Updated – August 2015
We compiled this article two years ago and thought it was about time to give it a refresh.
We have excluded tools that no longer exist, and included some other free tools worth trying out – all aimed at helping you save time and enabling you to track your social accounts effectively.
The key to making the most of social media is listening to what your audience has to say about you, analysing the data and, finally, reaching social media business intelligence; using all these insights to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy.
If you are a social media rookie, this list of the Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools might come in handy. When looking for a tool, it’s a good idea to try a couple of them and choose the one that suits your needs best.
However, bear in mind that these tools are not an alternative to Enterprise-level tools, such as Brandwatch, which brought social media monitoring to a new level, offering a much higher variety of services and in-depth analysis. It all depends on your needs.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best free monitoring tools:
Hootsuite is one of the best free social media management tools available, and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.
The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts.
TweetReach is the right tool for your business if you’re interested in monitoring how far your tweets travel, as TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions.
It is a good way of finding out who are your most influential followers, implicitly guiding you towards the right people you should be targeting when aiming to share and promote online content.
Klout is probably one of the most controversial social media analytics tools. There are those who hate it and claim that its scoring system is completely inaccurate, and that trying to interact with them is an impossible mission (curious thing as they provide interaction-measurement services).
On the other hand, some people find it useful, as it measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.
In this way, you can adjust your posts according to your target audience’s interests and increase your engagement rate.
Quite popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. It is probably one of the best free listening tools on the market, as it analyses data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.
Twazzup is great for social media beginners looking for a Twitter monitoring tool. You just enter the name you want to track and you instantly get real-time updates, meaning the most active top influencers, top RTd photos and links, and most importantly, the top 10 keywords related to your search.
If aiming to get an overall view of a brand, Addictomatic can be very useful and as straightforward as Twazzup. The only difference is that Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc. It’s really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.
HowSociable is a handy tool for measuring yours and your competitors’ social media presence.
A free account allows you to track 12 social sites, including Tumblr and WordPress. However, if you’re interested in 24 more, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. a pro account is required.
HowSociable’s approach is a bit different as it breaks down scores for different social media platforms, allowing you to see which social media platforms work best for you and which ones need further development.
This tool offers blog, Twitter and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, as well as results graphs that you can play with. It allows you to choose the periods of time you are interested in monitoring.
It can be used for keeping an eye on your blogger activity, as they have around 200 million blogs in their database and they also provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to your search.
TweetDeck covers the basic needs of any Twitter user, so is a good option for beginners. It’s a great tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring your interactions and messages, as well as tracking hashtags and managing multiple accounts. However, it lacks in regular updates and can be prone to bugs.
Mention monitors million of sources in 42 languages, helping you stay on top of all your brand mentions on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page.
The app lets you keep track of your team’s actions, share alerts and assign tasks. Generating reports and exporting mentions can help you get a snapshot of your mentions by source or language over a selected period of time.
They offer a 14-day free trial and the free basic plan is one alert for one user.
Topsy is a Twitter search and analytics tool that allows you to search for tweets all the way back to 2006.
If you’re looking to track links, photos or videos, analyze how content is being shared or discover who your key influencers are, then it’s definitely worth giving Topsy a try.
The fairly simple UI makes it a good fit for social analytics novices.
Focusing specifically on Twitter analytics, Followerwonk is the right tool to find, analyze and optimize your online presence for social growth.
The tool is perfect for planning outreach campaigns by allowing you to search Twitter bios, connect with influencers or fans and break them out by location, authority, number of followers and more.
Interestingly, with Followerwonk you can compare your social graph to competitors, friends or industry leaders and measure how well you are doing.
Targeted at small-medium businesses, SumAll is a cross platform analytics tool that will help you understand the correlation between your social channels.
The user interface does take a bit of time to get familiar with, but there are an extensive amount of metrics you can analyze.
The daily email updates can give you a quick overview of top level stats for your account compared to the previous week, allowing you to quickly react and respond to urgent issues.
14) Simply Measured
Simply Measured makes it easy to analyze your paid, owned and earned activity, and even though it is a paid tool, it can still be used to create free individual reports for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Google+.
They provide insights such as Facebook content, competitor and fan page analysis, key customer service metrics measurement on Twitter, Instagram engagement, content and trends analysis and many others.
15) Google Alerts
With Google Alerts you can monitor the web for interesting new content, mentions of your brand or even yourself, your competitors, industry leaders and so on. As they’re extremely easy to set up, this is probably a good place to start for beginners.
By creating a Google Alert, you will receive email notifications every time Google finds new results on a topic that interests you across blogs, forums and news sites.
It should be clear if you’ve got this far that the listening tool space is a crowded one.
We’ve developed our own social media monitoring technology with larger, more sophisticated organisations in mind, but we hope this list for getting started is a useful foundation. If you are interested in seeing what more complex tools like Brandwatch can offer, the please do get in touch by requesting a demo below.