10 Best Social Media Listening Tools for Business Growth in 2023

Social media listening has become indispensable for brands looking to understand their customers, track competitors, identify new opportunities, and grow their business. With so many social listening tools out there, it can be tricky to determine which one is the right fit.

In this comprehensive guide, we have compared 10 of the top social media listening tools on key capabilities, pricing, and more to help you find the perfect match.

What is Social Media Listening & Why It Matters

Before diving into the tools, let‘s quickly understand what social media listening entails.

Social media listening refers to monitoring and analyzing online conversations happening around a brand, its competitors, industry, keywords etc. across social networks, blogs, forums, news sites and more.

For a business, some of the key reasons for social media listening include:

  • Tracking brand mentions and sentiment – Find out what people are saying about your brand and if it‘s positive, negative or neutral
  • Competitor analysis – Keep an eye on competitors‘ social media activity and strategies
  • Influencer identification– Discover influencers who can amplify your brand message to their audience
  • Identifying new opportunities – Spot customer pain points, new audience segments, partnership potential etc.
  • Crisis monitoring – Detect PR crises in time to control reputational damage
  • Measuring campaign impact – Evaluate how well marketing campaigns are working on social media

In short, social listening provides invaluable consumer and competitive intelligence to help drive business growth.

Now let‘s look at 10 of the best tools for unlocking these social media insights.

1. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is an popular social media management platform that also offers robust listening and analytics capabilities.

With Sprout Social, you can:

  • Track brand mentions across social networks, news, blogs, forums etc.
  • Analyze overall sentiment and trends
  • Integrate listening data into social customer care and engagement workflows
  • Conduct competitive benchmarking and identify key influences
  • Uncover actionable consumer insights to guide content and product decisions

Sprout Social stands out with its focus on enabling seamless collaboration between team members through shared inboxes, user permissions, notifications and more. Their listening tool also provides easy-to-understand sentiment and metrics reporting.

Pricing starts at $99/month for the Standard plan covering 3 users, 10 social profiles and basic features. More advanced functionality and capacity comes with the $149/month Advanced plan or $249/month Premium plans.

In short, Sprout Social offers a full-featured social media listening toolkit tailored to collaboration-driven team workflows.

2. Brand24

Brand24 positions itself as an "online brand monitoring" solution for tracking brand mentions across the internet.

Key features offered by Brand24 include:

  • Monitoring brand name mentions from 50+ million online sources including social media, news, forums, blogs etc.
  • In-depth sentiment analysis to categorize mentions as positive, negative or neutral
  • Competitive benchmarking metrics to evaluate share of voice
  • Customizable reporting on PR coverage, share of voice, sentiment etc. that can be shared externally
  • Real-time alerts on chosen keywords and filters
  • Support for 25 languages

A unique aspect of Brand24 is the breadth of listening coverage spanning not just popular social networks but niche community sites, multimedia channels, PR articles and more.

Pricing begins at $29/month for upto 1000 brand mentions. Volume-based tiers go up to 200,000+ mentions for large enterprises.

In summary, the wide scope of listening signals makes Brand24 well-suited for tracking overall brand health and reputation online.

3. Awario

Awario is an AI-powered social media and web monitoring platform.

Some noteworthy features include:

  • Listen to all key public social networks plus 150M+ sites like news outlets, forums, blogs etc.
  • Apply 60+ filters and alerts tailored to different search needs
  • Get automatic smart tagging by sentiment, topics, keywords etc.
  • Evaluate performance via customizable analytics dashboards
  • Collaborate across teams with user roles and permissions
  • Integrate via Zapier and API integrations

Awario differentiates itself with AI enrichments like smart tagging, entity extraction and an Intelligent Alert assistant. Its dashboard also enables creating quick shareable reports.

Pricing options range from a free plan for basic search to $99/month for 15K mentions for growing businesses. More volume in enterprise plans.

In short, Awario combines wide social media and web listening capacity with smart AI for easy analysis.

4. BuzzSumo

While BuzzSumo may be better known as a content research tool, it offers some compelling social listening capabilities:

  • Analyze performance of any keyword/topic by social shares, links, influencers
  • Compare up to 5 competing keywords/topics side-by-side
  • Get list of top shared URLs by influencers for inspiration
  • Exportable reports to share data insights

Unlike traditional social listening tools, BuzzSumo focuses narrowly on measuring online interest for specific topics. This data powers many content marketing use cases:

  • Research high-performing, low-competition topics
  • Identify WHAT content formats resonate for a given topic
  • Discover key influencers talking about the topic
  • Benchmark own best-performing content vs. competitors‘

There is a generous free plan. Paid plans start at $99/month for more search terms, filters and features.

In summary, BuzzSumo fills a unique niche for social data-driven content research and benchmarking.

5. Social Searcher

Social Searcher offers AI-powered social intelligence to strengthen digital marketing efforts.

Some key features are:

  • Listen across social media, news sites, forums, YouTube and more
  • Sentiment analysis classifies brand mentions as positive, negative or neutral
  • Get alerts on chosen keywords and filters
  • Schedule customizable listening reports
  • Track influencer outreach efforts inside the platform
  • Integrate alerts and reports with other software like Slack, Trello etc.

Social Searcher keeps the focus on actionable insights for marketers with competitive benchmarking, shareable reports and strategic integrations.

Pricing starts with a 30-day free trial followed by plans ranging from $29 to $199 based on usage tiers.

In short, Social Searcher aims to provide an integrated command center for executing data-driven digital marketing strategies.

6. Meltwater

Meltwater offers PR-focused media monitoring with the option to add social listening.

For PR use cases, Meltwater enables:

  • Monitoring brand name across news, print, TV, radio and online media
  • Tracking press releases and coverage of company announcements
  • Getting alerts on journalists mentioning your brand
  • Competitive PR analysis relative to peers
  • Automated or customized PR reports

By adding Meltwater‘s social media module, one can also track relevant brand conversations on social platforms.

As a large media intelligence company, Meltwater offers enterprise-level plans including custom consulting beyond just software. Pricing is only available on request.

In summary, Meltwater is optimal for large brands who care about holistic media monitoring that includes mainstream news and PR.

7. Digimind

Digimind positions itself as social media monitoring and competitive intelligence software.

Some major features are:

  • Listen to key public social networks plus blogs, news and more
  • Conduct detailed competitive benchmarking analysis
  • Get real-time alerts tailored to intelligence priorities
  • Collaborative project management workflows to act on insights
  • Automated scheduled reporting framed around business KPIs

A standout aspect is Digimind‘s focus on competitve intelligence best practices for data collection, analysis and operationalization.

Pricing is customized based on needs and starts from $1500/month with discounts for annual plans. So it is suited for mid-market and enterprise customers.

In short, Digimind provides a rigorous framework for executing competitive intelligence through social media monitoring.

8. Talkwalker

Talkwalker offers AI-powered deep listening and analytics across a vast surface of media.

Key features include:

  • Listen to over 150M websites, news, blogs etc. along with key social networks
  • Utilize AI to analyze images, videos, screenshots for branded content
  • Get automatic smart tagging by sentiment, topics, categories
  • Build comprehensive Boolean searches tailored to business needs
  • Collaborate across teams with advanced filter sharing

Standout aspects include the expanded scope of listening sources beyond social media as well as sophisticated AI for processing multimedia content.

Pricing starts at $1,790/month for SMBs. Enterprise options incorporate added features like influencer discovery, survey analytics, custom advisory and more.

In short, Talkwalker offers extremely expansive monitoring reach amplified by AI-driven analysis features.

9. Synthesio

Owned by leading market research firm Ipsos, Synthesio focuses on understanding audiences through social data.

Key capabilities are:

  • Listen across key public social networks and websites
  • Go beyond keywords with semantic natural language processing
  • Discover audience interest segments, intentions and attitudes
    -surfaces insights for segment-tailored engagement strategy and content planning.

Synthesio provides audience-level reporting such as:

  • Demographic analysis by age group, gender split etc.
  • Top interests and preferences based on content patterns
  • Purchase intentions and customer journey stages
  • Comparison of own vs. competitor follower segments

Pricing requires custom quotes suitable for mid-market and enterprise needs.

In short, Synthesio uncovers rich psycho-demographic insights for crafting targeted social engagement strategies.

10. Socialbakers

Socialbakers offers an integrated platform spanning social media marketing, CX care, ads management and more.

For social media listening, key features include:

  • Listen to top social media platforms plus blogs, news and more
  • Complete competitive benchmarking capabilities
  • Real-time customizable alerts for owned KPIs
  • Automated or customizable reporting with metrics tied to business goals

Compared to the rest, Socialbakers positions its listening toolkit as just one part of an end-to-end social media stack exceeding well beyond monitoring alone.

Pricing starts from $399/month with discounts for annual plans. Tailored enterprise quotes also available.

In summary, Socialbakers enables tightly integrating social media listening into holistic social strategies encompassing care, commerce, publishing and ads too.

Key Takeaways

  • There is no one "best" social listening tool for every business need. The tool choice depends on your budget, information needs and how insights will inform future action.
  • Core capabilities like aggregating brand mentions, analyzing sentiment trends, monitoring competitors exist across all tools but may be tailored to particular use cases like PR, content marketing etc.
  • Consider if you need deep social data, broad web monitoring or specialty analysis like audience profiling while choosing tools. Integrations with existing software also matter.
  • Volume requirements – from a few thousand to millions of mentions – determine pricing. Similarly, free or freemium plans cater to early-stage needs while enterprise tools incorporate consulting services.
  • Lastly, the tool is only the beginning for driving real business growth. The operational discipline of capturing the right listening data, drawing actionable insights from it and executing those data-derived strategies sustains success.

I hope this guide gives you clarity in exploring leading social listening tools aligned to your business goals! Feel free to share other discoveries or recommendations in the comments below.