Top image: Guide to the best social listening platforms

7 best social listening tools in 2024

There’s a conversation happening about your brand right now. It might be between two people, a group of people, or it could just be a general collective conversation that’s ongoing within the culture. But it’s happening. And you should be glad. That’s a big part of brand awareness. The more ubiquitous that conversation, the more cultural penetration your brand has. 

This is a conversation you need to hear and that you need to be a part of as much as possible. That’s one of the main ways social listening enters your marketing strategy.

Whether it’s hearing that conversation, listening to your customers, understanding trends, or gaining competitive insight, social listening is one of the most powerful things you can put to use when it comes to knowing the landscape in which your brand operates.

The right tool is key to maximizing the work you put into social listening. This guide will help you get a handle on your options and make a smart decision on the best one for your needs.

Emplifi Listening

Our comprehensive social listening tool has all the features you need to build out a successful listening strategy. And because of the all-in-one nature of the listening tool, insights from all your social channels can be consolidated into one UI, allowing you to see everything that’s happening on social and make quick decisions about what your team’s next steps should be.

Notable strengths:

  • Social trend spike alerts: Get notified 24/7/365 of sudden changes and anomalies in online activity directly in the platform or via email so you can respond to potential crises early.

  • Historical context: Understand and analyze past trends and user behaviors from your social listening queries with up to 365 days of historical data.

  • Competitive intel: Gain insights that reveal where other brands succeed or fail, so you can adjust your social content strategy with confidence.

  • Cross-channel routing: Mentions identified through Listening are automatically routed into Community and Care solutions for proactive customer engagement.

  • AI and natural language detection: Dynamically identify topics and their associated sentiments based on actual customer dialogue.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite’s social listening tool helps businesses monitor and analyze conversations happening across social media, also offering integrations with brands like Brandwatch, Talkwalker, and Digimind to enhance users’ options.

Notable strengths:

  • Custom dashboards: Visualize listening data in the way that best suits your business, so you can quickly understand what’s happening.

  • Custom streams: Monitor specific keywords, mentions, and hashtags to listen in on, and gain insights on their usage.

  • Single interface: Monitor all your social networks in a single interface that brings everything together for immediate insights.

Sprinklr

With their AI-powered social listening tool, Sprinklr states that you can tap into millions of conversations every day, helping you gain actionable insights into the broader social media conversation.

Notable strengths:

  • Spike alerts: Sprinklr's AI-based crisis detection can alert your team to sudden anomalies via emails and mobile notifications, so you can respond quickly.

  • Workflow automation: Removing the need for manual work streamlines the process of monitoring and responding to social media conversations.

  • Reputation management: Analyze customer sentiment in real-time, allowing you to manage risk and your brand’s reputation.

Sprout Social

Sprout offers a light social listening tool that offers quick and easy reports for brands that want a high-level overview of items.

Notable strengths:

  • Audience demographics: Sprout Social uses thousands of unfiltered social shares to give you information that can guide your strategy.

  • Comprehensive monitoring: Track and analyze conversations happening across each social platform where you’re active.

  • Analytics: Measure the impact of your social media efforts, track key engagement metrics, and identify influencers.

Meltwater

The social listening tool at Meltwater uses historical data to help brands research trends going back years and see how they’ve continued to evolve. PR teams primarily use Meltwater because they provide stronger media measurement over TV and radio, plus tools to manage and track the performance of their PR activities.

Notable strengths:

  • No limits or data caps: Nothing holds brands back from looking at many brands or coming up with research projects across various teams.

  • Customizable alerts: Set up alerts for any terms, hashtags, or phrases that you think could help your brand to monitor.

  • Custom dashboards: Whatever your team needs to see in front of you in order to understand the full scope of your social listening data.

Talkwalker

Talkwalker’s social listening tool tracks 187 languages and monitors millions of websites to try to give users a broad view of what’s happening not just on social, but also on news sites, blogs, forums, reviews, and offline databases.

Notable strengths:

  • AI image recognition: Track over 30,000 images to take your social listening beyond just the words people use.

  • Word cloud: Get a visualized look at the most frequently used words by social media users you’re monitoring.

  • Sentiment analysis: Automatically analyze the sentiment of social media posts across channels and in more than 127 languages.

Brandwatch

Emphasizing the importance of the voice of the customer, Brandwatch promises to take users beyond the usual metrics and reports with their listening tool, which is capable of integrating data from across your business.

Notable strengths:

  • Historical data: Analyze historical conversations and identify trends going back as far as 2010.

  • Data sources: Gain the ability to access conversations from more than 100 million websites along with first-party customer data.

  • Smart AI query building: Let Artificial Intelligence build queries to fit your brand's needs, saving time and increasing efficiency.

7 questions to ask social media listening tool providers

There are billions of conversations happening on social media every day, and there’s no way for your brand to reasonably keep up on its own. Having a first-class listening tool is essential for so many of the use cases for brands that need to have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on around them. Choosing the right tool for your needs is challenging, though. As you examine your options, here are seven questions to help prepare you for your search:   

  1. How easy is it to set up a query?

  2. How easy is it to understand the full context of social interactions?

  3. Is there something that can assist you in mitigating a crisis?

  4. How actionable is it when those crises are happening?

  5. Does this tool offer AI-based sentiment analysis and automated labeling?

  6. How easy is it to categorize and label content from all your social channels?

  7. How easy is it to do competitive analysis?

Download this checklist here


At Emplifi, we know how important social listening is to your brand, and we’ve set up our tool to deliver everything you need to manage all your needs, with an all-in-one tool that will integrate data from all your channels in one place. Book a demo today to see how Emplifi can provide social listening tools for your specific needs.

Editor's Note: This is an update to a previously published article from October 2020. All items are current as of the date of this update's publishing date.

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