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Published February 20th 2024

7-Step Guide: Choosing the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool for You

Here’s how to decide on the right tool to monitor your brand on social media.

Millions of data points are created every day on social media.

Today, there will be over half a billion posts published on X, 95 million Instagram posts will be created, and users will make over 800k Reddit posts. And among all this? There will be mentions about your brand.

There are conversations happening online right now about your business – and you need to know about them. This is where a social media monitoring tool comes in.

So, what is a social media monitoring tool? And how can it help you? We’ve created a 7-step guide to help you choose the right social media monitoring tool so you can nail your brand management.

Let's get started.

What is a social media monitoring tool?

Social media monitoring is the process of monitoring online mentions about your brand. From hashtags and keywords to sentiment about your products and services, implementing a social media monitoring tool can help you excel.

A good social media monitoring tool can:

  • Measure your performance across networks
  • Streamline your team’s workflows
  • Help you listen to your audience online
  • Benchmark against your competitors

So, whether you want to analyze specific campaigns, get a meaningful overview of your collective social media efforts or simply listen to your consumers online, a social media monitoring tool has got you covered.

So, how do you choose the right one for your specific brand needs? Here are 7 steps you need to know to see excellent results.

1. Decide on your objectives

First of all, why do you need a social media monitoring tool?

Identify the most important aspects that suit your needs. Are you interested in tracking your own social channels? Or do you want to keep track of what’s being said about you elsewhere? Do you want to be able to monitor competitors, too?

Is your goal to identify negative mentions, issues, and complaints at an early stage, or would you rather keep an eye on customer behavior and identify gaps in the market?

Maybe your aim is measuring the success of a campaign you’ve launched, or you could be interested in finding brand influencers. There can be a hundred reasons for investing in social monitoring. You just need to find your own and get started from there.

2. Establish your budget

Social media monitoring tools come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. So, you’ll need to anticipate how much time you’re willing to invest in the monitoring process. Having an idea of your objectives, as covered above, can help, too – as you’ll have a good understanding of how much you’ll use the tool and what you need it to do for you.

It’s always important to assess whether the investment you’re willing to pay is directly proportional to your needs and the services you expect from the monitoring tool.

3. Create a list of potential tools

There are plenty of social media monitoring tools on the market, and now you’ll need to find one that sits within your budget and covers the necessities your brand requires. Create a list of tools that align with your needs, and note down the functionalities of each tool.

When curating this list, outline which tools have must-have features. Do you want sentiment analysis? How about benchmarking capabilities? Or social demographic categorization?

Outlining each tool’s unique selling points (USPs) can be beneficial when choosing a social media monitoring tool. See what differentiates each tool from competitors, and analyze whether these features are compatible with your social media monitoring needs.

4. Get the support you need

Investigating what set-up services and customer support each tool provides is also essential.

In most cases, your social media monitoring success relies on the training and guidance provided by the support team once you’ve purchased the tool. To measure your ROI successfully, it is vital to know how to make the most of the tool and take advantage of all its features.

You might find there are tools that are slightly over budget but have additional functionalities and high-quality support services that can benefit your business, so try to be flexible.

5. Double-check the services that each tool offers

Depending on your objectives, the quality of different features can sway your decision entirely. For instance, does the tool have adequate data coverage? Which social media platforms does the tool crawl? How many languages and locations are available?

You might also want to consider your tool’s approach to spam, duplicate mentions, and other criteria that might influence your monitoring efforts.

Make sure you can maximize your social media monitoring efforts with a tool that meets your brand’s needs.

Things like data coverage (which media platforms the tool crawls, how many languages, locations, etc.), whether it provides sentiment analysis, its approach to SPAM and duplicates, and plenty of other criteria can vary wildly between each solution.

Pro Tip

Having your social media monitoring tool integrated into your broader software suite can come with immense benefits. This way, you can benchmark against competitors, or get inspiration for content by monitoring mentions. Keeping your monitoring tools in one place makes it much easier to pass insights seamlessly through your brand’s product suite. Brandwatch does this perfectly.

6. Be wary of contract lengths

Find out the obligations you’re tied to when signing up.

Signing a 12-month contract can come with heaps of benefits, such as cheaper rates and the ability to properly integrate the tool into your team's day-to-day tasks. However, a long contract means you need to be sure that the social media monitoring tool you select is right for you.

7. Read the reviews

When you’ve shortlisted a few tools that feel right for you, take a look at customer reviews and case studies from inspiring brands to see what they think about the tool.

A strong, impressive social media monitoring tool will have plenty of remarkable brands as customers. So, see which brands use the tools on your shortlist – and how they use them – using case studies and reviews. This way, you can get a feel for how you might benefit from each option.

Key takeaways

Make sure to do thorough research when deciding which social media monitoring tool to implement in your business. From which features are offered to contract lengths and budgets, there is plenty to consider when diving into the world of social media insights. If you’re looking for a place to start, Brandwatch can help.

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