listen to what people are saying on social media

Serious Social Listening

Social media marketing done right means listening and engaging as well as posting your own content. Social listening discovers who is talking about you and topics related to you, allowing you to engage in a much broader way.

The job isn’t easy. You need to scan across a wide online universe that changes all the time. You need to catalog who has influence around topics that matter, and whether that influence is positive or negative. Even for niche local brands, that means discovering, monitoring and evaluating a lot of content.

The right tool can make it easy for you to find all the conversations you care about and easily assess them. I tend to recommend free tools, but if you want to seriously tap into conversations and influencers, you will likely need to invest in a good tool.

First, Free

Google Alerts,,  has been around for a long time. It is easy and free, but has serious shortcomings. It finds a limited number of mentions. There’s no associated insight, like sentiment or influence.

Alerts seems to be a pretty much ignored Google tool. It mostly works, but there’s no investment being made to make it grow to truly monitor the online universe. It regularly misses a lot of important mentions.

Getting Serious

While Alerts stands still, tools are coming online that offer brands much richer listening tools. Brand Mentions,, and Mention,, are two such tools. With these you will find a set of features that makes the listening job much easier and insightful.

Both offer free trials and three levels of paid service. The free level will not be sufficient for any brand, but do allow you to explore the features and interface before you commit to an ongoing paid account. So, don’t activate your free trial until you have time to truly assess the tool against your needs and interests.

Brand Mentions

I recently had the opportunity to dig into Brand Mentions. The plans here can be less expensive or more expensive than Mention, depending on your needs.

Like all the tools in this space, Brand Mentions sends mentions of your brand and your market straight to your inbox. Your account dashboard allows you to track volume, sentiment and trends. You can discover the influencers who are talking about things you care about. It easily generates reports to support your efforts to measure and track campaigns as well as your overall online presence.

I found the dashboard to be easy to use and the toolset to be robust. The product is being actively developed, always a good sign.

Worth the Investment?

If you want to get serious about social listening and engagement, investing in the right service makes sense. The monthly fee may feel painful, but compare that to the cost of your time.

A monitoring tool can really save you time over scanning platform by platform. And, the results are more complete. I guarantee you will find mentions in places you didn’t even know existed!




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