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Agencies have very specific social listening needs and require specific tools – both for their own business and for the brands that depend on them. To help them succeed, we’ve created this short list of five best social listening tools for agencies! It covers everything from identifying segments, sentiment analysis and staying ahead of a crisis, to team management and making the most of backlinks.

Let’s dive in!

Tool #1: NetBase for Advanced Social Listening

NetBase as best in class social analysis tool

About it:

Powered by Next Generation AI, this social analytics tool offers best-in-class capabilities allowing agencies to meaningfully connect with brand consumers every second of the day. The NetBase platform processes millions of social media posts daily and combines it with data from news sites, blogs, forums, review sites and other structured and unstructured sources to create powerful information arsenals for agencies.

It offers actionable business insights and real-time customer experience analytics for market research, customer service, sales, PR, and product innovation to power every outreach need imaginable, including:

  • Boosting campaign performance
  • Crisis management
  • Maximizing product launches and innovation
  • Lowering customer care costs
  • Protecting brand health
  • Identifying influencers
  • Increasing customer acquisition

NetBase sentiment analysis dashboard screen

And, now it can also automatically identify themes, thanks to its new Next Generation AI platform – AI Studio.

Best for:

Intermark Group's Ted Tagalakis VP of Social Media talking about NetBase

Agencies seeking growth strategies for themselves and their clients. With intel NetBase offers, agencies are not restricted to a narrow niche focus when pitching potential clients for new business. The learning curve that prevents most agencies from pursuing new, lucrative engagements is nonexistent after a bit of research in this powerful social analytics platform.

Also, agencies able to show value to clients by alerting them to issues before they go viral are always in high demand. And having a ready list of relevant influencers on hand to help them regain control of the situation or to capture or create a category, based on next-level innovative intel, is a good thing too!

NetBase Analysis influencer overview screen

NetBase has teams dedicated to onboarding and account management, as well as professional services experts to ensure every client, and particularly agencies, are successful. Thanks to the evolution of its capabilities, and the uncontested strength it offers agencies to stay on the cutting edge of related technologies, NetBase is an agency favorite.

Tool #2: Buffer for Social Scheduling

Buffer as best in class social scheduling tool

About it:

The ability to schedule posts for multiple brands in one place is key – and Buffer gives agencies the power to do so on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

It offers the ability to tailor posts to each platform, which is super important as there are specific needs for each, along with a chart to inform best practices:

Buffer best platform practices chart

There’s a separate box available for each social network selected. Though it’s important to note – if you were wanting to send the same post to two different Facebook accounts, you’d only have one Facebook window appear.

This can be a frustrating limitation, as you obviously don’t want to send the same exact post to two different Facebook accounts (especially if they’re different clients) so be sure to create to different posts regardless and save yourself the embarrassment!

Scheduling posts is easy in Buffer. It offers an intuitive tool that allows agencies to set times each day for posts to auto-publish, so they’ll just plug in to those time slots as you select them.

And there’s also the ability to reply to social posts and analyze your data, though each is a separate solution (with additional pricing).

Buffer Publish Reply and Analyze optionsBest for:

Buffer is great for busy teams managing multiple social accounts and requiring a place to spot check/manage it all before it goes out and after-the-fact to track what’s been sent and when.

Buffer Publish enables you and your team to create, collaborate, schedule, and publish content to your social media accounts. Reply let’s your team respond to social conversations from a shared inbox, so everyone is on the same page. And analyze does just that – provides an analysis of what’s been shared and creates reports of same, for you to share with clients.

Tool #3: Tweetdeck for Twitter Management

Tweetdeck as best in class Twitter management option

About it:

Focused exclusively on Twitter, which is the lion’s share of many a brand’s social media marketing, Tweetdeck is the Twitter-owned tool offering the ability to view multiple timelines at once. At its most basic, it’s real-time tracking and organizing of Twitter conversations to help enhance engagement, but it offers much more.

Information on Tweetdeck is sorted via Columns, which are filtered to perform a set function, like tracking mentions or likes, or designated topics, events or hashtags. It’s also a convenient way to build Collections, keep track of lists and searches, activity and lots more.

Tweetdeck columns available

Craft tweets using words, images, GIFs, emojis, threads, polls or videos. You can tweet from multiple accounts and/or schedule tweets as well. And it’s all free!

Best for:

It’s a neat little competitive intelligence tracker for some down and dirty insight, particularly if you’re seeing lots of conversation in specific categories on Twitter. You can also use it to gather competitive intelligence by creating columns for competitor usernames and filtering it to capture their public data around mentions, lists, collections or likes.

And beyond muting words or phrases that muck up your results . . .

Tweetdeck mute capabilities

Agencies can refine results with those filters mentioned earlier. To be a bit more specific, the filters give users quite a few options to surface essential intel, including:

  1. Types of Tweets, such as Retweets, Tweets containing a specific word or phrase, or Tweets with photos.
  2. Locate tweets geotagged in specific locations.
  3. Pinpoint tweets within a specific column written by a certain author and those they mention.
  4. Designate minimum engagement levels to differentiate Tweets with a minimum number of Retweets, likes or replies.
  5. Set alerts – using pop-ups or sounds, for a particular column so you don’t miss important real-time intel.

And be sure to take advantage of integrated bit.ly shortening to track stats that way as well:

Tweetdeck link shortening

Tool #4: Reputology for Managing Social Reviews

Reputology as best in class review management

About it:

Reputology, which is now part of the Grade.Us suite of tools, offers agencies a dashboard for viewing and managing tools all in one please. “Reputology analyzes your reviews automatically so that you can track and understand key metrics. It reveals how your performance varies by time, review site, storefront location, star rating, or any custom segmentation. Identify your areas of strength and weakness so that your team knows where to focus its energy and efforts.”

Its interface may be changing due to the acquisition, but you can be sure it will still offer the ability to respond directly from its dashboard:

Reputology customer response screen

The most notable, and exciting addition for agencies will be the “review funnel” functionality that helps remind customers to share their positive review – so it’s not just complainers being heard online.

Grade Us review funnel process

Beyond offering a place to manage responses, Reputology also put together a negative review decision tree to help guide teams through the common scenarios for handling a negative review and to share winning tactics that an agency ‘in the moment’ may not consider otherwise.

Best for:

Any business that has customer reviews can benefit from using this tool. Monitoring what’s being said is one thing, but having having reviews all in one place is another, and can ensure multiple people aren’t busy replying to the same review and making a mess of things. And it’s also important that specific locations reply to issues that apply to them.

This is why Reputology’s ability to assign reviews out a specific team member is to essential – not only to prevent duplication of efforts, but to pay close attention to each review and make sure no customer is left behind. And to make sure that no exceptional review is left unpromoted!

Tool #5: Ahrefs for SEO

Ahrefs as best in class search engine optimization tool

About it:

Ahrefs is an SEO tool that helps agencies understand why certain brand competitors are ranking so high, and what they can help their clients do to outrank them. And three amazing ways it does this is with its Keyword Explorer, Backlink Checker and Rank Tracker. We’ll briefly run through each.

The keyword explorer offers thousands of keyword suggestions, and a difficulty score that helps you narrow that list down to something manageable. Because if you try to rank for everything, you’ll end up ranking in nothing, as a scattershot approach to SEO is never a wise tactic.

You can also monitor search volume trends to help understand search behavior – both from a historical standpoint and to help identify potential trends.

Ahrefs search volume trends screen

Ahrefs backlink checker offersthe world’s largest index of live backlinks. Our robots constantly crawl 54 billion web pages, and every 15 minutes we update our index with the fresh data they report.” It offers metrics around all the backlinks attached to a site and sort out what is helping a brand and what is not – as all backlinks are not created equal. There are quite a few you’ll want to distance a brand from. They can help you sort that out too.

Ahrefs competitor research and backlinks checker tool

And then rank tracking is pretty neat as well. It offers location-specific keyword rankings and reports. This is particularly handy for places with multiple locations, or just targeting multiple locations. See what is resonating were can make a world of difference.

Best for:

Every agency wanting to go the extra mile for clients and understand – and even contract with them for – search engine optimization work, would do well to familiarize themselves with Ahrefs. They have a blog that offers lots of crucial insight around how to approach SEO as a whole, and then an in-depth tutorial that focuses on using their tool specifically.

It’s certainly a bit of professional development to add to your shortlist, at the least!

Making The Most of Any Tool

Understanding the ins and outs of whichever tools you use is really important. Oftentimes, agencies will be sold on snazzy snapshots of capabilities, but fail to explore a tool’s full potential.

We avoid that dilemma at NetBase by offering a dedicated point of contact who understands your business – and the businesses you seek to attract, and is always on the lookout for ideas to help get you there. In fact, it’s one of the compliments we get from agency clients again and again.

Reach out for a demo, and a conversation around your needs to learn more!

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