Social media has become a valuable resource for consumers to interact with the brands they love and discover new ones. New users across the globe are flocking to social media platforms in record numbers and adding their voices to your brand’s narrative.

With social media tools, brands can capture a wealth of measurable insights from the consumer data that social networks provide. And social media monitoring is the key to staying on top of changes in the volume and tone of these online discussions that impact your brand – and you can be sure that potential impact is significant! Let’s dig into some “must-have” capabilities, followed by the advanced, and finally – some tools to help you stay ahead of it all.

Social media monitoring must-haves

The way consumers engage and evaluate brands online is constantly evolving. For this reason, it’s critical for brands, institutions, and agencies to listen and understand consumers as they share their opinions on social media. These opinions are a valuable resource to protect your brand health, detect emerging trends, and keep a watchful eye on competitors’ performance with consumers. Social media monitoring is how you do it – but not all tools are created equal.

Therefore, when you’re outfitting your social media monitoring toolbox, there are several critical use cases that you want to have in your arsenal at the end of the day. Let’s look at a few.

First and foremost, you need the capacity for robust brand health benchmarks. The ability to capture and measure posts, comments, potential impressions, and net sentiment are the bare minimum. Additionally, you need the ability to perform a precision-based social media audit on your brand to establish key metrics and understand your “normal.” Tracking these measurements over time shows how your brand performs online and is a critical element for early crisis detection.

Monitoring your marketing endeavors lets you track how your campaigns are playing out in real-time. This is vital for seeing what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, your social media monitoring should bolster your campaign strategy at the end of the day.

Likewise, your tools should leave you with a holistic outlook on your product innovation and launch. Shedding light on the consumer’s voice is critical to understanding their needs and wants, so you know which direction you need to go.

Your social media monitoring tools should be capable of casting a wide net on any topic allowing you to detect anomalies and emerging trends over time. Trend analytics is a critical component of social listening success and should inform your brand’s decision-making.

With the speed of social your social media monitoring tools should have a robust alert functionality to notify your team when your social media mentions or sentiment is going off the rails. Crisis management is a crucial aspect of social listening and something you never want to compromise on.

For the ultimate in competitive intelligence, your social media tools should have the capacity to perform the functions mentioned above on your competitors. This is particularly the case for brand health benchmarks – and even setting alerts. That way, you can compare the competition’s social media performance against your own. The goal is an accurate understanding of your share of voice within your market through competitor monitoring.

For example, tracking three competitors’ social media mentions in chunks of time gives you a window into share of voice. Monitoring these metrics over time lets you know if your brand is gaining ground.

To round out our social media must-haves, your tools should have the ability to identify and track conversations surrounding influencers and key opinion leaders that are shaping the narrative in your market. After all, they shape consumer opinion, so staying in tune with their conversations leaves you with a head start on detecting emerging trends. Not only that, it allows you to perfect your influencer marketing strategy ahead of the competition.

While these use cases don’t cover the entirety of what modern social media monitoring tools are capable of, these are a few of the high-priority abilities you want from your toolbox. Let’s explore the advanced side of social media monitoring tools in a little more detail.

Advanced social media monitoring capabilities

To excel in today’s business world, your social media analytics must happen in real-time. Artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning capabilities does the heavy lifting providing you with immediate access to measurable insights – which means quick decisions.

AI is a game-changer with social media monitoring, but not all AI is created equal. When choosing your social media tools, actionability is based on breadth and depth of insight. If your actions are based on half-baked AI, you have a problem.

Keeping that in mind, your social media monitoring tools should be capable of:

  • Accurately analyzing billions of conversations across all social media platforms on any topic with the push of a button
  • Recognizing patterns in human emotions, behaviors, and sentiment drivers
  • Revealing trending conversations and issues through sentiment measurement and volume
  • Analyzing demographic and psychographic data such as interests, habits, and opinions
  • Predictive (what is likely to happen) and prescriptive insights (recommend or do it for me)

There’s no doubt about it; if you want to keep up in today’s market, brands are leaning on social media tools that give them a holistic outlook at a moment’s notice. AI is the way to go, and you want to test your social media tools to ensure you’re getting accurate results. Again, not all social media monitoring tools are created equal. The key is to get actionable intel within each sentence for emotions, behaviors, attributes, hashtags, people, and brands.

Top social media monitoring tools to consider

Staying on top of your social media monitoring is a continuous process with many tools vying for your attention. Here, we’ll briefly cover a few tools that will help you cover the lion’s share of social listening applications that your brand needs to attend to.

NetBase Quid

NetBase Quid is the leader in social media and consumer experience analytics, capable of delivering insights 5x faster than other solutions. NetBase Quid’s next-generation artificial intelligence uses best-in-class machine learning for intelligent processing and analysis of social media and any other consumer and market data at scale.

NetBase Quid offers two distinct ways to assess data for social media analytics and data visualization. Quid not only takes your competitive intelligence to the next level with patent, company, news and blog data, but it also incorporates your NetBase queries into Quid Social for advanced social media monitoring data visualizations. That way, you can see your topic’s conversation at a glance and dive into the themes that impact your brand, like the Olympics conversation below.


Trend analytics and monitoring are the name of the game with social media monitoring, and Feedly allows you to make sure your social listening dynamic is staying the course. Leo is their “research assistant” that organizes social media sources around your topic, filters out the noise, and helps you share insights with your team. It’s a great add-on to double-check your primary social listening’s AI accuracy.


Many brands are all in on “stories” on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat – as well they should be. Stories give your brand another angle to social media and maximize impact. StoryHeap measures how your stories perform by following growth, open rate, completed views, and screenshots.

It’s a niche tool, but one that complements your marketing intel gleaned from your main social media monitoring tools, so you know the right direction to go.


When you’ve uncovered the data you need with your social media monitoring tools, Sendible helps you plan, post, and measure your content across a wide variety of platforms. When you’re putting your brand out there on social media, story is everything. Sendible allows you to take your social media insights, craft your marketing for direct hits and customize posts for each of your social media platforms – and track your progress.


Your consumers are talking about your brand and your competition on social media. Today’s top social media monitoring tools keep you apprised of relevant conversations, so you don’t miss a thing and can get ahead of narratives. Shaping the story is powerful, particularly when it so greatly impacts consumer perception. It’s essential to ensure your brand uses the latest world-class tools to stay a step of the competition – and keep pace with an increasingly demanding and fickle audience. Tomorrow’s opportunities are being shared online today!