In our last post we discussed the best social media management tools available to marketers. Today’s post will cover the 5 best brand monitoring tools that you can use to keep up with conversations about your company, brand, and even competitors.

Brand monitoring, often referred to as social media listening, is essential to building relationships with consumers and protecting your brand’s reputation.

These tools will help you collect and monitor conversations about business from across the internet, which gives you an idea of any threats to your business, as well as any opportunities.  In the list below, you’ll find 5 social media listening tools suited for companies of any size. You can choose which one is best suited to your needs according to your budget and the differentiating features of each of the tools.

Social Mention

This free web-based application  lets you search popular channels such as blogs and microblogs to find brand mentions and analyzes the sentiment towards your brand. You can also set up alerts so that you will be told any time someone mentions your brand. The tool monitors over a hundred social media platforms.

Social Mention is currently one of the most popular free social media monitoring tools. One look at the interface and it’s easy to see why marketers and social media enthusiasts love it. It’s simple, yet powerful.

By entering your brand’s name into the search bar,  you get a list of results that are linked to mentions about it. In addition to listing to the top users and hashtags associated with your brand, the results also provide scores for: strength, which is the likelihood that your brand or company is being discussed on social media; sentiment, which is the ratio of mentions that are positive to those that are negative; passion, the likelihood that the people who talk about you will do so repeatedly; and reach, which is your influence.

You can also filter results by types of social media type, say, if you  want to only look at brand conversations on microblogs or comments.

If you’re new to the world of social media monitoring, Social Mention is the best tool for you because of it’s cost (or lack thereof) and ease of use.

BrandsEye

A slightly different type of social media listening tool, BrandsEye helps you manage your online reputation by finding all of your brand mentions, the reputation of their source, the sentiment and even flags mentions that you may require immediate attention.

Additionally, the tool also reports on your social media campaign performance and ROI. BrandsEye is a lot cheaper than other paid monitoring tools, and a great choice for those who want an effective tool without paying too much money.  BrandsEye also uses Crowd, a crowdsourcing platform made up of real people who evaluate and contextualize online mentions, making it the first crowd-sourced social media insights provider.

Sysomos Heartbeat

Heartbeat is geared more towards brands interested in the day-to-day monitoring of buzz, as opposed to in-depth market research. Though the amount of information is more limited with this tool, the user-defined dashboard makes it easier for marketers to quickly find the information relevant to them.

In addition to providing day-to-day, real time social media monitoring, the tool also allows users to gain insight into the level of activity surrounding your brand or company, and the sentiment of these conversations. You can also easily compare your company or brands activity with competitors. It identifies key influencers, or people who actively talk about your brand and, also, the geographic location and demographics of users who talk about your brand or company.

Social Radar

Created by Infegy, Social Radar is a listening tool that allows you to visually see information flow between influencers, identify key conversations and determine tone. Additionally, Social Radar’s historical data about your brand goes back to 2006, so you can see how your influence has changed over time.

The tool’s crawlers search the web for conversations about your brand from major social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as news sites, blogs, and forums. A highlight of the tool is its four-stage filtering process. Once the the information is gathered, its powerful filtering process ensures that  any irrelevant information, such as spam and sales material, isn’t included in the data.

The tool even provides users access to a 7+ year old archive for any subject, at no additional cost. It’s dynamic comparisons feature enables you to compare different subjects, which could be different products or competitors.

This is a great tool you’re interested in how your brand or your competitor’s influence and perception has evolved over time.

Brandwatch

Brandwatch enables you to check out how many mentions your brand has across the internet, where they are coming from, and how far the comments have reached. The tool gathers data from a staggering 70+ million sources that include social networking platforms, forums, blogs and news sites.

The tool is also a Twitter Certified Product and provides real time Twitter coverage. It’s a great tool for those of you who want to monitor your brand internationally, as it identifies and delivers conversations in over 27 languages. The product gives you comprehensive results, but also cleans out data for any spam, duplication of information, and sales materials. It also analyzes each result for the date and time the information was uploaded, the exact location, sentiment analysis, and analyzes it by topic.

With it’s wide reach, Brandwatch is inarguably one of the most comprehensive tools for brand monitoring available today.

The Bottom Line
In the end, a social media tool is only as good as the person using it, so be sure to use your tool consistently and be sure to track your progress. By taking those important steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful experience with your social media brand monitoring tool.