Consumers use the power of social media to share their experiences with the world, both good and bad. Customers want to know you care about them; responding to online reviews and complaints can make your brand stronger (and hurt it if you don’t).
Companies should stay in-tune with their customers and audience; to do that they need to know what customers are saying about their brand and industry online and in real-time. Monitoring social media all at once through each individual channel is brutal, and doing it well is impossible. Fortunately, there are several tools available to help you keep tabs on customer sentiment, although you do need to be careful when automating your social monitoring.
Here’s an example of Bank of America and its care handling a customer complaint. Bank of America recognized the problem, acknowledged the customer, and attempted to resolve the issue. BoA’s quick response also probably made the customer feel better.
On the other hand, not responding or ignoring a bad review will not make it go away—it could actually hurt your brand.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to help you listen and monitor your brand, and even your competitors’, online. Here are 10 social listening tools to consider for your listening efforts.
Social Monitoring Tools
This tool is full of functionality but, for this article we’ll stick to its monitoring capabilities. Easily set up alerts for keywords including your brand or your competitors’, domains and even backlinks to help you stay on top of relevant mentions as well as trending content. Also create personalized dashboards and even filter alerts.
Pricing: starts at $79/mo
In real-time, find out what people are saying about your brand. Monitor your social mentions, get insights from influencers, and analyze sentiment analysis of your social mentions. Brand24 has a handy discussion volume tracker to identify sudden changes in discussions so you can address issues before they become big problems. This tool also has customizable alerts, filters, and exports.
Pricing: starts at $49/mo
Take your social media monitoring to the next level with Meltwater’s social publishing and engagement tracking. Identify in real time which posts require a response and consolidate all your social search results in one place making it easier for you to respond quickly. Track sentiment and measure by demographics and they offer a mobile app.
Pricing: starts at $199/mo, but they also offer a free version last time we checked.
If you’re already a HubSpot user, this is probably a no-brainer because you can publish and listen in the same place you build your campaigns. If you’re not (yet) a HubSpot user, take a look at the options; combining all your marketing tools into one makes reporting (and proving ROI) a breeze. Social Inbox lets you publish and schedule content but also lets you monitor interactions and links them back to contacts in your database. Team members can create their own custom keyword streams and also trigger alerts to people on your sales team when a prospect mentions your brand, a specific keyword, or a hashtag.
Pricing: starts at $200/mo for their marketing platform; Social Media Suite is included in all their paid marketing plans.
Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox makes managing social communication easier since multiple social channels all appear in one place. Their filtered inbox is streamlined for better listening and monitoring. Create custom tags and pull impressive reports of trends in responsiveness and engagement.
Pricing: starts at $99/mo and offers a 30-day free trial.
Many people don’t talk about Zoho and I’m not sure why. This one is a great tool that flies below the radar but offers some pretty good functionality for very low cost. Listen and engage in real time to audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and even Instagram. Track sentiment scoring plus keep up with searches in individual columns for easier monitoring. Receive alerts when you’re mentioned or use their mobile app to always stay connected.
Pricing: starts at $10/mo (a free version is available but doesn’t include monitoring capabilities).
One of the more popular tools, Hootsuite makes it easy to connect with more than 35 social networks with Hootsuite’s customized stream for simple monitoring and strong search features. Easily respond to user inquiries and complaints in a single dashboard showing all posts and mentions. You can also track interaction history and manage engagement workflows.
Pricing: starts at $19/mo for 10 social profiles and 1 user. They also offer a free 30-day trial.
Find out what people are saying online about your company and your competitors. Set-up custom filters and Google will alert you by email when it snags a mention of any of your keywords.
Brandwatch offers multiple social media tools; for now talking about their Analytics product. This one is pretty robust (but you’ll pay a pretty penny for it) offering coverage in 44 languages and real-time data from 80M+ sources. Customize dashboards, set-up workflows and export data. This tool also helps monitor sentiment and topics and provides insight on demographics.
Pricing: starts at about $500/mo, but you’ll need to contact them directly for exact pricing for you needs.
This is a nice, clean tool allowing you to monitor and respond in real time from 1B+ sources daily. Filter content like sentiment, language, source, etc. to focus on the things that matter. Also set-up crisis management alerts to let you know when something big happens related to your brand so you can address it quickly. Mention also offers a mobile app so you can always stay connected. They also offer automated reporting.
Pricing: starts at $29/mo
How to respond
Time is of the essence; your audience wants quick answers to their questions and complaints. But when you do, be sure to use a friendly, professional tone and personalize the message. Here are a few other tips:
- respond promptly and accurately
- show gratitude and respect; never respond in an offensive or defensive way
- include facts instead of opinions and link to factual reference materials to support your case
- respond in a tone/voice that reflects the company’s culture and values
- let the person know how you’re connected to the company.
Do you or your team need help listening and responding to reviews on social media? Contact us. For more tips on how to manage social media for your business, download our free ebook!