Did you know that all social media networks combined have 4.95 billion users as of November 2023? If you run a business, it’s very likely that someone will mention you on social media each and every day. But staying on top of these mentions is easier said than done.
Social listening tools are here to save the day and automate this very tedious and time-consuming activity.
- What are social listening tools?
- Benefits of using social media listening tools
- 16 best social listening tools in 2024
- Bonus: a free social media listening tool
Ready to start monitoring social media and capturing your mentions? Start monitoring social media with Prowly right away!
What are social listening tools?
Social listening tools are online apps that capture instances when a brand term (or another term) is mentioned on social media. Then they analyze these mentions and help draw conclusions that guide PR and marketing campaigns.
What is social media listening?
🎧 Social media listening is the act of collecting and analyzing the mentions of your branded terms. Unlike social monitoring, it involves strategy and analyzing not just what people are saying, but why they are saying it.
What is social media monitoring?
🔎 Social media monitoring is the process of collecting brand mentions in real-time with the purpose of responding to mentions, reacting to social media crises in a timely manner, and interacting with (potential) customers.
How do social listening tools work?
Social listening tools collect the mentions of your brand or desired search terms and then inform you of who mentioned it and in what context.
Here is a breakdown of the typical social media listening tool process:
1️⃣ The data is collected from various social media networks
2️⃣ The data is filtered and sorted
3️⃣ The tool analyzes the sentiment of each mention (positive, negative, or neutral)
4️⃣ The tool provides you with a report of your mentions, identifying trends and patterns
To maximize the potential benefits of these tools, you need to actively engage with the feedback provided. By understanding and reacting to trends, sentiments, and patterns, you can tailor your strategies in real-time for optimal impact and engagement.
Learn how to use social monitoring for PR from The Complete Social Media Listening Guide for Public Relations.
The top benefits of using social listening tools
No matter what kind of business you run, using a social media listening tool can be beneficial for your marketing and PR efforts. Here is how a social listening tool can help:
- Easily understand the level of audience engagement. You can gain valuable insights about your overall number of views, likes and shares to determine your content performance.
- Analyze the sentiment of your mentions. One of the most valuable social listening features is the ability to determine the sentiment of your mentions without the tedious and time-consuming manual work.
- Monitor your brand mentions in real time. This can help prevent crises, as well allow you to respond to customer inquiries promptly.
- Monitor and analyze your competitors’ online presence and social media activities. Determine their engagement levels and find opportunities for your own growth.
- Identify and track influencers and brand ambassadors who are vocal about promoting your products and services.
- Build better relationships with your customers.
- Generate quick, accurate and timely social listening reports.
Did you know you can do all of these things with just one tool?
16 best social listening tools in 2024
The best social listening tools should have high accuracy, cover most major social media platforms, perform sentiment analysis, have detailed filtering options, and be able to generate reports at the click of a button. Here are our top choices of social listening tools for 2024 and beyond.
💸 Pricing: starts at $258 per month; free 7-day trial available
Best for: PR professionals and marketers working in-house or in PR agencies
Prowly provides comprehensive software for PR, Media Relations, communications, and marketers. You can easily find the right media contacts, manage them effectively, send personalized emails to journalists, and create journalist-friendly press releases with AI.
The Media Monitoring tool keeps track of the web (news sites, blogs, forums) and social media for you. Giving you access to brand sentiment, competitor actions, and industry trends.
Prowly’s AI identifies the context, sentiment and over 15 other properties of each press hit. With this invaluable data at your fingertips, you can refine your PR tactics, respond to crises effectively, and proactively shape your brand’s narrative.
You can use customizable dashboards for:
👉 comparing brand presence in articles vs. social media
👉 tracking mentions of a specified hashtag in social media
👉 tracking engagement around posts featuring a specified keyword, person, or brand
👉 and more
For each mention, you’ll get: sentiment analysis, estimated mention reach, region and language where the mention originates from, email notifications with digests, relevant PR metrics (such as AVE, outlet reach, domain backlinks), and more.
✅ Pros: social listening features, sentiment analysis, email notifications, media database, and advanced PR features included for the same price
🔻Cons: includes other features that might be unnecessary for those who want to use just social listening and media monitoring.
💸 Pricing: starts at $99 per month; free trial available
Best for: marketing professionals who already use this platform for social media management and need monitoring tools as an extra
Hootsuite is a popular social media management platform that includes Streams – their social listening tool. You can also integrate popular media monitoring tools such as Brandwatch, Talkwalker, and many others.
✅ Pros: ideal for social media managers who need the basic social listening features
🔻Cons: does not have some advanced features of dedicated social media listening tools
💸 Pricing: starts at $199 per month which gets you two alerts for your chosen keywords
Best for: marketing and PR professionals who use BuzzSumo for content ideas and can use the social listening tool as a nice extra
Primarily known as a content discovery platform, BuzzSumo also has a social listening tool to capture mentions in real-time.
✅ Pros: a bundle of useful features for content creators on top of social listening
🔻Cons: quite expensive considering the limited number of terms you can track
💸 Pricing: starts at $800 for the Professional plan of the Marketing hub
Best for: businesses already using Hubspot for other marketing and sales operations
HubSpot’s CRM and COS have an abundance of add-ons, including a social media management platform and social media listening tools.
✅ Pros: if you’re already on the Hubspot platform and you’re using it for social media management, this is a natural choice
🔻Cons: quite expensive, and thus probably not suited for smaller businesses
#5 Sprout Social
💸 Pricing: starts at $249 per month; free trial available
Best for: social media marketing managers who work in-house; agencies
Sprout Social is a powerful social media management platform that offers social media listening as an extra add-on, providing a comprehensive solution for social media marketers.
✅ Pros: a large range of advanced features, sentiment analysis, detailed reporting
🔻Cons: might be a bit more difficult to use at the beginning
💸 Pricing: starts at $6 per month for one social media channel; free trial available
Best for: social media managers who need some social listening features
Buffer is one of the most capable social media management tools on the market with a social listening feature embedded in its offer.
✅ Pros: unmatched number of advanced features for social media management
🔻Cons: Buffer does not search the whole web: it scrapes your own profiles which you connect to the tool
💸 Pricing: starts at $1,200 per month
Best for: enterprise businesses, large marketing agencies
Launched by the agency Ipsos, Synthesio is a powerful social media listening tool for advanced users.
✅ Pros: advanced mention filtering with the ability to show relevant results only, detailed BI-like reporting
🔻Cons: quite expensive
💸 Pricing: custom – you have to reach out for a quote
Best for: larger businesses with bigger budgets, agencies
Previously known as NetBase, Quid offers a tool called Quid Monitor for advanced users needing enterprise-like reliability and security.
✅ Pros: AI-driven insights, great data privacy and security, detailed reporting dashboards
🔻Cons: pricing is not transparent
💸 Pricing: starts at 1,199 GBP per month
Best for: marketing teams that use Twitter as their main communication and growth channel
Audiense is a platform was developed specifically for Twitter (X) and has the best tools for finding mentions, identifying influencers, and grouping your audiences.
✅ Pros: detailed audience insights, Twitter-specific tools that very few other tools currently offer
🔻Cons: for Twitter only, quite expensive
Speaking of Twitter, as more and more people switch to other social media platforms, it’s important to be aware of the most popular alternatives in the market. We have collected them all in this article so you will know where your followers might migrate to.
💸 Pricing: starts at $99 per month for three tracked keywords; free trial available
Best for: in-house marketing and PR specialists
Brand24‘s social media listening tools make it one of the obvious choices for agencies and marketing specialists.
✅ Pros: mentions feed, great way to visualize mentions and data, real-time alerts, data exporting, and filtering
🔻Cons: quite expensive given how many keywords you can track within lower-tier plans; real-time updates only available on more expensive plans
#11 Zoho Social
💸 Pricing: 30 EUR per month per brand if you want social media listening software (otherwise, starts at 10EUR)
Best for: small social media teams and some agencies
Much like Hubspot, Zoho is a powerhouse in the CRM world that eventually branched out into marketing. Zoho Social is a standalone product that offers social media management and social monitoring tools.
✅ Pros: if you’re already using Zoho for CRM, sales, and marketing, this is easy to set up and use
🔻Cons: the pricing is low if you don’t cover a lot of social media channels or clients
💸 Pricing: $249 per month; a 90-day trial is available
Best for: brands that need omnichannel marketing, shared social inboxes and chatbots + media monitoring
Sprinklr is an enterprise-level customer experience management platform that offers a range of features for intelligent audience insights.
✅ Pros: covers up to 30 channels, covers historical data all the way up to 2014
🔻Cons: has many features that might be unnecessary if you only need social media listening
💸 Pricing: not disclosed publicly, but research shows that it starts at $200 per month; free trial available
Best for: e-commerce brands and small businesses that need omnichannel customer experience software
Similar to Sprinklr, Emplifi is a customer engagement platform that offers social and a range of customer experience tools to increase sales and improve marketing efforts.
✅ Pros: great for social media scheduling and publishing
🔻Cons: user experience could be improved
💸 Pricing: not disclosed publicly on the website – our research shows it starts at $9,000 per year
Best for: marketing agencies
Talkwalker is a dedicated social media listening software platform that is ideal for marketing teams that need real-time access to brand mentions.
✅ Pros: analyzing sentiment, great visual reporting, influencer identification, predictive analytics
🔻Cons: quite pricey
Mention is an online monitoring and engagement tool that helps businesses track conversations about their brands, products, or services across the web. It allows users to monitor mentions on social networks, online news sources, and blogs in real-time.
✅ Pros: monitoring, listening, and publishing in one tool; real-time analytics, sentiment analysis
🔻Cons: you only get one alert (keyword) and 1,000 mentions in the free trial
See which features are key for your business, choose the right tool, and start monitoring social media.
Bonus: a free social media listening tool
If you’re looking for media monitoring tools for social media but don’t have much budget to spare, don’t worry – there are some free options too.
✅ Pros: completely free and easy to use and set up
🔻Cons: results are not always accurate compared to most social media listening tools; it also lacks extra features paid tools have, such as sentiment analysis
Here’s everything you need to know about Google Alerts for PR pros.
Social listening tools can give you a wealth of data while eliminating the tedious manual work. With the help of a social media monitoring tool, you can stay in the loop about what customers are saying about you.
Not only that, you get data that is filtered, sorted, and with sentiment analysis.
Start your trial of Prowly today and never miss out on another brand mention again.