Social Media

7 Great Social Media Listening Tools

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One of the most underappreciated aspects of social mediums is their ability to set industry leaders apart. However, businesses today tend to shy away from social media engagement as they fear their efforts are time consuming, and insignificant—but that simply isn’t the case. Effectively managed, brands can utilize these mediums to garner client feedback, engage ambassadors, identify competitors, improve their products, and set themselves apart in the eyes of consumers.

To keep you from spending hours on the hunt for the most effective social media management tools, we’ve cut through the noise, and selected a few of our favorites to share.

Without further adieu, here are 7 of our top picks—both free and paid—for listening in:

1. Google Alerts

While not overly robust, notifications available through Google Alerts serve as a simple tool to manage your brand in real–time. With a simple adjustment to settings, Google Alerts will ping you each time your brand name is mentioned—an easy and barebones way to put an ear to the ground, and get notifications on–the–go. Hard to beat for those who have little time or budget to devote to new tools.

2. Social Mention

Free, fast, and surprisingly robust—social mention will scour blogs, videos, comments, and more, to bring you on–the–go information pertaining to brand discussions (i.e. sentiment, top users, sources, etcetera). The sort by date feature also allows you to review the most recent conversations had about your brand, or ones held in the past you might have missed. It might not be as detailed as other paid solutions, but it’s a great way to get a lot of information in a pinch.

3. BoardReader

While the term “social media” might bring to mind Twitter, Facebook, and other major networks, businesses tend to overlook the discussions held in forums—many of which are not indexed by Google. BoardReader is a forum search engine that can illuminate these hidden conversations. Forums lend themselves to lengthy, detailed discussions, great for garnering in–depth insights into, and engaging with, a more deeply invested audience.

4. Loudpixel

Lost in a sea of customer responses? Loudpixel is designed for just such scenarios. This distinctive monitoring app serves up a wealth of information, including actionable reports of statistically representative client data. Receive daily alerts about priority­–based consumer posts requiring follow–up, keep a pulse on relevant data, and effectively analyze your businesses progress against industry and competitor benchmarks.


With so many available networks, it’s tough to be everywhere at once. This tool allows you to monitor your various social presences, track conversations, and respond to all posts, tweets, +1’s, and more, from a central location. Get new interaction notifications, and immediately join in on a conversation.

6. Brandwatch

At $250 per month (EDIT: the kind folks at Brandwatch informed us that the price is actually £500), the price tag might not suit every budget, but Brandwatch serves as a powerful tool for those wanting to take monitoring to the next level. Sophisticated sentiment analysis gives you the nitty–gritty details beyond whether or not people like or dislike your product, while visually stunning charts and graphs turn data into actionable insights. Detailed filters help you cut through the noise, identifying key influencers who might not have otherwise been on your radar.

7. Sysomos

Real–time tracking and analytics, automated sentiment analysis, demographic tracking, competitor comparisons—what more could you ask for from a listening tool? This tool can provide particularly powerful insights into the “whom” driving online conversations: age, location, interests, and engagement levels. You’ll have all the information needed to reach out and build relationships with the seed influencers who matter most.

Honorable Mention: Radian6

No list of social media monitoring tools would be complete without recognizing the juggernaut in the ring, Radian6. While we’ve yet to see the implications the recent acquisition by Salesforce will have on the tool, Radian6 remains the top choice among marketing professionals. Clean dashboards and real-time charts make it easy to see the most common words associated with your brand, monitor the highs and lows of social mentions, ascertain sentiment, export data, and allocate workflow. The tool excels at turning data into appealing visuals—helping you cut through the clutter, and focus on data meaningful for marketing decisions. With some of the most robust help and support of any tool mentioned, putting the immense power of Radian6 to work seems less daunting and more exciting.

Social media listening tools can be your most useful set of eyes and ears on the web, providing insights you could never have gathered on your own. Just remember—the key to any successful customer management tool is engagement. Be prepared to listen, converse, and build relationships with your potential brand ambassadors.

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