How to Create a Free Social Listening Tool Strategy

Discover how to create a free social listening tool strategy to monitor online conversations, track brand mentions, and gain valuable insights to enhance your marketing efforts. Learn the steps and tools needed to get started today.

By Roma

A solid social media strategy is essential for any marketer looking to boost their online presence. A powerful social listening tool can provide valuable insights and transform your approach to social media monitoring. Social media listening and monitoring goes beyond tracking brand mentions; it involves analyzing real-time online social conversations across various different platforms.

By using social monitoring, you can gain deeper insights into your target audience, refine your content strategy, and enhance brand awareness. Tools like Google Alerts and other media monitoring solutions allow you to stay updated on what people are saying about your brand, track hashtags, and engage with your audience on multiple social channels.

In this article, we'll explore how to use social listening to gain valuable insights and maintain a strong online presence. We'll discuss the best social media monitoring tools, key metrics to track, and provide examples of effective social listening to help you build a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. 

Understanding and leveraging these listening capabilities will allow you to create a more responsive and engaging experience for your audience.

Step 1: Define Your Objectives


1. Monitoring Brand Mentions and Sentiment

- Track what people are saying about your brand and how they feel about it.

- We can use tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, Mention

- It is for us to understand public perception and address any issues promptly.

2. Tracking Industry Trends

- Stay updated on the latest developments in your industry.

- Tools like TweetDeck, Social Mention can help us track the latest trends.

- It can keep your business relevant and competitive by following trending topics and discussions.

3. Understanding Customer Preferences

- Learn what your customers like, dislike, and expect from your brand or product.

- To tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to meet customer needs.

4. Identifying Influencers and Brand Advocates

- Find key individuals who can help promote your brand.

- Build relationships with influencers who can amplify your message and reach a broader audience.

5. Gauging the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns

- Measure how well your marketing campaigns are performing on social media.

- Adjust your strategies based on real-time feedback and performance data to improve future campaigns.

Step 2: Identify Relevant Keywords and Topics


Types of Keywords to Consider

1. Brand-Related Keywords

- Track direct mentions of your brand to understand public perception and address any issues quickly.

- Examples are your brand name, product names, common misspellings

- It helps in brand monitoring and maintaining a positive online reputation.

2. Industry Keywords

- Stay updated on industry trends and competitor activities.

- Examples, key terms related to your industry, competitor names, relevant trends

- It keeps you informed about the broader industry landscape, allowing you to stay competitive.

3. Customer Pain Points

- Understand the common issues and questions your audience has to improve your products and services.

- Keywords related to common complaints, questions, and feedback from customers are some examples.

-It provides actionable insights into customer needs and helps tailor your offerings to better meet their expectations.

Step 3: Choose Free Social Media Listening Tools


Overview of Free Tools Available for Social Media Listening

1. Google Alerts

- Google Alerts set up alerts for your keywords to receive email notifications about new mentions across the web.

- Enter your keywords, choose how often you want notifications, and specify the sources you want to monitor.

- Simple to set up and covers a wide range of sources, including news, blogs, and forums.

2. Hootsuite Free Plan

- Hootsuite allows you to monitor up to three social media profiles and track mentions and keywords.

- Add your social media accounts, set up streams for keywords, hashtags, and mentions.

- Comprehensive dashboard for managing multiple social media accounts and listening streams.

3. TweetDeck

- TweetDeck is a free tool for Twitter that lets you create custom timelines to monitor specific keywords and hashtags.

- Set up columns for each keyword, hashtag, or Twitter handle you want to track.

- Real-time monitoring of Twitter conversations, easy to use interface.

4. Social Mention

- Social Mention aggregates user-generated content marketing from across the web into a single stream of information.

- Enter your keywords and see results from various social media platforms, blogs, and forums.

- Provides sentiment analysis and top keywords associated with your search terms.

5. Talkwalker Alerts

- Talkwalker Alerts is similar to Google Alerts but with more advanced filtering options.

- Set up alerts for your keywords and customize the filters for sources, languages, and frequency.

- More precise filtering options for better-targeted results.

6. Mention

- Mention's free version available for monitoring mentions and getting notifications.

- Set up alerts for your keywords and receive notifications when they are mentioned online.

- User-friendly interface with real-time alerts and analytics.

Step 4: Set Up Listening Streams


1. Google Alerts

How to Use:

- Go to Google Alerts.

- Enter your keyword in the search bar.

- Click on "Show options" to set the frequency of notifications (e.g., as-it-happens, once a day, once a week).

- Choose the sources you want to monitor (e.g., news, blogs, web).

- Select your preferred language and region.

- Click "Create Alert" to start receiving email notifications.

- Set an alert for your brand name to receive updates whenever it's mentioned online.

2. Hootsuite

How to Use:

- Log in to Hootsuite and go to your dashboard.

- Click on "Streams" and then "Add Stream."

- Select the social media profile you want to monitor.

- Choose the type of stream (e.g., keyword, hashtag, mentions).

- Enter your keyword or hashtag.

- Click "Add Stream" to create your monitoring stream.

- Add a stream for the hashtag #YourBrand to track conversations about your brand on Twitter.

3. TweetDeck

How to Use:

- Log in to TweetDeck.

- Click on the "+" icon to add a column.

- Select "Search" and enter your keyword, hashtag, or Twitter handle.

- Click "Add Column" to start monitoring the keyword in real-time.

- Create a column for "@YourBrand" to monitor all mentions of your Twitter handle.

4. Social Mention

How to Use:

- Go to Social Mention.

- Enter your keyword in the search bar and click "Search."

- Review the aggregated results from various social media platforms.

- Set up an RSS feed for continuous monitoring.

- Search for your product name to see what users are saying across different platforms.

Organizing Streams Based on Your Objectives

1. Brand Monitoring

-Track mentions of your brand name and products to manage your online reputation.

-Create streams for your brand name, product names, and common misspellings to capture all relevant mentions.

2. Industry Trends

-Stay updated on industry news and developments to keep your business competitive.

-Follow hashtags and keywords related to your industry, such as #IndustryNews or key terms related to emerging trends.

3. Customer Feedback

-Monitor customer satisfaction, complaints, and inquiries to improve your products and services.

-Set up streams for keywords related to common issues and feedback, such as "YourBrand complaints" or "YourProduct reviews."

Step 5: Analyze the Data

1. Sentiment Analysis

-Determine whether mentions of your brand are positive and negative, or neutral.

-Use tools like Hootsuite, Mention, or Social Mention to analyze the sentiment of your social media mentions.

-Review the sentiment scores and read through mentions to understand the context.

-Helps you gauge public perception and identify areas needing improvement or celebration.

2. Trends and Patterns

- Identify recurring themes, questions, or issues that your audience frequently discusses.

- Look for common keywords and hashtags associated with your brand.

- Use tools like Google Trends or BuzzSumo to track trending topics and related conversations.

- Allows you to stay relevant and address your audience's concerns proactively.

3. Influencers and Advocates

-Spot individuals who frequently mention your brand positively and have a significant following.

-Use tools like BuzzSumo, Mention, or Hootsuite to identify top influencers mentioning your brand.

-Analyze their engagement metrics, such as likes, shares, and comments, to assess their influence.

-Helps you build relationships with key influencers who can amplify your brand's message.

Step 6: Engage with Your Audience

Importance of Engagement in Social Media Listening

Engagement goes beyond just listening to what people are saying about your brand. It involves actively participating in conversations, showing that you value your audience's opinions, and building a community around your brand. 

Regular and meaningful engagement can strengthen your brand's reputation and foster long-term customer loyalty.

Tips for Responding to Mentions

1. Acknowledge Positive Feedback

-Show appreciation for compliments and positive mentions.

-Thank users for their support and feedback.

-Share or retweet positive mentions to amplify good news.


2. Address Negative Comments Constructively

-Handle criticism with grace and a willingness to resolve issues.

-Apologize for any inconvenience and offer solutions or next steps.

-Take serious issues to private messages if necessary to avoid public disputes.

Example: "We're sorry to hear about your experience. Please DM us your details so we can make it right."

3. Respond to Customer Inquiries and Complaints Promptly

-Provide timely and helpful responses to questions and complaints

-Set up alerts to ensure you respond quickly.

-Provide clear and concise information or direct users to the appropriate resources.

Example: "Thanks for reaching out! You can find the instructions here: [link]. Let us know if you need any more help!"

Tools for Engagement

1. Hootsuite

- Allows you to reply directly to mentions and comments from the dashboard.

- Streamlines engagement across multiple social media platforms in one place.

2. TweetDeck

- Enables you to engage with users by replying, retweeting, and liking tweets.

- Ideal for managing and interacting with your Twitter audience in real-time.

3. Social Media Platforms

- Use native features on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to engage with your audience.

- Ensures that your responses are timely and seen directly by your audience on their preferred platform.

Step 7: Adjust Your Strategy


Continuous Improvement of Your Social Media Listening Strategy

Your social media listening strategy should evolve as you gather more data and insights. Continuous improvement involves regularly reviewing your objectives, the tools you use, and the data you collect. 

This ensures that your strategy remains aligned with your business goals and adapts to changing trends and audience needs.

Adjusting Keywords Based on Findings

As you analyze the data from your social media listening efforts, you may discover new keywords or phrases that are relevant to your brand or industry. 

Adjusting your keywords can help you stay on top of emerging trends and more effectively monitor relevant conversations.

How to Do It:

- Review the performance of your current keywords regularly.

- Identify new keywords that appear frequently in discussions about your brand or industry.

- Update your keyword list to include these new terms and remove those that are no longer relevant.

Exploring New Tools and Setting New Objectives

How to Do It:

- Stay informed about new social media listening tools and features.

- Test new tools to see if they offer better functionality or insights compared to your current tools.

- Set new objectives based on your evolving business goals and the insights you gather from your social media listening efforts.

Step 8: Measure Success


Tracking the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Listening Efforts

To gauge the success of your social media listening strategy, regularly monitor and analyze various performance metrics. 

This helps you understand how well your efforts are meeting your objectives and allows you to make data-driven adjustments to enhance your strategy.

Key Metrics to Consider

1. Engagement Rate

- The number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) on your social media posts.

- High engagement rates indicate that your content is resonating with your audience and fostering interaction.

2. Sentiment Score

- The ratio of positive to negative mentions about your brand.

- Understanding sentiment helps you gauge public perception and address any negative feedback promptly.

3. Brand Awareness

- The increase in mentions and followers over time.

- Growing brand awareness indicates that more people are talking about your brand.

4. Customer Satisfaction

- The resolution rate of customer complaints and feedback.

- High resolution rates reflect effective customer service and a positive brand reputation.

Tools for Measuring Success

1. Hootsuite Analytics

- Tracks engagement, sentiment, and other key metrics across multiple social media platforms.

- Provides a comprehensive overview of your social media performance in one dashboard.

2. Google Analytics

-  Measures the impact of social media traffic on your website, including referral traffic, user behavior, and conversions.

- Helps you understand how social media efforts drive traffic and engagement on your site.

3. Native Analytics Tools

- Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights

- Provides platform-specific metrics such as engagement, follower growth, reach, and impressions.

- Offers detailed insights tailored to each social media platform, helping you optimize your content strategy.


Social listening helps you gather valuable insights across various social media platforms, enabling you to create a social listening strategy that aligns with your business goals.

One of the biggest benefits of social listening efforts is its ability to provide real-time data on what people are saying about your brand. This information allows you to adjust your social media content and engage with your audience more effectively. 

By analyzing social media through top social listening tools, you can identify trends, measure sentiment, and improve your overall social media strategy.

Social listening vs. traditional monitoring provides deeper insights into customer sentiment and industry trends. Listening is the process of not just hearing but understanding what your audience is saying, which can significantly enhance your social media management platforms. Whether it's limited to social mentions or involves analyzing social media data across social channels, a strong social media listening strategy is crucial.

Implementing an all-in-one social media solution with robust social listening features can help you execute your social listening strategy effectively. Social media analytics play a vital role in measuring the success of your efforts, providing a clear picture of your brand’s online presence.

Social listening can help you create a powerful social listening strategy, allowing you to monitor the social landscape, engage with your audience, and refine your business strategy. By putting your social listening tips into actionable one, you can achieve significant benefits and use it to your advantage. 

Remember, social listening strategy examples and effective social listening tips are key to understanding and leveraging the full potential of social data. So, let's say you start today – set up custom alerts, analyze the social data, and see how social listening can transform your brand’s presence across social media.