The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Listening Tools in 2024

Imagine being able to tap into the collective voice of your audience and uncover insights that can transform your marketing strategy. With 63% of marketers recognizing the growing importance of social media listening, it’s clear that these tools are indispensable for brands aiming to stay ahead. 

This article will guide you through the top social media listening tools for 2024, their essential features, and practical tips for choosing the perfect one for your brand’s unique needs.

But first, let’s talk about why these tools are essential for your brand.

What are social listening tools?

Social media listening tools are software applications designed to monitor and analyze online conversations across various platforms. These tools track mentions of specific keywords, phrases, brand names, or hashtags, and provide insights based on the collected data. The primary functions of social media listening tools include monitoring brand mentions to keep track of public discourse, tracking industry-specific keywords to stay updated on trends, and analyzing sentiment to gauge public opinion. 

By aggregating information from social media posts, blogs, news sites, and forums, these tools enable businesses to identify potential PR crises, understand customer preferences, and discover opportunities for engagement. Real-time insights allow businesses to respond promptly to both positive and negative feedback, maintaining a strong, positive brand presence online.

Difference Between Social Listening and Social Monitoring

Social listening and social monitoring are often used interchangeably, but they serve different purposes.

Social monitoring focuses on tracking and responding to individual mentions and messages about a brand in real time, handling day-to-day interactions. In contrast, social listening analyzes aggregated data from multiple conversations over time to identify broader trends and sentiments. The main difference is that social monitoring is reactive and immediate, while social listening is proactive and strategic, informing long-term decision-making.

Why Social Media Listening Tools Are Essential for Brands

Understanding Audience Sentiment

Social media listening tools are crucial for brands to gauge public opinion and sentiment. By monitoring mentions, comments, and hashtags, these tools provide insights into how customers feel about a brand, its products, and its services. Understanding these sentiments helps brands tailor their messaging and strategies to better align with customer expectations and preferences, ultimately fostering stronger relationships and customer loyalty.

Identifying Trends and Opportunities

Social listening tools can identify emerging market trends and business opportunities by analyzing large volumes of social media conversations. For instance, a brand might discover a growing demand for eco-friendly products through trend analysis. By recognizing these opportunities early, brands can innovate and adjust their offerings to meet new consumer needs, gaining a competitive edge in the market.

Crisis Management

Real-time monitoring provided by social listening tools is invaluable in managing PR crises effectively. For example, if a sudden wave of negative sentiment arises due to a product defect, the brand can quickly identify and address the issue before it escalates. Prompt responses and corrective actions can mitigate damage, protect the brand’s reputation, and maintain customer trust.

Competitor Analysis

Brands can use social listening tools to keep tabs on their competitors by tracking mentions and analyzing their social media activities. This analysis can reveal competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, promotional strategies, and customer feedback. By understanding the competitive landscape, brands can strategically position themselves, capitalize on competitors’ shortcomings, and refine their own marketing tactics to stay ahead.

Key Features to Look for in a Social Media Listening Tool

Real-Time Monitoring

Real-time monitoring allows brands to track social media mentions as they happen, providing immediate insights into public opinion and emerging trends. 

This feature is essential for promptly addressing customer feedback, managing potential PR crises, and staying up-to-date with the latest conversations about your brand. The ability to respond quickly can enhance customer satisfaction and protect your brand’s reputation.

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis uses natural language processing (NLP) to determine whether social media mentions are positive, negative, or neutral. 

This feature helps brands understand the overall sentiment toward their products, services, or marketing campaigns. By identifying shifts in sentiment, brands can adjust their strategies to address negative feedback and capitalize on positive trends, ensuring a more effective and responsive approach to social media engagement.

Keyword Tracking

Keyword tracking involves monitoring specific words, phrases, or hashtags related to your brand, industry, or competitors. 

Best practices for setting up keyword tracking include choosing relevant and specific keywords, regularly updating the list to reflect current trends, and using Boolean operators to refine searches. Effective keyword tracking helps brands stay informed about important conversations and emerging topics in their industry.

Data Visualization

Data visualization tools, such as dashboards and reports, play a crucial role in making sense of the vast amount of data collected by social listening tools. Visual representations like graphs, charts, and heat maps make it easier to identify patterns, trends, and insights at a glance

These tools enable brands to quickly interpret data and make informed decisions based on real-time social media insights.

Integration Capabilities

Integration with other marketing and CRM tools is essential for a seamless and efficient workflow. Social listening tools that integrate with your existing systems allow you to consolidate data from various sources, providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions and insights

This integration enhances collaboration across teams and ensures that social media insights inform broader marketing and sales strategies.

AI and Machine Learning

Advanced AI and machine learning features significantly enhance social listening by automating data analysis and providing deeper insights

These technologies can identify patterns, predict trends, and deliver more accurate sentiment analysis. AI-powered tools can also offer personalized recommendations and anomaly detection, helping brands proactively address issues and optimize their social media strategies for better results.

Top Social Media Listening Tools in 2024

1. Sprout Social

Features: Sprout Social offers a comprehensive suite of tools for social listening, analytics, customer care, and social media management. It monitors brand mentions across major social networks, providing insights into audience preferences, brand sentiment, and industry trends. Key features include:

  • Sentiment Analysis: Understand how your audience feels about your brand.
  • Custom Alerts: Receive notifications for potential crises.
  • Influencer Identification: Discover key influencers and thought leaders.
  • Social Media Management: Manage posts and interactions in one place.

Pricing: Sprout Social offers custom-built plans for enterprise users. A 30-day free trial is available to explore its capabilities.

Unique Capabilities: Sprout Social stands out for its ability to provide deep insights from millions of data points, helping brands stay ahead of trends and anticipate crises.

2. HubSpot Social Media Management Software

Features: HubSpot’s social media tools integrate seamlessly with its CRM, providing a holistic view of customer interactions. Features include:

  • AI-Powered Social Post Generator: Save time with automated content creation.
  • Keyword Streams: Track conversations critical to your sales pipeline.
  • Cross-Platform Management: Schedule and manage posts across Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.
  • Reporting: Detailed analytics to measure the impact of your social media efforts.

Pricing: Plans start at $890 per month.

Unique Capabilities: HubSpot’s integration with its CRM allows for a deeper understanding of social interactions in the context of customer data, making it a powerful tool for targeted engagement.

3. Hootsuite

Features: Hootsuite offers a range of social listening and management tools, suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include:

  • Streams: Customizable dashboards to monitor keywords, mentions, and hashtags.
  • Advanced Analytics: Analyze competitors’ audience and content strategy.
  • Integration: Seamless integration with various social platforms and third-party tools.

Pricing: Plans start at $99 per month with a 30-day free trial.

Unique Capabilities: Hootsuite’s acquisition of Talkwalker enhances its social listening capabilities with AI-powered tools for deeper insights into brand mentions and customer intelligence.

4. Brandwatch

Features: Brandwatch provides powerful consumer intelligence and social media management tools. Key features include:

  • Historical Data Analysis: Access to a vast library of historical social conversations.
  • AI Insights: Utilize AI to uncover brand insights and trends.
  • Multilingual Coverage: Supports multiple languages for global reach.

Pricing: Pricing is available upon request.

Unique Capabilities: Brandwatch’s extensive database of 1.6 trillion conversations and AI-driven insights make it an invaluable tool for in-depth market analysis and trend identification.

5. Brand24

Features: Brand24 is known for its robust and affordable social listening capabilities. Key features include:

  • Real-Time Monitoring: Track mentions across social media, blogs, news sites, and forums.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Understand public perception with machine learning algorithms.
  • AI-Powered Insights: Features like Anomaly Detector and Emotion Analysis provide valuable conclusions.

Pricing: Starts at $79 per month with a 14-day free trial.

Unique Capabilities: Brand24’s advanced AI features and comprehensive notification system ensure that you never miss important mentions, helping to manage brand reputation proactively.

6. Talkwalker

Features: Talkwalker excels in social intelligence with features such as:

  • Extensive Data Sources: Access to over 150 million sources.
  • Advanced Filters: More than 50 filters to segment social data.
  • Historical Data Access: Up to 5 years of historical data.

Pricing: Starts at $800 per month.

Unique Capabilities: Talkwalker’s integration with Hootsuite and its powerful AI analysis capabilities make it a top choice for brands looking to harness deep social insights.

7. Meltwater

Features: Meltwater offers comprehensive media monitoring and social listening tools. Key features include:

  • Unlimited Searches: Over a rolling 15-month archive.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Detailed analysis of public sentiment.
  • Image Recognition: Identify and analyze visual content.

Pricing: Pricing is available upon request.

Unique Capabilities: Meltwater’s inclusion of TV, radio, and podcast data alongside social media makes it a versatile tool for a holistic media monitoring strategy.

Other Notable Social Media Listening Tools


  • Features: Real-time monitoring, sentiment analysis, email alerts, white-label reports.
  • Pricing: Starts at $49 per month.
  • Unique Capabilities: Affordable and ideal for small to medium businesses with essential monitoring needs.


  • Features: Hashtag tracking, sentiment analysis, brand comparisons, notifications.
  • Pricing: Starts at $79 per month.
  • Unique Capabilities: Strong focus on hashtag performance and social media campaign tracking.


  • Features: Content discovery, influencer identification, keyword tracking, alerts.
  • Pricing: Basic plan starts at $119 per month.
  • Unique Capabilities: Excellent for identifying top-performing content and influencers.


  • Features: Keyword monitoring, sentiment analysis, influencer identification.
  • Pricing: Starts at $49 per month.
  • Unique Capabilities: Comprehensive monitoring across social and web sources with advanced sentiment analysis.


  • Features: Real-time monitoring, trend analysis, sentiment analysis, multilingual support.
  • Pricing: Available upon request.
  • Unique Capabilities: Covers a wide range of sources including blogs, forums, and offline media with automatic translation.


  • Features: Real-time monitoring, sentiment analysis, competitive intelligence.
  • Pricing: Available upon request.
  • Unique Capabilities: Comprehensive customer experience management platform suitable for enterprises.


  • Features: Real-time insights, sentiment analysis, competitive analysis, spike alerts.
  • Pricing: Available upon request.
  • Unique Capabilities: Focus on real-time alerts and detailed competitive insights.


  • Features: Brand monitoring, sentiment analysis, competitor monitoring.
  • Pricing: Available upon request.
  • Unique Capabilities: Strong integration with PR and media intelligence capabilities.

These tools, each with their unique strengths, can help enhance your social media strategy and brand monitoring efforts.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Listening Tool for Your Brand

Assess Your Needs

Start by identifying your brand’s specific requirements. Consider the scale of your social media presence, the platforms you use, and the type of data you need to track. Determine whether you need comprehensive monitoring across multiple platforms or specialized tools for specific networks like Twitter or Instagram. 

Also, think about the insights you seek, such as sentiment analysis, competitor tracking, or customer feedback, to ensure the tool you choose aligns with your goals.

Budget Considerations

Understanding the cost versus value proposition is crucial. Social media listening tools range from affordable options for small businesses to premium solutions for large enterprises. Evaluate the features and capabilities each tool offers in relation to its price

Consider how the tool’s benefits, like improved customer engagement and crisis management, justify the investment. Ensure that the tool provides scalable options to accommodate your brand’s growth.

Trial and Testing

Many social media listening tools offer free trials or demo versions. Utilize these opportunities to test the tool’s effectiveness before making a purchase. During the trial period, assess the user interface, ease of setup, and the accuracy of data provided

Pay attention to how well the tool integrates with your existing systems and whether it meets your specific needs. Testing multiple tools can help you compare features and determine which one offers the best fit for your brand.

Customer Reviews and Case Studies

Leverage customer reviews and case studies to make an informed decision. Look for reviews on reputable software review sites like G2 or Capterra to understand the experiences of other users. Pay attention to feedback on the tool’s reliability, customer support, and overall performance. 

Additionally, review case studies to see how other brands have successfully implemented the tool and achieved their goals. This real-world evidence can provide valuable insights into the tool’s practical benefits and potential drawbacks.

Enhance Your Social Media Strategy with Adapting Social

Maximize the benefits of social media listening tools with Adapting Social’s expert social media marketing services. As a full-service digital marketing agency with over 25 years of experience, we provide tailored strategies to boost your brand’s online presence and engagement.

Our social media marketing services include:

  • Organic Social Media Management: Build and nurture your online community with targeted content and consistent engagement.
  • Social Media Advertising: Reach your audience with precision through data-driven ad campaigns across all major platforms.
  • Content Creation: Produce high-quality visuals and compelling messages that resonate with your audience.

Our dedicated team of social media experts will help you make data-driven decisions to enhance engagement, loyalty, and overall business performance.Discover how Adapting Social can elevate your social media marketing efforts. Contact us and let us help your brand succeed in today’s dynamic digital environment.

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