5 Social Listening Tools That You’ll Actually Want to Use

Reputation management is more important today than it ever has been in the past. In years gone by what somebody thought of your business in the next city over mattered as little as what somebody on the other side of the globe thought about your business. Today things couldn’t be more different. The internet is written in ink, not pencil and anybody, anywhere in the world can share an opinion about your brand that could potentially cause serious harm to your business.

We shouldn’t be too pessimistic, but it’s important to be truthful about the potential that the public has to control the perception of businesses in this day and age. With such a large risk hanging over the head of every business it’s important that we be as proactive as we can be with our reputation management. Rather than waiting for a hashtag about your company to be trending, take control of the narrative a few minutes after it first appears on the web.

Reputation management works the other way around too. By spotting positive brand mentions quickly, you can reply to them, boost them around the web and allow them to have a far larger impact than they originally intended. If you’re smart about it, you can even search these positive mentions out in a time of crisis and use them to drown out the negative press that you’ll inevitably get on a regular basis as a successful company.

You don’t have to look far to see how online messages can tarnish a brand reputation. Take Uber for example who has repeatedly struggled with unsafe and occasionally criminal drivers who have hurt or stolen from their customers. These incidents might be incredibly rare, but it doesn’t seem that way when they trend on Twitter go viral online.

As a result, Uber has joined the rest of the worlds biggest companies in using a social listening tool to monitor their reputation actively and to nip problems in the bud before they start. Similarly, they’ll be able to use it to boost positive mentions and hopefully spin the narrative of their business in a beneficial direction.

What is a Social Listening Tool?

A social listening tool allows you to see what people are saying about you or your business on the internet. These tools are powered by a network of scrapers which crawl the internet in hopes of finding mentions of your brand name or whatever keywords you typed into the tool. When they find them, they show them to you in the dashboard, giving you the ability to react to them far before they get out of control.

The majority of these tools started by only showing your social media mentions, but the most advanced tools like Awario have progressed to showing your comments across the web, including on websites. This is far more powerful because often reputation issues can start before social media and although it might not seem this way, Facebook and Twitter are only a fraction of the internet content that is published on a daily basis.

Awario: The Leader in Social Listening Tools

The standout leader in the field is Awario, an enterprise-level software that is available at a consumer price. Awario gives you the ability to scan the entire web, not just social media so that you can see when somebody writes a comment on an obscure blog that tarnishes your brand name, or when there is a Reddit post about your company.

It’s believed that Awario scans far more pages than any of the commercial alternatives, processing over 13 billion web pages each day to ensure that you never miss a mention. The crawl rate of a tool is incredibly important because the faster the crawl rate, the earlier you’ll see a comment, giving you potentially days more to think of a response and to get a handle on the situation.

Competitors to Awario offer only a fraction of the daily crawl rate, making it far more likely that you’ll miss a mention and be blindsided by negative press. Awario is a leader in the industry because their technology is far more powerful than the competitions, giving you the ability to see a larger percentage of all of the messages about you on social media and across the web.

It’s not just their backend that impresses either. Their frontend customer dashboard is incredibly intuitive, prompting you to type in keywords that you want to monitor, as well as giving you the ability to select advanced options including negative exclusion. This feature is imperative in a social listening tool.

Let’s say you’re monitoring the word “Honda,” you don’t want to have to scroll through thousands of “for sale” posts. Which is why you’d probably exclude keywords like “sale,” “buy” and “cheap.” Awario makes this incredibly easy, which is why they are the go-to social listening tool for small businesses through to enterprise level customers.

Once you’ve set up your keywords, the tool will start searching the web, and within a few seconds, you’ll have thousands of recent mentions to look through. With their simple dashboard, you can scroll through the mentions in a tab on the left and see them in more detail on the right. Plus, if you only want to monitor a certain part of the web you can filter for a specific social media or type of post by clicking on the icons above the mentions feed.

Awario has three separate packages to choose from, starting at less than a dollar per day for small businesses and startups, though to an incredibly powerful plan for enterprises. Regardless of the power that you need, with 13 billion pages crawled on a daily basis Awario gives you clairvoyance, preventing you from missing a mention ever again.

Google Alerts: A Free Alternative

Although Google Alerts comes with only a fraction of the features that Awario has, it’s completely free and is a useful tool for small businesses and startups who are strapped for cash. Where Google Alerts falls short of Awario is that it only tracks the web pages that Google crawls, which means that you miss out on social media comments, Tweets, and other replies.

This is less than ideal, but for a free tool, it’s hard to complain. But for mentions outside of social media, Google Alerts is almost certainly the most powerful tool available. No other company comes close to Google for the number of pages they crawl on a daily basis. It’s quite literally what sets them apart from their competition in the search space, and therefore you’d expect that their alerts tool would be equally well-fed with new information.

For business owners who care about social media mentions a tool like Awario is a clear choice, but for monitoring websites and blogs, Google Alerts does a fantastic job. While you can log into its dashboard, most users choose to have any mentions sent directly to their email each day, making it quick and easy to track what people are saying about you online.

While Google Alerts isn’t packed with features, for many people that’s a benefit. If you’re searching for a simple, intuitive and smooth social listening tool that’s free of charge, it’s going to be hard to beat Google Alerts. There are free alternatives available, but crawling this many web pages is expensive, and therefore no free service is going to compete with commercial software like Awario or a free tool by a data company like Google Alerts.

Mention: Scan the Web

If Awario doesn’t impress you for some reason but you’re still in the market for a commercial listening tool that scans both the web and social media, Mention is a great alternative. While it only crawls an estimated 1 billion pages daily, 1/13th of what Awario does, it’s got a beautiful interface that could make it ideal for larger companies.

The businesses that lose out from a smaller crawl rate are small and medium-sized businesses. Large enterprises like Honda and Ford are typically getting mentioned on the biggest websites in the world, while Tim’s Local Bakery in Boise, Idaho might only be commented about on a local blog.

Search tools like Mention are likely to direct the majority of their crawl budget to the biggest websites because this is the most efficient way for them to get information. However, the smallest businesses are the ones who miss out. As a result, Mention is a great choice for larger businesses, but smaller companies would probably benefit from using Awario instead.

Similar to how Google Alerts works, Mention gives you an intuitive dashboard to log into where you can export your data in PDF or CSV where you can analyze it and manipulate the data. But if reputation management is only part of your job you might prefer to opt to have Mention send all of the previous days mentions directly to your email address.

This convenience factor can’t be overstated. It’s not unlikely that many days there will be only one or two messages that are worth responding to and having to search through a list in a dashboard isn’t the best use of your time when they could be emailed to your instead.

TalkWalker Alerts: The Bare Bones

There is a niche group of people who prefer not to use brands like Google and Microsoft because of their data collection tactics and for these people Google Alerts is a no-go. One free social listening tool that is a worthy alternative is TalkWalker Alerts. While it’s impossible that they’ll ever have a similar amount of data as Google, they do a fairly good job considering the service is free.

For a small local business who might only be mentioned infrequently and for whom a large PR scandal is incredibly unlikely, a tool like Awario or Mention might be overkill. In this case, TalkWalker Alerts is a wiser choice because it’s available free of charge and it gives you the option only to be emailed about the best mentions.

For a one-person or small team, this feature is invaluable. Rather than wasting your valuable time looking through hundreds of mentions, you can only hear about the most critical ones, allowing you to focus on your efforts and have the biggest impact. For this feature along TalkWalker Alerts is worth considering if you’re only searching for a free social listening tool.

Reputology: Monitor Your Reviews

The previous few tools that we’ve discussed have all had a similar approach to social listening. Either they scrape the entire web in hopes of finding every mention of your brand, or they crawl the main social media platforms to give you an insight into the mentions, comments, and tweets that you have. Reputology is slightly different because they focus their attention on the most common review platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews.

Reputology’s customer base is probably completely different from Awario. While Awario serves businesses who are mentioned across the web, Reputology is ideal for local businesses whose most likely PR problems will occur from bad reviews on Yelp and other platforms. Every local business knows how harmful a single 1-star can be, especially if you’ve only got a handful of reviews and therefore it can greatly impact your average.

The fantastic thing about quickly seeing bad reviews is that you as a business owner still have the opportunity to change that negative review into a positive one if you act quickly. As a restaurant owner a customer might have had a terrible experience the night before, but by acting quickly, giving them a refund and offering them a free meal, you could even get that negative review removed.

But without being able to see the reviews as quickly as possible and act rapidly, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any impact. After all, are you likely to take a company’s response seriously if it comes a month after the problem? Probably not, but if they reply the same day or the next morning, your response might be different, especially if they appear sincere and apologetic rather than combative.

The post 5 Social Listening Tools That You’ll Actually Want to Use appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

Study finds Reddit’s controversial ban of its most toxic subreddits actually worked

 It seems like just the other day that Reddit finally banned a handful of its most hateful and deplorable subreddits, including r/coontown and r/fatpeoplehate. The move was, at the time, derided by some as pointless, akin to shooing criminals away from one neighborhood only to trouble another. But a new study shows that, for Reddit at least, it has had lasting positive effects. Read More
Social – TechCrunch

Activity Report: Drill Down to See What is Actually Happening With Your Site or Product

A part of using analytics is knowing what user behavior is driving what action. Most tools only give you surface-level data. For example, you’re aware that signups decreased last week, but you won’t know which segments are behind any trends in your KPIs. And that makes it pretty useless.

Activity Report is our approach to solving this. With this report, you’ll look at specific events (say, user signups) over a period of time (week, month, etc) and then drill down to see what’s driving the trends. This helps you understand the “why” behind any meaningful trends.

Let’s see how this report works.

Product Marketers: See Which User Segments Are Driving Product Adoption

As product marketers, we’ll want to make sure our users are using product features, new and old, and staying engaged with the product. We can track this engagement and what’s driving it in the Activity Report.

You can set up an event to trigger anytime someone users a feature in your product. For simplicity in this post, we’ll have an event that triggers when someone uses feature “A”. We’ll set the date range to the last 30 days.

product adoption graph

793 people have used the feature in the last 30 days. We see our usual dips that occur during the weekends, but quickly recover on Mondays.

To see who is using this feature, we’ll drill down by selecting account status. This will show us how many are current, paying users and how many are trial users.

segmentation first level activity report

This shows us very clearly that the bulk of people using this feature are paying users. Our trial users are significantly fewer, and they use it less times than our paying users. Our free users have low engagement, about 2 times per person, far fewer than the 18 and 25 we have for paying and trial users.

Let’s look at the plan tier for our paying users. This will help us answer the question – are our enterprise users using the app more? Or is it the small or medium users?

account status propertyproperty values table in kissmetrics activity report

This shows us that users on the medium plan type are the ones who are, by far, using this feature the most. They’re driving the engagement, or lack thereof, of the feature.

So now that we know this, what’s the next step? What can we do with this information?

We know the user behavior – our enterprise and small customers aren’t engaging with this feature as much as we’d like. Wouldn’t it be nice to send an email to these users to get them familiar with the feature and to give it a try?

Good news – we can do this quite easily. And we won’t have to leave Kissmetrics to do it.

With Kissmetrics Campaigns, we can send email messages to anyone in our user base. We’ll simply set the criteria for the users in the small and enterprise plan who haven’t used the feature and send them a message giving the background on this feature and the primary benefits.

Marketers: Understand What’s Influencing Signups

You sit down on Friday afternoon to write your weekly report, and pull up the Activity Report to see that signups have been plummeting all week.

We went from 36 signups on Sunday down to just 7 on Thursday.

What’s causing this drop? Let’s drill down to see.

We’ve been running a lot of ad campaigns lately, so let’s split these signups by marketing channel : origin. This will show us the original marketing channel they come from (ie organic, paid, social, etc) and then origin will display the referring URL or the Campaign Name that was used in the UTM parameter.

channel origin kissmetrics

Here’s where our customers are coming from:

where customers are channels

To visualize this data, we’ll scroll up to the graph:

visualization activity report graph

We can see what’s driving the slump in signups. The blue line, representing our adwords traffic, is almost perfectly correlated with our drop in signups for all channels. Now we know the channel that’s causing the drop, but to investigate further, let’s drill down into our adwords channel to see what ads are specifically leading the drop.

We’ll select the UTM Campaign Terms to see which ad group is responsible for the drop.

And we have our answer. Adwords-group-3 is the primary driver of the poor performance. We’ll have to turn this ad group and create new ads that convert better.

So to recap – we saw our signups plummet in one week, we drilled down by the marketing channel, and the origin. We saw that AdWords was responsible for the drop, but because we have multiple ad groups we didn’t know which segment was responsible. So we drilled another level down into Campaign Terms and got our answer. And we did this all with a single report, and we got the insight in a couple minutes.

Growth Teams: See Which Segments Are Outperforming and Underperforming in A/B Tests

Growth teams rely on constant experimentation and learning to drive growth for their companies.

What we’ll do here is look at a conversion event, signed up, then drill down into which a/b test they were in, then see what referrer they originated from.

So we’ll select our event, signed up and see how it’s performed over the last 30 days:

activity report metric 30 days

Looks like it’s holding steady. Now let’s drill down to our recent a/b test and view the variants in this group:

activity report and ab tests

Wow – it looks like variant group 1 received significantly more signups than original and the people that weren’t in the a/b test. Let’s look further at our winning variation by seeing who referred them to our site:

activity report km referrer drill down

We have 70 different referrers, but let’s focus on the top 3.

Looks like our social media mentions and views on Hacker News and Inbound received the most views and brought the targeted traffic that ended up converting to signing up.

What can we learn from this? Our traffic coming from these sources is targeted towards the right audience that is interested in our product. We should to get more traffic coming from these channels.

While we can’t advertise on Hacker News or Inbound, we can on Facebook and other places where our audience frequently visits. To get on Hacker News, Inbound, and other places we’ll have to release features that capture that audience’s attention or write influential, thought-provoking pieces that are worth sharing. Easier said than done, but now we know what brings qualified traffic.

Video Demo

More of a video person? We’ve created this short video demo that explains Activity Report in under 2 minutes.



Often times in analytics you’ll need to drill down to see exactly what’s driving what. That’s what Activity Report does. Pick a KPI, and drill down to see what’s driving the growth or contraction. Request a demo to see how it will work for your company.

The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

You know that Jayden K. Smith Facebook hack? It’s actually a hoax that doesn’t make any damn sense


Here’s a story you’ve probably heard before: A viral hoax is spreading on Facebook, that, when you stop and think about it, really doesn’t make any damn sense

Monday’s hoax involves a supposed hacker named Jayden K. Smith. 

As far as the hoax goes, users are warned about an incoming friend request from a user named “Jayden K. Smith,” who is reportedly a hacker. Then the user is encouraged to share the warning with all of their friends to protect one’s Facebook network from Jayden.

The warning looks a little something like this: Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Hackers, Hacking, and Social Media

Social Media

Facebook Ads That Actually Work (and why), The Facebook Funnel and More: The Social Scoop 12/9/2016

Greetings, friends!

How are your Holiday marketing campaigns doing so far? With the biggest retail time of the year for most businesses, it’s perfect timing to ramp up your offers and really take advantage of the great targeting features that both Facebook and Instagram offer. Facebook rounded up useful tips to help increase your year-end sales:

The holiday shopping season continues through the end of the month. Target last-minute shoppers and encourage self-gifting to capture additional sales opportunities. After the holidays, identify your best-performing ads so you can create similar ones next year.

And, if you want to dive in a bit deeper, here’s a great roundup of all the best Facebook business news from November!


Your Facebook 2017 Content Master Plan

If you missed the fabulous free webinar I co-lead last week with my friends at BuzzSumo, you can catch the replay here. BuzzSumo analyzed 800 million+ Facebook posts and presented the data. Then, I walk you through a proven content plan for the coming year! Enjoy!

Save 20%! Special ‘MARICHEER’ Offer

Animoto is a great tool for creating professional videos to share on Facebook and other social channels. You can save 20% off a Professional or Business plan by entering the code ‘maricheer.’ New subscribers only. Valid through 12.31.16.

This week’s top 3 articles:

1. 11 Examples of Facebook Ads That Actually Work (And Why) via

Businesses of all sizes are using Facebook ads to put their company in front of potential customers. But why is it that some get great results and others get little in return? This post shows us 11 ads that work and, more importantly, explains why. There’s so much great information here, you’ll want to save it to refer back to it as a reference!

2. The Facebook Funnel: Create a Social Media Strategy that Converts via

A successful Facebook funnel will help you to take a potential customer from awareness, to consideration and conversion. Doing this requires a solid plan. For each stage of the sales funnel you need to be aware of who you are going after, what type of content you will share and how you will know if it’s working.

For another spin on the Facebook funnel concept, do check out my friend Dennis Yu’s post. Dennis is a highly experienced Facebook ads ninja. 🙂

3. 15 Sources to Find Proven Content Ideas (In 30 Minutes Or Less) via

It can be challenging to find interesting ideas for content, yes? Even more so if you’re pressed for time! Well, this post has 15 sources where you can go  (quickly) to find ideas that will work for you. It will certainly come in handy when you have a difficult time coming up with something new.

Planning for Profits – FREE Webinar!

Jeanine Blackwell Training


Build Your 12-Month Launch and Promotion Calendar (in One Hour)
Do you have a plan and calendar in place for 2017? Most coaches, consultants, and experts are creating a job rather than a business but there’s a powerful shift in your thinking that will help you create a profitable business that works for you. Join my dear friend Jeanine Blackwell for her brand NEW webinar training, and she’ll show you how to create your launch and promotion calendar a full year in advance. Grab your spot here!

That’s all for this week’s issue of The Social Scoop. Have an awesome weekend and week ahead.

On a personal note, it’s the most wonderful time of year… for Holiday parties, singalongs, good cheer, lunch with friends, fun and festivities. YAY! I hope you’re having a blessed December so far.


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Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

A non-gamer’s best guesses as to what Pokémon Go actually is


I’m a 37-year-old man with a 17-month-old little boy, and I am increasingly out of touch with video games. But since I work at Mashable, where I am the science editor, I am surrounded by people who do play video games, and who are obsessing over something called “Pokémon Go” at the moment.

I’ve been trying to figure out what the hell Pokémon Go is, but without telling people that I have no idea what it is. I do this whenever I don’t want to appear like a pop culture idiot, and it’s happening with increasing frequency as I get older.

More about Gaming, Nintendo, Video Games, Social Media, and Pokemon Go

Social Media

Instagram’s website actually becomes useful with new notifications tab



If you ever tried to log into Instagram on the web, you probably weren’t very happy with the experience. Yes, your account was there, and you could browse through your posts, but pretty much everything else was absent.

This changed recently with the introduction of the notifications tab, a little heart-in-a-circle icon in the upper right corner, which shows you a feed of activities related to your account. There you can see if anyone followed you, tagged you, liked your posts or commented on them. 

This still doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy the Instagram web experience very much — the mobile apps are still vastly better. For example, the Explore tab is missing, so you can only see your own posts and the posts of your friends, but good luck finding something fresh. And the Activity tab itself is only showing activities related to your posts, not to those of your followers (like it does on mobile).  Read more…

More about Web, Notifications, Instagram, and Social Media

Social Media

Appeal: Does your value proposition actually make customers say, “I want this product or offer”?

Startups can reveal some pretty enlightening information about what makes a successful value proposition. After all, unlike established companies with divisions and brands and patents and factories and distribution networks, the main asset many startups have is their value proposition (often communicated as an “elevator pitch”).

CB Insights recently conducted a post-mortem of more than 100 failed startups to try to figure out what went wrong. 


The top reason they failed — “No market need,” cited by 42%.

To put that into marketing terms, their value proposition had no appeal.

Appeal is one of the sub-elements of the patented value proposition heuristic developed by MECLABS Institute, parent research organization of MarketingExperiments. This thought tool has been created to help companies understand what elements are necessary for a forceful value proposition, and how to optimize those factors.


But what is appeal exactly? It is the unspoken desire of the customer — “I want this.”

It is not, however, marketing. Or advertising. Or incentive. And here’s where the confusion often comes in.


You can’t advertise your way out of having no appeal

Well, I guess it is possible. If you have enough money. If you can flood the market with your ads, and work sweetheart distribution deals with key stores and resellers, sure, you could be successful.

But for most companies, advertising and marketing is not where appeal should originate. An incentive should not drive the appeal.

The appeal should be intrinsic to the product, service, experience or offer presented to the customer.

Then, marketing’s role is to tap into the discovered appeal with messaging that clearly and credibly communicates that appeal.


And you can’t dictate appeal

I’m sure you’ve been in meetings where this has happened. The highest-paid person comes up with an idea for a new feature or product that they are interested in, and pushes the idea through creation and marketing because he thinks customers will want it as well.

Except the elephant in the room is this: Everyone knows that most customers won’t care.

Product development must emanate from what is appealing to customers, not thrust upon them.

Sure, there is the occasional golden gut like Henry “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse” Ford.

But what would have been so bad about asking? That customer knowledge — customers want faster transportation — could be combined with key decision makers’ business wisdom to create a product that is an alternative to a horse, but yet still delivers the main element that would be appealing: increased speed.


Appeal is a core truth

Appeal is a deep, core truth to why customers want your product and respond to your offers.

It is the delivery of a value they either want or need, and a powerful enough delivery of that value that they will overcome the cost, both monetary and non-monetary (time, friction, etc.), to obtain it.


How to leverage appeal to improve marketing performance

  • Listen. Whether it’s through social media listening, conversations and surveys of customers, or meetings with customer-facing employees like Customer Service and Sales, be open to what customers are telling you. If one customer or sales rep says one thing, you haven’t necessarily identified the appeal. However, once you start seeing a pattern, it will become pretty clear that you should test some changes to the product or offer. For example, Gregory Casey, User Experience Designer and Architect, eBags, would go into customers’ homes and watch them shop to help understand what is appealing to his ideal customer about the experience of buying handbags.
  • Segment. There is not a single compelling appeal for all of your customers. The better you segment, the better you are able to appeal to specific customer types and understand the different elements of your product that are appealing to them. For example, way back in 2000, ePrize understood that what would appeal to large and small merchants in an online banner ad about sweepstakes was very different, and was able to generate 0.5% banner clickthrough by targeting that appeal.
  • Experiment. Understanding who your groups of customers are (segmenting) and then listening to what those customers want should be used to inform behavioral experimentation designed to discover what appealing messaging will actually encourage them to take action. For example, we ran a PPC ad test to help understand what was most appealing about MarketingExperiments.
  • Message. Once you have identified your product’s or offer’s appeal, you must message it in a way that also expresses the exclusivity of the offer to help create an effective value proposition. After all, if something is appealing, but your ideal customer can buy it in many other places, why should they buy it from you?


You can follow Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, @DanielBurstein.


You might also like

Boost Your Online Ads: Strengthen your value proposition by focusing on your “only factor” (interactive research brief)

Search Engine Marketing: Finding appeal for your PPC Ads

Value Proposition Development online course [From MECLABS, parent research organization of MarketingExperiments]

MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas