Brand recognition has a lot to do with the success of companies like Coca-Coca and Nike. Other companies offer similar products but people trust names they recognise. Names are important. Domain names can help or hinder a company. Your online footprint can make or break you. Your website, blog, social media account, lifestyle business, or startup can live or die by how it is marketed. Know when your brand is talked about and discover opportunities for relationship building, cooperation, and link building.
Why Monitor Your Brand (Or Your Competitors' Brands)?
Listening to who's talking about you online is not an ego-boosting exercise. To know who is talking about your brand or your target topics gives you marketing power. If you can track your brand’s reach through brand monitoring of social media and blogs you can discover opportunities for relationship building, cooperation, and link building.
What to look for when tracking mentions of your brand or your competitors' brand names:
- Check for a link back to your domain. If you find a link and it’s a Nofollow, decide if it’s worth contacting the site owner to request a Follow link instead. Unlinked ‘mentions' are an opportunity to gain backlinks and boost your website's SEO
- If the case of a social mention, examine the tweeter's role as an influencer. Decide whether to cultivate a relationship with this person
- Web chatter about your competitors. Create a strategy for getting involved in the discussion. Spy on your competitors and try to steal your competitor's thunder by creating a more compelling reason for the influencer to mention your brand instead.
Brand Monitoring Tools for Tracking Web and Social Mentions
Here are the top brand tracking and social media monitoring tools available to help scale your online marketing. Find out who's talking about you!
Hexowatch is an awesome tool for spying on your competitors. It's a business analysis tool that uses AI to help you know what your competitors are doing online at all times. Hexowatch's monitoring tools allow you to keep tabs on the content marketing strategy, backlink acquisition rate, keywords, and website technology of any website or business.
Create monitors that check for changes on HTML elements, the presence of particular words, changes in scripts and 3rd party plugins, content, visual elements, and domain WHOIS records on any brand's website.
Use cases include:
1.Knowing when a site publishes new content
2.Getting alerts when your competitor edits a blog post
3. Find out when a brand starts to use a new plugin, software or script on their website
4. Get notified whenever a brand offers discounts or coupons.
And a lot more.
In case you can’t tell, this tool monitors brand mentions. It works like this:
Let's say someone shares a post, a tweet or writes anything about your business on the Internet. BrandMentions uses what's called “social listening” to immediately find this mention, and tells you about it.
The search box on the main screen can also be used to check for mentions immediately, saving you the trouble of waiting for an email alert. BrandMentions allows you to create lots of keyword phrases related to your brand, your competitor’s brands and your key topics. It’s great for tracking how your content marketing is going, but also for social sharing, keyword research, and link building.
Use long-tail keywords rather than generic terms when creating alerts. Terms such as “blogging” or “marketing” will return a lot of results from blogs, forums and the like, many of which might not be specific enough to your market.
The social and web monitoring tool has come a long way since the first iteration, when I first reviewed it. I previously put it at the bottom of this list but I can safely say that it now outperforms the competition as a fantastic brand reputation management software.
Here are some of the features offered:
- Filtering based on Sentiment, URL Shared on, Language, Domain Influence, Unlinked Mentions, Has Author, Performance and many more.
- Discover top influences on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit.
- Smart alerts to let you know when the social listening tool detects that your topics are spiking or trending
- Highly customizable reports. Agencies take note that you can white-label the reports for your clients.
- Project comparison. Check how campaigns and websites compare against each other.
And to top it off, the interface is gorgeous and easy to navigate. Impressive stuff and winner of the best social listening and monitoring tool for businesses.
BrandMentions also offers a free tool called SocialMention, billed as “Free real-time social mentions search & analysis”. While it's limited on the free plan, it does offer good insights and differentiates between web mentions (links) and social mentions (your brand or keyword on social media platforms).
Brand24 sports a beautiful and modern interface (always a huge plus for me) on which I congratulate the UX designers.
The tool features some sophisticated levels of granularity for filtering mentions and social listenting.
Here are a few of the main ways to filter for your brand online:
- Sentiment Analysis – A positive or negative slider makes it easy to perform sentiment analysis.
- Influencer Score – Every source is rated by brand24. Use the filter to find only highly-influential tweeters and bloggers
- Interactions – Engagement is very important in the over-saturated social space. Anyone can post on social 15 times a day but getting people to comment, like, and share your posts is another thing. Filter out accounts with low engagement and target the people that get shares and likes
Zeroing in on valuable mentions is easy with Brand24's powerful targeting options.
The analysis tab is another powerful tool that helps you understand who are the most influential people that have mentioned your brand online. And you can find out on which social media platforms they spend most of their time. Sort by the most interactive mentions or the most popular authors. View the total social media shares count, the likes count, and the negative mentions for the keyword.
Brand24 is one of the most expensive tools in this review but it’s also one of the most versatile. A powerful brand tracker and social media analysis tool. I can’t think of anything it hasn’t covered.
PeakMetrics is a platform for monitoring news, social media, blogs, and broadcast mediums. Enter the keywords you want to track, add your competitors' brand names, and wait for the platform to find the important mentions. PeakMetrics was able to find social media mentions and mentions on platforms like Reddit and Quora that other monitoring tools could not. It's a great complementary tool to Awario or Brand24.
Another great feature of PeakMetrics is the Author Search which lets you find published work by writers that could potentially write about your business or service. This is difficult and time-consuming data to find in Google's search results. You can also build reports with graphs and tables showing the fine details of what you're tracking.
Awario delivers an impressive amount of results for each query. I wasn't initially enthused about User Interface but it's fast and uncluttered. It grew on me and now I'm quite happy to use it regularly. Awario does a great job of snooping the internet for social comments and references. You can set up tracking in most languages, create alerts, and monitor mentions of Brands, Personas, Campaigns, or Topics.
The Alerts Statistics section where mentions and reach over time display on a graph is useful for plotting campaigns. Awario displays the share counts below the graph so you can see how each social network and the Web are contributing to your brand's marketing efforts.
It would be nice to see some integrations for social posting or for saving tweets to Google sheets, for example. That's in the pipeline. Right now though, Awario is a solid contender.
Talkwalker is a free tool which scours News, discussions, and blogs for keywords. The tool can track up to 50 alerts per account and there’s no reason you can’t use a different email address to create another 50 alerts. It’s not quite a powerful as some of the other keyword monitoring tools but it's possible to get good results by tweaking.
The app claims to be the best free alternative to Google Alerts, and it works in a similar fashion to Google’s service.
You can create customised alerts with the following modifiers:
Alert types: News, Blogs, Discussions, or Everything (the first three combined).
Language: Search in other languages for your terms.
How often: As it happens, once and day, and once a week.
How many: Only the best results, all results.
Be careful with the last two as popular keywords can trigger alerts that will flood your Inbox all day.
The first thing you will notice about Talkwalker is the sheer number of alerts. It beats Google alerts and most of the other services on quantity. The sources, however, may not be high quality. Expect alerts from low-quality spammy sites and random unrelated sources. The algorithm needs tone improved before Talkwalker can take the fire away from Google alerts.
You can look at Google’s results in one of two ways
1. Alerts only from the highest quality sources to give maximum benefit to the user
2. Alerts focused on News sites and established brands with maximum benefit gained by established brands.
Not everyone wants to receive alerts when CNN and The Huffington Post publish content. Sometimes the most interesting mentions are on smaller sites. Google ignores these in general. Talkwalker, in contrast, will pick up on these smaller niche blogs but the quality filter isn’t perfected yet.
Here's how to set up Google Alerts:
Head over to google.com/alerts
Enter your keyphrase. Use search operators such as quotation marks, AND, OR, and NOT to be more specific with your searches. Social media symbols such as @ and # work too. Using @fatfrogmediacom would create an alert for the Fat Frog Media Twitter account.
I'd recommend using the At Most Once A Day frequency option unless you like your Inbox crammed full of alerts. If you're interested in hearing about mentions of forums or news sites then select your preference the Sources pull down menu. For most people, the default of Automatic will be fine. You can select language and region to further hone the results.
For popular topics, I'd suggest leaving the How Many selector set to Only The Best Results. Brands or topics that don't get a lot of mentions could benefit more from the All Results selection. Then choose where to receive the alerts
Quora is a great place to build your brands profile and answer questions on your favourite topics. I use Google alerts to trigger mentions of my target keywords and topic mentions. Enter site:quora.com “brand or topic” into the alert box and wait to be first in the queue to answer questions.
SEMrush is one of the most trusted SEO tools in search marketing. And it’s not without merit. SEMrush offers a solid keyword research tool, a backlink checker, a domain analytics service, and other tools for SEOs and marketers. It's one of my favourite SEO tools but it's also a solid contender for the best of brand monitoring tools.
SEMrush recently added a Brand Monitoring feature. It's still in Beta but does a great job in tests.
The Statistics tab contains a Mention Volume Trend graph which shows the volume of mentions by date. Check your social media or outreach campaigns against the dates to understand which campaigns are working.
The brand monitoring tool is a useful addition to SEMrush and with the Pro version, you can create up to five projects. Each project can monitor 10 keywords based on your brand. The free version of SEMrush gives you three Brand Monitoring campaigns so I’d recommend getting an account and testing out the brand analysis tools.
Ahrefs New Alert service supplements its excellent backlink checker and keyword tool.
There are three types of alerts that you can create:
- Backlinks, which triggers an alert every time a domain on your list gains or loses a backlink
- New Keywords, which notifies you when an URL ranks for a keyword
- Mentions, which alerts you by email when a mention of your keywords pop up on the internet. This is the one we're most interested in here.
You can specify that the alert appears in the Title or Content giving you greater control over the amount and quality of mentions. Choose between most of the world’s main languages as the content language. Enter blocked domains such as Google.com (to prevent SERP results from triggering alerts). Add up to 3 email address to receive alerts.
Choose between most of the world’s main languages as the content language. Enter blocked domains such as Google.com (to prevent SERP results from triggering alerts). Add up to 3 email address to receive alerts.
Add up to 3 email address to receive alerts.
You can even choose the interval of notification. Real-time means that an alert will trigger the instant Ahrefs finds a mention. Daily and Weekly might be more manageable for less time-sensitive news monitoring and brand tracking. Ahrefs constantly adds new features to its already impressive range of SEO and marketing tools. It's not cheap, by any means, but if you have the budget Ahrefs will deliver to you quality results.
If you’d prefer to follow a more DIY or hacked-together approach to social monitoring then the Applets over at IFTTT could be what you need. Applets are a way of linking services you already use to create a new service customised for your needs. An example Applet is the “If someone mentions you on Twitter, get an IF notification”. The notification goes to an Android device. Another Applets records social media mentions on a Google spreadsheet. Another alerts you by email whenever your site's name appears on Reddit. IFTTT is free so it’s a great addition to the other services or a good way to get started on zero budget.
Buzzsumo lets you to find the most shareable content based on your keywords.
In the Most Shared tab, enter keywords or brand names into the search box. BuzzSumo shows you the most shared content based on your preferences (date, language, word count, country, etc). The number of shares per social network displays on each row of results. Click the View Sharers button to see who shared the content. Great for outreach. You can even view backlinks to the content.
To monitor mentions of the keywords or brand click the +Create Alert button after the search box. Anytime Buzzsumo finds a mention or share of your brand name in any content published you get an alert.
Buzzsumo is great for finding unlinked brand mentions and for understanding the viral potential of a post or link.
Anewstip’s focus is on connecting entrepreneurs and marketers with influencers (journalists, newspapers, and publications). The interface makes it easy to find and pitch journalists who might be interested in covering your story. If you’ve got a new startup, app, or business that has something newsworthy to tell the world, find the right people to promote your content to using Anewstip’s search.
You can search for tweets, news articles, journalist profiles, or outlet profiles. Whenever you find a relevant contact that you’d like to contact, add them to a Media List for later.
Once you’ve added enough journalists and outlets to your Media List, click the Pitch menu. The Pitch section is where you compose emails aimed at promoting your idea or content to journalists and outlets. To send an email to the contacts from your media list click the TO field of the email composer and add the desired list. You can add merge fields for each contact’s first and last names which change for each copy of the email sent.
My gripe with Anewstip was the quality of the results. Compared to Buzzsumo, for example, the results for news articles are often outdated, which hardly makes them News.
And lastly, I have to mention Mention (see what I did there?) as a solid option. Mention does social media, brand, and web monitoring and has been around for quite a while so they know what they’re doing. A powerful tool and one that has improved a lot since I last reviewed it.
I like to use the Feed filters to exclude tweets so I can get a better view of where a keyword pops up on the web. Mention pulls in data from YouTube, Forums, RSS feeds, images, Facebook and other sources. You can filter each of these sources to your preferences.
Add your Instagram account and track Instagram influencers. Filter by location, language, or sentiment. Mention's sophisticated reports (one of the app's best features) offer easy to understand insights into your Instagram account's power.
Click on the Influencers menu to get a list of influential people that have interacted with your brand or content.
Keyword Ranking Analysis
What organic keywords are competitors' sites ranking for? If you’re not doing keyword research, you’re missing out on valuable marketing intelligence. SE ranking lets you see your competitor’s search engine positions for tracked keywords and compare them to your own positions. This is invaluable for improving the search engine reach of your target keywords.
It doesn’t matter how good your content marketing is if someone else has a higher ranking for the keywords that bring in traffic.
SR Ranking is a great keyword tool that also offers website audit and PPC analysis.
As well as providing the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, Ahrefs will also let you see the frequency at which your competitors publish blog posts and how often they update content. If you're looking to spot emerging trends, a good place to start is watching what prolific publishers in your space put out in terms of content. Ahrefs is also a superb tool that will help you discover new trends and keywords.
Big players in a niche usually have their finger on the pulse of trends and will start posting regular content long before their competitors are posting anything.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.