Software7 Best Social Listening Tools For SMBs to Protect Online Reputation

7 Best Social Listening Tools For SMBs to Protect Online Reputation

Social media has changed the online landscape. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms, how people socialize and get news has been revolutionized.

As more and more people and businesses turn to social media for advertising, social listening tools have become mandatory tools of the trade.

Benefits of Social Listening Tools

It becomes a necessity for companies that use digital marketing to maintain a good reputation and relationship with their customers.

Otherwise, they could suddenly get negative feedback from all sides, leading to a plunge in revenues and profits, especially if they don’t respond to the crisis fast enough. This calamity has been occurring many times all over the world.

Social Listening
Social Listening Image by Rosa Matilde Peppi from Pixabay

Social listening tools can help every business alleviate this threat. They will help you keep track of anything people are saying about your brand, business, or products on social media channels and websites. Thus, your team can then move swiftly to save your reputation before it is too late.

With the variety of social listening tools available, businesses face a daunting task to choose the best one. There are many things to consider when trying to manage your online reputation, and sometimes it becomes challenging to find the best tools for it.

Nevertheless, in this post, I will introduce you to top brands of social media listening tools that are most effective and affordable for small and medium businesses. They will help you measure influence and get ahead of negative comments about your brand in no time.

Disclaimer: This post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. I will get a small commission from these software providers if you purchase through my links. I will use this income to create better content for all visitors.

1. Awario

Awario is a social listening tool that allows brands and agencies to manage their online reputation in real-time. As the tool is effortless to use, you don’t have to be a marketing expert in using it effectively.

Awario - one of the best social listening tools
Awario – one of the most affordable social listening tools

Key Features

Awario’s main feature is non-stop monitoring. The software will check both social media channels and websites to find any mention of your brand.

Awario's social listening feature
Awario’s social listening feature

There is no limit to language or location as long as the social mention is public (not password-protected.) In total, Awario crawls more than 13 billion webpages apart from the APIs.

The results could be immense. You can filter them for the tool to provide more accurate data. For example, you can add negative keywords or select only your target location for better social monitoring.

Awario also provides a boolean search that utilizes boolean logic operations to decrease irrelevant brand mentions. Hence, the results are very likely to be precise.

What I like most is that you can sort the results, so important conversations are always on top. If a sudden negative review bomb occurs, Awario will instantly notify you and your team in real-time.

Email Alert (Weekly reports)
Email Alert (Weekly reports)

Furthermore, with a social selling feature, Awario can become your top lead generation tool. The software will find posts on the internet that indicate customer investigation, such as asking for a specific product recommendation.

Your sales team could then start an outreach, which could potentially turn those people into customers. Hence, besides using Awario as a defensive tool to protect your brand, Awario can generate more sales opportunities.

Awario provides an analytics dashboard to help you analyze your mentions. You can sort them by using sentiment analysis. The usage of this feature is immense. You can collect fast, real-world customer feedback on your product or identify top influencers in your industry.

Analytics dashboard
Analytics dashboard

For marketing agencies, Awario can create brandable white-label reports within a single click. This feature will eliminate your team’s workload and impress your clients with professional reports with beautiful data visualization.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Awario offers a three-tiered pricing plan as follows (all pricing is for annual plans):

  • Starter – $24 per month
  • Pro – $74 per month
  • Enterprise – $249 per month
Awario Pricing

All plans have almost similar features. However, the Pro plan can export data, while only the Enterprise plan can create white-label reports.

The significant difference lies more in resources. The Starter plan will have the fewest topics to monitor, mentions per month, and user seats.

I still think the Starter plan is enough for small businesses, as you can get as many as 30,000 mentions of your brand monthly from three monitored topics. You can consider an upgrade if your business grows larger.

However, marketing agencies of any size should subscribe to the Enterprise plan, as lower plans could not access white-label reports and API, and allocated resources are meager.

Awario Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Monitor everything public on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Web, and many more)
  • Affordable social listening tool
  • Boolean search to filter results
  • Excellent social selling feature
  • Best ways to obtain honest customer feedback

Cons

  • Lacks social media management features of more expensive tools
  • Slow processing times (in some cases)
  • A bit of a learning curve

if you are interested, Awario offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card required.

2. BrandMentions

If you are interested in brand monitoring tools, BrandMentions is one of the best options available. You can use this social listening software to monitor mentions of your brand across social media and the web, conduct competitor analysis, track news or trending topics, and many more.

BrandMentions - one of the best social listening tools
BrandMentions

Key Features

Brand Monitoring is the most significant feature for BrandMentions. The tool allows you to monitor any mention on social media and the web. If there is any, the tool will alert you immediately, allowing you and your team to take action in no time.

Similar to Awario, BrandMentions can conduct sentiment analysis. You can quickly sort positive or negative mentions from an audience with ease. This feature will help you get customer feedback, which you can use to improve your product further.

In addition to your brand, BrandMentions can help you track industry trends and news. Thus, you can spot the changing trend very early and make changes to your marketing strategy.

Furthermore, this feature helps you find highly engaged influencers to work for your company, find content gaps for your content marketing campaign or even start an outreach to build high-quality backlinks for your website.

As competitor spying is essential for a business to survive in a highly competitive industry, you can use BrandMentions to monitor your competitors. You will find their strengths and weaknesses, missed opportunities, top influencers, social media strategy, and many more.

Unlike many other social listening tools, BrandMentions can find old mentions up to 10 years. Thus, if you conduct in-depth product or industry research, this feature will be beneficial.

Finally, you can create customizable white-label reports. Your clients will be impressed with the detail of data and the simplicity the reports provide.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

BrandMentions offers three plans for users to choose from: The pricing below is for monthly plans.

  • Growing Business – $99 per month
  • Company – $299 per month
  • Enterprise/Agency – $499 per month
BrandMentions Pricing
BrandMentions Pricing

The Growing Business plan has limited features. For example, BrandMentions will send alerts daily (not real-time.) The tool will show no multiple language mentions as well.

Thus, I don’t recommend subscribing to the Growing Business plan. At this price, you would be better off with Awario or other social listening tools.

However, the Company plan is more interesting. You will access all the features in BrandMentions’ arsenal. You can track recent mentions from anywhere on the internet effortlessly and in real-time. Historical mention tracking is also excellent for in-depth data analysis.

Small marketing agencies should start with the Company plan at least. This plan provides resources sufficient to track 50 keywords from 10 projects. Nevertheless, the Enterprise plan would be best as it allows tracking up to 150 keywords and removes a limit on projects.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Monitor both social media platforms, blogs and news sites
  • No Limit on new mentions
  • Capable of finding historical mentions from 6 months to 3 years (up to 10 years but for custom pricing only)
  • Extensive coverage and highly-detailed data
  • Customer service available on phone
  • Data export is available for every plan.

Cons

  • High starting price
  • The entry plan has no real-time alerts.
  • Only a single language mention for the entry plan.
  • Credit card required for free trial

BrandMentions offers everyone a 7-day free trial to try all of their features. (Credit card required)

3. Brand24

Brand24 is a social listening tool equipped with many features and a solid competitor to Awario and BrandMentions. With Brand24, you can rest assured that your online reputation is secure.

Brand24

Key Features

Social Listening – Brand24 will monitor your brand on social media and the web for positive and negative comments. The platform will use sentiment analysis to group them automatically, so you can react fast before the story spreads like wildfire (in a bad case.)

Brand24 tracking mentions for Victory Tale
Brand24 tracking mentions for Victory Tale

Unlike many other social listening tools, you can track newsletters and podcasts. Currently, Brand24 has as many as 800,000 podcasts in its coverage.

Alerts – You will receive alerts as soon as the story appears on the internet. The platform integrates well with Slack. Thus, you are unlikely to miss notifications.

Analytics – Brand24 can provide valuable information, such as how many see and interact with brand mentions. This feature will help you evaluate or contain the damage or analyze a particular PR campaign’s success.

Analytics Page
Analytics Page

Hashtag Tracking – You can track hashtags on various social networks such as Instagram. Brand24 will provide essential metrics such as reach and volume for your marketing strategy.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Brand24 has three plans for customers to select as follows (all pricing is for monthly plans).

  • Plus – $49 per month
  • Premium – $99 per month
  • Max – $199 per month
Brand24 Pricing
Brand24 Pricing

Each plan differs by resources and features. Most importantly, the Plus plan users will only get an update once every 12 hours. The Premium plan users will get it once per hour, while Max plan users will get it instantly.

Furthermore, the Premium plan will add data for social media reach, live chat support, PDF report, and excel file export. Finally, the Max plan is the Premium plan with an assigned consultant to help you.

I don’t think the Plus plan is good enough for subscribing. You will get only five keyword tracking and 5,000 mentions every month at $49, which is quite expensive, as Awario costs less than half but provides more resources.

If you are interested in Brand24, the Premium plan is worth more consideration. You will get almost every feature. The hourly update is excellent. Furthermore, you can get as many as 100,000 mentions per month from 10 keywords, which is adequate for small and medium businesses.

However, if you want to obtain the highest benefit of social listening, you will need the Max plan to ensure that you will receive real-time notification when new mentions appear.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Powerful social listening tool
  • Newsletters and podcast tracking
  • Detailed hashtag tracking
  • Generous user seats (5 for only $49)
  • Live Support
  • Slack Integration

Cons

  • Limited keywords and mentions per keyword (especially the entry plan) compared to peers.
  • Have to subscribe to the highest plan for real-time updates

Brand24 offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required.)

4. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management platform. Thus, its features have more variety than specialized social listening tools such as Awario and BrandMentions.

Sprout Social - excellent social media management and social listening tool
Sprout Social

Key Features

I will only discuss Sprout Social’s social listening and analytics features, as its other features are out of the scope of this post.

Customer Feedback – The tool will monitor all social networks and the web to find conversations concerning your brand, providing actionable insight into the customer experience. If you are starting viral or marketing campaign, you can receive feedback right away.

Sentiment Research and Trend Identification – The platform can detect different customer opinions on your brand or relevant topics. Thus, you will never fall behind your competitors or emerging trends.

Consumer Research – Sprout Social can provide detailed data on your audience’s demographics. Thus, you can understand them better and use the information to create a better social media marketing strategy.

Competitor Comparison – This feature helps you identify industry gaps and the share of voice. The former will help you find hidden business opportunities, while the latter metric is beneficial in comparing your brand visibility to those of competitors.

You can spot your competitors’ customer feedback to find their strengths and weaknesses, which would help you find a strategy to beat them.

Influencer Recognition – Sprout Social can help you find high-engaging brand advocates within minutes.

Review Management – Manage reviews across your Facebook Page, Google My Business (GMB), and TripAdvisor to protect your business’ online reputation.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Social listening features are add-ons for Sprout Social customers. You will need to pay extra on top of one of the following three plans:

  • Standard – $99 per month
  • Professional – $149 per month
  • Advanced – $249 per month
Sprout Social Pricing
Sprout Social Pricing

Sprout Social does not provide pricing information for social listening features on their website. You will need to contact customer support to inquire about the price.

The cumulative pricing would be high. However, you will get all of the best social media marketing tools in your arsenal. There is no need to subscribe to many tools as this one tool can perform any task you need.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent social media monitoring
  • Beautiful data visualization
  • Analyze brand awareness from the Share of Voice metric
  • Provide many social media management features besides social listening. Thus you can handily deal with the crisis by utilizing these tools.

Cons

  • High starting price (Need to pay for both regular plans and add-ons)

Sprout Social offers a 30-day free trial and a free demo for you to experience their top-notch products.

5. Agorapulse

Agorapulse, similar to Sprout Social, is a complete social media management tool. Thus, their features are beyond social listening. You can manage all social media accounts from this single platform.

Agorapulse
Agorapulse

Key Features

As Agorapulse has many features, writing them all here would be a distraction for those who are interested in social listening tools. Thus, I will only discuss their monitoring tool.

This tool is relatively simple. It allows you to “listen” to posts on five social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Youtube. You will find how the audience is exchanging opinions about your brand or specific topics.

Like other tools, you can add negative keywords, filter results using boolean search mode, or add language/location parameters. Once you find noteworthy social mentions, you can label them as retrieval for your team to respond swiftly using other features on the platform.

Thus, these features will help you conduct competitor research, uncover customer feedback or find top brand advocates within seconds. AgoraPulse also allows unlimited saved searches (except for Instagram.) Thus, you don’t need to worry about exceeding the limit.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Agorapulse has two pricing plans as follows:

  • Pro – $79 per month
  • Premium – $159 per month

All pricing above is for annual plans.

Agorapulse pricing
Agorapulse pricing

Agorapulse can help you save costs in social media marketing. At $79 per month, the Pro plan can help you manage social media channels and monitor mentions of your brand at a relatively low price. You don’t need to spend money on many tools.

You may upgrade to the Premium plan for better management features. However, if you are interested mainly in social listening, the upgrade is unnecessary, as higher plans don’t offer more listening features.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Unlimited Saved Searches
  • Best for businesses that want to save costs on social media management

Cons

  • No web monitoring (i.e., can’t track blogs and news sites)
  • Limited Instagram searches (30 per month)
  • No sentiment analysis

You can try Agorapulse for free with no credit card required.

6. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo, now part of Brandwatch, is one of the most popular content intelligence platforms. Its formidable features can perform web and social media listening, trending content, top influencers, and many more within the same dashboard.

Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo

Key Features

Monitoring – Buzzsumo can alert you when there are conversations or coverages about your brand, competitors, industry, emerging products, or even general news both on the web and social media. Thus, you can be certain there are no out-of-control threats to your business.

What I like most is the trending score. You will know beforehand what topic or posts will become viral, so you can be the first that creates content on them and obtain enormous traffic and brand awareness from the audience.

Additionally, you can create alerts for specific influencers, journalists, or bloggers so that Buzzsumo will notify you instantly if there is a new article published.

Backlinks – Like top SEO tools such as Ahrefs or SEMRush, Buzzsumo can help you track backlinks. However, the tracking is real-time. The tool will notify you when new links come in.

Furthermore, it can help you find ways to start an outreach to convert mentions into high-quality backlinks and provide data to optimize your link strategy.

In-depth influencer research – Buzzsumo provides in-depth data on each influencer. Thus, you can find their metrics such as engagement rates, numbers of followers, evergreen scores, and many more.

Content Intelligence platform – Buzzsumo has extensive coverage of more than 5 billion articles and even more social media posts, therefore providing an insurmountable database for data analytics, content marketing, and content discovery.

Buzzsumo offers outstanding keywords and topic research tools. You can use both features to create infinite articles for your blogs.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Buzzsumo has four pricing plans for all customers as follows: All pricing below is for annual plans.

  • Pro – $79 per month
  • Plus – $139 per month
  • Large – $239 per month
  • Enterprise – starting at $439 per month

All plans have social listening features. However, if you want a top author search, you need to subscribe to the Large plan or higher.

Buzzsumo Pricing
Buzzsumo Pricing

Higher plans will add more resources. For instance, the Pro plan can only get alerts from 5 keywords, while the Large plan can get as many as from 30 keywords.

I think regular influencer research is sufficient. Thus, small or medium businesses may not need the Large plan to get top author search. You could then choose either the Pro or Plus plan according to your needs.

Still, in terms of brand monitoring, Buzzsumo offers fewer resources than its peers. For example, at $139 per month, you can receive mentions only from 10 keywords, while you can get as many as 15 at $99 per month from BrandMentions.

Therefore, if you want to subscribe to Buzzsumo, it would be best to utilize its other content marketing features. Otherwise, other alternatives provide better value than Buzzsumo.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Various powerful features, unarguably one of the best social listening tools in the market.
  • Track web and social media mentions
  • Trending scores to predict viral content
  • Extensive coverage
  • Excellent content discovery platform
  • Real-time alerts
  • Generous user seats
  • Unlimited monthly searches, projects and items (best for marketing agencies)

Cons

  • High starting price
  • Provides fewer brand monitoring alerts for each plan than peers
  • Top author search available only for higher plans
  • Limited Exports

Buzzsumo provides a generous 30-day free trial for anyone to try their product (no credit card required.)

7. Keyhole

Keyhole is a social listening platform with a very reasonable pricing structure. Many of its features are no less powerful than more expensive tools such as Buzzsumo.

Thus, you can rest assured that your business’s reputation is safe when Keyhole monitors social media and the web in real-time.

Keyhole - one of the best social listening tools
Keyhole

Key Features

Social Listening – This feature provides insights into how your target audience is talking about your brand. These include who they are and what they like.

Sentiment Analysis – Keyhole’s AI will use sentiment analysis to analyze and group positive, neutral, and negative conversations.

Volume Predictions – Like Buzzsumo, Keyhole will notify you when your social media post is about to go viral. You can use this feature to measure the performance of viral landing page builders such as KickoffLabs.

QuickTrends – Keyhole helps you analyze the industry and competitors from a single dashboard. The dashboard is effortless to understand as it resembles Google Trends.

Influencer Analytics – This feature will help you find the right influencers for your businesses. It will reveal who will be your best brand advocates and provide the highest return on investment. These are 100% according to statistics.

Campaign/Event Monitoring – Besides your brand, Keyhole can track specific campaigns and events. Its AI will also predict the performance of your campaign in the next seven days or a longer extended period, such as one month.

Pricing and Which Plan to Choose

Keyhole offers three pricing plans as follows (billed yearly).

  • Basic – $44 per month
  • Plus – $79 per month
  • Professional – $99 per month
Keyhole Pricing
Keyhole Pricing

All three plans have similar brand monitoring features. However, you will get data exports, sentiment analysis, and PDF reports from the Plus plan.

The Professional plan will add trend search, influencer management, and white-labeled reports to the Plus plan. Finally, like other tools, higher plans will have more resources.

I suggest you only consider the Plus plan or above since the Basic plan offers limited resources and features. You can get even more from Awario at halved prices.

The Plus plan is suitable for individual users but not great for marketing teams, as it grants only one user seat and no white-label reports. Large groups will need to subscribe to the Professional plan or ask for custom pricing.

For both Plus and Professional plans, it would be best if you select to be billed yearly, as Keyhole offers as much as a 50% discount from the monthly price.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Outstanding social listening features (social media monitoring + media monitoring)
  • Real-time insights
  • All Premium features at $99
  • Affordable plans with good value of money
  • Excellent viral prediction
  • Good Influencer Marketing Platform
  • Functional Event/Campaign Management

Cons

  • Limited brand mentions per keyword
  • No historical data (except custom pricing)
  • Few user seats per plan

You can start a free trial with Keyhole (no credit card required.)

Other Best Social Listening Tools

These are other excellent social listening tools. However, some of them target enterprises, which is out of reach for most businesses. Others offer lower resources at a higher price. I am still providing the list here in case some companies might want to take a look.

Brandwatch – Besides Buzzsumo, Brandwatch also has three other formidable social listening tools. However, these could cost thousands of dollars each month.

Hootsuite InsightsIn cooperation with Brandwatch, Hootsuite, a leading social media management tool, also offers social listening features. You will need to pay hundreds of dollars on top of each Hootsuite plan.

Falcon.ioFalcon.io is a comprehensive social media management tool that can effectively track social mentions. However, this feature is only available to the custom pricing plan.

Mention – Mention is a powerful social listening platform that provides features similar to Awario or BrandMentions. However, their features are more limited, plus there are alternatives that offer better value for money.

Pun Anansakunwat
Founder of Victory Tale, a multipotentialite who has a particular interest in technology. He loves to spend time testing new products and learning interesting topics to broaden his insights. After graduating from Columbia University in 2014, he makes a living by being a stock market investor, a private tutor, a writer of three published books, and finally a website owner.

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