Expert view: 5 of the best social media listening tools on the market

InsightFeatures Wed 20th Oct 2021 by Katrina Bell

Expert view: 5 of the best social media listening tools on the market

Expert view: 5 of the best social media listening tools on the market

Feature by Katrina Bell | Wed 20th Oct 2021

Katrina founded boutique digital agency Aardvark Multimedia in 2003, and has been a B2B journalist for over 25 years. She was the author of the Web Dr column for Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine focussing on online marketing strategies for KBB businesses. More

Choosing the right platform to track what your customers are saying about you and your competitors, and putting solutions in place, is now the job of listening tools. Our web expert Katrina Bell rounds up 5 of the best.

First principle has to be to differentiate between social media listening (SML) and social media tracking (SMT), though they are often used in the same context. I would argue that SML is the next iteration of gathering data as it aims to put the results into a real-life context. Making it data you can act on.

SMT concentrates on what the Internet is saying about your brand and related keywords, so that can cover blogs, vlogs, websites, review platforms and the likes of Twitter. It’s the micro to SML’s macro, which has been described as “reading the room”. It puts you in a position to understand the data in a more insightful way, so you can channel the information back to sales, marketing and product teams in a consistent and comprehensible feedback loop.

To give a real-life example, if Hermes delivery service is using SML not only will they know users have been reduced to shouting “Stupid bot” and “It’s my dog’s birthday and you’ve lost his present” repeatedly at their customer service chatbot, they can also link that back to the complete absence of a human element to their offer, not even a Twitter account dedicated to handling queries. Data directly points to a hole in their offer – in this case a rather large hole where customer satisfaction should sit. 

If this all sounds rather esoteric, consider that in a recent HubSpot Research survey, marketers reported social listening as the most important tool in their social media arsenal. Which means the analysis SML creates for business trounces all the DMs, email newsletters, blog posts for efficacy and ease of use. 

There are a plethora available at different price points, so here are 5 worth considering:

Sprout Social
Good for: You can add up to 10 social profiles and integrate with your HubSpot software to create one report
Free trial: One month
Price: From £65-£203 if billed month to month
USP: Pro package offers Message Spike Alerts via email to help with handling unusual activity that could indicate an unfavourable event, be it a hashtag takedown or a persistent troll 

Good for: Scheduling publishing social stories with real-time analytic reports on engagement
Free trial: Zero cost for 3 social profiles with one user profile
Price: 14 days free then around £5 per channel
USP: The story monitoring capability produces well-designed reports on engagement that can be shared business-wide

Hootsuite Insights
Good for: Can be integrated into your normal Hootsuite dashboard for a one-stop-shop for creating content, research, analysis and reports
Free trial: A demo is available by request
Price: Cost available on request as plan is separate from the main Hootsuite pricing set-up
USP: You can listen in on not just your social channels, but news, blogs and any other public forums – it claims to cover more than 100million sources 

Good for: Known primarily as a tool for online reputational management, its media monitoring capabilities allow you to access your mentions from a wide spread of sources such as blogs, videos and forums, in addition to the usual social channels
Free trial: 14 days
Price: Starts from around £50 a month for 5 keywords
USP: The Influencer Score highlights industry voices with current traction that could help with your social media spread and brand awareness

Falcon.IO Monitor
Good for: The social media tool’s Monitor feature is sold as a way to make multi-channel marketing more cohesive by putting all the information in one place to be actioned from, including for customer relations management 
Free trial: 14 days/demo for Monitor available on request
Price: On request
USP: Powered by industry leader BrandWatch, the reach is claimed to top 100million online sources

I should probably get back to shouting at bots now – happy listening! 

Tags: insight, features, social media listening, digital marketing, kitchens

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