When you have your own brand you want it to be as good as possible. You want to know what people say about you and address any concerns they might have. That is not an easy task, especially when you are just a small company. You simply do not have the resources to pay for a social media and customers relations team. Following Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all sorts of different platforms can be time-consuming and yet you don’t want to miss anything important.

Fortunately, there is a number of tools to help you out that allow you to do brand monitoring and manage your social media profiles from one place. Most of those tools also come with advanced analytics so you get a better of understanding of your audience. Knowing who talks about you, who is most likely to engage with your business on social media and which posts or the most popular can give you an advantage over your completion and significantly boost your brand.

From all the different tools available, we picked up three. Starting from the most basic to more complex software there is something for every business no matter whether you are only just starting or already have an established brand.

Hootsuite – Free for the basic plan or £7.99 for Pro version Hootsuite is great if you are only just starting with your business and don’t want to spend a fortune on social media. There are two plans that are ideal for small businesses. The basic plan is free and allows you to monitor up to 3 social media profiles. It gives you basic analytics and message scheduling. So if you simply want to have your social media profiles all in one place Hootsuite is the way to go. The ‘Pro’ version will cost you £7.99 but you get up to 10 social media profiles. In addition to basic reports that you get in the free version, each month you can access one enhanced report. It covers a wide range of sources and gives you more detailed information about your audience. You can even see the profession or education level of people that post on your website. There are other interesting features as well. For example, the software understands different languages and can identify the intention of buying a product so you can reach out to people and close a sale. Hootsuite is more focused on social media engagement rather than monitoring, but given its price, it is excellent for small businesses.

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Brand24 – $49 (£35) Brand 24 is a powerful social media and brand monitoring tool. Thanks to a range of different price plans it is popular among both large and small businesses. The basic plan, which we cover here gives you excellent data and sentiment analysis. You can monitor up to 5 keywords and the results are refreshed every 12 hours (real time if you chose a bit more expensive plans). So if there is a buzz around your business you will know about it soon enough to react. Excellent algorithms pick up slang and emoticons so you can actually know whether people are positive or negative about your brand (or any keyword you monitor). Uniquely, it monitors not only social media but also news sites and message boards. It monitors different languages, so it is great if you operate internationally. Brand24 is excellent for monitoring and analysis, but it does not allow you to respond to posts or schedule your own posts, if you really need these, then you need to look elsewhere

Raven – $99 (£70) Raven is one of the most advanced (and expensive) social media and brand monitoring software. For the monthly fee, you get access to over 30 different tools that help you monitor, analyse and respond to social media. This means you can schedule your posts on Facebook, Twitter and a number of other platforms via Raven. You can also see who comments on your pages and reply to comments. The package also includes YouTube and email campaigns monitoring, so you can easily see how successful your marketing campaigns have been across different platforms. There is also a report generator allowing you to export the data into different formats including PDF’s and CSV. Finally, Raven includes email support and free weekly classes on using the software allowing you to master it quickly. There is no doubt that Raven can be very useful, but being the most expensive option on our list it might not be the most cost effective. Before you sign up, make sure you really need all the tools and check out cheaper alternatives. There are dozens of other brand monitoring and marketing automation tools that can suit your needs, such as SocialMention, BrandsEye, Sysomos Heartbeat, Social Radar or Branwatch. We presented the ones we really like and use. Remember that you need to find the one that gives you all the tools you need, because finally, you are the one who takes action when your business name appears somewhere on the Internet.

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