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7 Social Media Monitoring Tools SMMs Can’t Live Without

Learn how to use one (or all) of the best social media monitoring tools to help you track and manage online conversations about your brand.

Paige Cooper, Colleen Christison May 2, 2024
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Social media monitoring tools are the best way to find out what people are saying about your brand — and your product, your competitors, your industry, your Super Bowl ad, your customer service wait times, your new mascot… you name it. If your audience has an opinion on something, your social media monitoring tool should be able to pick it up.

That’s because social media monitoring software gathers and presents audience and competitive insights for brands that want to pay attention.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the best social media tracking tools on the market and cover some social media tracking best practices so you can join conversations that are already happening.

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What is social media monitoring?

Social media monitoring is the process of identifying social media conversations about a company, individual, product, or brand.

Social media monitoring involves tracking hashtags, keywords and mentions relevant to your brand in order to stay informed about your audience and industry.

Monitoring social media data can yield both quantitative (metrics and analytics) and qualitative (inspiration for posts and strategies) information. You’ll get intel on social media that can help you determine things like:

  • Social share of voice. What percentage of the conversation is about you, as opposed to your competitors?
  • Social sentiment analysis. What’s the mood of the conversation?
  • Social ROI. How is your investment in social paying off?
  • Relevant hashtags and keywords. Which Instagram hashtags or YouTube keywords, for example, might help you expand your reach in the future?
  • Trends. What’s your audience talking about? Which new ideas, aesthetics or memes are popping up? Are the platforms offering new tools and services?

Note: You’ve probably also heard of social media listening, which is the next step you’ll want to take after social media monitoring. Social listening involves not just gathering and analyzing the metrics, but taking action. Read our article about social media listening tools over here.

A comparison chart listing the differences between social media monitoring and social listening. Social monitoring looks back, gathers information, focuses on details, and measures success. Social listening looks forward, analyzes information, looks at the big picture, and guides strateg

If you want to learn more, check out our overview of how we do social media monitoring (and listening!) here at Hootsuite:

Bonus: Download a free guide to learn how to use social media monitoring to boost sales and conversions today. No tricks or boring tips—just simple, easy-to-follow instructions that really work.

Why should you use social media monitoring tools?

These days, you have to keep your finger on the pulse. Social media monitoring tools help you stay informed so you can present yourself online with your best foot forward.

Here are a few other reasons to monitor your social media:

Being a good social citizen

For brands, social monitoring is an essential part of being a good social citizen, making more informed decisions, and succeeding on social, period.

Understanding what your audience wants

You wouldn’t launch into a high-pressure sales pitch (or informative lecture, or even a stand-up routine) to a new customer who’s just walked in the door. You’d listen first and figure out what they’re looking for or why they’re in your office. Social media monitoring platforms help you do just that.

Staying relevant

On social media, paying attention to what people are saying is necessary to be relevant and engaging and to prevent yourself from making off-key blunders.

Competitive analysis

Having a view into your competitor’s strategies, customer feedback, and market position helps you to position your offerings more effectively.

7 brand social media monitoring tools

You don’t have to do the legwork yourself; manually monitoring your social media is way too much for the average social media manager. Luckily, we’re sharing our top social media monitoring apps with you.

Here are seven of the best social media monitoring tools.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite’s integration capabilities and all-in-one social features make it a favorite among busy social media managers.

Arguably one of the easiest social monitoring tools to use on this list, Hootsuite’s customizable search streams will monitor any social platform you like so that you can see what’s going on at a glance.

Streams make it easy to zero in on essential topics, track social media trends, and monitor mentions based on keywords, hashtags, locations, and specific users.

Hootsuite Streams Instagram trending hashtags

Psstt: Streams are included in every Hootsuite plan — grab your free 30-day trial if you want to test them out for yourself.

If you really want to do a deep dive on social, you can also try Hootsuite Insights.

This paid tool is powerful enough to qualify more as a social listening tool than a social monitoring app, but Hootsuite Insights can give you an instant overview of millions of online conversations in real-time.

Search for any topic or keyword and filter by date, demographics, location, and more. You’ll be able to identify thought leaders or brand advocates, understand your brand’s perception in the market, and get immediate alerts if and when your mentions spike (for good or for bad).

Hootsuite Insights can tell you a lot about your target audience and how they feel about you. It’s only available to enterprise users, but if you’re serious about social listening, Insights is the only tool you’ll need.

graph of sentiment volume and emotion volume over time

Key features:

  • Customizable search streams for social monitoring
  • Hootsuite Insights for advanced social listening
  • Filters by date, demographics, location, and more

Price: Plans start at $99/month for up to 10 profiles. Try Hootsuite with an unlimited 30-day free trial.

Best for: Marketers seeking both basic monitoring and advanced social listening tools across all major social media platforms.

What does it monitor? All major social media platforms

Paid or free: Plans start at $99/month for up to 10 profiles. Try Hootsuite with an unlimited 30-day free trial.

2. Talkwalker

Talkwalker offers more than 50 filters to monitor conversations across 150 million data sources, including blogs, forums, videos, news sites, review sites, and social networks. As social media monitoring tools go, this is one of the most powerful.

You can use Talkwalker to analyze engagement, reach, comments, brand sentiment, important influencers, conversation clusters, and much more.

Talkwalker is especially useful to spot activity peaks in conversations about your brand. This can help you determine the best times for your brand to post on social media.

Bonus: Watch our AMA with Talkwalker here to learn more.

Talkwalker graph owned versus earned and engagement

Source: Talkwalker

Key features:

  • Over 50 filters for precise monitoring
  • Analyzes engagement, reach, and sentiment
  • Access to 150 million data sources

Price: Free for Hootsuite Business or Enterprise users

Best for: Social media managers needing comprehensive monitoring and analysis across various digital platforms, including blogs, forums, and social networks.

Psst: Hootsuite is set to acquire Talkwalker VERY SOON. This means that you will get access to Talkwalker social listening and analytics directly in your Hootsuite dashboard!

Hootsuite Talkwalker logo

3. Agorapulse

Agorapulse helps social media managers maintain oversight of social mentions. It also offers features that simplify monitoring and listening to relevant conversations.

Agorapulse lets you organize conversations and competitor activities, and track negative competitor mentions.

While the tool is quite robust, it lacks certain features. You can’t, for example, filter out specific countries, languages, or remove content that uses specific keywords.

You also can’t access historical data in teammate chats or edit text in cross-posted captions.

Agorapulse social profiles settings

Source: Agorapulse

Key features:

  • Customizable monitoring feeds to filter specific phrases and platforms
  • Organize and label customer conversations and competitor activity

Price: Free 30-day trial, then plans start at $49 per user/month (billed annually with an additional cost per additional profile). They go up to $119 per user/month.

Best for: Brands seeking to streamline their social media monitoring and listening strategies, especially those dealing with high volumes of notifications and mentions.

4. Mentionlytics

Mentionlytics is a professional-grade tool designed for comprehensive monitoring across all social platforms and the broader web.

A multi-lingual brand social media monitoring tool, it tracks mentions, keywords, and sentiment in multiple languages, catering to a global audience.

For social media managers who have clients across the globe and audiences speaking multiple languages, this app helps you see the big picture.

Mentionlytics share of voice and sentiment analysis

Source: Mentionlytics

Key features:

  • Multi-language support
  • Tracks mentions, keywords, and sentiment
  • Advanced sentiment analysis detects emotions in every mention
  • Filtering capabilities by keyword, source, sentiment, country, language, and more
  • Integrates with Hootsuite. Assign and reply to mentions discovered right from your dashboard

Price: Free trial, then plans start at $41/month.

Best for: Professionals in need of a thorough monitoring tool that supports multiple languages across all social platforms.

5. Reputology

For customer-facing businesses, a bad review can be a real blow if not dealt with correctly and quickly. Reputology lets you monitor major review sites such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook reviews. It’s not exactly used to track social media, but it’s close enough and useful enough to be included on this list.

You can track activity across multiple storefronts and locations and respond using quick links. It consolidates reviews into one dashboard to help social media managers stay organized and give quick responses to maintain a positive reputation.

Key features:

  • Centralized dashboard for major review sites
  • Tracks activity across multiple locations
  • Quick links for responses

Price: Free trial, then single locations are $29-$49/month, multi-locations are

$10-$49/month/location, and agency prices are $10-$49/month/location

Best for: Businesses focused on managing their online reputation through reviews on major platforms.

6. Fedica

Fedica is designed to help businesses fine-tune their social media strategy. It helps you identify and engage with accounts aligned with your target demographics. For professionals, this is one of the most demographic-focused social media monitoring tools out there.

Fedica can publish content across multiple social platforms, but it doesn’t have performance metrics or campaign-specific analytics. It also lacks trend analysis, workflow management, and calendar management features — but Fedica integrates with Hootsuite, so you can use the two tools in combination.

With AI-driven analytics and advanced social listening features, Fedica can help you amplify your messaging and engage more effectively with various audience segments.

Fedica followers overview segmentation and demographics

Source: Fedica

Key features:

  • Discovery of accounts matching target demographics to build a relevant audience
  • AI-driven analytics for segmented audience engagement improvement
  • Advanced social listening for hashtags, keywords, and post reach with demographic-enriched analyses
  • Email alerts for brand mentions, keyword notifications, and trending topics by geography

Price: $7/month/user. Free trial and free version available.

Best for: Businesses looking to optimize their social media presence by targeting and engaging with specific demographics. Good for social media managers who want to amplify their messages but don’t need customized branding or in-depth campaign analytics.

7. Reddit by Synaptive

With 70 million daily active users, Reddit is an often-overlooked social platform where conversations skew in-depth and honest. This tool monitors conversations for specific keywords, making it a valuable resource for understanding in-depth and genuine user discussions.

Social media managers would do well to pay attention to what’s being said on Reddit. It can clue you into public sentiment and upcoming trends.

Panoramiq Reddit by Synaptive

Source: Synaptive

Key features:

  • Multi-keyword searches
  • Favorite posts and mark posts as read or unread
  • Add notes to posts of interest

Price: $6/month or free for Hootsuite Enterprise users

Best for: Marketers seeking to monitor or engage with Reddit’s unique and often in-depth conversations.

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How to set up social media monitoring

Step 1: Choose the best social media monitoring tool for your purposes.

Refer back to that list above, if you haven’t narrowed it down yet.

Step 2: Brainstorm your search terms.

What words or names do people use when they talk about your brand?

If you’re a fast food chain, people might mention your veggie burgers a lot more than they mention your CEO. Whereas if you’re a 5-person AI startup, the name of that famous investor might be the entry point for discovery. Here are some places to start:

  • Brand or company name as both handle and mention (i.e., @MoodyBlooms and #MoodyBlooms)
  • Product name(s) (i.e., #PeekFreans #MoonPie)
  • Names of thought leaders, CEOs, spokespeople, etc.
  • Slogans or catchphrases
  • Branded hashtags (i.e., #optoutside, #playinside, etc.)

You’ll also want to repeat all of the above for each of your major competitors.

Next, expand your sightlines to include your industry, vertical or niche.

  • Industry hashtags or keywords (i.e., #inboundmarketing, #SEO,)
  • Community or group hashtags or keywords (i.e., #banffcentreartist)
  • Platform-specific hashtags or keywords (i.e., #containergardenersofinstagram, YouTubers)
  • Location hashtags or keywords (i.e., #MileEnd, #JasperNationalPark #QueenWestWest)

For a detailed rundown on the most common search monitoring queries brands are running, watch our recent webinar with Brandwatch.

Step 3: Set up your searches in your brand monitoring software.

This will depend on which tool for social media you choose. In our humble opinion, the more simultaneous and saved searches a tool offers, the better. (Typing your chief rival’s name into the Instagram search bar every day is just too depressing.)

Here’s a quick how-to video that goes over how to use Hootsuite’s stream feature, in case you’re curious about how it works:

Step 4: Check your streams regularly.

If you’re the brains and the thumbs behind the company Instagram, you’ll be checking your streams daily, or even hourly, or perhaps you’ll never really not be checking them.

On the other hand, if shaking hands and kissing babies on social is not in your job description (because cutting bouquets or training horses is), then set a reminder for yourself to browse your search findings.

Trust us, you’ll thank us later.

Step 5: Remember to revisit your search terms and adjust accordingly every so often.

Like all jobs that involve social media, social monitoring is never really done. After you’ve set yourself up and monitored for a few weeks, take another look to see whether your search is really catching everything you want, while filtering out what you don’t.

If you’re getting too many results, especially unrelated ones, consider tightening your search parameters. If you’re not seeing much pop up, then widen them. (Tip #2 in this article on research explains how to use Boolean operators to your advantage.)

Social media monitoring best practices: 5 tips

Monitor in all the languages your customers speak

This one can be easy to overlook for North Americans used to working in one language. But if your company just acquired a start-up in Montreal, remember to set up searches using French, English (and Franglais??) words and phrases.

Meanwhile, if your new client does a lot of work in a language you don’t speak, work with the local team to find out how to spell “love it” in Vietnamese or “the worst” in Russian.

Depending on your audience’s size and relative importance, you might want to use a language-specific social monitoring tool. Crowd Analyzer, for instance, excels at social monitoring in Arabic.

Many social media monitoring services (ahem, Hootsuite) allow you to share permissions with team members so that you can get help where you need it, like, for instance, from your French or Spanish colleagues.

Feed your hashtag and keyword strategy while you’re monitoring.

Have you ever been stumped by which hashtag to add to an Instagram post? Or paused in horror as you consider what will happen to your views if you don’t find the right keyword for your YouTube video? Social monitoring can help.

For instance, listening features like the word cloud in Hootsuite Insights will provide ideas as to which keywords or hashtags you might want to add to your ongoing monitoring activities. But it can also provide keywords and hashtags that you’ll want to use on your own posts as part of your overall hashtag strategy.

Hootsuite Insights total mentions sentiment volume and mention volume over time

Source: Hootsuite

Knowing the language your followers are speaking (i.e., are people talking about “container gardening” or “balcony plants”?) will ensure you can help them find your content.

Identify influencers and brand advocates you might want to partner with

Another smart way to level up your social monitoring? Keep an eye out for repeat offenders. As you scroll, pay attention to people who repeatedly engage with or mention your brand.

If someone’s always applauding your work and has a following of their own, you might consider including them as part of your influencer marketing strategy.

Choosing a tool that can do the complicated math to figure out who your biggest fans are is an easy win.

Set alerts for unusual activity

If your sentiment takes a nose-dive when your new TV ad rolls out or your competitor launches a terrifyingly cool new product, the social team should be among the first to know. Social media monitoring tools are essential for brand reputation management.

A social media crisis (or just a regular PR crisis) can arise at any time. Social media monitoring can alert you if mention volume surges, or the social sentiment meters are ticking over to red all the way down the board.

The correct tool will not just warn you but make sure you have real-time insights at hand to help make decisions about how to solve the problem.

Share your results

Speaking of sharing: let the rest of your team (or company) know what you’re seeing.

Sometimes, social media managers (humble people that we are) forget that we have an unparalleled view of customer sentiment and our organization’s reputation and status in the world.

How much do you want to bet that your sales team, let alone your CEO, have the time, know-how, or tools to sift through the Niagara Falls of opinions and feelings that the world’s 4.7 billion social media users are sharing online?

Social media monitoring reports are important for two reasons:

  1. Showing stakeholders, bosses, or clients the value of your hard work, and
  2. Creating actionable insights from the landscape of social media.

So, whether your company is customer-obsessed or data-led, our advice is to choose a tool that easily integrates social media monitoring with custom reporting.

Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. Publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage your audience, measure results, and more — all from one dashboard. Try it free today.

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By Paige Cooper

Paige Cooper is a lapsed librarian turned copywriter turned inbound marketing strategist who spends her days growing the Hootsuite Labs YouTube channel.

Read more by Paige Cooper
By Colleen Christison

Colleen Christison is a freelance copywriter, copy editor, and brand communications specialist. She spent the first six years of her career in award-winning agencies like Major Tom, writing for social media and websites and developing branding campaigns. Following her agency career, Colleen built her own writing practice, working with brands like Mission Hill Winery, The Prevail Project, and AntiSocial Media.

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