Social media is an indispensable tool for our everyday lives and the same is true for businesses.
However, while mass communications have increased in speed and ease due to it, the effects of social media can be a double-edged sword!
A rave review could go viral and send your brand soaring explosively, but similarly a negative comment could snowball and sink the business’ reputation in moments.
This makes it critical for businesses to be hyperaware of what is going on in the social media space about them or risk being caught flat-footed and fail to capitalise on opportunities or spot and resolve potential troubles.
That’s where social listening comes in. It is the process of monitoring social media for customer feedback, mentions of your business or even relevant influencers, keywords and trends and deriving business insights from it.
Other terms like social media tracking, social media listening or social media monitoring may also be something you hear about, but they shouldn’t be confused with social listening as they refer to only the initial monitoring process and do not include the later process of gathering insights.
Of course, attempting to engage in manual social listening on the ever-growing list of social media platforms, content and conversations is simply a futile effort.
That’s where social listening tools come in — they allow you to easily monitor across social media platforms for your own profiles as well as keywords, related industries, competitors and more depending on the scope of your chosen tool.
Beyond monitoring, many of these tools also allow you to directly engage with consumers through the social media channels, schedule and post content, analyze and report on your social media content and more.
All of which allows you to improve brand engagement while ensuring consistency in your brand performance and image across social media channels alongside providing valuable insights for business decisions.
An affordable tool with plans starting at $29/month and a free 14 day trial, Awario monitor mentions of your brand, competitors, industry, or set up complex searches for niche use cases.
Features include enterprise level analytics even in their basic plan, and a useful social selling tool Leads as a free add-on, along with a report of influencers talking about your brand, competitors or industry.
With plans starting from $49/month and a free 14 day trial, Brand24 compiles a mentions feed of your brand and allows you to take action in real time, engaging directly from the platform.
Their features include a graphical analysis of your brand mentions, influencer scoring pinpointing influencers in your niche and sentiment analysis for the mentions.
This powerful tool allows you to track responses to your videos and overall YouTube trends, allowing you to build custom dashboards which can help to find new areas to build content around and improve your videos.
BrandMentions searches the internet to find all relevant mentions about any brand or related terms, including all essential channels. They also provide sentiment analysis to determine the tone of the mentions.
It can also be used for competitor research or industry insights. It is priced at $49/month.
Zignal is a powerful social listening tool that gives in-app media scores to the mentions so that you can rank them by the value of the mention. It started off as a tool that helps identify bot accounts, but has since expanded.
It covers the whole spectrum of social, digital media and even print media and broadcast. As a full enterprise solution, it comes with an equivalent cost of ~$18,000 per year.
Sprout Social is an enterprise grade social media management platform that provides powerful solutions for social listening and analytics, customer care, and employee advocacy. It is priced at $99 / user / month with a free 30-day trial provided.
It allows you to track, manage and engage in a unified smart inbox, map content strategy and schedule posts for publishing, detect trends, do audience analysis and gain actionable insights across multiple social platforms.
Talkwalker offers a full suite social listening tool not only tracks mentions, comments and views but also analyses images and videos with their AI-powered video recognition tool across social platforms and the web. They also have in-app translations capability.
However, their pricing starts at $9,000 per year and is definitely one of the pricier options targeted towards medium-sized companies or agencies.
Sprinklr is more of a full suite customer experience management platform. Social listening is part of their offering but they also do content management, customer service & engagement, and allow you to build project workflows in-app.
As an enterprise solution provider, they only provide quote-based plans but you can expect prices to be in the range of 6 figures.
Keyhole is a focused social media analytics and reporting tool, helping you to monitor hashtags and keywords alongside sentiment analysis to optimise your posts and content scheduling.
They also allow you to monitor brand mentions across blogs and news sites with premium features like tracking industry influencers.
Their pricing starts from $99/month with a 7 day free trial.
Socialbakers is an end-to-end solution with these listening tools included. What they do well is allowing you to leverage social listening seamlessly with marketing, as well as with community management and customer care tools to increase engagement.
Their basic plan starts from $200 / month.
Whichever tool you choose to use, there are a couple things to keep in mind.
Firstly, the best tool is ineffective if no one uses it.
Secondly, there’s no one best tool but we do recommend not using too many tools which may cause confusion and fatigue amongst your team and end up not using any effectively.
Lastly, experiment with what works for your team and brand as every tool has its specialisation in the same way your audience and brand is active in certain niches and platforms.
Putting it together, the best way to evaluate these tools is to develop your social media marketing plan first before figuring out how the tools will help you execute and achieve your goals.
Singapore too has its own fair share of YouTube stars who have made their mark and we have put together a list of some of our home-grown influencers.