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Tools for Better Social Listening

Sometimes brands choose too broad an audience to try and market to. The more targeted your marketing personas, the easier your job as a marketer will be. If you can get as specific as possible with your personas – that describe your ideal customer – then your social marketing will be so much more effective. And social listening can help in this process because you want to really know your target audience.

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is part of any successful social strategy. It is the act of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying online about brands and about your industry.

How do companies do this? By using tools to collect mentions and track hashtags, keywords, and URLs. Why do companies do this? To connect with customers, provide customer support, measure social reach, and understand trends.

Social Listening Solutions

Social media serves as a platform for people around the world to speak their mind, voice their opinions, and join conversations. People are constantly talking about companies and brands on social which makes it a valuable research tool for businesses. But platforms such as Facebook and Twitter make it difficult to cut through the noise and analyze the trends. And it can be tedious to constantly check your notifications or search each social platform every time you want to see if people are talking about your brand.

Lucky for marketers, there are plenty of tools to assist us in our quest for insights. Some are big players and you’ve definitely heard of them but I’ll include a few lesser-known tools on this list as well.

Hootsuite

In order to provide excellent customer service you must be responding to customers on social. Hootsuite allows users to monitor social mentions in real time – meaning you can respond to complaints or praise immediately. Plus, the tool puts all your social feeds in one place and allows automated post scheduling. Want to look at those KPIs? Don’t worry, they’ve got analytics tools too.

The range of plans starts at $29 per month (after your free 30-day trial). There are also $129/mo and $599/mo plans, plus an enterprise option (most tools out there have this last, customizable option.)

Sprout Social

Like Hootsuite, Sprout’s monitoring and engagement tools are part of its social media management software. There is a Smart Inbox, where you’ll see all your social mentions and messages. With the discovery feature, you can search for certain keywords which is of particular use for those times when someone mentions your brand but doesn’t remember to tag your social profile. Sprout supports Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google +.

All plans include a free 30-day trial then range from $99 to $249 per month, per user.

Keyhole

Tracking your brand, name, and product mentions is part of social listening. But tracking specific industry keywords is another, and it’s just as important. Keyhole features real-time hashtag and keyword tracking for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can monitor mentions across blogs and news sites as well. There are analytics, such as sentiment analysis and mention maps. Of course, there are premium features such as the ability to track influencers and get API access to the data. Keyhole’s strengths are really in gathering data and reporting results rather than replying to mentions.

After your free trial ends prices range from $149 to upwards of $749. It gets pricey but keep in mind that it offers additional features other tools don’t have (powerful analytics and API access) – and it’s very user-friendly.

Mention

Mention monitors your brand on social but also across the web (on sites such as Yelp, Amazon, and Trip Advisor). It provides in-depth insights and reports on brand mentions. Plus, users can connect their social profiles and reply directly within the tool. You can even add a Buffer account for scheduling posts.

The lowest price is $29 per month, making it a much more affordable option if you need a social management tool as well as access to mentions.

Utilizing Social Listening

If monitoring social is part of your everyday marketing activities then fantastic! You’re already on the right track. But what people often forget to do, or skip doing, is to take a step back and look at the trends. What analysis can be gathered from all these messages you’re reading and topics you’re tracking? And how can you apply what you see to your overall marketing strategy? (Give us a call if you’re struggling with this piece!)

Social listening gives access to what people are saying about your brand, industry, and competitors across the web. Businesses have a lot to gain from the authentic, unbiased insights available across social media. You just need to know how to word your queries and filter results.

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More and more brands have turned to social for customer insights and so social listening tools are gaining momentum.

Monitoring and listening are key to fully understanding your audience, existing and potential customers. It helps inform business decisions and helps brands be better, customer-centric companies. What social listening tool do you use?

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