Imagine a beautiful world where every one of your customers tells you what they think of your brand in complete honesty, and even those who don’t want to be your customers tell you why it is the case.
And even though the truth might hurt sometimes, this scenario is a dream come true for marketers everywhere.
Except, it’s not a dream – it’s the reality we live in.
Anna, we are so sorry you experienced this. Behavior like you reported is not allowed on the Lyft platform, and we find reports like this very concerning. We immediately took action as soon as we received your tweet and a member of our safety team will be in touch soon.
— Lyft (@lyft) April 9, 2019
People have been talking about products and brands since forever: exchanging recommendations, complaining, talking about ads, or mentioning a brand in passing.
These discussions are now happening on social media, and you have a chance to monitor and tap in these conversations.
Moreover, with social listening software, brands finally got an opportunity to research their target audience’s preferences and unfiltered opinions.
Although tracking brand mentions is quite a simple concept, the tools that do that may vary greatly in price, features, and platforms they monitor.
In this article, you will find the tools which will empower your brand to track, engage with, and analyze social mentions, whatever budget and goals you have in mind.
The true strength of Brandwatch lies in its extremely detailed social data analytics.
Although you can see individual mentions in the pop-up window when you click on statistics graphs, to interact with them you’ll need to go to the social network’s website. That makes liking/responding to mentions quite tedious.
The company offers three platforms:
Each of them has its own unique features.
The Analytics platform examines the data you collect and segments it based on most common words, sentiment, location, gender and so on.
You can see a minute-by-minute analysis of mentions, so you are able to spot even minor changes immediately. Iris AI technology will alert you if it detects an unusual peak in your mentions.
The Vizia platform is devoted to building reports. It allows you to integrate Google Analytics, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite data and choose what metrics you want to present.
You can share reports with the stakeholders, your colleagues or management by email.
The Audiences platform was designed to carry out thorough Audience research.
It’s basically a database of Twitter users which you can search based on the keywords in bios and recent tweets, location, gender and the accounts they follow.
You can analyze the ongoing conversations of your audience to figure out what they are talking about and who they are engaging with.
In addition, Brandwatch offers unique features such as image recognition, emoji analysis, and smart reports.
As you see, Brandwatch provides you with extremely valuable insights that could guide every step of your social media marketing strategy.
However, if your goal is the day-to-day community management, social support, and lead generation, you’d be better off with another tool.
Platforms monitored: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, news and blogs, the web.
Pricing: The Pro plan (which is the most affordable) costs $800 a month with 10,000 monthly mentions.
Mention’s emphasis is on real-time monitoring. Once you set up an alert, you get mentions that date back no more than 24 hours. Historical data is only available in Custom plans.
Mention offers several settings (by date, language, and source of mentions) and a Boolean search mode to design a perfect search query.
Once you set up your alert, you’re able to react to social posts within Mention’s platform and connect a Buffer account to schedule reposts of favorable mentions, for example.
You can tag individual mentions to unite them in one group.
In the Insights center, Mention dissects your social listening data using multiple parameters including sentiment, reach, language.
The tool enables you to customize your reports, thus from the array of metrics you can choose those which you want to include in your automated report.
Moreover, Mention provides users with access to their API, so you can integrate the Insights with other marketing software you use.
Mention aims to be “on the watch” 24/7, so it will automatically send the latest mentions by email or Slack. They also have a mobile app so you can deal with new mentions on the go.
Platforms monitored: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news and blogs, the web.
Pricing: Free trial available. In Solo plan for $29, you get 2 alerts and a monthly limit of 3,000 mentions.
Keyhole’s main difference from other tools is its limit in platforms it monitors.
It is another tool that puts focus on analytics, however, in addition to mentions analytics, they offer account analytics. But first, let’s talk about brand tracking.
Keyhole lets you interact with mentions without leaving their platform as well as shows you an in-depth analysis of them.
It breaks down mentions by sentiment, gender, location (for the U.S. you can see a particular state), original vs. reposts and source, meaning through which OS or app a mention was posted.
The historical data from Twitter is available on request.
It also identifies the most influential accounts and the most popular phrases, hashtags, and links mentioned with your brand name. The machine learning algorithm will notify you if:
- There is a sudden or predicted spike in activity in the conversation.
- A user complains about your brand, service or product.
- New influential users join the conversation.
- A post begins to go viral.
As for account analytics mentioned earlier, Keyhole pulls the data from your own social media account and gives you valuable insights on your most popular posts, most engaged followers, the best time to post and more.
Keyhole is somewhat limited in the numbers of platforms it supports in comparison to other tools, but if you’re pivoting to Instagram, for example, this tool could be extremely useful.
Platforms monitored: Twitter, Instagram, forums, news sites, and blogs.
Pricing: Free trial available. In the Going Solo plan for $44, you get 3 keywords and 3 social media accounts with 5,000 mentions a month.
4. Social Searcher
If you’re not ready to invest in brand tracking, but you need something better than Google Alerts, Social Searcher is the best choice. And it’s free.
In search settings you can put in several keywords and negative keywords as well as the platforms you want to monitor, the language(s) of mentions, and the types of posts (link, photo, status, video).
You can see the mentions either chronologically or sorted by popularity.
In addition to real-time mentions of your brand, Social Searcher also shows you:
- The overall number of mentions.
- The overall number of unique authors talking about your brand.
- The sentiment analysis (broken down by the platforms) as well as popular positive and negative posts.
- Which domains are linked most often in your mentions.
- Top keywords and hashtags associated with it.
You can even set up email alerts and regularly get fresh mentions in your inbox for free.
This is a good tool if your brand is not quite big yet, and you just want to make sure that you’ll know whenever someone mentions it.
Tip: If you need social listening analytics such as location, demographic data or influencers for free, but don’t need to see individual mentions, try Talkwalker’s free solution.
Platforms monitored: Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, Tumblr, Vkontakte, Flickr, Google News, blogs.
Some tools focus on real-time brand tracking and engagement, some collect social data and analyze it – Awario does both. (Disclosure: I work at Awario.)
From the get-go, you get a lot of opportunities to fine-tune your tracking, you can:
- Choose what platforms and countries you want to monitor.
- Add negative keywords.
- Choose the date range of mentions.
- Choose how often you want to be notified of new mentions.
The users are notified of new mentions by email or push notifications.
If that isn’t enough, you can go to the Boolean search mode which allows users to create elaborate queries. It is especially useful if you have a brand name that is a common word.
This tool looks for mentions across social media and the web from the moment you set up an alert. All the mentions are shown in the feed, from which you can like, upvote, and reply to them without having to leave the tool.
You can group mentions by author or conversation and filter them by date, sentiment, and reach.
This proves to be extremely functional when, for example, a person with a large social media following posts something negative about your brand.
The sooner you find this mention and respond, the sooner the unfortunate situation will be mitigated and potential PR crisis averted.
This fucking “detox Tea” company are using an image of an eating disorder survivor, without her permission, to promote their bullshit product. This is so unethical, just like everything else about these bold, evil companies. They have no morals. This is so gross. @skinnymetea pic.twitter.com/dvLIn4Ab3r
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) March 20, 2019
You get both real-time monitoring and historical data, which means you get access to the posts mentioning your brand name that had been published even before you started using the tool. You can export this raw data in CSV.
Now, let’s talk analytics. Awario uses a number of metrics to analyze gathered mentions and gives you the following insights:
- The number of mentions.
- The overall reach of mentions.
- The breakdown of countries and languages (if you choose to track your brand in more than one country and more than one language).
- The breakdown of the sentiment of mentions.
- The topic cloud with the words commonly associated with your brand name.
- Most influential and active users who mentioned your brand.
If you decide to monitor several keywords (for example, yours and your competitor’s brand name, your products’ names, etc.), you can compare them in the Alert Comparison tab.
You can also see influencers who mentioned your brand in the Influencers tab.
All of this information can be exported in a nice-looking report, either via a shareable link or in PDF.
The flexibility of the tool allows you to go beyond tracking your brand mentions and carry out a wide range of marketing activities such as market research, content curation, link building, and so on.
It even has a social selling module titled Leads that uses predictive insights to find people who’re asking for recommendations about a product similar to yours or looking for an alternative to your competitors.
Platforms monitored: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news sites, blogs, the web.
Pricing: Free trial available. In the Starter plan for $29 a month, you get 3 alerts and 30,000 new mentions per month.
That’s it. Five tools for different goals and different wallets that represent the diversity of this market.
Hopefully this article gave you a good grasp on various benefits a brand tracking tool is able to offer, and you’ll find here something for you.
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All screenshots taken by author, April 2019