How to Choose the Best Social Listening Software

Uncover the importance of social listening and social monitoring and learn expert tips to help you select the best social media engagement tools for your brand or organization

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Social media has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy. No matter the brand, no matter the size, and no matter the industry, the audience is most likely on social media. Businesses that grow their social presence enjoy the benefits of a loyal base of followers -- fans, even.

According to MarketingDive.com, nine out of 10 people say they buy from companies they follow on social media. Data from Sprout Social revealed that the percentage of people who increased their spending with brands they follow on social media climbed from 12% to 75% from 2019. And to really drive the point home, HubSpot research confirmed that 71% of consumers are more likely to make purchases based on social media referrals.

Consumers connect, rate, discuss, and consume product information and reviews like never before, making a strong online presence paramount for all sizes of ecommerce businesses HubSpot

Your brand is being discussed on social media whether or not you monitor it. It’s much better to take proactive measures to grow your brand’s social presence. The key to taking control of your brand’s image on social platforms is simple to grasp, but not so simple to execute.

Social Listening and Social Monitoring

Social listening and social monitoring are two of the most crucial steps to take in order to protect your brand’s online image and take full advantage of the benefits of social media. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.

Social listening - is the process of collecting data broadly from various social media platforms. The process can be automated by tools such as HipSocial, and this data is invaluable to marketers and business owners as it provides the foundation for consumer and product research, as well as optimization of social campaigns and workflows.

Social monitoring - on the other hand, is the act of identifying and engaging with specific brand mentions on specific social media platforms. This process is much more hands-on, and it represents your brand as caring and engaging. By engaging with individual commenters and consumers on social media, you not only enhance their experience, but that engagement is seen by anyone who happens upon it, acting as a testament to your company’s commitment to addressing its base of followers on an individual level.

People want to be treated as individuals, and social listening and social monitoring give you the tools and information you need to not only achieve this, but to also better optimize your campaigns going forward.

Using Software Social Listening and Social Monitoring

While it’s possible to conduct social listening and social monitoring on a small scale, for businesses and organizations with aspirations of growth and expansion, this process must be scaled up significantly. While some brands choose to hire a team of dedicated marketers to tackle these processes manually, this approach is wasteful and unproductive. It wastes time, money, talent, and other resources.

While social listening and social monitoring are both very important processes, they are also monotonous and tedious at times. The good news is that both social listening and social monitoring can be automated to varying degrees -- social listening can essentially be fully-automated, while social monitoring can be automated with the use of automated responders and chatbots, however this approach should not be the primary means of engaging with users on social media individually. Individual engagements should be manual, authentic, and timely, as often as possible.

Luckily, advancements in technology and artificial intelligence have given us powerful and innovative new software capabilities. HipSocial, for instance, has the ability to monitor social platforms, looking for specific keywords like brand mentions, engagements with your competitors, and comments regarding your brand, products, or services.

You can use this technology to improve customer service, collect data for optimization, enhance consumer research, identify new leads, identify the buyer’s journey, and can impact other areas of your business, as well.

However, a quick Google search reveals a sea of potential solutions that offer both social listening and social monitoring capabilities. The problem with so many options is that not all solutions are created equal. Some are designed for small to medium businesses, while others are designed for Fortune 500 companies. Beyond core features, some apps offer bells and whistles that are rarely used just so they can charge more for their services. What’s more, some are designed for people with no prior knowledge, and some are designed for marketing experts who place more value on customization than a user-friendly interface.

And so, to help you make the best decision possible when selecting a new tool for your social listening and social monitoring efforts, our experts at HipSocial have put together a list of the most important features and functions you should consider before investing into any software.

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Compatibility

The tool should be compatible with each social platform you rely on to do business and connect with fans and consumers.

Additionally, look for a tool that provides customization for paid social media campaigns. This is another element of compatibility that not every tool can provide, but it’s very useful for your paid efforts to pay off.

Choose Pricing for Your Budget

It’s also important to consider your brand’s operating budget before making investments of any kind. Social engagement software comes with a variety of features and designs, and you get what you pay for. What that said, your budget will ultimately dictate what you can and cannot afford.

Moreover, always be clear with your vendor about the budget. They may add costs and fees if you use more than one account. So, check the fine print when it comes to calculating cost.

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Ensure Social Media Campaign Management

Choose a tool that allows you to create and schedule campaigns across all social platforms. It should allow you to monitor each campaign from one location, schedule posts in advance, and view data with ease.

Compare with Competitors

Fourth, you want to compare the tools you determine might be a good fit for your business. You can do this in a number of ways, but one of the best is to take advantage of free trial periods.

Always try a free trial version before choosing the tool. Pick a few competitors and get a trial so you can test out all the features you’ll need to effectively run your social media campaigns.

Find Influencers and Brand Advocates

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that the software you choose to compare comes with the ability to find industry influencers and brand advocates.

By locating industry influencers and brand advocates, you can make better decisions about how to market your product on social media and gain traction with the best potential customers. Unfortunately, features like this are often neglected.

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Conclusion

We have covered some of the most essential elements you should consider when choosing a social media listening solution for your business.

Among the options, you want to ensure there are features for finding brand advocates, managing campaigns, and analyzing data for optimization. Get feedback from your team and have them help you with your search. After all, they’ll be using the software most often.

If you’re in the market for a new solution, we encourage you to try HipSocial by 500apps. HipSocial is a social media management and listening software tool that makes promoting your business on social media easier than ever. You can try HipSocial free for 30 days.

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