social media, and even includes sites like Reddit, news websites, and blogs. It helps you to create a very clear picture of your social media activities and mentions.

#3 Tweepsmap

This platform uses artificial intelligence to track your Twitter conversations and improve your management of the platform. It has multiple plan types, but the free plan is available to everyone. You can use this to dig deep into your Twitter conversations and schedule posts to suit your insights.

#4 Buffer

You can use Buffer for free to manage up to three channels and you get some superb tools for absolutely nothing. The platform lets you get your hands dirty with some basic publishing tools and, if you love what it can do, you pay up to $5 per channel and get a tonne of extra features tacked on. 

#5 BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo includes tools that help you dig into your conversations and social mentions to create content that really resonates with your audience. It helps you to monitor your performance, identify influencers, and explore your brand in an intuitive platform.

What is the best social media monitoring tool?

The answer to this question really lies in what you want from your social media monitoring and how much time and budget you have. Every one of the tools listed here – both free and paid-for – have superb functionality that can help you transform your social media engagements and accounts. 

So the value you get will depend on what you need. It’s worth spending time playing around with the different solutions as most include a free trial, which will help you choose the one that best fits your brand and expectations.

Four steps to setting up your social media monitoring

Eager to get going? Want to dig in and find the perfect solution for you? Okay, here we go…

Step 1:  You need to pick a social media monitoring tool that fits your needs. So, write a list of the absolute must-haves that a tool needs to include. This can be anything from ‘It must be able to track keywords’ through to ‘I need to find influencers.’ Use this list to whittle down your choices and then spend some time playing around with them using the next steps.

Step 2: Write down your search terms. This is a comprehensive list of words that relate to your brand and business. It can be anything from your company name, through to the names of people who are key influencers in your industry, right the way through to hashtags, slogans, competitor names, and campaign tags. 

Step 3: Enter these terms into your social media monitoring tool. This step will take some time, but it will also help you to refine your terms and add in any you might have missed. Then, keep a close eye on the information and insights that these search terms throw up. It’s really worth spending time on this as often as possible – make it a habit or allocate the role to someone, to get the most value from your tool.

Step 4:  As you track your search terms and gather insights, don’t feel like you have to stick with the terms you chose at the start. If a term ends up inundating you with data that’s mostly irrelevant, change it. Or cut down on terms if you want a more laser-like focus.

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Social listening vs. social monitoring

There is quite a bit of confusion around the differences between social media listening and social media monitoring. The two do overlap to a certain extent, but there is a key difference.

With social media monitoring, you really dig into the tags, keywords, hashtags, sentiments, complaints, and all the other juicy details of your social media campaigns and conversations.

Social media listening is more like an overview or stunning social media vista as you examine performance from up high. This is about patterns, trends, and graphs, and about helping you to refine your overall social strategies so you can get the most from your monitoring. Lots of tools offer both monitoring and listening capabilities. 

The best social media listening tools

Want to get that social media overview with some tasty social media listening tools? Here are five of the best…

#1 Hubspot

This one is pricey, but it’s packed so full of features and tools that you can use it to handle pretty much anything that you want your social media to do. As well as listening, you can use this to schedule, analyse, plan, map, and reshape your social media campaigns. 

#2 Falcon.io

Not only does this social media listening platform have a fantastic name, but it comes with some excellent resources for brands. You can choose from different solutions and pricing models to find the right fit for your social media strategy and budget.

#3 TweetReach

This particular resource is, as you probably guessed from the name, focused on Twitter. If this is your platform of choice, then TweetReach is a worthy contender for your tool of choice. It’s engaging, intuitive, and easy to use.

#4 Keyhole

Welcome to the tool that lets you listen through the keyhole. This is a solution that’s all about visualisations, charts, and stunning visibility into your profiles, channels, campaigns, and influencers. 

Time to improve your social media performance?

Our software is unique and we help you to manage your creator campaigns with an end-to-end suite of marketing tools. We work with both brands and creators, and can offer a wide range of support – find out how we’ve delivered in the past, and how you can get started with free tools


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