We all know that the secret to being good at social media marketing is being able to tap into the interests and minds of your target audience. Whether it’s to determine the kind of content you’re going to create, where to launch your campaigns, or where and how they’re spending their money, having a keen understanding of your audience is the key to success.
Even more importantly, having a direct line of communication with your audience, and actively engaging with them online, will help your business by leaps and bounds. Luckily, there are many social media monitoring tools to help us learn what our target audience is talking about. Using these tools can give you an edge over your competition and engage your audience in more meaningful and effective ways.
In this article I’m going to share my top 5 favorite free social media monitoring tools.
1. What Is Social Monitoring?
While social media monitoring is definitely important, it’s not as well known as other social media tools.
Social monitoring is essentially just a business using social media analytics tools to monitor the way people are discussing a number of topics, including the company itself, the competition, and any other issue that may be of importance to the company. With social media monitoring, businesses are able to get a better understanding of the opinions and attitudes of certain groups or social influencers.
Social media monitoring tools are able to provide users with historical data and up-to-date alerts on pre-determined topics of interest, while also offering many other benefits.
The overall goal of social monitoring is to both objectively assess the reputation of your company and your competition, and to put measures in place to be on top of changing topics of conversations, to make sure you’re not missing out on any significant events that are happening on social media that may affect your business or your audience. Additionally, social media monitoring also includes taking action in response to the information you’ve collected through engagement with your audience.
2. Importance to Small Businesses or Agencies
One of the most important aspects of social media monitoring on small businesses or agencies if that you are able to improve brand loyalty and the relationship between your business and the audience by interacting with people directly. When you’re aware of the things people are saying about you, you can then take action on those comments through a like, a share, or a reply.
By doing so, you’re going to make your business seem more approachable. Think of it as offering your customers with quick and amazing customer service, and positive brand experience can have a huge impact on your sales funnel.
Additionally, staying on top of product inquiries—even if your business is not tagged in the comment directly—could mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart. Looking for areas where you can interact with your followers will not only help them, but also help you. Social media monitoring tools make this easier by funneling all messages, mentions, and pre-set keywords into one location.
This quick action can lead to direct sales, most often when you see negative mentions of your brand. If a customer is tweeting about a pain point, you can swoop in and either save the sale or get a customer back who has turned away from your business. This is why it’s also so important to monitor the way people are interacting with your competitors as well—if someone is complaining about your competitor, you can enter into the conversation and show how your business can help the upset customer.
3. How to Use Social Media Monitoring to Attract New Customers
There are a few different ways that small businesses and agencies can utilize social media monitoring to attract new customers.
One big way is to identify brand advocates to help spread the message about how great your product or service is. Brand advocates would be individuals who are already loyal to your brand. You will then be harnessing the advocate’s audience to get the word out about your business.
Another strategy to attain new customers is to determine keywords that people would search when looking for more information about a product like yours, and then track these keywords across social media platforms. Join these conversations, not only to get your name on the minds of these potential customers, but to learn more about customer needs and expectation. You can then check to see if anyone from the forum has signed up to try your product, and then follow-up with an email to them to help them get started.
4. Top 5 Social Media Monitoring Tools In 2018
There are a lot of social monitoring tools available, but these 5 are my favorite, and the ones that I’ve found the most success with:
With Hootsuite, you’re able to not only track mentions and monitor a number of different platforms filtered by hashtags, keywords, or even location, but you’re also able to schedule social posts and manage all social content to make everything easier.
I’m a fan of Hootsuite because you also have access to comprehensive reporting, including the conversation rate of each social channel and the ROI of paid and owned media.
Iconosquare also helps you more easily manage conversations across networks, and even allows you to export all comments and has a function where you can mark certain comments as read, so you know which ones you still have to reply to.
I also appreciate Iconosquare’s reporting functions, as it helps to measure reach as well as impressions, and also offers analytics on when your followers are most likely online.
Google Alerts is a more general web monitoring tools that can help you stay on top of the trending topics that matter to your business. It’s easy to use, and allows you to quickly set alerts on companies or topics that matter to you.
Buzzsumo is a great tool for monitoring the performance of content—both yours and your competitors. You can search topics or specific companies and get a great screenshot of the total number of engagements and shares across platforms. This can help you assess how audiences are responding to certain companies and topics.
Sproutsocial is perfect for managing your engagements and also offers great analytics. I love their Smart Inbox feature, which brings all messages from all profiles—including Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, Google+, and Instagram—into a single inbox. This makes staying on top of customer interactions super easy.
The analytics tools also help to easily quantify your success and see where you need to make improvements.
Social media monitoring can be incredibly helpful in growing your business—both by retaining happy and loyal customers, and in engaging with new leads.