Social media is an incredibly versatile tool. It can be used for nearly anything -- from getting your daily dose of news to keeping updated on your favorite celebrities to discovering the latest memes.

While it has such benefits for users' personal lives, it can also benefit the more professional lives of brands. Social media is the perfect way to connect with users on a platform that they're already using 24/7. It's much less disruptive than emails or print advertisements since it's native advertising -- a form of paid media that is disguised since it follows the natural form of the platform on which it's posted.

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Beyond just advertising your brand, products, or services, social media can also be a great way to keep tabs on your company's reputation. It's essentially the closest thing to straight-up surveying or interviewing customers on their thoughts. This is why social listening is so important.

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is the monitoring of your brand's social media platforms for customer feedback, direct mentions of your brand, and discussions regarding related keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis of this data to gain further insights and act on these opportunities.

Social listening is a two-part process. The first part is social monitoring, which keeps track of social media mentions and conversations. The second part is the analysis and actionable responses, which help you make improvements to meet the needs of your customers. Social listening finds root causes for social conversations and implements changes to improve social media strategies for the long run.

(Read here to learn more about what social listening is.)

Now that you understand why this process is vital to your brand, take a look at the following social listening tools to find the perfect one to meet your needs.

10 of the Best Social Listening Tools

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite allows you to view all your messages, comments, and brand mentions across several social channels in one concise dashboard from which you can respond to them all. You can also track influencers and leads in lists that can be imported and shared with others in your company. Hootsuite offers three different plans so you can find the perfect solutions and strategies to fit your business's needs.

2. Social Mention

Social Mention is a simple tool with which you can search any keyword on any social platforms you prefer. It then pulls up all mentions of the keyword -- which can be a person, brand name, or related term -- across all chosen platforms. Social Mention also rates the mentions on four scales: Strength -- the likelihood that your brand is being discussed online -- Sentiment -- the ratio of positive to negative mentions -- Passion -- the likelihood that people mentioning your brand will do so multiple times -- and Reach -- the range of your brand's influence across multiple users.

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social has a social media management software that offers solutions to improve your interactions with users. It offers Twitter Listener dashboards and reports to analyze your Twitter presence. In addition, the platform uses real-time brand monitoring to track direct messages and brand-specific keywords. The platform ultimately offers priceless insights that can help you consistently track and improve your social strategy.

4. TweetReach

TweetReach is a great tool for companies looking to specifically analyze their Twitter reach. The tool can analyze exactly how many Twitter accounts have reached your selected keyword, person, or hashtag. It also gives you analytics on impressions, what users are mentioning, when these tweets are being posted, and more. This tool helps you discover who your most impressionable followers are that you should be targeting with your tweets.

5. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo allows you to see the number of impressions and shares certain posts have with a shared domain. In addition, it's a great tool specifically for analyzing your brand's Facebook. It helps you gain insights about each Facebook post, as well as what types of posts garner the best results. It can even go as far as telling you what days and times of the week to post and what the ideal lengths your posts should be.

6. HowSociable

HowSociable allows you to track 12 social sites for free -- this includes social media, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as other communication platforms like blogging site Wordpress. You can search your brand name to analyze all your social sites. The tool gives a numerical score for each platform, helping you recognize which sites are performing well and which ones require improvements to better interact with users.

7. Keyhole

Keyhole focuses on Twitter and Instagram brand analyses. The tool allows you to track hashtags, mentions, usernames and more across both of these social media platforms. In addition, the tool offers impressive heat maps that show how mentions and engagement with your brand differ in different areas across the globe. This allows for you to better understand your target audiences and interact more with those demographics.

8. SumAll

SumAll is a great tool for small and medium-sized businesses since it helps you analyze how all your social channels are correlated. You can also schedule automated posts to save time. The tool offers many metrics related to engagement on each platform. You can even receive brief, daily email updates that compare previous weeks' metrics with current weeks' metrics to efficiently track your growth and make any necessary changes at that moment.

9. Mention

Mention has the capacity to keep track of millions of content sources across 42 languages, so you can monitor your brand mentions all across the world. You can also select what content you'd like to tune out, so you're only paying attention to the trends that matter. With a competitive analysis tool that lets you compare your brand across two or more competitors, you can ensure your content is always greater in relevance to your users than that of competitors.

10. HubSpot

HubSpot allows you to build marketing campaigns, share content like blog posts and landing pages, automatically share content to various social channels, and discover the best times to post, all on one tool. You can even compare performance across your social channels and keep track of the number of visits and leads you receive. Our platform offers more than just social listening; it offers you an all-inclusive inbound marketing software that benefits your entire team and helps you integrate social as an integral part of the company.

Next, read more about social listening.

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Originally published Jan 8, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated January 08 2019

Topics:

Social Media Customer Service