All the "stuff" | Productivity
27 August 2021
Warren Buffett once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” This is especially true in the age of social media and lasting digital footprints. We can all think of horror stories where a disappointed customer or viral thread spiraled into a PR crisis for a brand.
Protecting your brand’s reputation means you need online brand monitoring. But with millions of news outlets, blogs, social media channels and more, how can you stay on top of every mention of your brand or product?
The answer is brand monitoring tools.
What are Brand Monitoring Tools & Why are They Important?
When you’re running a small business, you’re always looking for new ways to boost productivity. You need to focus on your core mission, but as you grow, you’ll also need to pay attention to critical aspects of your brand’s reputation.
Brand monitoring involves tracking your brand’s mentions across different online channels. You may have heard the term “social listening,” which refers to tracking mentions on social media. This is a sub-category of brand monitoring.
Brand monitoring is a task that can seem daunting and time-consuming. It can even be tempting to ignore it, hoping that it’s not really necessary. But with the right tools, even brand new businesses can set up the critical processes needed to succeed.
Brand monitoring tools are software that automates tracking brand mentions and product mentions. Typically, they also offer analytics and insights to help you determine how to respond to trends.
Why use a brand monitoring tool?
Of course, even with the best tool in the world, there’s still an outlay of time and money in order to introduce a new process. Why do you need to invest in a brand monitoring tool? Here’s four key reasons:
- Manage crises: Catch problems before they spiral out of control
- Understand customers’ attitudes towards your brand: Use sentiment analysis to find out whether people are feeling positively, negatively, or neutral about your brand
- Track competitors: Monitor competitors mentions to get ahead of the game
- Foster 2-way communication: Create customer loyalty through personalized and prompt responses
Many of the top tools offer additional perks, such as tracking key influencers in your industry, generating sales leads, and even social media publishing tools. But at their heart, brand monitoring tools exist to protect your reputation, help you spot issues, and give your customers the best interactions possible with your brand.
10 Top Brand Monitoring Tools
There are many brand monitoring tools available to suit every need and use case. But how do you find the right option?
To help you decide, here’s the lowdown on our top 10 branding monitoring tools.
1. Google Alerts
If you’ve ever dipped your toe into brand monitoring in the past, you’ve likely come across Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a free, easy-to-use tool that lets you type in any words and phrases you want to track. When Google’s web crawlers detect mentions of your keywords, you’ll get an email notification.
Within each alert that you set up, you can customize the frequency of the alert, the type of sources you want to draw on, as well as the language and region of any mentions.
However, Google Alerts is limited in its functionality. It doesn’t allow you to dig into analytics, and it can struggle to track social media mentions when compared with other tools.
Google Alerts is a great tool for getting started with tracking your brand, but if you need more depth and detail than it offers, check out one of the other options on our list.
Awario provides social media and web monitoring to provide you with real-time updates when your brand is mentioned. It comes with powerful analytics and white label reports that help you make sense of your data. Other selling points include:
- Boolean searches, which help you hone in on exactly what you want to track
- In-app interactions, to respond immediately to comments and complaints
- Sales prospecting and social selling
However, all of this functionality can mean a steep learning curve in order to get the most out of Awario. Some appealing features, such as exportable data, shareable reports, and white label PDF & HTML reports, are not available at entry-point pricing. However, depending on your needs and budget, the starter plan may have everything you are looking for.
Awario offers a 14-day free trial, after which point you’ll need to sign up for a starter, pro, or enterprise plan.
Brand24 offers both general brand monitoring and extensive social listening. It even collects data from sources such as blogs, newsletters, and podcasts. The tool comes with robust analytics, including sentiment analysis, volume charts, and influence scores.
Users report liking Brand24’s intuitive interface and the top-notch customer support. However, at the entry-point pricing, you’re limited by only receiving updates every 12 hours, and you won’t be able to generate PDF reports or track your social media reach.
As with other paid tools, however, you still get a lot of functionality with the plus plan and you can upgrade if you need to.
Brand24 offers a 14-day free trial, after which you’ll need to sign up for a plus, premium, or max plan.
Mention boasts they help you track your brand across 1 billion sources daily. Besides comprehensive monitoring and rich analytics, Mention also functions as a social media editorial calendar tool.
Mention is also notable because it offers both free and low-cost paid plans (starting at $29 per month). These free or low-cost plans come with fewer features, but offer a useful starting point for solopreneurs or small companies looking to get started with brand monitoring and who need something more robust than Google Alerts.
However, compared to some of the other tools we’ve highlighted in this article, Mention doesn’t offer a large range of features to any users below the company level plan. These include:
- Data exports
- White labelled reports
- Historical data
- Monitoring of Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tiktok
Given these restrictions, Mention may not be as appealing to small-to-midsize businesses who need more comprehensive tracking but don’t need the highest tier plans.
Mention offers five levels, from Free to Company. 14-day free trials are available for solo, pro, and pro-plus plans.
Mentionlytics is a tool that is dedicated to social media monitoring, allowing you to track mentions of your brand, your products, your competitors, and your industry.
Besides tracking your mentions, Mentionlytics functions as a social media scheduling and publishing tool. You can use the platform to interact with customers, find sales leads, and track key influencers.
Mentionlytics’s unique selling point is social intelligence advisor (SIA). This AI advisor helps you discover patterns in your data—and you know how we at Charli love an AI assistant!
Mentionlytics’ pricing is higher than some competitors, with their lowest level plan starting at $99/month. However, for brands who need to keep a close eye on their social media mentions, Mentionlytics offers a comprehensive and easy-to-use service.
Brandwatch is a behemoth among brand monitoring tools, with clients including multinational corporations such as Unilever, Nestle, and Delta. Brandwatch offers a powerful suite of tools, including the ability to segment data, and perform AI-assisted analysis and market intelligence.
However, given its focus on enterprise clients, Brandwatch is among the more expensive options on the market—you’ll need to book a meeting to discuss pricing options. You’re most likely to consider Brandwatch if you already have a dedicated marketing team in place, and brand monitoring is critical to your business.
7. Critical Mention
If your strategy is more focused on traditional media, Critical Mention is the tool for you. Critical Mention provides media monitoring and analysis, covering channels including broadcast, online news, podcasts, social media, and pay walled and printed media.
Other features include customizable reports and the ability to track specific media markets—helpful if you’re running campaigns in specific regions.
Given its focus on bigger media outlets, Critical Mention won’t be the right choice for everyone. For a demo and pricing, you need to contact Critical Mention. Custom packages are available, including scalable plans and plans tailored to individual brands and entities.
HootSuite is best known as a social media management platform, but you can also use it as a social listening tool. Their monitoring tools include:
- The ability to set up custom streams to track keywords, hashtags, and mentions
- An interface that makes it easy to respond to customer complaints or questions
- Insight tools powered by Brandwatch, including sentiment analysis and competitor monitoring
With both free and affordable plans, Hootsuite is a compelling option for entrepreneurs or small-businesses… especially given you’ll have access to its comprehensive social media management tools, too. However, for brands who need more focused monitoring, a dedicated tool may be preferable.
HootSuite offers a free 30-day trial and a limited free-version of the platform. To access the more advanced monitoring features, you will need a paid plan. The professional plan starts at $49/month, and HootSuite also offers Team, Business, and Enterprise plans.
9. Review Inc
If you run a physical business, whether it’s a mechanic’s shop or a fashion boutique, you know how important it is to watch and manage online reviews. According to a Harvard Business study of restaurant reviews on Yelp, just a one star difference can impact revenue between 5-9%.
Review Inc exists to help you monitor and respond to reviews. Its features include:
- Monitoring of over 600 online review sites
- Business reporting, including tracking over time, competitive analysis, and Net Promoter Score
- Review generation campaign management
- Track negative reviews through to resolution
Its extensive features and reporting options may mean a learning curve when you first sign-on, but overall the tool is easy-to-use and chock full of features, making Review Inc an excellent choice if protecting your reputation relies on monitoring online reviews
Review Inc offers plans from Monitoring (just track reviews), up to comprehensive enterprise options. For pricing, you’ll need to contact Review Inc for a quote.
10. The Brand Grader
Want to know how your brand stacks up? The Brand Grader (powered by Mention) is a free tool that will send you a custom report on your brand. Your report will show you the following data for the past 30-days:
- The most influential bloggers and thought leaders mentioning your brand
- Top sources of brand mentions
- Overview of sentiment analysis
- Number and location of mentions
While you’ll only get a top-level overview of your brand’s reputation, this tool can help you understand the insights you can gain access to and help get other decision makers on your team onboard with brand monitoring.
Remember: knowledge is power. Understanding your brand reputation and monitoring how you stack up against the competition are crucial tools to help your business grow and thrive—no matter your size or industry. We’ve shared our top 10 brand monitoring tools in this article, but the options are endless. Whatever you need to keep track of, and whatever your budget, there is a great tool to make brand monitoring a breeze.