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With so many brands using social media as a way to reach and engage consumers, tracking brand activities there is an absolute must.

Brands of different sizes have individual needs when it comes to tools that allow such brand tracking – so we’ve compiled a list of 18 of them, for all brands and budgets.

But first, let’s clarify what we mean by brand tracking – for anyone who’s not heard the term before. And if you have, feel free to skip right to our list of tools.

What is brand tracking?

Also called social media monitoring – a facet of social listening – brand tracking is pretty much what it sounds like: a means of tracking the conversations and activities of brands and their customers on social media.

You can learn things like:

  • What consumers feel about your brand – and your competitors
  • Where consumers go for brand information – from websites, to consumer review apps, to social channels
  • What motivates consumers to share on social – and how to use that information to your advantage
  • What topics are trending among consumers – and what they care about most on any given day
  • Which hashtags and keywords are most relevant to the data you need
  • Where competitors are succeeding and failing – and how to leverage that info

In short, everything brands, marketers and agencies need to know to craft killer brand strategy can be gleaned from brand tracking.

Here are some of the tools you can apply:

1. Ahrefs

Screencap from Ahrefs website

Competitor analysis is made pretty easy with Ahrefs. Not only can you discover the keywords other brands are ranking for, you can be alerted to new competitor backlinks and when someone talks about them online. You’ll also know when a backlink drops off. Additionally, you can research the type of content that attracts backlinks and shares in your niche so you can “piggyback from it.”

Pricing: Starts at $99/month after a 2-week free trial

2. Awario

Awario lets you monitor your brand or competitors, personas/Twitter handles, and hot topics as well as current marketing campaigns to gauge effectiveness. You can see from the image above how easy it is to spot mentions alongside other brands. This search was for Pepsi, and Coke is a big part of the mix. Look specifically at mention statistics, compare alerts you set up for your brand and competitors, and view influencers with a few clicks.

Pricing: Starts at $19/month after a 2-week free trial

3. BirdEye

Consumer reviews matter, so BirdEye helps brands gather customer feedback with SMS prompts that feed reviews to your social accounts. Automatically promote your best reviews on social media, and be alerted to negative reviews so you can intervene and keep your brand’s reputation intact before things go viral.

Pricing: Call their sales team

4. BoardReader

Think “Google for forums” and you’ve got an idea of what BoardReader does. An often neglected area of web intelligence, forums offer an even more unfiltered view of how consumers view your brand – and others. Easily uncover top questions and discussions – but be warned the truth isn’t always easy to swallow. Still, it’s necessary if you want to make your brand better.

Pricing: Free

5. Brand 24

At a glance, Brand24 shows you most popular mentions and authors, as well as how many interactions were positive versus negative. Use the most influential profiles and sites to extend your reach by building relationships with the right people, and find out which channels you’re being mentioned on most as well. The Context of a Discussion word cloud lets you see what keywords are popping amongst social users. Compare “projects” – i.e., search topics – to see how you stack up against competitors.

Pricing: Starts at $49/month after a 2-week free trial.

6. BrandsEye

Screencap from the BrandsEye website

Billing themselves as an “opinion mining” company, BrandsEye uses crowd-sourcing combined with algorithm technology to provide accurate context for social posts. Real-time insights and a focus on sentiment analysis make this tool a stand-out.

Pricing: Request a demo

7. Digimind

Choose your topic to quickly view insights about relevant brands. Everything from sentiment, to channels, to earned and owned media, is represented. Compare brands by perception, share of voice, and top consumer concerns. Receive alerts via email when events set by you occur.

Pricing: Custom after a 7-day free trial

8. HubSpot

Create custom keyword monitoring streams and automatically alert specific members of your team via email based on mentions, keywords and hashtags. In this way HubSpot lets you take action and interact with consumers quickly. You can also publish to social media from the platform, and integrate with your CRM for even greater convenience.

Pricing: Starts at $200/month, or use a limited free version

9. IFTTT

“If This Then That” is how you set up “triggers” you want to result in a specific action. For example, “If your brand is tagged in a Facebook photo, then you’ll get an SMS alert.” There are a number of “applets” you can apply to create the triggers/actions you need – or partner with IFTTT to create your own and view analytics about the people using them.

Pricing: From free to $499/month billed annually

10. Mentionmapp

Mentionmapp gives you a look at who’s mentioning your brand or competitors – and who’s mentioning them. Search by @handle or hashtag – and see which hashtags are being used alongside yours. It doesn’t offer complex insights, but it gives you a quick frame of reference for mentions, hashtags and retweets. The Retweetcloud shows sentiment by color, so you can zone in easily on users having issues and address them.

Pricing: Free, or add options starting at $9/month

11. NetBase

With options ranging from a Google-type search bar for quick insights, to highly complex natural language processing and sentiment analysis, it’s no wonder NetBase is a TrustRadius user favorite. Sarcasm, slang and emojis are all readily deciphered for accurate assessment of consumer sentiment, and visual monitoring keeps your logo safe from harm. Real-time visual dashboards and alerts allow for up-to-the-minute maneuvering when trends or threats emerge.

Pricing: Get in touch for a personalized demo and custom quote

12. Buffer Reply

Screencap from the Buffer website

The focus with Reply is customer service – but that’s an area you can’t put too much emphasis on in the social realm. Problems left unchecked can go viral and do real damage, so catching issues early is key. Reply brings Twitter, Facebook and Instagram engagements into a single team inbox, organized into threads for easy management of support issues while bypassing the rest of the social noise. Ability to review past conversations and spot influencers and VIPs is a nice touch.

Pricing: Starts at $110/month

13. Sendible

Screencap from the Sendible website

Sendible is designed with agencies in mind, though anyone can benefit from their ability to monitor numerous social conversations across platforms and deliver the ones that are most relevant to your brand. Alerts via email, Slack or Sendible keep you informed of mentions based on your criteria. You can also be alerted to reviews on Yelp, CitySearch, Glassdoor and others so you always know where you stand or if trouble is brewing.

Pricing: Starts at $41/month billed yearly

14. Shared Count

Easily track and compare shares and likes across multiple URLs for a quick ranking of competitors on several channels. Upgrade for a greater volume of calls to their API.

Pricing: Free, or upgrade starting at $40/month

15. SociAlert

On Twitter, hashtags and keywords matter, so SociAlert has made it their business to track both to empower brands to increase reach and improve their customer experience. You can also identify top influencers, track competitor campaigns, and measure brand performance with their built-in analytics tool.

Pricing: Starts at $9.95/month

16. Sparkcentral

Screencap from Sparkcentral website

Sparkcentral is another tool that focuses on the customer service side of the social equation, but includes messaging channels into the mix. Automate message route by topic, language, and more. A single platform manages your workflow simply across your team while you track brand interactions with an eye on the customer experience.

Pricing: Request a demo

17. Sumo

Screencap from the Sumo website

Integrating your website with social sites is just one aspect of social media branding, but it’s important. Sumo offers tools to encourage easy sharing of quotes and images from your website. This brings social traffic back to the place you want it most – your website. Heatmaps tell you where visitors are clicking on your pages, and analytics break down everything that’s working and not working so you can optimize your site for best results.

Pricing: The Basic account is free; upgrade starting at $29/month paid annually

18. Trackur

Screencap from Trackur website

Trackur delivers a snapshot of social influence and sentiment across a number of channels – like Tumblr and Reddit, in addition to majors like Facebook and Twitter. View trends, most active keyword searches, news and reviews too.

Pricing: Starts at $97/monthly after a limited 10-day free trial

Whatever size your business, you can’t afford to be out of the loop when it comes to consumer attitudes and perception of your brand. The tools above offer a starting point for even the smallest of brands – who can more than compete with the largest global brands with the right social strategy.

So don’t wait to get started – or your brand may suffer for it.

Ready to give OUR social brand tracking tools a try? We’d love to hear from you!

Image from Julien Dumont

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