Managing your own social media accounts is one thing, but you need to pay attention to the social media presence of others as well
Social media marketing is sometimes overlooked by B2B companies. However, even when you’re targeting huge companies in your marketing efforts, it's important to remember that the decisions are made by people, people who - just like everyone else - use social media. Statistics say that 84% of C- and VP-level buyers check social media before making a purchasing decision.
Social media for B2B companies can be a communication channel, a platform for raising brand awareness and even a source of leads. Managing your own social media accounts is one thing, but you need to pay attention to the social media presence of others as well. From your audience to your competitors, there are a lot of insights you can get from monitoring social media.
B2B companies can use social listening in a number of ways. For example, you can:
- Do market research (understand your audience, identify potential partners, influencers in your field).
- Manage your reputation.
- Consistently monitor competitors.
- Stay on top of industry trends.
What you need to undertake these activities is a tool that will help you collect and analyze social data. Now you are met with a task that, considering the sheer number of social listening tools on the market, might seem challenging.
At first glance, it seems like they all do the same thing, and your job is to just choose the most cost-effective one. However, they were all designed with certain specifics that can be vital for your business. The size of your brand, your goals and your resources will ultimately affect what tool will suit you best.
To make your life easier, I've comprised this list of the leading tools in the industry with the emphasis on what makes them stand out.
Awario is a powerful and versatile social media monitoring tool. It monitors all the major social networks and the web across the globe in more than 50 languages.
What’s great about its functionality is that Awario combines two different approaches to social listening: it suits well both for working with individual mentions and collecting and analyzing large amounts of social media data. Both of these approaches are necessary for a sustainable social media strategy.
Regarding the former, you will see individual mentions from social networks and websites in your mention feed. Here you can choose a filter to show you only a certain type of mentions (negative mentions, mentions from a certain time period, in a certain language, etc.) You can engage with mentions right from Awario’s platform.
You can also go to the Leads module. It’s a unique feature that utilizes social monitoring to identify potential leads on social media and lets you pitch your product directly to them. It uses a description of your business to find social posts that express interest in purchasing a product similar to yours.
As for working with social listening data, Awario offers rich analytics and different types of reports. In the dashboard and reports, you can track:
- Growth in number of mentions
- Top influencers
- Share of voice
- Mentions by country, language and source
You also have an Alert comparison report, where you can see how you are holding up against your competitors.
The Influencers report will show you top influencers for any chosen alert so you can find people who talk about your brand, your competitors’ brands and the industry’s hot topics.
Awario’s reporting includes unlimited historical web data, meaning you can go back in time as far as the data allows. There’s also a white-labeling option available to Enterprise users, so you can generate your own branded reports.
The tool offers a Boolean search mode, which you can use when you need to add multiple filters and conditions to your search query. It allows you to merge several keyword combinations and conditions in one query to make sure you only get the most relevant results.
Who is it for?
Awario is best suited for social media agencies, entrepreneurs and growing businesses. You can use it for community management, social selling and market research. Awario is a straight-up social listening tool, so if you’re after scheduling and monitoring features in one tool, read on.
Agorapulse is a social media management tool that helps you do everything you need to manage your social media presence: scheduling, analytics and social monitoring.
With Agorapulse, you can create a content calendar and schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Youtube.
As for monitoring, Agorapulse will automatically monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for your brand name and will then include the number of found brand mentions in its social media reports.
Moreover, you can set up a "listening search", i.e. monitor other keywords on Twitter and hashtags on Instagram. It allows you to assign discovered mentions to different members of your social media team. When monitoring on Twitter, you can add location or language filters for a more targeted search.
The number of mentions for the keywords you monitor will also be included in the social media report.
Who is it for?
As you might have noticed, Agorapulse’s social monitoring capabilities are not as powerful and advanced as those of a dedicated social listening tool. This is not a tool for comprehensive market research, spying on your competitors or managing your reputation, but it can help with engaging your audience.
Therefore, I would recommend this tool to those who, first and foremost, need a scheduling tool. If you’re on a strict budget and feel like scheduling, community management and analytics is more important to you right now than a comprehensive social listening strategy, Agorapulse is the option for you.
Keyhole is an enterprise-level social media monitoring tool primarily designed for analytics. Besides social listening data, it provides analytics from your own social media profiles on Twitter and Instagram.
Moreover, it gives you access to historical data, so whenever you start your social listening efforts, you will already have data to analyze. Thus, it gives you the ability to see the full picture in one place: how many people are talking about your company, how they engage with the content you share, and how your core social media statistics are changing.
Keyhole also lets you identify influencers who use monitored hashtags and hashtags that often come with your main hashtag.
To present the analyzed data, Keyhole offers you keywords clouds, white-label reports, mention maps, historical reports and an online dashboard that can be embedded on your website or shared.
Who is it for?
All the features that Keyhole provides are aimed at analyzing data. As I see it, this is the tool that would benefit marketers and social media managers who are looking for a good research-oriented tool. It’s in no way designed for engagement or community management.
Mention is another social monitoring tool that enables you to engage with your audience and analyze your social media presence at the same time. It has a lot of features that can improve your social listening strategy: a Boolean search mode, Sentiment analysis and Influencer search.
However, one thing that distinguishes Mention from other tools on this list is customizable API. It’s available to enterprise-level clients and basically allows you to use Mention’s features outside the tool itself, including:
- Building your own monitoring tool using Mention’s crawler
- Adding new features to a product you already have
- Integrating more data into your existing dashboards or reports
Speaking about reports, Mention has a feature dedicated specifically to reports called Insights Center. It provides users with social listening data visualization in numerous forms such as line charts, pie charts, bar graphs and more. You can click on a certain spike to see individual mentions from that day.
Who is it for?
The feature that makes Mention stand out is customizable API - so this tool would be a great choice for a company that wants to integrate social monitoring features into an existing tool or their native reports.
Brandwatch is another tool strongly focused on analytics. Although it allows you to interact with individual mentions, its true power lies in investigating social listening data. Brandwatch monitors a range of social networks and sites across the web to provide various marketing insights.
The Analytics platform gathers real-time data, lets you segment it in different categories, uncovers the sentiment behind mentions and lets you act on it. The recently added Iris AI feature analyzes the reasons behind sudden changes in data, which can help with reputation management.
The Audiences tool is particularly valuable for market research. It uncovers your consumers’ demographics, their interests, how they behave on social and so on.
Finally, the Vizia tool enables you to share all the discoveries with other people. It’s a highly flexible tool, which lets you choose what aspects of your analytics you want to include in the report. You can also integrate social data with other tools (Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Google Sheets and so on) and share the reports with anyone.
Who is it for?
Brandwatch is the big guns of social media marketing analytics. It would be the best fit for an Enterprise-level company interested in thorough market research and reputation analysis on social.
6. HubSpot Marketing
HubSpot is one of the leaders on the marketing tools market. It offers you everything a marketer might need: SEO, lead generation and social media management solutions as well as a comprehensive CRM.
Hubspot’s social media listening feature is built into the social media management software. One tool allows you to build marketing campaigns, automatically share content to various social channels and discover the best times to post.
The feature itself is closely connected with the other sales and marketing features: apart from creating monitoring streams for your keywords you can monitor social interactions with contacts in your database and trigger email alerts, so your sales team know when your prospects mention you.
To help you evaluate your social media presence Hubspot lets you compare performance across your social channels and keep track of the number of visits and leads you receive.
Who is it for?
Obviously, if you are already using HubSpot products, investing in their social media solution is the next logical step. If not, I see HubSpot as a great choice for those who are looking for a fully integrated marketing, sales and customer care system.
Note that the social listening feature focuses greatly on the engagement: customer care, lead generation and lead conversion. If you want to make social one of the primary platforms for engagement with other players in your industry, HubSpot might be just what you need.
Buzzsumo uses social monitoring to focus on a very specific part of marketing — content creation and promotion. Its main purpose is to give you pointers on what type of content will get the most views, what topics to cover, when and where to share it and so on.
Another area of focus for Buzzsumo is influencer marketing. You can search for influencers by any topic, area or location in real time and analyze their social media presence by reach, authority, influence and engagement. Then you can export all results such as content sharers, influencers and most shared content as CSV or Excel for detailed analysis and use in other applications.
Who is it for?
This tool would be the best fit for content creators; thus, bloggers, copywriters and content marketing managers are those who would benefit the most from it. Albeit Buzzsumo allows you to monitor certain keywords, features like Link Alerts, which notify you every time there’s a new link to your website, make it a perfect tool for content management.
What’s great about social listening tools, is that they are like Swiss army knives of social media marketing — by investing in one tool you get access to multiple marketing activities, from promoting your brand to closing sales. So I hope this article helped you with the research and now you’ll be able to select the right tool for your company.