• Social media is one of the main ways consumers interact with brands, with nearly 60% saying they engage with brands there one to three times a day.

    For businesses, that brings both good news and bad news. On the plus side, social media is a great way to more directly reach your target audience. But with Statista now listing 20 popular social media sites, with over 100 million users each, staying on top of all the places your audience hangs out is a huge challenge. And finding your customers and leads amongst the millions of users on each platform is difficult as well.

    How Social Listening Tools Can Help

    As with many modern marketing challenges, companies have responded with a number of tech tools that make it easier to monitor relevant posts and conversations across multiple social media channels all at once. Social listening tools provide an efficient way to find your audience on social media, figure out what they’re talking about, and incorporate what you learn into your social media and content strategies.

    10 Social Listening Tools to Consider

    The market for social listening tools is big enough that you have a number of strong options. When researching your different choices, in addition to considering the features each platform provides, Elena Harper, Cofounder and Head of Digital Marketing at Vantage Point SF, suggests prioritizing ease-of-use.

    It sounds lazy, but it’s not. Because if you have a clunky platform that you have to spend time on and learn the ins and outs and understand all of these little bugs, that’s just a waste of time,” she explains. According to her, the best social listening tools “serve up clarity.”

    Many of the products on this list provide either free trials or product demos, so you can get a feel for the level of clarity they provide and how intuitive they are before you buy. Here are some of the top products to look into.

    1. Sysomos

    Sysomos monitors thousands of different sources, including all the main social media platforms. With its search feature, you can sift through all the conversations and data from those sources going back over a year. And it provides tools for tracking relevant conversations in real time. The historical data is useful for benchmarking, so you can see trends and changes in the conversation over time. And the tool creates data visualizations that make insights easier to identify and act on.

    2. Sprinklr

    Sprinklr’s social listening feature tracks 25 different social media channels. It provides over two years of historical data you can explore, amounting to over 200 billion different messages. The tool’s dashboard provides colorful charts and graphs to help you make sense of the data you track. You can monitor brand mentions, topics, themes, and events. In addition, the tool goes further by categorizing the sentiments behind the messages and images used.

    3. People Pattern

    While most of the tools on this list are focused on monitoring conversations across social media, one of Harper’s top suggestions is a product focused on using social listening to better understand your audience.

    People Pattern “can pull up and create your audience persona for you,” she said. The tool analyzes follower attributes of one or more brands (you can input yours and your competitors’) and the social accounts engaged with particular hashtags to provide insights into who the people in your audience are.

    And it checks Harper’s main box for ease-of-use. “When you pull up the results, everything is super colorful. It’s easy-to-read, like an infographic. 

    4. Awario

    Awario lets you track brand mentions and other keywords across the web. The product’s analytics dashboard helps you monitor the number of mentions you see over time, so you can spot trends, see the reach of those mentions, and track sentiment. You can set up email alerts so you know when an important conversation is happening. And the tool allows you to sort different messages by importance based on the amount of reach each one has.

    5. Agorapulse

    Agorapulse can monitor your brand across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The tool helps you track who’s talking about you and more easily identify which of them are potential customer advocates. You can also tag different messages to better organize what you learn from social listening and create new data points. 

    6. Keyhole

    Keyhole provides social listening features for Twitter and Instagram, along with a number of news sites, forums, and blogs. You can track brand mentions, hashtags, and keywords across the different sites. The too alerts you any time there’s an uncharacteristic increase in mentions of your brand, an influencer joins a relevant conversation, or someone complains about you. And its sentiment tool helps you track how people feel about your brand.

    7. Hootsuite

    You can use Hootsuite to set up custom social streams based on specific brand mentions or keywords you want to follow, so you can easily monitor the conversations happening around your brand and industry. It also lets you search social conversations across multiple sites by keyword, hashtag, and location.

    8. Sprout Social

    Sprout Social differentiates itself by enabling users to set up specific social listening queries to gain better insights into what people are saying, in addition to tracking keywords and brand mentions across different social sites. For instance, you can set up a query for mentions of your product name paired with the word “love” to see how often people rave about your products. It also helps you track social engagement and trends over time in how people talk about and interact with your brand.

    9. Mention

    Mention integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so you can monitor all three social media platforms on one platform and interact with users through the same dashboard. It also provides sentiment analysis. And in addition to monitoring specific keywords, it helps you find related topics to consider monitoring.

    10. Synthesio

    With Synthesio, you track can brand mentions, keywords, and engagement metrics across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. In the product’s dashboard, it includes useful metadata for brand mentions such as sentiment, location, and language. In addition to helping you track specific mentions, it parses the data to provide insights on overall brand health and campaign performance.

    Social Listening Tools Provide Important Insights

    Social listening can teach you a lot about your audience and how they see your brand. They can tune you into conversations you’d have missed otherwise and help you more efficiently track what people are saying across multiple platforms.

    Harper has seen this in action. For a client that ran a small media site looking for ways to attract new advertisers, she saw a way for social listening to help. “We realized that we could use [social listening] to not only parse out his audience personas, but to create robust profiles about them, and then we put together a press kit so he could pitch himself to these advertisers.”

    “That was something that was kind of surprising and a really cool revelation for me…that you could leverage this tool for something outside of the social realm.”

    How are you using social listening? Tweet us @RampUp to let us know what wins you’ve uncovered!

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