“Social listening” is a phrase that we’ve all heard hundreds of times in the last decade, and we think we know what it means. As a technology, the definition is pretty clear but also quite narrow. It describes the ability of some software to monitor social media for mentions of anything you’d like, though most often it’s simply used to see what people are saying about you or your brand. If we remove the technological aspect of it, it sounds like something your therapist might say as she guides you toward being a better communicator. After all, you can’t have a dialogue if you aren’t listening and analysing what you’ve heard.
It’s this more holistic understanding of what listening actually is that’s at the heart of BrandMentions’ business. Founded in 2015 by Razvan Gavrilas, BrandMentions took a couple of years to get things right before launching the platform in December of 2017. That patience has paid off, as this is a monitoring tool with few equals. Since its launch 16 months ago, BrandMentions has seen its client base (and database) expand rapidly. With just shy of 11,000 companies signing on, the platform has indexed nearly 10 billion mentions on their behalf. It’s easy to understand why.
Social media monitoring is an essential tool for any marketer, but it’s often used in a simple call-and-response fashion. Somebody mentions you, or some relevant keywords, and you’ll find out quick enough to offer response with minimal delay. But that’s not a dialogue: that’s a back-and-forth that usually ends in, at best, a “Like.” Brandmentions allows you to do this, of course, but it isn’t the ultimate goal. There’s a lot more here than basic listening, and the results give brands the opportunity to get a complete picture of every mention of them across the global internet.
Toward this end, Brandmentions doesn’t limit its listening to a few channels. Every major social media platform is represented here, along with non-social websites. If your brand shows up in the news, on a blog, a review site, or anywhere else: the platform finds it, indexes it into the system, and notifies you for quick action (if needed). Even better, mentions aren’t treated as some kind of fleeting moment that’s over as soon you’ve reacted to them. Brandmentions offers ways to save, organise, and report on them, effectively turning them into data points which you can use for ongoing analysis and business intelligence.
Like many SaaS platforms, BrandMentions offers different tiers of service, with the feature list growing alongside price. Unlike others, the top tier plan is still incredibly affordable and within the reach of just about any sized business. They do offer a free trial, though a credit card is required for signup. You aren’t charged until after the 14 day trial period ends.
- New Business, $49/mo — 1 user can configure 1 project, tracking 2 keywords for up to 3,000 historical mentions. These mentions will only go as far back as 2 months, and you’ll receive daily email alerts.
- Growing Business, $79/mo — 2 users, 3 projects, 15 keywords, 100,000 instant mentions, 10,000 historical mentions up to 1 year old. You’ll also get priority email support, website traffic monitoring, sentiment analysis, filters & analytics, customisable reports, and data export.
- Company, $299/mo — 10 users, 10 projects, 50 keywords, 500,000 instant mentions, 50,000 historical mentions up 5 years old. Everything else that’s part of the Growing Business plan, plus: custom mention sources, white label reports, and phone support.
Brandmentions is purpose-built for monitoring, and this shows immediately upon setting up your first project. You’ll go through a fairly extensive configuration, first identifying the keywords you’re tracking—most likely this will be your company name and/or social handle. You can also monitor your competitors’ keywords and social handles (a big reason you’ll want to use a plan that supports multiple projects). You can go further in setting your project up by requiring or excluding certain keywords to appear in your results.
In the screenshot above, Brandmentions will search for anything with “influencer marketing hub” in it, but only show you those results which include the phrase “leading resource.” This is just for example’s sake: we don’t recommend you cherry pick all your good press to learn about your brand’s reputation (besides, the platform displays sentiment analysis for each mention, and you can filter your results accordingly). Beyond this, there are a dozen other settings you can configure in order to get the most relevant results.
After you’ve created your project, it takes less than a minute before you’re looking a breakdown of your mentions. You’ll see what came from the web, what came from social, and then a list of all the posts and content that were tallied. You can filter the results in a number of ways, and then any individual mention which comes up can be selected for a more in-depth view. With social posts you can respond directly from the Brandmentions interface. These posts can be bookmarked and/or tagged for future reference, making the future work of analysis that much easier to approach.
All of this data can be exported, or packaged into PDF reports, and as you continue to use Brandmentions that pool of data will continue to grow. Whether you’re tracking your own brand, competitors, specific products of yours, or anything else you want to monitor, the platform becomes more and more valuable as it gives you the tools to manage your brand’s reputation, social presence, and media coverage.
Remember, too, that this same process can be applied to your competitors. You can monitor them just as thoroughly as your company. You’ll see who their biggest fans are, see what they’re saying, and use that as a barometer for your own success. Even better, you’ll stay on top of their own marketing initiatives, and get an insight into their methods and audience that can only help you in the long run.
One area where BrandMentions doesn’t go far enough is with notifications: even with real time alerts, those alerts are being sent to your email address. For most of us, email is the 21st century version of snail mail—we don’t rely on it for up to the minute information. Fortunately, integrates with Zapier, which in turn allows you to connect your Brandmentions account to Slack or Hipchat for a more realtime experience.
With the Zapier integration, you can also connect with services like Buffer, Evernote, Pocket, Zoho CRM, and quite a few others.
There are already many social media monitoring tools available, each with some form of listening tool included. For those who’ve already deployed such tools, or for those considering them, you’re probably asking yourself why you’d want to invest in another app to do what those other all-in-one tools offer. There are two responses to this question:
- You clearly skipped the whole review and went straight to this conclusion, because that’s been covered, but I’m a nice guy so I’ll re-answer it in the second response.
- Brandmentions does more than just listen and alert, and it does that on more than just social media. Other tools provide you with the knowledge of what others are saying about you and give you the opportunity engage accordingly. Brandmentions does that, too, but the results you get are essentially a whole new set of tools that you can use to further your marketing strategies and stay ahead of the feedback curve.
Those other social media tools are great for their purpose, and Brandmentions is an excellent complement to them. It’s priced that way, too. The business intelligence you’ll get from it will pay for itself in no time.