Finding and tracking conversations on social media was once a hurdle for digital marketers. Now, with a range of tools available, the challenge is finding the ideal one.
And since listening to social conversations can deliver clear business benefits, many community managers are quickly looking for an option. Luckily, social media monitoring tools that differ between price, user experience and tracking capabilities are filling the market.
Before listing the best 25 platforms, it’s important to define social media monitoring for those new to the field (feel free to skip this section if you’re a veteran):
What Is Social Media Monitoring?
Don’t think of social media monitoring as a one-time, or sporadic, activity.
Also called social listening, it’s the ongoing process of tracking online conversations to find information about:
- Other terms related to accounts, brands, businesses, organizations and competitors
The goal of this process is to better understand different target markets, ranging from prospects to competitor customers. Specifically, digital strategists can use social media monitoring to determine how a brand is perceived, analyze consumer behaviour and identify issues those consumers may have.
Now that we’ve clarified the definition, here’s our list of the top tools:
Use Keyhole to track URLs, hashtags, keywords and @usernames on Twitter and Instagram. It collects data and posts in real-time, offering historical data separately or in advanced plans.
The platform gives a timeline that illustrates flows and spikes in posting frequency. It provides a stream of posts to complement this feature. Along with sentiment data, Keyhole has demographic information such as heat maps that measure activity levels across the world and United States.
Give it a shot:
Price: Starts at $116 USD per month. View pricing here.
Type a keyword into Addict-o-Matic’s search bar to scan platforms such as YouTube, WordPress and Bing News for mentions. The results are somewhat customizable — if you don’t value a given platform, you can delete its feed or move it to the bottom of the page. Bookmark the page and visit again whenever you want updated information.
Give Brandwatch a shot to monitor and collect data from 80 million sources. These include blogs, forums, review sites, news sources and popular social platforms such as Facebook. It adds context to online conversations by measuring analytics such as audience interests and gender ratio. You can also receive alerts whenever specific terms are mentioned.
Price: Varies based on mentions per month and historical data access
Use Buzzsumo to quantify a content piece’s virality and see who’s sharing it. Enter a term to rank relevant URLs by social share counts. Clicking on a result will reveal a list of users who have tweeted the content piece and identify topic influencers who led conversations around it. You can choose to get an alert whenever a website publishes an article using a specific term.
Price: $79 – $999 USD per month
Try CyberAlert if you need to monitor mainstream news. Along with some popular social media platforms, the tool can track keyword mentions from 60,000 online news sources in more than 250 languages. It allows you to segment these mentions by brand, campaign, media type and more criteria.
Price: Varies based on the platforms you want to monitor
Log onto Digimind to track keywords in real-time from major news outlets and social media platforms. It measures sentiment, letting you see whether the online perception of the keyword is positive, neutral or negative. You can compare how your brands or products are perceived against the competition, as the tool also lets you compare and contrast data from different keywords.
Price: $499 USD per month
7. Google Alerts
Try Google Alerts if you’re looking for an easy, but barebones, option. It will scan publications for keyword mentions, delivering email alerts according to the frequency you choose. You can filter results by region, language and source — including blogs, forums and news sources.
A popular platform management tool, test out Hootsuite for social listening as well. You can create a live stream for each keyword you want to track, generating a grid of content that shows basic engagement data. You can also flag posts and assign team members to address them, making it a go-to tool for large social teams.
Price: Starts at $9.99 USD per month; advanced plans vary
Use HowSociable to measure a keyword’s “magnitude score” — its level of weekly activity, given on a scale of 0 to 10. The tool provides the keyword’s score on 36 sites, ranging from major social platforms to forums such as 4chan and Reddit. Pay extra to receive historical data going back to the platform’s launch in May 2008.
Price: $9 USD per three months – $99 USD per year
Acting as a blog and Twitter search engine, try IceRocket if you value a range of results filters. You can narrow results by domain, author, language, publishing date and secondary keyword use. But since you can’t save or continuously update your mentions, you’ll have to perform a new search whenever you want an update.
Widely known as an influence measurement tool, test out Klout to monitor which types of posts and topics are most talked about. By grading your ability to engage on each social platform and giving you a mark out of 100, you’ll learn which content pieces best drive conversation and resonate with your audience.
Price: Contact Klout to discuss a unique plan
12. Little Bird
Described as an influencer marketing tool, use Little Bird to monitor close-knit social media communities. For example, you can identify and listen to conversations topic thought-leaders are having about a relevant keyword. This allows you to spot social trends before they become widely popular.
Price: Contact Little Bird to discuss a unique plan
Track your mentions on major social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, with the aptly-named Mention. Not only can you interact with posts using your tracked keywords directly from the dashboard, but assign them to different team members. The platform can also alert you whenever someone includes your keyword in a post.
Price: Starts at $25 USD per month; advanced plans vary
Targeting enterprise-scale brands and agencies, use NetBase to read and analyze social media posts in 42 languages. The platform tracks keyword mentions from millions of sources around the world, advertising that it processes posts nine-times faster and 50 to 70% more accurately than other tools. Subscribers can also receive up to 27 months of historical data.
Price: Contact NetBase to discuss a unique plan
Sign up for Nuvi to monitor real-time data from the top social networks and nearly four million RSS feeds. The tool will alert you when there are large dips and spikes in keyword use, as well as drastic changes in sentiment. You can also reply to mentions from the dashboard, making it a viable community management platform too.
Price: Contact Nuvi to discuss a unique plan
Think of SharedCount as a basic version of BuzzSumo. Seeing more than a billion requests per month, the program helps you monitor the social popularity of content. Paste a URL into the search bar to see how many likes and shares it has earned on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook.
17. Social Mention
Use Social Mention as a search engine with a complementary analytics suite, collecting data such as sentiment. Inputting a keyphrase will generate results pages filled with user-generated content up to a month old from more than 100 platforms. But since the program doesn’t continuously monitors your terms, you’ll have to start a new search when you need an update.
Another social media monitoring tool that targets enterprise-scale brands and agencies, try Synthesio to track mentions from more than 195 countries and 100,000 websites. These include niche social networks in China, Russia, South America and the Middle East. The tool delivers analytics such as activity heat maps and common phrases used with your keywords.
Plan: Contact Synthesio to discuss a unique plan
Use the Sysomos “Heartbeat” tool to monitor up to two years of historical data, along with real-time conversations in almost 190 languages. It scans major social media platforms, plus blogs and news media sources. You can tag different conversations to analyze and compare against each other, helping identify engagement opportunities.
Plan: Contact Sysomos to discuss a unique plan
Test out Talkwalker to track keyword use from almost all major social platforms, as well as blogs, forums and online news websites. The tool also calculates metrics surrounding Twitter and Facebook conversations. One of these is share of voice — a measurement of how much a user or brand is contributing to online discussions about your keywords.
Price: Free – $3,000 USD per month
Create custom social listening feeds with Trackur. While tracking keyword mentions on blogs, forums and other social media platforms, you can set your feeds to filter results by country and other criteria. The tool also uses Klout to assign influence scores to people talking about your keywords.
Price: $97 – $447 USD per month
Platform-Specific Monitoring Tools
22. Audiense (Twitter)
Formerly known as SocialBro, use Audiense to monitor prospect and customer activity on Twitter. By inputting their email addresses, you can determine their handles. This lets you see if and how they’re talking about your brand. You can also use Audiense’s metrics to learn when users are most active and how influential they are.
Price: Contact Audiense to discuss a unique plan
23. PinAlerts (Pinterest)
Use PinAlerts to get notifications whenever someone pins something from your website or other domains you want to track. You can choose to receive these emails either the moment you’re repinned, once a day or once a week.
24. Twazzup (Twitter)
Type a hashtag or keyword into Twazzup to create a real-time stream of tweets that contain it. On top of helping you listen to Twitter conversations, it identifies the most popular users, posts and phrases associated with your search term.
25. TweetReach (Twitter)
Create a snapshot of a hashtag or keyword by using TweetReach. It not only provides a timeline of relevant tweets, but offers reach, impression and activity data. This helps quantify the social impact of your search term.
Price: $99 – $399 USD per month
Summary of the Top Social Media Monitoring Tools
|Tool||Sentiment||Geo-Filter||Historical Data||Related Keyword Identification||Price USD/Month|
|Buzzsumo||X||X||✓||X||$79 – $999|
|Talkwalker||✓||✓||✓||X||Free – $3000|
|Trackur||✓||✓||✓||X||$97 – $447|
|TweetReach||X||X||✓||✓||$99 – $399|
The Final Verdict
For social analysts with general needs, there might not be a clear, must-use option. But as your focus grows more specific, some platforms should emerge as favourites.
Use this list as a guide — you’re sure to find a social media monitoring tool that tracks the platforms you value and delivers the information you need.
The Social Media Professor
- Aurora Meyer, University of Missouri Adjunct Professor
The Multimedia Journalist
- Samya Ayish, CNN Reporter and Social Media Producer
Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand below:
Our goal is to accurately measure real-time and historical social media data, illustrating metrics in easy-to-read graphs and layouts to simplify reporting and strategizing.
Use us to track URLs, hashtags, keywords and @usernames on Twitter and Instagram. We also do competitive account reporting.
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