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Top social media monitoring tools
BrandBastion4/7/23 10:06 AM20 min read

4 Top Social Media Monitoring Tools and How to Choose the Right One

Social media monitoring tools come in close to endless variations, which opens up the possibility of finding one that perfectly meets your business's needs. For example, a social media monitoring tool can be useful when you want to get rid of tedious and manual work. Or, it can help you understand how to improve content performance, customer relationships, and conversion rates. In this article, we'll cover some tips on how to find the right tool for you. And to ease the process even more – we have already picked 4 top social media monitoring tools that can help your company reach various social media goals and objectives.

 

What is a social media monitoring tool?

A social media monitoring tool is a software application that collects, analyzes, and facilitates work related to social media. These tools typically include features that help you manage everyday tasks such as answering comments, gathering insights, and examining content performance on social media activities across platforms. And why should you monitor social media? The short answer is that it can provide valuable and actionable insights on optimizing your social media efforts. If you want the longer answer, you can find it in our blog post – Social media monitoring – what is it?

 

What are the benefits of using a tool instead of manually monitoring social media?

Daily social media activities can be translated into valuable insights. Likes, comments, shares, conversion rates – it all indicates how your brand is performing on social media. Now, just touch upon the idea of collecting, sorting, analyzing, and translating all activity data across platforms into actionable insights – all by yourself. That would most likely require a tremendous amount of time and work that is not sustainable for any social media professional.

Social media monitoring tools do not only take away tedious and manual work they can also help you collect accurate data and stay up to date with activities across platforms. All in all, here are a few key areas where a tool can optimize your workflow:

  • Get actionable data: Social media monitoring tools provide reliable and precise data in just a few clicks, allowing you to make informed decisions based on the latest information available.
  • Save time and resources: By automating data collection and analysis processes, social media monitoring tools can help businesses save valuable time and resources that can be invested in other critical areas.
  • Automate manual work: Social media monitoring tools can automate various manual tasks, such as responding to messages and hiding spam, freeing up time for more strategic work.
  • Stay updated 24/7: Instead of keeping track of your social media activity across platforms, social media monitoring tools offer a unified inbox that lets you stay up-to-date with a comprehensive overview in real-time.

why-using-a-tool-for-social-media-monitoring

How can you translate these benefits into real life? Let’s have a look at an example of how automation can help your company meet customers' expectations:

Studies show that 18% expect an immediate answer to questions and complaints on social media. In addition, another 28% expect answers within one hour. Therefore, answering comments, questions, and complaints quickly can positively impact brand reputation, conversions, and customer relationships.

 

7 areas to consider when looking for the best tool for social media monitoring

The best social media monitoring tool is one that suits your business, i.e., has the necessary features your company needs to reach goals and objectives. And naturally, every business has different goals for its social media presence.

So, how do you find a social media monitoring tool that best fits your specific business's needs?

One of the best ways is to break it all down and pinpoint what you actually need. Then, try to look at the tool from different perspectives. Doing so makes it easier to find an option that gives you what you need without being too pricey or overwhelming.

 

1. Do you need a general managing tool or a specialized monitoring tool?

Many tools combine both monitoring and management. Depending on the needs and desired outcome of using the tool, there can be a benefit in using either a generic management tool or a specialized monitoring tool.

A generic management tool could be viable for efficiency, as it enables seamless posting and scheduling, as well as monitoring and managing your accounts. However, it's worth noting that while management tools excel at content publication and scheduling, they may not provide the detailed insights and data that specialized social media monitoring tools do.

Specialized monitoring tools are more developed for analysis reports, tracking keywords, and managing activity connected to content on a brand's social media accounts. As a result, monitoring tools offer invaluable information, allowing you to delve deeper into your social media performance and comprehensively understand your audience and their interactions with your brand.

 

2. Social media content and marketing activities

To get the most out of your social media efforts, you'd probably like to monitor and manage all activity across platforms easily.  So, if your company is active on several platforms, the ideal tool would integrate all those platforms.

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • What social media platforms will my company be active on?
  • Will I manage both organic and paid content on several platforms?

social-media-tools-platform-post-typeFind a tool that covers the platforms you use, and includes organic and paid posts.

 

3. Social media strategy

Depending on your company's social media strategy, you might have better use for certain features. For example, if your main goal is to drive sales through social media, you would benefit from a tool that can notify you of questions that indicate purchase intent or product interest.

On the other hand, if you want to improve brand perception and awareness, you'd benefit from a tool that automatically analyzes the sentiment of the discussions about the brand.

Either way, the ideal tool should include features that help you fulfill the purpose of your efforts.

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • What is my company’s main goal with our social media presence (increasing brand awareness, building community, improving customer service, driving conversions and sales, increasing traffic to your website, gaining market insights, etc.)

social-media-tools-intent-recognition-2Intent Recognition (AI) is a great way to find which comments need your reply and prioritize them based on sentiment: negative comments will most likely be complaints. Positive and neutral conversations are, many times, conversions opportunities 

 

4. Social media team

In many cases, multiple people in an organization manage and maintain social media accounts. Therefore, if you are several people working with SMM, the ideal tool would allow several users and include features that ease internal collaboration.

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • How many people will be working with the same social media monitoring tool?
  • How will we collaborate internally?

social-media-tools-assining

Find a tool that allows you to collaborate and assign specific tasks to team members

social-media-tools-assining

 

5. Workflow and automation

As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of using a social media monitoring tool is the possibility of reducing manual and tedious work. For example, using saved replies to commonly asked questions on posts, campaigns, and ads could save you a lot of time. Or, you could benefit from using a feature that automatically hides harmful content such as spam and scam. 

The ideal social media monitoring tool should use advanced AI technologies that help you set up a streamlined and efficient workflow.

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • Which manual tasks am I regularly spending valuable time on?
  • Which workflows would I like to streamline?

social-media-tools-auto-moderation

Auto-moderation powered by AI is a great way to automate tedious tasks

 

6. Brand reputation and sentiment

Often, a company receives both positive and negative reactions to its content. To get the most out of your social media efforts, you must stay updated with how your audience feels about your brand.

Positive responses help you understand what's working well – what does your audience appreciate and why? Negative responses are a great way to understand improvement opportunities – what does your audience complain about and why? However, there are also times when a company's content receives unjustified damaging comments that could directly harm the reputation of the brand and community, such as spam, scam, and hate speech.

The ideal social media monitoring tool can automatically identify sentiment, which gives you a good overview of your brand's reputation online. In addition, a great monitoring tool can also notify you when there are sentiment peaks or sudden changes

social-media-monitoring-tools-alerts-sentimentNotifications based on sentiment thresholds can help you present PR Crises and understand when a post is resonating really well or really poorly with your audience 

 

7. Performance in relation to objectives and goals

Insights based on an analysis of different data types are, without a doubt, one of the most critical aspects of understanding your business performance on social media. It is not only helpful to understand current performance, but also essential to plan and execute future social media activities.

With the right analytical insights, you can make data-driven decisions that help your company reach its goals and objectives.

It might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • What data, insights, and analyses do I need to understand the current performance of our social media efforts?
  • What data, insights, and analyses can I use to make informed business decisions?

social-media-tools-compare-campaigns-sentimentComparing campaigns' sentiment is a great way to understand which paid efforts are resonating with your audience

 

Find the social media monitoring tool you need

There are nearly endless tools, software, and apps to choose from when it comes to social media monitoring. To find the tool you need, you can now examine the tools in five core sections.

 

Examine the social media monitoring tool by the following:

01-price@2x 01. Pricing and plans – what do you get for the money you spend?
Look for a tool that offers all the necessary features at a reasonable price.
connection@2x 02. Platform integration – which platforms can be integrated into the tool?
Look for a tool that covers the platforms where your business is active. Also, make sure to check which placements are covered (organic, ads, mentions, dynamic ads, etc.).
analytics@2x 03. Analytic insights – what insights can the tool provide you with?
Look for a tool that gives you all the information and data you need to make data-driven decisions that help your company reach its goals and objectives.
users@2x
04. Internal collaboration – does the tool and its plans allow you to have enough users?
Look for a tool with a plan including enough users for your full social media team. In addition, make sure the tool covers necessary features that enable a smooth collaboration among colleagues and departments. For example, can you assign tasks like answering a certain question or handling customer complaints?
comments@2x 05. Managing comments – how efficiently can you manage all the comments on all the platforms?
Look for a tool that efficiently helps you manage any type of comment – including both comments on organic posts and paid social.
AI@2x

 

06. AI and automation – is there any possibility of letting artificial intelligence reduce manual work?
Look for a tool that helps you reduce manual work with developed AI technologies. In many cases, social media professionals spend a lot of time on tasks that could easily be done by AI, for example streamlining replies and auto-hiding harmful content.
UX@2x 07. User interface – is it easy to navigate and use the tool?
Look for a tool that is easy to use without cutting any necessary features – this will save you a lot of time and frustration.

 

List of 4 top tools for social media monitoring

Finally, we're at the point when we can look closer into 4 of the top social media monitoring tools available on the market.

The tools covered in this section have different pricing plans, including various features. In this list, we will mainly look at the starting pricing plan and what it includes. However, if you want to explore other plans further, don't hesitate to visit the providers' websites to compare their plans.

1. BrandBastion platform: a specialized social media monitoring tool powered by advanced AI

Analyze - social Media monitoring tool
Unlock valuable insights with sentiment analysis in 109 languages. Monitor and compare the sentiment of your campaigns and posts.
moderate-platform-4
Eliminate the stress of moderation with auto-hide features powered by AI.
engage-platform-3
Respond quickly with saved and suggested replies, and never miss critical comments with Intent Recognition.
 

Starting with a social media monitoring tool close to our heart – BrandBastion Lite Platform. It is a specialized tool for monitoring and managing businesses' social media conversations across platforms, plus it also includes scheduling capabilities.

BrandBastion offers two services, the Lite Platform and the Fully Managed Services, with additional features. In this section, we'll mainly look into the core features of the Lite Platform.

 

Core features of BrandBastion’s social media monitoring tool

🔌 Platform integrations
Platform integrations
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok
📊Analytical insights
Analytical insights
BrandBastion gives companies an overview of data and activities on all connected platforms. In addition, AI technology can help to efficiently analyze brand sentiment, potentially harmful content, and intent recognition.

In short, the core analytical features are:
  • Automated sentiment analysis in 109 different languages
  • Top-performing content – both organic posts and ads
  • Intent recognition (AI) finds which comments need a reply
  • AI analyzing comments to identify and auto-hide harmful content (spam, offensive, inappropriate, and against brand)
  • Comparative analysis of posts, ads, and campaigns across platforms
👥Internal collaboration
Internal collaboration
BrandBastion's social media monitoring tool offers unlimited users in all plans.

In addition, you can easily assign different users to, for example, manage comments and conversations.
💬Managing comments
Managing comments
For managing comments, this is one of the most developed platforms on the market. BrandBastion offers a unified inbox that aggregates all comments from organic and paid content (including Facebook Dynamic Ads, as well as Instagram and TikTok Ads) in one place.
 
In addition, the Lite Platform has one of the best extensive filters on the market, allowing you to extract detailed data on specific things. You can filter by platform, sentiment, keywords (including boolean searches), campaigns, posts, ads, ad sets, language, and much more.
🤖 AI and automation

 

AI and automation
AI is at the core of the BrandBastion Lite platform, and it is available for all plans. It promises to helps marketers save hours in social media monitoring:
  • Automated Sentiment Analysis in 109 languages
  • Highlight unwanted and damaging comments
  • Automated hiding for spam, offensive, inappropriate, and against-brand comments found by the AI and apply additional rules with keyword blockers
  • Highlights which comments need a response using Intent Recognition)
  • Automatically tagged comments based on keywords (for example: “how much is this?” will be tagged as a Pricing question)
  • Generate replies to comments in any language – with one click
🖥️ User Interface
User interface
The user interface is structured in four sections – Analyze, Moderate, Engage and Publish. They are accessible in any view.

In every section, you enter an overview, from which you can find in-depth features relevant to each section. In addition, you can also use filters to efficiently find the data or information you're looking for.
 

 

2. Sprout Social: a comprehensive general management tool with some essential social media monitoring features

 
Sprout is mainly a tool for social media management. However, the tool also offers features that come in handy when monitoring social media.

Sprout Social offers different plans. This section covers some of the core features of the Standard Plan. However, they also have Professional, Advanced, and Enterprise plans with additional features for more complex management and insights.
 

Core features of Sprout Social’s social media monitoring tool

🔌 Platform integrations
Platform integrations
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
📊Analytical insights
Analytical insights
The Standard plan offers basic insights into your business's activities on social media platforms. You need to upgrade to another plan for more detailed and complex analysis (such as paid social reporting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

In short, the Standard core analytical features are
  • Performance of profiles across platforms
  • Performance of posts across platforms
👥Internal collaboration
Internal collaboration
The Standard plan allows one user and five social profiles. If you’d like to connect more users to the plan, you need to pay per additional user. For additional social profiles, you need to upgrade to the next plan.
💬Managing comments
Managing comments
Sprout Social's has an all-in-one inbox. The inbox for the Standard plan gathers activity across social media platforms, creating an overview of incoming comments. In addition, you can use some extensive filters to find what you're looking for efficiently.
🤖 AI and automation

 

AI and automation
The Standard plan has limited functions to streamline the workflow with AI and automation. You can set up automated rules in the Advanced plan to receive alerts or automatically tag comments.
🖥️ User Interface
User interface
The user interface of Sprout Social is built up with a sidebar on the left side, including different sections for both managing and monitoring.

You might need to get familiar with the symbols to navigate easily. However, they are intuitive, and it usually doesn't take long to find what you're looking for.

 

3. Hootsuite: a general management tool that enables some social media monitoring features

Hootsuite has been in the social media managing and monitoring market for over a decade. In this section, we'll look into the Professional plan. This option is a good solution for you if you're just about to start social media monitoring. However, you might want to consider using the Team, Business, or Enterprise plan to get the most out of Hootsuite.

 

Core features of Hootsuite’s social media monitoring tool

🔌 Platform integrations
Platform integrations
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
📊Analytical insights
Analytical insights
Hootsuite's analytical features provide essential insights into how the content performs across platforms. For example, you get insights into how well posts perform. You need the Enterprise plan to access more detailed and complex data for ads and paid content.

In short, the Professional core analytical features are:
  • A comparison of the most relevant metrics of content performance across different platforms
  • Brand performance in comparison to other brands
  • Breakdown of the best times to publish
👥Internal collaboration
Internal collaboration
The Professional plan includes one user who can handle ten social profiles. To add more users, you need to upgrade the plan to Team (3 users only) or Business (5 users, with the option to add more users at an additional cost).

Features that facilitate internal collaboration are limited in the Professional plan. However, the Team and Business plans offer several features to facilitate cooperation among colleagues and departments.
💬Managing comments
Managing comments
Hootsuite's solution to manage comments in the Professional plan offers a unified inbox with an overview of activity and comments on posts across your social platforms.

However, if you would like to, for example, get notifications, tag comments, and use saved replies, you have to upgrade to Business or Enterprise.
🤖 AI and automation
AI and automation
You can create and use rules to automatically route messages and optimize your workflow but only in the Enterprise plan.
🖥️ User Interface
User interface
The user interface of Hootsuite is built up with a sidebar, including sections for managing and monitoring. You can easily access the different sections at any time.

You might need to get familiar with the symbols and what they mean during your start-up. However, they are pretty intuitive, and it usually doesn't take too long to learn which symbols represent what area.

 

4. Agorapulse: social media management solution with some key social media monitoring options

Agorapulse offers different plans, including a free version. However, the free version does not really function as a social media monitoring tool since the included features are limited.

In this section, we'll look into Agorapulse's Standard plan. However, they also offer Free, Professional, Advanced, and Custom plans.

 

Core features of Agorapulse’s social media monitoring tool

🔌 Platform integrations
Platform integrations
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
📊Analytical insights
Analytical insights
The Standard plan offers basic analytical insights across the connected platforms. You can, for example, see basic statistics of your social media ROI and top-performing content. If you'd like a wider range of statistics and analytical insights, you need to upgrade to the Professional or Advanced plan. In short, the Standard core features are:
  • Top performing content
  • Basic statistics on ROI for social media
👥Internal collaboration
Internal collaboration
The Standard plan includes one user who can handle ten social profiles. You can add users and social profiles at an additional cost.

Features that facilitate internal collaboration are limited in the Standard plan. However, the Professional and Advanced plan offers the connected users to, for example, label, assign, and bookmark items for an easier workflow.
💬Managing comments
Managing comments
Agorapulse offers a united inbox with inbox filters and one-click translations.

You need to upgrade your plan for more advanced or complex management (such as advanced ads monitoring, spam management, and Automated Inbox Assistant).
🤖 AI and automation
AI and automation
Agorapulse offers automated rules to review, assign, and label activities in the unified inbox, but only in the Advanced plan
🖥️ User Interface
User interface
The user interface is built around the left sidebar. You can easily access the sidebar in any view.

The different sections are represented by symbols, which you might need to become more familiar with before you can navigate without a second thought.

 

Comparison of social media monitoring tools

 
Overview BrandBastion
Pro Plan
Sprout Social Standard Plan Hootsuite
Team Plan
Agorapulse Professional Plan
👥 Users
Unlimited 1 (additional user +$199/mo) 3 (additional users not allowed) 1 (additional user +$79/mo)
Social Profiles Unlimited 5 20 10
💬 Managing comments features BrandBastion
Starter Plan
Sprout Social Standard Plan Hootsuite Team Plan Agorapulse Professional Plan
Unified inbox with filters ✔️ . ✔️  ✔️ ✔️
Assign messages ✔️ ✔️  ✔️  ✔️ 
Tag messages ✔️ * * ✔️
Saved replies  ✔️ ❌* ❌* ❌*
AI-generated replies ✔️ ❌  ❌ 
Notifications for spikes in volume and sentiment ✔️ ❌* ❌* ❌*
🤖 AI and automation features BrandBastion
Starter Plan
Sprout Social Standard Plan Hootsuite Team Plan Agorapulse Professional Plan
Auto-Sentiment analysis ✔️ ❌ 
Spam auto-moderation ✔️ ❌*
Auto-hide offensive/ inappropriate / against brand + keyword blockers ✔️
Intent Recognition (detects reply-worthy messages) ✔️
AI-generated replies  ✔️

 

Note: The information in the table and comparison is based on what was currently publicly available at each tool's website and knowledge base at the time the blogpost was produced. Please note that the features listed may be subject to change depending on each tool's pricing plan and any updates or developments made after this blogpost was produced. As such, the table and comparison may not always be up to date with the latest changes in price, plans and platform features.

*These features are available in advanced/premium plans

 

Looking for free social media monitoring tools?

There are a few social media monitoring tools that are available to use for free. You're probably already familiar with Meta Business's Suite Inbox and Twitter's integrated monitoring tools. These tools are excellent for monitoring the chosen channel. However, that is also the downside – you miss out on the overall perspective if your business is active on many different social media platforms.

But, if you're only active on those specific platforms, then an integrated tool is usually great as long as you get what you need out of them. However, you'll miss out on advanced sentiment analysis and comparing content performance on different platforms in a side-by-side view.

If you are uncertain about what you need, you can get a free trial period with most social media monitoring tools. A free trial is a great way to determine what you actually need and what you could skip. With a better understanding of your needs, it’s easier to find the right tool for you and your business.

Try BrandBastion platform for 15 days:

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