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Finding the right tool to track conversations across the web can be difficult.
With terms like social media monitoring, social media listening, social media analytics and social media measurement all regularly used interchangeably, quickly identifying the platform you need is never simple.
Social listening tools are ultimately products designed to listen to conversations happening on the web.
We last published a list of such tools well over a year ago, and in such a rapidly evolving space, re-evaluating the sector is a useful exercise.
Brandwatch Analytics is a social listening platform aimed at helping advanced enterprises discover, analyze and make sophisticated use of this conversation data. But for those businesses not ready to invest much budget towards this type of software, here is a list of some of the best free social media listening tools currently available.
The top free social listening tools
Hootsuite is one of the best social media management tools available, and the most basic package is free.
As well as some impressive publishing and engagement features, Hootsuite does offer some simple listening functionality, allowing users to track keywords across networks like Twitter. As with many of the other tools on this list, a paid Enterprise version is also available.
Mention offers a freemium model, so with a limit on the volume of mentions, users can start getting used to social media monitoring without any financial investment, thanks to the trial and free alerts options.
The tool does lack advanced functionality like categorisation of data and deeper analysis, but for basic social media monitoring it’s a great place to start – pricing is also structured to allow users to go from paying under $50 a month, right up to more premium services.
Google Alerts is probably the best known online monitoring service, and is a good place to start for lots of people.
Using Google Alerts, you can make sure you’re alerted every time your keywords are mentioned on blogs, forums and news sites. The main limitations here are the lack of any analytics, and the limited range of sources it gathers data from.
Addictomatic can be very useful for getting an overall view of a brand, and is really simple to use.
Addictomatic covers a variety of platforms such as: Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com. You can search for brands or topics, so it can be really useful for keeping an eye on recent industry developments as well as brand reputation.
Social Mention is a fairly comprehensive social listening tool, gathering data from social media, blogs, forums and other sources.
It also includes alerts functionality, and even has primitive sentiment analysis included.
Though breadth of data is narrower than in an enterprise platform, Social Mention is a fantastic platform for getting to know the fundamentals of social media listening.
There are also plenty of other alternatives available, and an important component of any software decision making process is evaluating multiple options – demoing, trailing and experimenting until you find the right tool for your needs.
For brands and agencies seeking tools that offer more sophisticated features, and allow greater flexibility in the use-cases for social data, there are also dozens of products that cost money but provide far more advanced functionality.
To understand more about why Brandwatch is the highest-rated tool in the social listening space, we’d be happy to show you a customized demonstration of the tool in a genuinely hassle-free environment so that you can find out more.
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