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How to Choose the Right Social Listening Tool ?

How to Choose the Right Social Listening Tool ?

Home Blog Social listening Social listening tools How to Choose the Right Social Listening Tool ?

Choosing the right social listening tool can feel overwhelming with so many options available. How can you determine if the tool you’ve encountered is the right one for you?

The best choice depends on your specific needs, such as real-time monitoring, user-friendliness, or detailed analytics.

In this article, discover the criteria you need to check to get the right social listening tool for your needs!

Evaluate your business needs

If you’re reading this article, you probably know what social listening is. But in case you need a refresher, monitoring and analyzing social media conversations is known as social listening. It helps businesses understand how customers perceive their brand, detect trends, gather data for strategies, and respond promptly to mentions.

Deciding on the right social listening tool starts with understanding your business’s requirements. This includes your goals, the size of your business, and your target audience.

What are your goals with social listening?

Define what you aim to achieve with social listening. Are you looking to monitor brand mentions or track industry trends? Maybe you want to identify customer sentiments or measure campaign effectiveness.

Clearly outline your priorities:

  • Brand reputation management: Track mentions of your brand to respond quickly to both positive and negative feedback.
  • Customer insights: Understand your audience better by analyzing their conversations and behavior.
  • Competitive analysis: Monitor competitors to stay ahead in the market.
  • Content inspiration: Discover popular topics and trends you can leverage for your content strategy.

Identifying these goals will help narrow down tools that offer relevant features.

Media monitoring campaign

Size of your business

The size of your business influences the type of social listening tool you should choose.

Large enterprises might need advanced tools with in-depth analytics and multiple user accounts.

In contrast, smaller businesses could benefit from simpler, more affordable tools.

Considerations based on business size:

  • Small businesses: Look for tools with basic features such as keyword tracking and sentiment analysis.
  • Medium-sized businesses: You might need more robust capabilities such as detailed reporting and integration with other platforms.
  • Large enterprises: Advanced tools with comprehensive dashboards, AI-driven analytics, and large-scale monitoring will be essential.

What is your target audience?

Understanding your target audience is crucial for effective social listening. Knowing who they are and where they engage will guide your choice.

Steps to consider:

  • Social media platforms: Identify which platforms your audience uses most. Is it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn?
  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, and interests can dictate the kind of insights you need.
  • Behavior patterns: Understand what times they are most active and what content they interact with.

A good tool will help you gather specific data about your audience, making social listening more impactful.

Features to Look for in a Social Listening Tool

When picking a social listening tool, focusing on features that matter is vital. Real-time monitoring, customizable alerts, sentiment analysis, competitor analysis, and data export and reporting are essential to get the most out of these tools.

Real-time Monitoring

You want to know what people are saying as they say it, right?

Real-time monitoring lets businesses track brand mentions, keywords, and hashtags instantly. This feature helps you respond to customer feedback quickly and manage any potential crises before they blow up.

Tools like Mention offer real-time tracking across major social media platforms and the web. Staying updated instantly can help you pinpoint trending topics and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Customizable Alerts

Getting alerts for everything can be overwhelming. With customizable alerts, you choose what matters most to your brand.

Whether it’s specific keywords, brand mentions, or competitor activities, you can filter noise and focus on critical alerts.

For instance, you can set alerts for negative comments to tackle them promptly or notifications for high-profile mentions. This way, it’s easy to manage your online reputation without daily manual checks.

alert building mention

Sentiment Analysis

Understanding how people feel about your brand is crucial.

Sentiment analysis breaks down posts, comments, and reviews to determine if they are positive, neutral, or negative.

This can help you gauge public perception and tailor your strategies accordingly.

Mention offers sentiment analysis that can give you insights into your audience’s emotions. It’s a great way to adjust your messaging and improve customer satisfaction.

Mention sentiment analysis

Competitor Analysis

Knowing what your competitors are up to can give you a significant edge.

Competitor analysis features let you monitor your rivals’ social media activities, keywords, and strategies. This helps you understand their strengths and weaknesses and identify gaps in their approach.

By tracking competitors, you can stay ahead of industry trends and tweak your strategies to outperform them. This feature is invaluable for creating a competitive edge.

Data Export and Reporting

Raw data needs to be easy to understand and share.

Data export and reporting features allow you to generate insights and visualize the data effectively.

Look for tools that offer customizable reports, charts, and graphs that make the data digestible and actionable.

Advanced reporting features that help in tracking metrics and performance over time is crucial. This makes it easier for teams to collaborate and present findings to stakeholders efficiently.

Mention report

Integrations and Compatibility

When choosing a social listening tool, it’s crucial to consider how well it integrates with other platforms and fits into your workflow. These factors determine how easily you can incorporate the tool into your daily operations and whether it will meet your needs.

Compatibility with Social Platforms

Different social listening tools offer varying levels of compatibility with social media platforms.

Major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn should be supported by most tools.

When evaluating a tool, check if it supports niche platforms that are important to your brand.

For instance, if your audience is active on TikTok or Snapchat, ensure the tool you choose can monitor those platforms.

Incorporating the Tool Into Your Workflow

A social listening tool should seamlessly fit into your existing workflow. Features like alerts, reporting, and workflow integrations are essential.

Look for social listening tools that provide easy-to-use dashboards and customizable reports. This will help your team quickly access the needed data without interrupting their daily tasks.

Integrating with other software you use, like CRM systems or marketing platforms, is also important.

mention integrations

How Easy Is the Tool to Use?

User-friendliness is key when selecting a social listening tool. A tool with a steep learning curve can slow down your team and reduce productivity.

An intuitive interface makes it easier to track conversations and understand your audience.

Consider whether the tool offers clear instructions and customer support. Training resources, tutorials, and responsive customer service can greatly affect how quickly your team becomes proficient with the tool.

Analytics and Reporting

When choosing a social listening tool, consider the types of analytics it provides and how well it helps you interpret these reports for actionable insights.

Types of Analytics Provided

Different social listening tools offer various types of analytics.

Common analytics include:

  • Engagement Metrics: Likes, shares, and comments.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Understanding the general feeling towards your brand.
  • Trend Analysis: Identifying emerging trends.
  • Competitor Analysis: How you stack up against competitors.

Being aware of these analytics helps you select a tool that covers your specific needs.

Interpreting Reports for Insights

Interpreting the data from reports is crucial for getting insights.

To turn reports into actionable insights, you can:

  • Look for Patterns: Consistent engagement drops could signal issues.
  • Audience Demographics: Identify which demographic is engaging the most.
  • Sentiment Trends: Monitor if sentiment is consistently positive or negative.
  • Benchmark Against Competitors: See where you’re leading or lagging.

Understanding these elements can help you make informed decisions and improve your social media strategy.

Mention comparative report


Scalability is a crucial factor when choosing a social listening tool. Consider how well the tool can adapt to your growing business and handle increasing data volumes effectively.

Scalability for Growing Businesses

As businesses expand, their social media presence typically grows, too. A good social listening tool should be designed to scale with this growth.

Look for tools that offer flexible plans tailored for small to enterprise-sized businesses. Consider tools that integrate seamlessly with other platforms.

This ensures that as your needs evolve, so can your toolkit without requiring a complete overhaul. Integration with CRM systems, marketing tools, and other social media platforms can be essential for a growing business.

This flexibility ensures that your social listening capabilities can grow alongside your company’s growth without interruptions.

Adjusting to Increased Data Volumes

Handling increased data volumes is another aspect of scalability that cannot be ignored. The social listening tool must efficiently process and analyze this data as your business gathers more customers and generates more interactions.

Focus on tools that leverage AI for real-time monitoring and analysis, such as Mention. The tool can manage large data volumes with AI, providing timely insights without delays.

Check for features like advanced filtering and segmentation options. These are vital when dealing with more data, allowing you to sort through the noise and focus on actionable insights.

Ensure the social listening tool supports scalability in data storage and processing power.

Media monitoring campaign

User Reviews and Case Studies

User reviews and case studies provide valuable insights into how social listening tools perform in real-world scenarios. They reveal both strengths and potential weaknesses based on user experiences and detailed examples from companies.

Why you should check user reviews

User reviews are crucial when selecting a social listening tool. They offer honest feedback from people who have already used the tool.

This feedback can give you a glimpse into the tool’s usability, efficiency, and customer support quality. You want to know if a tool truly meets its promises and how well it integrates with your existing systems.

Real stories and personal experiences shared in reviews can highlight specific benefits and drawbacks. For example, Agorapulse is praised for being user-friendly, while BuzzSumo is noted as a great option for startups.

Reviews on G2 and Capterra

G2 and Capterra are popular platforms where users share their experiences with various software tools, including social listening tools. These platforms provide detailed reviews, ratings, and even comparison features to help you make a more informed decision.

G2 offers ratings based on different aspects such as ease of use, customer support, and features.

Capterra also includes user ratings and detailed feedback. Reviews on these platforms can guide you toward a tool that fits your needs and budget.

Understanding Pricing Structures

Choosing the right social listening tool involves understanding the various pricing models, selecting a plan that suits your specific needs, evaluating the balance between cost and features, and deciding when to invest in paid tools.

Understand Pricing Models

Social listening tools offer different pricing structures. Some use a subscription model, where you pay a monthly fee, while others offer pay-as-you-go options. For example, tools like Mention provide flexible pricing based on features and usage. Monthly subscriptions might cover a set number of mentions, reports, and user accounts.

Some tools also offer tiered pricing, where different levels provide increasing features and data limits. Understanding these pricing models helps businesses decide which model aligns best with their usage patterns and budget.

Choose the Right Plan for Your Needs

Selecting the correct plan requires a clear understanding of your business needs. Small businesses may only need basic features, such as simple keyword tracking and basic analytics. For instance, Buffer is highly recommended for small business needs due to its affordable pricing.

Larger enterprises might require advanced features like sentiment analysis and extensive data access. Evaluating what each tier offers ensures you get the features you need without overspending.

mention pricing

Evaluate Cost vs Features

Balancing cost against features is crucial. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Look at what each plan includes and consider your priorities. For example, Keyhole provides excellent hashtag analytics, which could be valuable if that’s a focus.

Make a list of your must-have features:

  • Sentiment analysis
  • Historical data access
  • Real-time monitoring
  • User analytics

Compare these features across different tools and consider how much value they add to your strategy. Sometimes, a mid-tier plan may offer all necessary features over an expensive enterprise option.

Trial and demo

Before committing to a social listening tool, it’s essential to ensure that it meets your needs. Testing the tool through trial periods and demos can save you time and money.

Can you test the tool before committing to a paid plan?

Free trial periods are a great way to see if a social listening tool fits your needs. Many tools offer a 7-day or 14-day trial. For example, Agorapulse and Meltwater provide trial periods where you can explore their features.

It’s important to look if the trial includes all the features you will need. Sometimes, basic trials only offer limited functionality.

Don’t hesitate to make the most of the trial period. Test different aspects such as keyword tracking, sentiment analysis, and dashboard usability. This hands-on experience will give you a better sense of whether the tool fits into your workflow effectively.

Questions to ask during a demo

During a demo, you have the chance to ask specific questions about the tool:

  • Feature completeness: What features are available in different pricing tiers? Are features like sentiment analysis and multi-platform support included?
  • Ease of use: How user-friendly is the interface? Can your team easily adopt it?
  • Integration capabilities: Can the tool integrate with other software you are using?
  • Customer support: What kind of support and training are offered? Is there dedicated account management?
  • Scalability: Will the tool grow with my business needs? Can it handle more data or users as you expand?

If you want to ask the right questions, we’ve created a list of 17 questions for your social listening provider.


Choosing the right social listening tool involves summarizing your needs and findings.

Begin by listing what your business needs most from a tool. Is it robust analytics, media monitoring, or customizable dashboards?

Next, follow these steps to make an informed choice:

  1. Identify Your Must-Have Features: Think about what features are crucial. This might include sentiment analysis, media monitoring, or precise reporting.
  2. Compare Different Tools: Use comparisons to understand what each tool offers.
  3. Evaluate User Experiences: Look at user reviews and case studies to see how effective the tools are in real-world use.

Finally, check off this list before making the purchase:

  • Ease of Use: Ensure the tool is user-friendly.
  • Scalability: Can the tool grow with your business?
  • Cost: Does it fit within your budget?

It’s crucial to monitor media sources to avoid missing important conversations.

Ready to harness the power of social media? Make your choice and start listening with Mention!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can small businesses benefit from social listening tools?

Absolutely, small businesses can greatly benefit from social listening tools. They are ideal for small businesses due to their user-friendly interfaces and affordability, helping businesses stay competitive by monitoring social media conversations and trends.

How much should I expect to pay for a social listening tool?

The cost of social listening tools can vary widely. Basic packages might start around $49 per month. More advanced tools with extensive features can be significantly more expensive, depending on the level of service and the size of your business.

What are the key features to look for in a social listening tool for effective market analysis?

When selecting a social listening tool, crucial features include keyword tracking, sentiment analysis, real-time monitoring, and comprehensive coverage across social media and other online platforms.

Can AI-powered social listening tools provide more accurate sentiment analysis than traditional ones?

AI-powered tools often provide more accurate sentiment analysis by using machine learning to interpret complex data patterns. These tools can recognize nuances in language, detect sarcasm, and even analyze images, making them a valuable asset for businesses aiming for precise sentiment tracking.

What are practical metrics for measuring the impact of a social listening strategy?

To measure the impact of your social listening strategy, focus on metrics such as engagement rate, share of voice, sentiment score, and customer feedback trends.

Tracking mentions, hashtags, and the overall tone of public conversations helps businesses assess the effectiveness of their campaigns and make informed decisions.

Lucas Carval

Lucas is a Growth Specialist at Mention, where he focuses on digital marketing, SEO, outreach, and social listening. Since joining Mention in October 2023, he has quickly made an impact by implementing strategies that enhance the company's lead generation. With over 2 years of experience in digital marketing, Lucas previously grew a streetwear Instagram page network from 0 to 120k followers in a year. He holds certifications in Google Analytics and has been recognized for his expertise through his bachelor's degree in Economics and Management.

Growth Specialist @Mention