Mighty Marketing Mojo social media listening research solopreneurs

Monitor Social Media to be a Smarter Marketer

Social media isn't just a tool for promoting your solopreneur work – it's a way to connect with your customers, offer customer service, and it is a great marketing research tool.

Social Media for Market Research PLUS Marketing

You can find out a lot about your niche, your target audience, and how your prospective customers think and act by doing some social listening. But it can seem time consuming, after all, there are so many platforms and the conversations move FAST!

There are tools for that …

Just like all other areas of marketing these days, there are a wide range of tools to help with social media monitoring or social listening research. Some have free versions, others lock some of the most powerful features behind the paid doors, and others – well, they're just too big and pricey for the likes of us solopreneurs. (I might mention them from time to time, because you could grow into one of those tools, or a larger client with deeper pockets may need it – and you look like a hero for telling them you know all about AgoraPulse or Meltwater for example.)

There are specific tools per social media type, but there are also tools that work across different types of accounts to help you find out what the buzz is, know what type of buzz to create, and how to make the most of what's happening on social media. Remember – there's really no such thing as ‘social media marketing' – social media is just one more tool we put in our kits and our marketing plans.

Social Monitoring or Social Listening Tools

Google alerts – Get specific search results delivered to your inbox via Google Alerts. Enter a search term and how you want the information delivered, and monitor the buzz about yourself and your business all over the entire net.

Google alerts search results for Jennifer E Burke The InfoHound

TalkWalker Alerts – a free alternative to Google – because honestly, Alerts doesn't get a lot of love, updating, or fixing from Google and has seemed close to the Google Graveyard for past few years. (I’ve replaced my old Google Alerts with TalkWalker alerts). For TalkWalker Social Search you need to create a free account first, which gives you unlimited searching over the last 7 days of social platforms, blogs, news, and forum sites. Use keywords, then narrow by country, media, engagement, reach, demographics, etc. See results in a timeline, or change the layout to display engagement, date published, potential post reach, etc. [rest of Talkwalker tools are $$ pricey]

Socialmention.com – This is a lot like Google Alerts but focused only on mentions in social media. Type in the keywords that you want to watch, like your business name or products and services, and see with who and where they're being mentioned. You can even get a widget to put on your website to display the results live. You can select specific social media to search or all.

social mention social monitoring tool results New York Public library search

PinAlerts – a simple tracking tool that tells you if someone Pins something from your website. Free tool. [Now a part of Tailwind, a major player in social tools, especially for larger businesses. Tailwind also offers Instagram scheduling and analytics. Tailwind tools start at $9.99/month]

TweetBinder – for researching hashtags on Twitter, Instagram. See the reach, likes, comments, user rankings, how often people use a given tag, and what influencers are sharing.

Tagboard – search hashtags from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more. See what else others are saying around hashtags you are using or interested in – double check before you use that tag in your post to make sure it means what you think it does! You can filter results by network, and you can save your results.

Klout.com – You can sign in with either Twitter of Facebook, and then you can find out how influential you are. Join and engage with other influential people to build more klout earning perks. Recognize influencers in your business and life by giving them Klout. Then, use Klout data to improve.  [Fair warning – I haven't used Klout as a measure of my social reach in years.]

Mention – (not to be confused with Social Mention). This alterative to Google Alerts makes sure you don’t miss any instance of your brand or organization being talked about online. Track keywords, get instant updates so you react quickly. Robust view. [Free for 1 alert, 9.99/mo for 2]

Brand24 social media monitoring, track mentions of brand name or keywords; also available via mobile apps

BuzzStream – track or manage influencer outreach campaigns. Find relevant influencers in your niche, find their blogs, manage emails to news outlets and PR sources. [paid only, limited-time free trial]

TweetReach.com – Want to know how far your tweet traveled, or simply research a phrase, #hashtag or keyword for future efforts via Twitter? You have to authorize the app, but once you do the research possibilities are truly endless. Lite plan starts at $23/month.

Instagram anlaytics from Minter.io –  one of the tougher social platforms to optimize cleanly for business use and to see your performance, this tool offers insights on followers and your pictures.

LikeAlyzer – a simple, FREE, Facebook metrics tool that lets you check ANY Facebook page's metrics (not need authorization, just link to page). It grades out of 100 and compares to competitor's pages, or ones with the same industry tags. The reports include suggestions for improvement [tool is from Meltwater].

facebook social media metrics monitoring
Facebook page analysis for top nonprofit

Simply Measured – offers 4 different Facebook reports. Insights repurposes data direct from FB into better looking graphs; Competitive Analysis report – compare yours to up to 10 other fan pages and get visual metrics; Fan Page Report – more depth on engagement, community, content metrics; Content Analysis report – engagement, post types, common keywords. One of the ‘Big Biz Toys.' [4 FREE reports, main data suite is PRICEY at $500/mo – NOT a solopreneur, small biz tool]

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Audiense – this one seems like a ‘Big Biz Tool' – but its free version is incredibly robust in the data it offers! I LOVE how much I can get for free. The free version does have limits on the number of social platforms and accounts you can monitor, or how far back certain data goes – but the depth and breadth of the data makes up for it. Want to know when the best time to Tweet is for YOUR audience of followers (yeah you do – so you can make those scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer work better!)? Want to know more about your followers, their demographics and interests, how much influence they have? You can get it – free.


Audiense social listening monitoring time to tweet data graph
Best time for me to Tweet


Audiense Twitter statistics data dashboard social monitoring
My Audiense Twitter Stats Data

Don't Forget the Analytics Built-in to Social Platforms

Facebook Insights – Via Facebook Insights you can get a lot of information about your reach, who is engaged with your content, and even the viral potentiality of your posts. Find the demographic and geographic breakdowns of readers of your page's posts. Likes analysis lets you sort organic vs promoted posts engagement. You can also see the potential reach of your posts if your “likes” shared what you posted via the “friends of fans” potential.

Twitter Analytics – don't forget the built-in analytics on offer from Twitter. You should be looking beyond just your Follower numbers, and you can here – with impressions, clicks, engagement rate as well as standard stats like RTs, Likes, or mentions.

social monitoring twitter analytics statistics TheInfoHound
Analytics snapshot for @TheInfoHound

Pinterest Analytics – yes, you can -and should- measure your performance on Pinterest if you are using it for your business! And naturally Pinterest has a built-in tool for that.

Social Management Tools Have Metrics and Social Monitoring Too

TweetDeck.com – This is more of a social media management tool than a “monitoring” tool, but it enables you to do both. You will be able to filter what you see to be most relevant to how you want to use Twitter. Not only that, it also works to connect with other social media too like Facebook, LinkedIn and others. This can save tons of time and frustration.  [once a stand-alone tool, now owned by Twitter]

HootSuite – Of course, no social media monitoring article can leave out HootSuite.com. This social media management and monitoring tool offers you to view, use and monitor all types of social media under one browser, or one excellent mobile app. It's easy to save searches or save a #hashtag in Hootsuite for easy monitoring. Hootsuite offers free and paid plans. The free version may be perfectly fine for most solopreneurs with limited social media accounts to manage, and if you aren't trying to bulk schedule many posts in advance [since late 2017 free plans are limited to 30 advance posts]. The paid plans start at $19/month, which is not expensive and can be very useful to business owners who use multiple types of social media. You may need nothing else if you have this tool.  [Caveat: I use Hootsuite, Buffer, AND a few other tools to help me schedule and promote.]

hootsuite social analytics dashboard example

AgoraPulse – a tool for social management, monitoring, and distribution. You can schedule, push content on all channels, look at your metrics, see per post analytics to help get more engagement from audience and on each platform, look at it all in nice charts, and more. Plus run quizzes, sweeps, and contests.  AgoraPulse offers some free tools (Facebook Page stats, Twitter stats, Timeline contests) and then paid plans start $49/mo   Another free tool is AgoraPulse Barometer – free access to 8 competitive analysis stats for Facebook.

AgoraPulse Competitive Analysis sample
Agora Pulse social monitoring data heat map
Agora Pulse social data heat map



However, with everything it offers, the price could be worth it for a business that is  actively and consistently engaged on all the major social platforms and is serious about managing and monitoring all their social media under one service. Chances are, that's not you or I, solopreneurs!

Mighty Marketing Mojo social media listening research tips for solopreneurs

Social Monitoring Needs to Be in Your Solopreneur Skills and Toolkit

It's clear that monitoring social media is an important component of doing business on the web today. Just like tracking your own metrics, you need to have a plan and know what you're looking for and what you will do with the data you unearth. Don't search or monitor blindly!  Even if you have a bricks and mortar store, it is imperative that you're the one creating the buzz for your business and (if needed) redirecting buzz leading in the wrong direction. With these tools you can be back in control.

Add social media monitoring or social listening to your skill set and part of your solopreneur business routine.

Want more advice on how to get even smarter about social media research (like social monitoring) or how to use social media successfully while not being online 24/7?  Click below and check out special new training Smarter Social Media Success!

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About the author 

Jennifer Burke

I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.

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