In the vast symphony of social platforms, there’s a melody that often goes unnoticed but holds the key to unlocking profound insights – social listening. The digital soundscape is not just about hearing the noise; it’s about understanding the rhythm and nuances of the digital chatter around your brand on social media platforms.
Today, we’re unveiling the best free social listening tools in 2023/2024 that will not only elevate your digital presence but also fine-tune your understanding of the online symphony surrounding your brand, providing you with the arsenal to decode audience insights, navigate a wide range of social conversations, and enhance your overall digital strategy.
What Is Social Listening?
In the fast-paced digital marketing world, staying ahead of the curve requires more than just posting engaging content on social networks — it demands an understanding of the conversations happening around your brand and industry. This is where social listening comes into play.
It allows you to eavesdrop on the entire digital chatter around your brand, but it’s not just about hearing; it’s about feeling the pulse. It’s not about shouting your message; it’s about tuning in to the collective heartbeat of your audience – the key to unlocking authentic engagement.
What Is the Difference Between Social Media Listening and Monitoring?
Social media monitoring is the act of tracking mentions of your brand, keywords, hashtags, and other relevant terms on social media platforms. Social monitoring helps you identify and respond to customer feedback, questions, complaints, and opportunities in real-time.
Social media listening, on the other hand, is the act of analyzing the data and insights gathered from social media monitoring. It goes beyond just tracking mentions – it helps you discover trends, patterns, sentiments, emotions, and insights from the vast sea of social media conversations that can inform your marketing strategy, product development, customer service, and more.
It’s not about merely hearing the noise; it’s about decoding the language and understanding the nuances of customer interactions to guide your business decisions. Imagine you own a trendy coffee shop. Monitoring might tell you how many times people mention your brand online. Listening, however, unveils that customers are buzzing about a new trend. Armed with this knowledge, you can craft a marketing strategy that sweetens the deal for your audience.
What Are Social Listening Tools? A Competitive Intelligence for Your Social Media Presence
Social media listening tools help you monitor and analyze online conversations across various online sources, such as social channels, blogs, news, forums, reviews, and more. They help you collect, organize, filter, and visualize data and consumer insights that can help you improve your brand awareness, reputation, engagement, customer satisfaction, and more.
These tools are not just about keeping tabs on your brand mentions across social media posts; they are about unraveling the mysteries of your audience, competitors, and industry through social conversations.
Benefits of Social Listening Tools
- Valuable Insights: Social tools provide more than just social media analytics data; they offer advanced sentiment analysis and valuable insights that can shape your marketing strategy.
- Actionable, Real-Time Insights: Stay in the loop with what’s happening in real-time, allowing you to adapt and respond swiftly to changes and customer sentiments.
- Understanding Your Target Audience: Know your audience like never before. Understand customer behavior – their needs, preferences, and pain points.
- Optimizing Social Media Campaigns: Fine-tune your social media marketing campaigns based on what’s resonating with your audience.
- Enhanced Online Presence: Build a meaningful online presence by actively participating in the conversations that matter.
The Best Free Social Listening Tools in 2023/24
There are many social media listening tools available in the market, but not all of them offer free plans or trials.
So, let’s sneak a peek into the best free social listening tools making waves in 2023/24.
Is Hootsuite a social listening tool? Absolutely. Hootsuite is not just a social media management platform, although known for its Hootsuite Advanced Analytics; it’s a real-time data powerhouse that includes robust social listening features. Does Hootsuite offer a free plan? Yes!
Hootsuite offers a free basic plan that allows you to manage three social profiles, schedule posts, and engage with your audience. While the free plan might have limitations and offers basic features, it’s an excellent starting point for businesses dipping their toes into social listening. For the full orchestra, their paid plans offer additional advanced features at different price points.
2. Sprout Social
Sprout Social, a standout in our list of free social listening tools, is a powerful tool with a free 30-day free trial. After the trial, you can choose from Sprout Social’s paid plans, which provide additional features. Notably, Sprout Social extends generosity with free social media marketing tools that you can use without signing up, such as a Social Media Image Resizer, a Landscape tool, a Social Media Calendar, and a Social Media ROI Calculator.
This wide range of features can help you optimize your social media content strategy, schedule your social posts, and measure your results.
Looking to uncover trending topics, relevant keywords, and key influencers in your industry? BuzzSumo has got you covered with great social listening features. While it might not be a dedicated free social listening tool, its ability to identify popular content and influential voices can significantly enhance your social media strategies and boost your social media accounts.
It’s ideal for marketers seeking inspiration, as it aids in generating fresh ideas and crafting high-performing content. Simply input a topic or URL, and BuzzSumo’s database fetches stats from major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. These detailed insights become a compass, elevating your digital strategy. You can try out their paid plans with a 30-day free trial.
If your focus is on Twitter, Followerwonk is a gem. A dynamo in the realm of free social listening tools, Followerwonk is revolutionizing how you uncover, dissect, and supercharge your social growth. Its monitoring features let you dig deep into Twitter analytics, helping you understand your followers and identify potential influencers in your niche.
Dive into the social seas with real-time insights, optimizing your brand’s profiles and delving deep into users’ social graphs. Hunt through Twitter bios with finesse, leveraging advanced filters and parameters while also analyzing data, tracking, and sorting followers. And here’s the kicker– if you’re rolling solo with just one profile, Followerwonk unleashes its magic for free.
Need to juggle more? No problem, paid plans are on standby, letting you connect up to 20 social media profiles at once, making Followerwonk the ultimate ally in your social media marketing efforts.
For those seeking a comprehensive social listening solution, Brandwatch ticks all the boxes. While it offers only a paid version, the free trial doesn’t fall short, providing a 30-day free glimpse into the powerful features this tool has to offer. Brandwatch delivers a robust set of analytics features, boasting multilingual social media coverage in over 95 languages.
Its search operators empower users to craft precise queries using Boolean logic operators and filters. The platform enhances collaboration with workflow tools, such as shareable custom dashboards. It seamlessly integrates with third-party platforms like Google Analytics and collaborates with data giants such as Reddit and Facebook.
Powered by proprietary technology, including crawlers and natural language processing, Brandwatch excels in trend tracking and influencer score measurement and can even detect the tone and emotion of social media posts, such as neutral, positive, and negative sentiments.
Notable Mentions for Free Social Listening Tools
Our rollercoaster through the world of free social listening tools is not over yet! Other free social listening tools deserve mention for their conversational insights and conversation tracking capabilities that are juicier than the latest gossip.
Whether you are looking for a tool that suits your specific business niche or you just want to try out some essential features without paying a dime, you can check out these honorable mentions for free social listening tools.
Answer the Public
Curious about what questions your audience is asking? Answer the Public transforms your curiosity into actionable insights. By analyzing search queries, it helps you understand the concerns and interests of your target audience with these distinctive features.
If you’re after keyword mention alerts, simple yet effective, Google Alerts notifies you whenever your chosen keywords appear online. While it might not provide in-depth analytics, it’s a handy tool for staying informed about your brand’s social media mentions and industry-related keywords across the web.
Brand24 is another player in the free social listening tools game. Its free plan allows you to track relevant mentions and engagement rates, analyze sentiment, and gain a broader understanding of your online presence.
How Do You Create a Social Listening Strategy?
Now that you have these incredible free social listening tools at your disposal, how do you weave them into a robust social listening strategy?
It’s not just about signing up for every free social listening tool available; it’s about crafting a plan that aligns with your business goals.
- Define Your Objectives: What do you aim to achieve with social listening? Whether it’s improving customer experience, monitoring competitors, or tracking industry trends on social networks, clarity on your goals is the first step.
- Choose the Right Tools: Based on your objectives, select the tools that align with your needs. Each has its strengths, so choose wisely.
- Set Up Alerts: Leverage the power of alerts to stay in the loop and make informed decisions in real-time. Whether it’s online mentions, industry trends, or competitor activities, alerts keep you in the loop.
- Analyze and Act: It’s not just about collecting data; it’s about what you do with it. Regularly analyze the insights gained and tweak your strategies accordingly.
- Engage with Your Audience: Social listening is a two-way street. Engage with your audience, respond to their queries, and show that you’re not just listening but actively participating in the conversation.
Leverage these Free Social Listening Tools to Eavesdrop on the Digital Chatter
In the dynamic realm of digital marketing, social listening is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. It’s the compass guiding your brand through the ever-changing currents of digital conversation. The best free social listening tools in 2023/24 empower businesses to not only monitor their online presence but to understand, adapt, and thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of social media channels.
As you embark on your social listening journey, remember it’s not just about the tools and their robust analytics; it’s about the insights and data-driven decisions they inspire. So, dive into these free social listening tools to take them for a spin, listen closely, and let the conversations shape your business success.
When you’re ready, invest in those you relate with most to get the most out of your efforts. Good luck!