When I switched to a full-time digital marketing role in 2011 tracking social mentions was not a huge deal. People were just getting used to the various social media platforms and tracking Facebook mentions and Twitter handles mentions were more than enough. Times have changed and we needed to improve our social media marketing.

Did you know that 30.72% of Tweets that mention your company do so without using your handle? A similar trend is seen in all other social media. People in a hurry write down your company name without tagging your handle. And 47% of these customers expect you to get back within an hour and 84% within a single day.

Therefore, if you track online mentions by only using traditional social media monitoring, where you just track handle mentions, you will miss out on a large chunk of opportunities to offer better customer service and make more sales.

Most popular social media dashboards allow Twitter search integration. But for other channels like Facebook, YouTube etc. there is no dashboard support. So you either have to do it manually through the site or forget about them. Needless to say, you’re losing customers if you chose to ignore them.

So as your business grows you need to upgrade to social listening to track and respond to maximum brand mentions. To effectively conduct social listening, regular social media management, and monitoring tools will not suffice. You need special tools, that will track brand mentions across various sites.

These are called social listening tools and there are plenty of them. After some careful research and trial periods, we narrowed our selection down to two, Brand24 and Mention. They offer an array of features that help with executing social listening and other marketing tasks but at a rate that is affordable for a small business or a start-up. Tools like BrandWatch, Social Studio and Digimind where basic plans start at $500/month weren’t even considered.

Hence, I have compared their features in detail below so that you can choose the one that suits you best.

Brand24

Brand24 is a popular social listening tool with several features that help execute both social listening and various other marketing tasks like measuring the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.

To get started, all you need to do is create projects and add all the keywords you want to track. These words could range from your company name to product names to competitor names.

Getting started with a project

To track a keyword(s), click on ‘Add new project’.

After that add all the keywords you want to track.

For each project, it is nice to add in a few relevant keywords. For e.g. if you were tracking your company name you should not just add the full company name, but also other names you are known by and ‘company name spelling mistakes’ people frequently make. You can also add your product names for different keywords.

For tracking competitors and other keywords relating your industry, it is better to create new projects as it will be more organized.

After you select the keywords you should click on ‘Next’ and then select all the languages you want to track mentions in. This is a great feature which lets you narrow your target audience.

Then click on ‘Get Mentions’.

Find relevant users to engage

You will be able to view the real-time and historical mentions of those keywords on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more sites.

You and your team (as you can add extra users) will then be able to monitor all mentions and offer great customer service and look for sales opportunities. You can set up email alerts so that you are informed quickly.

Once you come across a social media message you want to respond to, just click on the ‘Engage’ option. You will be redirected to the network where the mention was made and you can take the necessary steps.

On the mentions, the influencer score and sentiment of the message is also displayed. This makes it easy to connect with influencers. You can also use filters to only see results based on sentiment and influence scores. Results can be filtered through search as well.

If you want a quick summary of mentions, check out the graphs, which show both interactions and sentiment.

One of the biggest benefits of the graphs feature is that it makes it easy to quickly determine if your current strategy is progressing or hindering your results. You can then take the appropriate steps to improve results.

Pricing

Pricing for Brand24 starts at $49 and goes all the way up to $399. They also offer a 14-day free trial if you want to try it out first. In my opinion, the basic plan is perfect for small businesses and start-ups. It provides 50,000 mentions per month and allows up to 5 users.

You can also track more keywords and mentions with the bigger plans.

This is the perfect tool if you are looking to improve your social listening as it offers all the required features that let you track real-time mentions and respond instantly. The detailed graphs can help you execute other essential social media tasks as well.

Mention

Mention is another useful social listening tool that lets you execute other social media marketing tasks too like Brand24. Here you track keywords by creating alerts.

Getting started with Mention

Create your alerts by clicking on ‘Add a new alert’. Next, choose what you want to monitor. These could be your company or product, your competitors or something else. After that choose the company name or keyword you want to track.

Then choose the social networks, sources, languages and finally confirm the setting and Mention will find the various social networks and other media where the company or the keywords you have chosen have been mentioned.

Managing influencers and mentions

All the mentions that have been tracked will appear in your inbox. The inbox style makes it easy to organize the mentions into different folders.

Just like Brand24, Mention will pull mentions from various social media, forums and other media. You can browse through these, click on them to visit the source and leave the appropriate response. It too displays the influencer score next to the mentions.

You can check out a list of all your influencers under the influencer dashboard.

Various graphs that display your social media marketing efforts can be found under ‘Listening Analytics’. They help understand your audience better.

Pricing

Pricing for Mention starts at $29. They have 2 other plans for advanced users which let you add more team members and track more alerts and mentions. They too offer a free trial. One key thing to note is that the basic plan is only for 1 user. So there is no way for you to use the basic plan as a team.

Pick according to your business need

Brand24 and Mention are both great social listening tools. Both will help you effectively execute social listening and take your business to the next level. After careful research, we decided to go with Brand24.

I personally found the interface and advanced analytics more user-friendly. The search queries were also faster and more detailed compared to Mention.

However, the key differentiator was the pricing. The Mention basic plan which starts at $29/month doesn’t allow multiple users. The next level will which allows teams start at $99/month. Brand24 basic plan which starts at $49/month comes with 5 users. Which is perfect for most of my clients.

Other nice to have things include a very responsive mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It even integrates with Slack which can help you take your team’s social listening and customer service strategy to the next level.

Which social listening tool do you prefer, Brand24 or Mention? Please leave your comments below.