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.
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!
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.
Update: as of late 2021, BrandMentions now supports image monitoring so you can track your brand images and logos around the web.
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 and forums, many of which might not be specific enough to your market.
This social and web monitoring tool has come a long way since the first iteration.
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 in features 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).
This free brand monitoring tool offers a super-easy way to track keywords or brand names in social networks. Monitor your own brand or your competitors' brand name and brand keywords. Local languages are supported and real-time email alerts are free.
Paid plans feature social listening tools that monitor news, blogs, forums, comments, videos, as well as filters for webspam and analytics with source site traffic rankings.
Semrush is one of the most trusted SEO tools in search marketing. This suite of marketing tools 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 favorite SEO tools but it's also a solid contender for the best of brand monitoring tools.
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.
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 and brand mentions to Google sheets, for example. That's in the pipeline. Right now though, Awario is a solid contender.
Social Listening is a very powerful technique for generating leads, engaging customers, and building your brand. Notifier could be described as a personal robot that constantly checks Reddit (and other Social Media Sites) for you. The clever automation tool monitors and scans for brand mentions and service or product-related keywords on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and many other social media properties. It then delivers relevant alerts right to your inbox.
Notifier allows marketers and sales departments to generate leads and market their products using social listening.
A free tool to track brand mentions or instances of any phrase mentioned across social media platforms, blogs, and news websites.
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 @doingSEO 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.
I use Google alerts to trigger mentions of my target keywords and topic mentions on Quora. Quora is a great place to build your brand's profile and answer questions on your favorite topics. Enter site:quora.com “brand or topic” into the alert box and wait to be first in the queue to answer questions.
Another great way to find the best questions to answer on Quora and to find great keyword opportunities on the site is to use QApop – Use code FFM for a 10% lifetime discount. QApop finds you high-quality questions with traffic estimations, reports, and analysis on your target audience, and even answer questions using AI-generated content directly on the platform.
Hexowatch is an AI-powered web scraper that monitors entire websites, individual URLs, or parts of a website. It's a powerful business analysis tool that leverages artificial intelligence to help you keep ahead of your competitors. 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.
One way to use Hexowatch is to monitorin the paid ad landing pages of your campaigns or those of your competitor. You can also spy on your competitors landing pages and get updates when they make a change. Another way to use this powerful tool is to set up alerts for when a team member or tech update changes an important tracking code or text on a page.
Use cases include:
- Knowing when a site publishes new content
- Getting alerts when your competitor edits a blog post
- Find out when a brand starts to use a new plugin, software or script on their website
- Get notified whenever a brand offers discounts or coupons.
And a lot more.
Twitter might be seen as the boring old social media network these days but it's still a great place for marketers to learn what people are saying about brands. And don't discount Twitter as a place to learn and grow a following. In 2021, improvements to the platform (Twitter Spaces, better ads, etc) mean that it's even better for businesses who want to build brands. And it's great for online brand monitoring.
TweetDeck is a free tool that most people haven't heard of. But it could be your business's secret brand monitoring service. Set up columns to monitor hashtags, phrases, and people. You can then quickly scan each column in the TweetDeck interface for interesting topics, brand mentions, and brand name uses.
Ahrefs is better known as a suite of SEO tools, the best known of which is the backlink checker. But the Alerts tool is a powerful brand monitoring service.
There are three types of alerts that you can create with Ahrefs
- 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.
Specify that the alert appears in the Title or Content to have greater control over the number and quality of mentions. Choose between most of the world’s main languages as the content language. Exclude domains like Google.com to prevent SERP results from triggering 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.
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.
Buzzsumo lets you find the most shareable content on the internet 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.
Talkwalker is a free tool that 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.
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.
Create customized 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.
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 listening.
Here are a few of the main ways to monitor your brand name:
- 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.
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.
Discover the creative ideas your competitors are using in their ad campaigns and learn about the products and services they are promoting.
Check your competitors’ ad samples and use them as a reference when creating your own new marketing strategies? BigSpy offers powerful advertising search technology and ad-based brand monitoring services.
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.
Bonus: Keyword Tracking
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.