The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said that “your brand is what people say when you’re outside of the room.” This has never been more true than in the digital age.

People are always talking about your brand online. This could be a rave review, a friendly recommendation, a question in a forum comment, a negative social comment, or a full-blown complaint.

And when people discuss your brand online, it’s expected that you respond to these comments quickly and sincerely. If you don’t, you’re at risk of alienating your customers in a very public way.

Brand monitoring is the tracking of channels to find mentions of your brand. By tracking brand mentions online, not only do you have a deep understanding of the public perception of your brand. You also have an important opportunity to respond to comments — both positive and negative.

And luckily, with the right brand monitoring strategy and tools in place, you can be alerted in real time when someone says something about you online.

Here’s our review of the best tools to keep you on top of the online conversation surrounding your brand.

TweetDeck

TWeetdeck.com

Price: Free • Free trial: n/a

TweetDeck is a free-to-use tool that provides a single interface for brands to track users, hashtags, search terms, notifications and mentions.

The tool gives you real-time alerts to replies, favorites, follows, and direct messages for seamless clientele interaction. And its quick reply feature allows you to maintain brand integrity by swiftly interacting with those mentioning your brand.

Brands use the tool to organize useful insights from Twitter. These can inform your branding, social media engagement, and press opportunities to great effect.

Social Mention

Socialmention.com

Price: Free • Free trial: n/a

Social Mention aggregates user-generated content from across the web into a single source of information. Simply search for a keyword related to your business or product, and find out where it has been mentioned.

The site analyzes and quantifies the following statistics about your brand:

  • Strength: How likely is it your brand will be discussed in social media?

  • Sentiment: How many positive and negative comments do you have?

  • Passion: Do people mention your brand repeatedly?

  • Reach: How far does your influence reach? How wide is your audience?

This is a great tool for quickly conducting spot checks of social mentions that come with accurate (and meaningful) data. Plus, it’s also entirely free, making it hugely popular with solopreneurs and small businesses looking to grow their brand.

Followerwonk

Followerwonk.com

Price: Free — $79 • Free trial: n/a

Followerwonk is a great tool if you are serious about building your Twitter presence.

The search function allows you to search bios and profiles for keywords relevant to your brand, industry or target audience. It also allows you to stay competitive in your space by seeing how you stack up against them, who they follow, and what authority they have on Twitter.

SumAll

Sumall.com

Price: Free • Free trial: n/a

SumAll lets users compare analytics and metrics across an array of digital platforms, all presented in an intuitive top-down dashboard. It connects to a variety of different social accounts to provide you with insights about your followers, interactions, and engagements.

It’s a diverse platform that prioritizes ease-of-use and streamlined processes so brands can quickly and easily monitor their mentions online.

I often find SumAll particularly effective for casing websites for sale online. Before investing in an established online business, it’s worth running a thorough check to quantify their brand value in the eyes of their customers. It’s all very well seeing sales figures, but it’s important to measure their consumer sentiment. SumAll connects social, message boards, PayPal, MailChimp, and other platforms so you can accurately quantify the data.

Finally, SumAll is entirely free — for now. On its website, SumAll describes itself as going through a “soft launch”, building up its consumer base by working on its products rather than profits. It’s highly probable that SumAll will introduce paid features in the near future.

Mentionmapp

Mentionmapp.com

Price: Free — $27pm • Free trial: n/a

This is an excellent tool that allows you to learn about your Twitter network in minute detail. Using the data of users who mention other Twitter users and hashtags, or topics, the tool creates a map visualization.

This can create a map of the communities formed around brands, products, industries and people. It gives a really quick overview of groups of conversations, the people who are talking and the influence.

It is a great way to find potential users by displaying people who interact most with conversations about you or what you are talking about. This is an awesome tool that not only allows you to see the people that you have the most conversations with but also the way that other Twitter users connect to you.

Hootsuite Insights

Hootsuite.com

Price: Free — custom • Free trial: Free trial of Pro plan

Hootsuite might be the most well-known of all the social listening/brand monitoring tools. It’s a comprehensive tool which can handle a variety of different social channels. The analytics tool provides metrics, reports, and visual streams for multiple social profiles.

Its dashboard is easy to use and provides a simple overview of RSS feeds and social channels. On top of that, users are given a range of comprehensive filtering and tracking tools to easily monitor brand mentions online. Brands can also filter results based on sentiment, location, social platform, and so on, so you can stay on top of your reputation with ease.

BuzzSumo

Buzzsumo.com

Price: $79 — $499pm (when paid yearly) • Free trial: Yes

One of the top social media analytics tools, BuzzSumo is a very powerful social media search engine that helps you find and analyze the best performing content related to a specific niche or keyword.

The search engine sweeps the internet for the required content and listing the content sources based on their success rate, for example, number of likes, shares, and engagement.

BuzzSumo trawls a staggering range of content with speed and precision, and its dashboard presents results in a colorful, visually digestible format. It provides a smooth user experience that makes it easy for brands to quickly glean insights into their digital presence.

In Closing

Brands must monitor their online reputation. Luckily, there are tools available for your to monitor, track and respond to comments in real time.

Having the ability to interact quickly and directly with your customers means you can nip issues in the butt or quickly capitalize on good-will. The perfect tool for your brand will depend on the online activities you need to track. However, the best social media strategy will likely combine a selection of tools, each with their own strength.

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Ten years ecommerce experience under the belt and counting. Writing on the side to flex my literary muscles and share some of the lessons I have learned.

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