Keeping track of the digital mentions of yourself, your brand, your company, and/or products long been recognized as an essential element of any effective digital marketing strategy.
For almost the same amount of time, people have relied on Google Alerts for such. Google Alerts is simple, free to use, and is pretty good and highlighting relevant conversations - and if you didn't know any better, you'd probably think that Google Alerts good enough. But in the age of social media, when billions of people are sharing their opinions about everything online, every day, Google Alerts is likely missing a lot.
How much could you be missing out on? That depends.
If you want to get the full picture of what people are saying about your brand, business and products, you need to move beyond Google Alerts, and onto more advanced tools that track mentions across the web, social media, blogs, etc.
These five tools enable just that, and all have their own specific benefits. Check these out if you want to boost your social listening and monitoring process.
Awario is one of the newest social listening tools on the market, having been founded in 2015. Awario monitors all the major social media networks, blogs, forums, news sites, and the rest of the web in real time. The tool also enables you to reply to mentions straight from your app, and from multiple social media accounts.
You can watch how the number of mentions changes on your Awario dashboard, where you can also see the main topics which circle around your brand, and get a breakdown of mentions by sentiment.
The tool also offers Boolean search for any advanced keyword queries, and a specific (unique for now) feature for social selling.
Pricing: Awario starts at $29 per month. A free, 14-day trial is also available.
In contrast to Awario, Mention is one of the oldest social media monitoring tools. The tool monitors all the major social media networks, blogs, news, forums, and the web in real time - and it too has a Boolean search option which will help to ensure that you're alerted to all the relevant mentions. Mention can also highlight brand-relevant social media influencers, and it has tools for analysis and sentiment.
Mention is made for social media marketing teams - the app's team collaboration features are extensive. You can add team members and assign different tasks to each. The limit to how many team members you can invite depends on your plan. Mention can also be integrated with Slack, Buffer, and Zapier to make your overall social media marketing workflow much easier.
The tool also enables you to check your mentions on the go, and maintain constant awareness of what’s happening with your online presence. You can access your account from any device, and get email notifications of the mentions found while you were away. You can also set up 'Pulse' notifications, which will let you know if there's an unexpected increase of mentions for your alert.
Pricing: Mention starts at $29 per month for one user and at $99 per month for a team of three users. Free 14-day trial is available.
Brandwatch is a powerful, enterprise-level tool which is much more than just a Google Alerts alternative.
Brandwatch monitors every social network you can think of - even very niche ones. It monitors all review sites, articles, comment sections, and anything else you can find on the web. The coverage is detailed, complete, and is updated all the time. Moreover, if there’s a website you’d like the tool to monitor, you can request it, and it will be added almost immediately. Unlike most tools, Brandwatch also provides image recognition capacity. This enables you to find any kind of images - for example, those that contain your brand’s logo.
The main focus of Brandwatch is on data analysis. After having gathered this much data, it’s pointless to go through the mentions one-by-one and see what the authors say. What makes more sense is creating comprehensive statistical reports, in order to watch trends appear and develop, and conduct extensive market research. This is what Brandwatch is absolutely perfect for, given you have the budget to use it.
Pricing: available upon request. There is no free trial, but you can sign up for a demo.
Coming back to social media monitoring tools aimed at entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses, another tool worth a look is Brand24. Brand24 was first launched in 2011 on the Polish market, but is now available all over the world.
Brand24 monitors all the major social media platforms, news, blogs, and the web. It analyzes mention growth, reach, sentiment, and it can also find relevant social media influencers. The tool also allows multiple user access for no extra cost - you can add up to five users on the cheapest plan, while the maximum plan allows for up to 99 users.
The mentions are updated every 12 hours in the cheapest 'Personal' plan, and every hour in the 'Premium' plan, and in real time for the users of the most expensive 'Max' plan.
The tool also simplifies social media monitoring in a team by providing Slack integration and a mobile app. You can also set up email notifications of your mentions.
Pricing: Brand24 starts at $49/month. Free 14-day trial is available.
5. Talkwalker Alerts
Talkwalker Alerts is the closest (but much better) Google Alert alternative that exists on the market - and as a bonus, at any time you can turn Talkwalker Alerts into Talkwalker, a powerful social media monitoring and analytics tool much like Brandwatch. But here, we’ll talk about Talkwalker Alerts. It monitors most of the web, including blogs and forums. You can also monitor the web in 22 languages.
Talkwalker Alerts is absolutely free, and very easy to use. You choose a keyword to monitor (your name, brand, competitor, or event), leave your email, and you'll get listings of relevant mentions delivered to your inbox. You can choose to either receive all mentions or the most important ones. The importance, in this context, is decided by the tool’s in=built analytics - the mentions with the most traffic and engagement are generally chosen. You can choose to receive emails as the tool finds the mentions, every day, or every week.
For more precise monitoring, you can also use Boolean operators. This helps if you’re getting too much noise.
As loyal as you might be to Google Alerts, it may be time to let it go. The monitoring market is booming, and there are now so many amazing, robust apps, which can find tons of information for you to work with, and reveal marketing possibilities that you might have not have even thought of.
Most of them have free trials and some are even free. Give them a try and see what happens.