Best Social Media Management and Monitoring Tools

by Saige DriverLast Modified: January 5, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
Reviews
State of the Industry
How to Use Social Media Monitoring
What to Look For
Map
Services
Compare Quotes

Intro

With more people creating social media accounts every day, finding the right social media marketing tools has become a vital task for companies everywhere. Using the wrong ones could result in lost sales and missed opportunities to connect with potentially valuable customers.

From social media scheduling to social media monitoring, there are a range of features businesses should carefully assess. To help you find the best solution for your business, Business.com evaluated dozens of social media software programs and services, narrowing down the best ones based on the type of business (small versus enterprise), certain features (geotargeting, competitor analysis, market research) and needs.

In this guide, we highlight the key features to look for in a social media marketing tool, how much you should expect to pay, and the best social media tools for different businesses. We chose Oracle Social Cloud, DataSift, OrangeSoda, Portent, SocialClout and Sysomos as our best picks. You can read more about each below, including what type of organization it's best suited for or what particular feature about the software or service impressed us.

Best Picks

Best for Multi Media Creation
Best for Enterprise
Small Business
International Business
Competitor Analysis
Geotargeting Ads
Market Research
WebiMax - Social Media Management & Monitoring Tools

Best for Multi Media Creation

WebiMax - Social Media Management & Monitoring Tools

WebiMax can help your business with the creation of multimedia content. Its dedicated account managers will work with you to create content like videos, infographics, memes and articles. Your account manager can also help you design a business profile for each social media platform, develop specific strategies as well as update and maintain your social media accounts.

Once content is created, you can upload the content yourself or leave it to your account manager to post. WebiMax offers other services, including geotargeting, link building or backlinking, which helps your website rank higher in search engine results.

Oracle

Best for Enterprise

Oracle

Oracle Social Cloud is the best solution for enterprise. It's more expensive than most social monitoring tools, so it's better suited for enterprise-level businesses. With Oracle Social Cloud, you can create and schedule multimedia posts that include content, video, etc., over various social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can also post individual replies to people who engage on your various social media channels. There is also an interactive editorial calendar to help you plan and schedule your social campaigns.

In addition to content creation, Oracle Social Cloud provides comprehensive social listening, analysis and a range of back-office and engagement features.

SocialClout

Best for Small Business

SocialClout

SocialClout is the best social media software for small businesses because of the number of social media accounts it supports, its pricing, and its analysis and reporting tools.

You can test out SocialClout free for 30 days. This plan allows you to monitor up to three social media accounts. If you decide you want to continue, SocialClout offers three paid plans. Plans vary by the number of social media accounts and included features. The Starter plan costs $49 per month and monitors up to five accounts. The Value plan runs $99 per month and monitors up to 10 social media accounts. An Enterprise plan is available, but you need to contact the company to obtain a price quote.

Sysomos

Best of International Business: Sysomos

Sysomos

Sysomos is our pick for the best social media tool for international businesses. It monitors 186 languages in 189 different countries. This social media software can help brands monitor how people throughout the world view their company, who the key influencers are in your industry, what influencers are saying about you and how your campaigns are performing.

This tool monitors more than two dozen sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and traditional media. In addition to understanding multiple languages, this easy-to-use platform can understand slang and intent. Sysomos can filter through superfluous posts, identifying advertising, suspicious links and gibberish. The analytic tool can be used to identify spam communities and fake link-boosting activities.

Portent

Best Service for Competitor Analysis: Portent

Portent

Portent is the best social media marketing tool for analyzing your competition. Based in Seattle, Washington, Portent is a marketing agency that will work with you one on one to identify your target audience and then outline a strategy to develop what it calls a "user-centric competitive analysis." Based on your target audience, Portent will help you pinpoint and refine the appeal of your product or service so you stand out.

It is available to businesses of all sizes, and now has a small business hub, which is focused on social media marketing for small businesses at reasonable prices.

OrangeSoda

Best Service for Geotargeting Ads: OrangeSoda

OrangeSoda

For businesses, such as a restaurant or hair salon, that depend on a strong local customer base, OrangeSoda is the service we recommend for geotargeted advertising. This social media marketing service, based in Kansas, will work with you to pinpoint customers in your area and analyze trends to drive more traffic to your website and store.

OrangeSoda has a team who will create and manage your social media campaigns. Once you become a client, you are assigned an account manager whose job it is to oversee the process of auditing your current website(s) and social media accounts. The manager then works with you to create and promote unique and compelling content for your target market.

DataSift

Best for Market Research: DataSift

DataSift

We recommend DataSift, a social media monitoring and analysis platform, for midsize or large businesses seeking thorough analytics of their company, online presence and potential markets. This social media monitoring tool analyzes the more than 1.5 billion interactions that take place on various social media sites daily as well as news sites, forums and blogs. DataSift notes when a link is posted that applies to your company and examines the link and how it applies to your research.

One drawback with DataSift is that it lacks social media engagement tools, because it only focuses on monitoring.

Pricing

Social media marketing tools vary in price. Some providers offer a free trial period, typically 30 days, where you can test out the software or service to see whether it's a good fit for your company.

Pricing is typically structured according to tiers, with monthly costs increasing as more features are offered and if you have a dedicated account manager assigned to you. Packages range from $20 for a basic social media scheduling tool to $500 for programs with myriad features and a dedicated account manager.

Editor's Note: Looking for an online marketing service? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

Negotiation Tips

Before signing on the dotted line with any provider, you should make absolutely sure you're getting the best deal.

It's also imperative that you understand exactly what you are buying and what features are included with your plan. Try to think ahead and pick a plan that will accommodate any future growth you may experience.

Here are some negotiation tips to help you get the most for your money:

  • Find out if the provider offers a discount if you pay for the software or service annually rather than monthly.
  • Research the competition and know what others in the industry are charging. Ask the provider whether they are willing to match the price of their cheaper competitors.
  • Ask if the provider offers free perks or waives fees for first-time customers.

Reviews

Below are all of our reviews for social media management and monitoring tools and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best social media marketing tools and social media monitoring tools. See all of our reviews below.

State of the Industry

More than 90 percent of marketers believe social media is important to their business, according to a survey by Social Media Examiner. From the same 2016 survey, 40 percent of marketers reported that social media marketing has become more difficult.

Social media marketing tools are designed to simplify and concentrate a business's online marketing efforts. They analyze trends, demographics and sentiment – whether a post is complimentary or negative. They also keep tabs on your various social media accounts, find mentions of your business and keywords, and identify potential sales leads.

Dissatisfied customers are more likely to complain on social media than directly to you. Businesses can utilize "listening" tools so they know what customers are saying about their business so they can improve their product or their customer service.

"Social is now front and center as a customer service channel, especially when things go wrong for a consumer with a product or service," said Lizz Kannenberg, director of content for Sprout Social. "It’s imperative that organizations of all sizes have a social customer care strategy in place to make sure the highly visible nature of social media can be used as an advantage in resolving customer service issues."

How to Use Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring goes way beyond identifying tweets you should respond to. Even the most modest of businesses can collect data on a level previously available only to corporations with large research and development budgets. With the social analysis and reporting tools usually provided by the programs, you can use that data in many ways.

Interact with customers. Online communities are becoming the go-to for communication, even with companies. When customers have a good or bad experience, they share it with everyone, not just with the company or close friends. Some customers use social media as a shortcut to a higher level of management. Social media monitoring and social relationship management allow you as a company to tap in quickly to the compliments and complaints so that you can react quickly. This kind of engagement, even when addressing complaints, goes a long way toward improving your brand's reputation.

Track trends. By keeping an eye on what’s happening in your industry, you can stay ahead of innovations and move proactively.

  • Product identification: If you own a restaurant, knowing the next trendy grain can help you adjust your menu.

  • Scheduling promotions: Housekeeping services might follow real estate trends and promote move-in and move-out cleaning sales during peak months.

  • Competition: If your competitor is having reputation problems, it could be a good time for an incentive campaign.

  • Advertising placement: Say you sell motorcycle gear. You may find your customers also have snowmobiles, so running an ad for your products on one of the most popular snowmobile sites in the early spring might pay off.

Identify key influencers. Influencers are people who have a lot of followers in your target audience. If you sell handcrafted leather furniture, an influencer might be an interior design blogger or a poster on the Pinterest Man Cave Board who has a following of 15,000 and growing. Once you identify influencers, you can ask them for reviews, offer free samples, or simply follow them to start a relationship with them and their followers.

Evaluate sentiment. Knowing if people are posting about you in a positive, negative or neutral light lets you see where you stand reputation-wise. Most sentiment analysis tools let you drill down to specific mentions, so you can see if you need to improve your product or your customer service response time.

Research products. By using keywords specific to your industry, you can keep abreast of the latest innovations and what they mean to your business.

Keep up with your competitors. Most social monitoring software lets you track your competitors as well as yourself. You can track, record and analyze their information as easily as your own.

Research markets. It used to be that you had to conduct polls and fact-finding missions to discover what customers wanted. Now, people are openly discussing it in public arenas. Social media monitoring taps into those conversations to get you frank and unsolicited information.

Generate leads. Programs with this ability identify phrases that indicate readiness to purchase. (“Not another flat tire!” “Need ideas for a housewarming gift.” “Craving Chinese food … again.”)

What to Look For

When considering which is the best social media monitoring program for your business, you should balance your needs with your budget. If all you want is to track social venues where you have accounts, there are simpler and cheaper options, like AgoraPulse. If you need heavy-duty market research, you will want software that considers millions of sources, like Sysomos. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few, consider the following.

Monitoring: Many social monitoring services brag about viewing millions of messages a day, but ask for specifics. Make sure the software is looking where your readers live. For example, monitoring the Huffington Post won’t help you if you manufacture medical testing equipment. Some of the social media monitoring programs we examined are limited to social media you frequent. This may be enough for smaller companies that are mostly interested in customer response.

You should also make sure you understand how you are billed. Some companies charge by keyword, others by valid hits. Therefore, with a company that casts a wide net, you could end up paying for results that aren’t helpful, especially if your keywords are popular. For example, if your keyword is “blood testing equipment,” you could end up paying for hits for articles about DUIs and diabetes. Some companies, like DataSift, help you determine the best keywords for your research needs.

Filtering out the noise. Even with valid keywords, you can end up with invalid results. Social media is rife with people posting for their own promotion and bots posting to boost ranks. Your social analysis program should offer filters to remove the spam, self-promotion and junk posts.

Sentiment analysis. This highly useful tool examines a post ahead of time to see if it’s positive, negative or neutral. Sentiment analysis examines the wording of the post itself, beyond mere keywords, to determine if the phrases are complimentary toward your brand. This is not always an easy thing, especially when you consider slang and the brevity of social media posts.

There are several automated language analysis processes, with accuracy results varying from 70% to 86%. Independent human evaluation averages around 80% accuracy. The best social analysis software uses more than one method. Some companies have their own proprietary systems. If you have international concerns, be sure to ask how sentiment analysis takes different languages and cultures into account.

Demographics. Who is talking is as important as what is said. Most of these services can look at sources (Twitter bios, for example) to discern a poster’s age, gender and even interests. Some allow your marketing folks to access the bios themselves, which can help you woo influencers.

Historical data. This is important for trend analysis and for seeing how campaigns work against a norm. Ask how long the social media monitoring service keeps the data it collects on your behalf, but also ask if it stores search results in general. A few do this for several years, enabling you to mine data from before you purchased the software. This can help you establish benchmarks right off the bat.

Lead identification. The best social media monitoring programs search for terms that indicate an interest or need and alert the appropriate department so that you can respond quickly with a comment or offer.

Integrations. The programs we considered all work very well independently. Most offer user levels, email alerts and forwarding to other departments, and downloadable reports in multiple formats. However, the best social media monitoring programs also offer integrations with social marketing, advertising and customer relationship management programs. If you already have specific tools you use, check to see if they integrate with the software. Some of the social media monitoring programs, such as the ones from Salesforce and Oracle, are just one of many business tools their company offers. You may discover a package deal with that company is cheaper and easier than integrating several separate programs.

Map

SocialClout
4660 Spyres Way
Modesto, CA
SocialClout
AgoraPulse
535 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA
AgoraPulse
OrangeSoda
235 E Colchester Dr
Eagle, ID
OrangeSoda
Portent
1 Time Clock Drive
San Angelo, TX
Portent
SEO Image
16505 W 113th St
Lenexa, KS
SEO Image
DataSift
505 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA
DataSift
Pandemic Labs
77 Summer Street
Boston, MA
Pandemic Labs
iClimber
315 W Verdugo Ave
Burbank, CA
iClimber
Ignite
280 Daines Street
Birmingham, ME
Ignite
Customer Magnetism
2697 International Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA
Customer Magnetism
Mint Social
15560 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ
Mint Social
Salesforce - Social Media Management & Monitoring Tools
The Landmark at One Market
San Francisco, CA
Salesforce - Social Media Management & Monitoring Tools
Oracle
7460 Warren Pkwy
Frisco, TX
Oracle
Brandwatch
48 West 21stStreet
New York, NY
Brandwatch
Sysomos
85 Broad Street
New York, NY
Sysomos

Services

List of 20Best Social Media Management and Monitoring Tools

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