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Questions to Ask Your Social Media Listening Tool Provider

Questions to Ask Your Social Media Listening Tool Provider

Home Blog Social listening Questions to Ask Your Social Media Listening Tool Provider

Knowing the right questions to ask when choosing a social media listening tool can make all the difference. You want a tool that monitors brand mentions and tracks competitors, keywords relevant to your industry, and consumer sentiments.

The tools must also seamlessly integrate with other platforms you’re using.

To help you in your decision-making process, we’ve crafted this convenient question list to facilitate discussions with your current social listening tool provider or any alternatives you might consider.

By answering these questions clearly, you’ll be better equipped to choose a social listening tool that best suits your brand’s needs.

Media monitoring campaign

Data Sources Questions

Understanding the data sources of your social media listening tool is crucial. It helps determine the depth, breadth, and reliability of the information you can gather about your brand and industry.

Do you offer access to historical data, and if so, how far back can we go?

Historical data can provide invaluable context for trends and changes over time. Ask if the tool provides access to historical data and for how many years you can go back. This feature can be especially helpful for analyzing long-term trends and patterns in consumer behavior. Historical data access might vary by platform, so ensure they cover the social networks most relevant to your business.

At Mention, we offer historical data for up to 2 years.

Do you have fire hose access to X (formerly Twitter), or is the feed limited?

Having fire hose access to X (formerly Twitter) means getting the full, unfiltered stream of tweets. This can be crucial for real-time monitoring and comprehensive analysis.

Limited feed access might only provide data samples, which can miss critical mentions or trends. Knowing the extent of access helps you gauge the tool’s capability to deliver comprehensive insights.

Do you pull data from mainstream media (e.g., NY Times, AP, WSJ, etc.)?

Mainstream media mentions can significantly impact brand perception. A robust listening tool should pull data from major news sources like the NY Times, AP, and WSJ.

This inclusion ensures you track how media coverage influences your brand. Checking this capability helps understand if the tool can provide a complete picture of your brand’s media presence.

Mention scans all the media outlets, including the smallest ones.

Do you pull data from review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor?

Customer reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or G2 offer direct feedback on products and services. Including these platforms in your social listening can give insights into customer satisfaction and areas needing improvement.

Verify if the tool tracks these reviews to help craft a more holistic view of customer sentiment and issues. At Mention, we monitor over 80 review sites, so you can receive alerts when a review about your brand is posted.

Is all data gathered in real-time with real-time updates, or is there a delay before we see the results?

Real-time updates mean immediate insights critical for timely responses to trends or crises. However, some tools may delay data aggregation, impacting how quickly you can act on new information. Knowing whether the data is real-time or delayed can help you better plan your strategy and response times.

Query Building Questions

When evaluating social media listening tools, it’s crucial to ask about query-building capabilities. Key aspects to consider include ease of setup, limitations on queries, language support, and source filtering.

How easy will it be to set up a query?

Nobody wants to wrestle with a complex tool. Ask how user-friendly the process is for setting up a query.

Does it require technical skills, or can anyone do it with a little training? Some platforms offer intuitive interfaces where users can simply type in keywords, hashtags, and phrases.

Others may require more complex configurations using operators like NEAR and AND. It’s important that anyone on the team can manage queries without needing constant technical support.

In our web app, you can create alerts in three ways, depending on your query-building skills:

  • a basic alert for those unfamiliar with boolean operators and needing a simple search,
  • a standard alert for those seeking something more sophisticated without much effort,
  • an advanced alert for those confident in writing boolean queries (though we offer auto-suggest and auto-complete features for easier usage).

You should be able to find something that looks easy to you 😉

Media monitoring campaign

Are we limited in the number of queries (alerts, projects, search terms, clients, etc.) we can set up within the platform?

Restrictions can be a real pain. Make sure to ask if there are any limits on the number of queries, alerts, or projects.

Knowing whether the platform allows unlimited queries can save a lot of frustration down the line. Some tools might limit the number of keywords or data points you can add, hindering comprehensive analysis. It’s best to know these limitations upfront so you can plan accordingly.

The number of queries is also determined by the plan you subscribe to. Check our plans to see what number of queries would be the best fit for you!

Can you monitor in multiple languages?

If your business operates globally, this is a crucial question.

Ask if the tool supports multiple languages and how accurate the monitoring is. This includes understanding slang, idioms, and regional differences. For example, some tools might better understand English but struggle with French or Mandarin.

Monitoring multiple languages efficiently can give you a more rounded view of your brand’s global presence. We can track 44 different languages with our social listening tool.

Can you block specific sources?

It wouldn’t be a good monitoring tool if it was not possible.

Find out if the tool allows you to filter out or block specific sources. This can include spammy websites, irrelevant news domains, or sources known for spreading false information.

Blocking these sources ensures that your analysis remains clean and relevant, focusing only on the information that truly matters to your brand or industry.

We like to say that with Mention, you can cut through the noise, which implies being able to block a source that does not interest you.

Monitoring & Listening Capabilities

Effective monitoring and listening capabilities are crucial when choosing a social media listening tool. They help mitigate crises, analyze sentiment using AI, capture relevant data, and categorize mentions easily and efficiently.

Is there something to mitigate a crisis?

An essential feature of any social media listening tool is crisis mitigation. It’s important to ask if the tool offers real-time alerts for negative mentions. This allows brands to act quickly before a situation escalates. Some tools even offer customizable alerts so that teams can prioritize by severity or relevance.

Our Mention Spike feature alerts you when your brand is mentioned in an abnormal number of places so you can react quickly in case a crisis occurs.

Does this tool offer AI-based sentiment analysis?

AI-based sentiment analysis is a game-changer for social media listening. It helps brands understand the tone of mentions—positive, neutral, or negative—across various channels. Ask if the tool’s AI can accurately analyze sentiments and if it supports multiple languages.

Mention uses its own AI-powered sentiment analysis, trained on millions of parameters to accurately detect sentiment. This feature is vital for understanding public perception and making informed strategic decisions without manually sifting through thousands of mentions.

Mention dashboard

What data is being captured from a mention?

Knowing what data a tool captures from social media mentions is crucial. At a basic level, the tool should capture usernames, timestamps, platforms, and any associated hashtags or keywords. Advanced tools might also note location data, follower counts, and engagement metrics.

Can we easily categorize and label mentions?

Categorizing and labeling mentions help in organizing data and drawing actionable insights. Ask if the tool allows automated categorization based on keywords, sentiment, or predefined criteria. Also, check if you can customize labels and categories to fit your needs.

These capabilities make it easier to manage vast amounts of social media data efficiently, empowering brands to stay on top of their online presence.

Mention filter options


Effective collaboration is key when using social media listening tools. It’s important to know if multiple team members can work simultaneously if tasks can be assigned to specific individuals if the platform integrates with other tools, and if there is an API for custom integrations.

Can multiple team members be logged in at the same time?

When teams work together, having a social media listening tool is crucial that allows multiple users to be logged in at once. This feature enhances teamwork by enabling real-time collaboration, ensuring everyone stays updated.

Tools like Sprout Social provide multi-user support, allowing teams to work seamlessly without conflicts. This capability can streamline workflows and boost productivity by reducing waiting times for access.

Can you allocate jobs to specific team members?

Assigning specific tasks to team members is a critical feature for efficient workflow management. Social media listening tools should have a way to allocate different jobs, such as monitoring specific keywords or handling customer inquiries, to particular users.

By assigning tasks, teams can ensure that responsibilities are well-distributed, avoiding overlaps and ensuring each member knows their role and duties.

Can the platform be integrated with other services?

Integration with other services, like CRM systems or analytics platforms, can significantly enhance the utility of social media listening tools. It enables seamless data flow and comprehensive reporting.

For instance, Mention can be integrated with Slack to receive mentions on a dedicated channel, and Zapier can get access to connect Mention to other apps. This integration enables teams to derive deeper insights and make data-driven decisions.

Is there an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) can be a game-changer for companies looking to customize their social media listening tools. APIs allow developers to build custom features, automate workflows, or integrate the tool with proprietary systems.

APIs can greatly enhance a tool’s functionality and flexibility, making it fit specific business needs. This flexibility is crucial for evolving business environments, where adaptability can lead to better efficiency and innovation.


Choosing the right social media listening tool is essential for understanding your brand’s presence online.

Asking the right questions can make all the difference when evaluating providers.

By addressing these key questions, you can make an informed decision, boosting your social media strategy’s success.

Want to try a social listening tool that fits all those boxes? Try Mention.

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Raïssa Sidio

Raïssa is a Product Marketing Manager at Mention, enabling her to combine her passion for marketing with her love of digital. When she's not exploring new ways to bring products to market, she enjoys indulging in her favorite treats like chocolate, travel, and asian food, as well as watching her favorite sports.

Product Manager @Mention