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7 Best Social Listening Tools 2023 (Free & Paid For Lazy People 😜)

Our recommended overall best social listening tools are Hubspot, Sprout Social and Buzzsumo. We reviewed the top software, taking into account their ease of use, accuracy, user interface, flexibility and value for money.

Best OVERALL πŸ₯‡
The hubspot logo
🌟 Hubspot 🌟

Huge range of features, fantastic customer support, and simple to use.

BEST USABILITY πŸ˜€
The sprout social logo
🌟Sprout Social 🌟

Intuitive user interface, range of automations and useful analytics.

Best Analytics πŸ“Š
The buzzsumo logo
🌟 Buzzsumo 🌟

Powerful reporting and analytics, wide range of features and good reviews.

Social listening can be traced back to the early days of the internet, when companies first began monitoring online conversations about their brand or industry. As the platforms increased, so have the conversations – almost exponentially!

Today, they can take place literally anywhere, from Facebook and Twitter, to TikTok and Reddit. The influx of social media commentary has meant that the social media listening tools have become more and more sophisticated, with a range of different features and analytics to tap into.

Social listening has become a vital part of digital marketing and customer service strategies – offered by most digital agencies. Keeping on top of social listening is one of our top business tips, and something every major brand should do.

There are a huge variety of tools and platforms that are available to help you track and analyze conversations. These tools are built for multiple social media platforms, as well as other online sources.

We’re going to go review and rank the best ones.

What Is The Best Social Listening Software?

Just to recap, our top three options are:

  1. Hubspot Marketing Hub
  2. Sprout Social
  3. Buzzsumo

In this review, we’ll give you a breakdown of each product.

  • Including an overview of the platform and its best features.
  • As well as its biggest pros and cons.
  • We’ll also cover its support and pricing.
  • Plus, we’ll take a look at how it performs on independent review sites.
  • Finally, we’ll give you our all-important verdict on each product.

Let’s get started.


1. Hubspot Marketing Hub

What Is Hubspot Marketing Hub?

Hubspot marketing hub is a powerful marketing automation platform that offers an impressive array of tools to help your business. It’s regarded as one of the most intuitive and user-friendly marketing automation solutions available, and its all-in-one approach, includes a wide range of features such as email marketing, lead generation, social media management, landing page creation. Helpfully, it also offers advanced analytics and reporting tools so you can make better decisions based on data insights.

So, what Are The Pros and Cons of Hubspot Marketing Hub?

Let’s start with an overview of the product itself.

  • Hubspot is used by a number of big companies like as monday.com and reddit.
  • It integrates a number of different marketing tools and analytics data.
  • The social media tools make it easy to create campaigns and post to multiple platforms.
  • Hubspot make it easy to monitor all social media mentions and conversations.
  • Offers a personalized onboarding plan making it easy to get up to speed with the tool.
  • A free version is available with a limited feature set although this doesn’t include the social media tools.
  • It is highly rated by the majority of users.

What About It’s Customer Support?

Hubspot offers a knowledge base and a user forum for all of its plans. For the paid plans, they also offer customer support through phone, email and chat bit. Several user reviews mention that Hubspot has great customer support.

Is Hubspot Free?

A free version is available but doesn’t include the social media tools (requires an $800 per month license).

How Much Does Hubspot Cost?

There are four pricing plans ranging from free to $3600 per month. The social media tools are only available in the 2 most expensive plans ($800 per month or $3600)

So, What Do Other Customer Reviews Say?

  • “HubSpot Marketing Hub’s social media features have helped us to grow our social media presence and engage with our audience more effectively. The software is very user-friendly and the scheduling tools are very useful.”
  • “HubSpot Marketing Hub’s social media tools are excellent and have helped us to save a lot of time and effort in managing our social media accounts. The software also has a lot of powerful features for social media monitoring and listening.”
  • “HubSpot has an excellent customer support team and the platform has how-to and detailed demo sections for new starters.”
  • “The downside to HubSpot is that the price has gone up a lot lately and for a small business it might be too expensive.”

Finally, Is Hubspot Marketing Hub Worth It?

Hubspot Marketing Hub

The software pig

hubspot.com

Social Listening Software

A robust, simple to use platform that features a diverse set of marketing tools. Users love the analytics and customer service, but it is expensive.

4.5

2. Sprout Social

What Is Sprout Social?

Sprout social is a social media management platform that provides you with a comprehensive set of tools to optimize your social media presence. The platform offers an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, and a suite of tools to help engage audiences, including features like social listening, message management, and collaboration tools.

So, what Are The Pros and Cons of Sprout Social?

Let’s start with an overview of the product itself.

  • Sprout social is an all in one social media management tool.
  • It has won multiple awards for customer support, usability and ROI.
  • Social listening tools make it easy to spot actionable trends.
  • Used by over 30000 world leading brands including the likes of Unicef and Shopify.
  • The analytics and reportting make it simple to analyze campaigns and trends to help improve social media strategies.
  • Users love the simple, intuitive user interface and find the platform easy to use.
  • The scheduling tools make it easy to post across multiple platforms.
  • Offers a 30 day free trial.

What About It’s Customer Support?

Sprout Social offers a range of users guides and tutorials to help get up to speed with the tool. The customer support team can be contacted by phone and email. However, the support team is based in the USW so they only respond to problems during these working hours.

Is Sprout Social Free?

No but they do offer a 30 day free trial for new customers.

How Much Does Sprout Social Cost?

There are three paid plans ranging from $249 to $499 per month. Sprout social also offers a custom pricing plan for bigger companies.

So, What Do Other Customer Reviews Say?

  • “Sprout Social has been a game-changer for our social media management. The software is very intuitive and user-friendly, and the reporting and analytics features are top-notch.”
  • “The interface is very clean, most tools are easily accessible for every feature available and also, the very stylish and friendly design really improves the user experience.”
  • “Spout Social reduced the time that we needed to spend on Social media, by consolidating and automating our posting.”
  • “One downside to Sprout Social is that it can be a bit pricey for smaller businesses.”

Finally, Is Sprout Social Worth It?

Here’s how we rated it as an overall score.

Sprout Social

The Software Pig

sproutsocial.com

Social Listening Software

A general purpose social media management tools that is intuitive to use, offers excellent analytics and great automations, but it is quite expensive.

4.4

3. Buzzsumo

What Is Buzzsumo?

Buzzsumo is an excellent tool for both content marketers and digital marketing professionals who are looking to see what content is resonating with their audience. It offers a large and varied suite of tools to help businesses analyze content performance, identify trends, and improve marketing strategies. One of the key strengths is its ability to help businesses discover new content ideas and topics.

So, what Are The Pros and Cons of Sprout Social?

Let’s start with an overview of the product itself.

  • Buzzsumo is a cloud based social media analytics platform.
  • It’s used by a number of big companies including Digitas and the Telegraph
  • It comes with market leading social media analytics and reporting functionality.
  • Buzzsumo makes it simple to develop smart, effective content strategies.
  • Users can analyze the content of competitors, helping to win new leads.
  • Easily find influencers for any keywords, helping to streamline the networking process.
  • Several users have complained that it has a steep learning curve.
  • Buzzsumo offers a 30 day free trial for all new customers.

What About It’s Customer Support?

Buzzsumo offers a range of guides to help get started with the tool as well as regular webinar sessions. The customer support team can be contacted by phone, email or chat bot.

Is Buzzsumo Free?

No but they offer a 30 day free trial for new users.

How Much Does Buzzsumo Cost?

There are five paid plans ranging from $119 per month to $999.

So, What Do Other Customer Reviews Say?

  • “Buzzsumo has been an invaluable tool for our content marketing efforts. The software makes it very easy to research and analyze content, and the reporting features are very helpful for tracking engagement.”
  • “We’ve been using Buzzsumo for a few years now and have found it to be one of the best tools for content research and analysis. The software is very user-friendly and the integration with other tools is great.”
  • “BuzzSumo does have a bit of a learning curve but once you get used to it and learn how to use it correctly, you will be able to take full advantage of it.”
  • “While Buzzsumo is a great tool, we have found the pricing to be somewhat high compared to other options on the market.”

Finally, Is Buzzsumo Worth It?

Buzzsumo

The software pig

buzzsumo.com

Social Listening Software

A cloud based social media analytics tool that makes it easy to create content strategies and find influences to engage with. The steep learning curve and high price can be off putting though.

4.4

Those are our top three, what are the best of the rest?

4. Hootsuite

Who is Hootsuite best for?

Hootsuite is a giant in the business. It’s designed for businesses, marketing teams, and social media professionals. It’s great for managing multiple social media accounts and tracking their performance on different platforms.

How much is it?

For individuals it can be pricey, but it’s still useful if you can afford it. If you get big enough it can help you streamline your personal social media management.

Hootsuite supports lots of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

What about integrations?

It has great integrations with the likes of Pictory, and is a versatile solution for anyone looking to manage their social media presence more efficiently.

Customer pros:

  1. “Hootsuite has been a lifesaver for our social media team. We can schedule posts in advance and easily monitor multiple platforms from one dashboard. The reporting tools are also very helpful in tracking our progress and making data-driven decisions.” – Jane, Marketing Manager
  2. “I love using Hootsuite to manage my personal social media accounts. It’s so convenient to be able to see all my feeds in one place and schedule posts for the future. Plus, the mobile app makes it easy to stay on top of things on-the-go.” – Mark, Freelance Writer
  3. “I’ve been using Hootsuite for years and it’s been a game-changer for my business. As a social media consultant, I need to be able to manage multiple accounts at once and Hootsuite makes it so easy. The analytics are also really helpful in proving ROI to my clients.” – Sarah, Social Media Consultant

5. Brand24

Brand24 is a social listening and monitoring tool where users can monitor mentions of their brand, track the performance of their social media campaigns, and analyze sentiment around their business.

This social listening tool also offers real-time alerts, influencer tracking, and a customizable dashboard to help you stay on top of your online presence.

6. Buffer

Buffer is mainly scheduling and analytics tool that enables you to schedule social media posts in advance and analyze their performance – but it’s also so much more than that.

With Buffer, you can collaborate with team members, and track key performance metrics such as engagement rates and reach.

It also offers a useful browser extension that allows you to easily share content you find online.

7. Keyhole

Keyhole is a social media listening and analytics tool. It helps track brand mentions and hashtags across social media platforms.

Keyhole provides real-time analytics, competitive benchmarking, and sentiment analysis to help you understand how your brand is seen online – for good and for bad!

It offers hashtag tracking and influencer analysis features, allowing businesses to find and engage with key influencers who can help them expand in their industry.


What Is Social Listening?

What is social listening. Image: sprout social
What is social listening. Image: sprout social

Social listening is monitoring and analyzing conversations and mentions of a brand (or topic), specifically on social media platforms.

Essentially it’s a research piece.

The goal of social listening is to gain insights about your brand’s:

  • Audience
  • Competitors
  • Sentiment
  • Industry trends

It’s also a good place to respond to constructive customer feedback and complaints. Not doing so creates a vacuum where misinformation or negativity can spread.

It can be done manually, or using specialized tools like the social media monitoring software listed above.

What is the history of social media monitoring?

In the early 2000s, social listening looked very different. Pre social media (which really hit the big time with Myspace), it primarily involved manually monitoring online forums.

It also meant scanning news websites for mentions of a brand or industry. This was very different type of information than today, and came primarily from journalists or reviewers.

As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter emerged, companies began to notice how their brands were being discussed and recommended (or dismissed) online.

Organizations began to use these platforms to listen in on conversations about their brand.

Social media and the wild west

By the 2010s, social media monitoring had become an established practice. The growth of platforms made it impossible to monitor every comment, and brands began to rely on ever more sophisticated social tools to do it.

Social media comments and discussions began to resemble the wild west that we see today.

Specialized software tools and platforms began to emerge to help companies automate this process, and help the people assigned to it.

These tools made it possible to go further.

Today, companies can not just track mentions of their brand, but also:

  • Keywords
  • Hashtags
  • Sentiment
  • Analyze the data in real-time.

So, What Is A Social Listening Tool?

A social listening tool is a software application or platform that automates or significantly helps the process of listening (and responding) in real time.

Undigit media solutions

Social listening tools can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Tracking brand reputation
  • Collating customer feedback
  • Identifying industry trends
  • Identifying competitors’ activities
  • Finding influencers
  • Identifying leads and opportunities for partnership and collaborations.

How To Do Social Listening tools work?

Take a look at the graphic below outlining the steps.

How to do social listening. Credit: unmetric
How to do social listening. Credit: unmetric

Keep in mind that social listening is an ongoing process.

It’s essential to continuously monitor, analyze, and respond to conversations about your brand.

That way, you can stay informed, and stay ahead of any potential issues.

How Does Social Listening Work from a technical point of view?

Social listening in action. Image credit: Repustate
Social listening in action. Image credit: Repustate

Social listening often uses a combination of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms.

These collect, process, and analyze large amounts of data from various sources.

Here is an overview of how social listening works:

Data collection: Social listening tools collect data from a variety of online sources. These can be anything where users submit comments or feedback. Including (but not limited to) social media platforms (the big one!), news websites, blogs, and forums like reddit.

This data is typically collected live in real-time, so businesses stay informed about conversations happening in the exact moment. It’s important for crisis management not to have any delays.

Data processing: The collected data is then processed by the social listening tool. Not all of it will be useful, so this includes filtering and organizing the data. Plus, removing any irrelevant or duplicate information.

Data analysis: The processed data is then analyzed. This is often done using natural language processing (NLP). This is the same type of tech we see in AI tools like ChatGPT. It uses machine learning (ML) extract key insights. That’s how it identifies patterns, trends, and sentiment.

Data visualization: The analyzed data is then presented to the user. Useful formatting includes charts, graphs, and reports.

This makes it easy to understand and interpret – and drive actions from.

Staying updated with your social listening tools

Alerts and notifications: Social listening tools also provide alerts to keep organizations updated in the moment. These notifications for specific keywords or mentions allow the social listening tool users to stay informed about real-time events.

Integration with other tools: One of the most useful aspects about this type of software is that social listening tools can also integrate with other tools such as CRM, automation, and analytics. This gives a better overview of the daily events.

Actionable insights: Based on the insights from the data that gets crunched, the users of social listening tools can respond and engage with the audience. They can address complaints and answer key questions. Plus they can share industry-specific insights with each other.

In short, social listening works by collecting, processing, analyzing and visualizing large amounts of data. This data comes from various online social media platforms, to provide real insights about your product, customers and how it’s all performing in the market.

Why Social Listening Is Important: In statistics

Look at these social listening stats, showing the growth of the industry.

StatisticSource
1. Social listening tools market size in 2020Statista
The social listening tools market size was valued at USD 3.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.6% from 2021 to 2028.https://www.statista.com/statistics/826305/social-listening-tools-market-size-worldwide/
2. Most popular social listening tools in 2021Social Media Today
The most popular social listening tools in 2021 were Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Brandwatch, Mention, and Agorapulse.https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/the-most-popular-social-listening-tools-of-2021-infographic/603701/
3. Percentage of marketers who use social listening toolsHubSpot
69% of marketers use social listening tools to monitor their brand’s online reputation and gain insights into customer behavior.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-listening
4. Top benefits of social listening tools for businessesOberlo
The top benefits of social listening tools for businesses include understanding customer needs and preferences, identifying opportunities for product development, improving customer service, and tracking brand reputation.https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-media-listening
5. Percentage of companies that use social listening tools for crisis managementForbes
61% of companies use social listening tools for crisis management and reputation management.https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/06/24/the-role-of-social-listening-in-reputation-management/?sh=685cb4647e96
A table of statistics showing the crazy growth of social listening tools

The potential of Social listening tools

Here’s what you can do when you pick the right social listening tools.

Understanding your audience: Social listening allows companies to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. This can include the who (demographics) the why (interests), and their frustrations or pain points – often articulated in colourful language on social!

This can be used to tailor marketing campaigns, improve customer service and manage a crisis.

Improving customer service: Social listening also allows companies to identify (and respond) to customer complaints and feedback as soon as they are made – minimizing frustration on their part.

This can help customer satisfaction and loyalty, and can prevent negativity from taking hold and spreading.

Identifying industry trends: By monitoring conversations and mentions in a particular industry, companies can listen in on the latest trends, innovations, and competitors’ activities – especially what they’ve done well.

This information can be used to inform lots of things, primarily business strategy and product development.

Identifying leads and opportunities: Social listening can also help identify leads and opportunities for partnerships and collaborations.

Specific keywords and hashtags are used to identify potential customers, influencers, and other partners that can help grow their business.

How can you use it?

Tracking brand reputation: Social listening allows companies to track their brand reputation, whether it’s through sustainability policies, diversity initiatives or corporate social responsibility.

Measuring marketing campaigns: Social listening can also help measure the impact of marketing campaigns. In fact, this is why companies are so keen to spend on social rather than traditional advertising because they can track what resonates with the audience.

Legal Compliance: In some industries (such as finance, healthcare and pharmaceutics), social listening is also important for compliance purposes.

Here, companies are required to monitor for potential violations of regulations, fraud, intellectual property violations, and other malicious activities. Catching it early can stop issues growing.

Final summary: Which is the best Social Listening Software to Use?

Overall, social listening provides valuable insights that can inform a wide range of business decisions.

As we’ve seen, it can be a powerful tool for improving customer service, identifying industry trends, and growing a business.

Our top social listening tool is Hubspot, Sprout Social and Buzzsumo.

Out of these, we think the best is Sprout Social.

Best social listening tools - full review
Best social listening tools – full review

We hope you found this article useful – let us know which software you think is the best, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on social @thesoftwarepig.