When it comes to understanding consumer trends (are vegan ready meals still a 'thing'?) or managing your brand's social media reputation (who's talking about me? what are they saying about my latest product?), social listening tools are essential.
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which one offers you the best features and value for money. To help you make an informed decision, we've put together a rundown of the top five social listening tools for brands.
With Hootsuite, you can monitor conversations across all social media platforms and track sentiment. It offers real-time analysis and visualisation of the activity of all the platforms. It allows you to quickly respond to customer queries and conduct research. Also on the pros side, you can create custom reports, schedule posts in advance, and integrate with other marketing tools (we all like that interoperability!).
What we don't like about it is that it is quite expensive (more suitable for large organisations who can afford the bill) and there can be a steep learning curve for the time-challenged.
Brandwatch lets you access real-time analytics to help you make informed decisions. It offers detailed demographic insights, AI-powered sentiment analysis (if you're literate about this, go and check what sort of open sourced or trained data they're using, here’s a good place to start), competitive benchmarking, and much more. You can also create custom alerts, customise dashboards, and export data.
It tends to be quite costly for more advanced features though, so you may want to go for a more affordable option if you're just starting out your social listening journey as a brand.
3. Sprout Social
Sprout Social helps you manage multiple accounts and provides detailed insights into customer engagement. You can also create content workflows to streamline the process and schedule posts in advance (these features are part of almost all social listening stack though, question it if it's not!).
Pros include its intuitive dashboard, user-friendly interface, and integration capabilities with other tools. On the cons side, similar to Brandwatch, it can be quite expensive for more features.
Mention helps you track conversations across all social media platforms and set up alerts for specific keywords or phrases. It also offers a comprehensive dashboard to help you visualise your data, as well as team collaboration tools.
Pros include its comprehensive list of features, the ability to track competitors, and the fact that it is easy to use (don't underestimate this one, on a day to day basis tools like these can be a time - drainer for your employees)! On a cons note, its integration capabilities are limited compared to the others and lack of custom reports.
5. Engage (by eBrandValue)
A relatively new comer in the scene but quite comprehensive. Engage has multi-channel customer communication, sentiment tracking and advanced brand and competitor monitoring systems. What we also like about them is the alert and automation system.
The best part though is the value for money, especially if you’re a smaller brand with big aspirations. You can enjoy Engage for an affordable price and have access to its advanced features!
When deciding which social listening tool is best for you, you'll probably think about the cost first, but luckily most of these solutions are SaaS, subscription based so on a monthly basis they're mostly affordable.
That said, we highly recommend that you list what features you need (which ones you cannot live without) and carefully check whether or not they're part of the subscription, and if not, what they cost as an add-on. These small parts really do add up at the end of the month.
Finally, while social listening is a must-have, we also recommend you practise prompted listening, which allows you to direct the conversation on social media to get consumers to talk about the things you need insights on. It is close to social listening but more proactive.
Good luck in your search and let us know which one you end up with!