How to Do Your Social Media Monitoring on a Budget


Monitoring is one of those key skills that every professional marketer should have.

It’s so crucial, because there are people having conversations about you and your brand at any given moment, and you’re missing out on opportunities if you’re not paying attention.

Plus, when a communications crisis happens, like if your spokesperson accidentally becomes a meme during their TV interview or a dissatisfied customer starts telling the world how terrible your service is, you won’t be able to mitigate the situation unless you know it’s happening.

If you’re new to monitoring or listening, read our primer here to get a grip on the basics.

Ready to start making social media monitoring and listening a part of your daily routine? It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, but it does take some skill building to do it right.

First, take some time to learn the basics of Boolean search. Boolean logic allows you to use keywords in specific combinations to produce more relevant results, saving you time and hassle when you’re spending time combing through Tweets or brand mentions each day.

Done with that?

Here are 5 of our favorite monitoring tools:

  1. Feedly: We ADORE Feedly. It’s our number one monitoring tool because we do daily monitoring on lots and lots of different, specific issue areas for several clients at the same time, and we have built our Feedly dashboard to make our monitoring easy for us and incredibly valuable for our clients. We also can seamlessly use it as a team, and help each other monitor effectively. You can track news publications, blogs, alerts, Twitter feeds, keyword searches… and when you find the right content, you can organize it into boards and set up automatic email newsletters to go to your team.

    The Pro version is absolutely worth the low cost (around $6 per month) because you can also sort articles by Popularity, so you can see what articles are trending across the feeds you’re following. You can search for key words in your feeds, integrate it with other tools you’re using like Buffer, Hootsuite and Slack, keep up with things on mobile… it’s impressive how much this tool can do!

  2. Tweetdeck: This is a Twitter must, and it’s powerful and free! We love Tweetdeck for its scheduling capabilities, but we also love it because you can easily set up Twitter monitoring on your dashboard with that spiffy Boolean logic. You can even search by Sentiment: set up a search column with your terms and a smiley or frowny face, like this: “breakfast sandwich :)” and you’ll be able to see the latest positive posts about breakfast sandwiches. Here are all the advanced tips you need for pro-level monitoring with Tweetdeck.

  3. Twitonomy: We love this tool for the free stats they offer about Twitter accounts, but it’s also really great for hashtag reports. If your use Twitter hashtags often, or you created a hashtag for a campaign and want to see how it performed, check out their report tools. The premium version is only $19 a month, and you can cancel anytime. Not enough people know this exists, so give it a try!

  4. BoardReader: Message boards and forums are still a thing; this is a handy and free way to look for mentions of your brand or staff in posts on sites like Reddit, Yahoo!’s message boards, and small niche forums where your audience might be hiding. It’s also great for customer research!

    There’s a lot happening on Reddit every hour of the day, so if you think your audience might hang out a lot on this platform, searching directly on is also very straightforward. You can find Reddit’s guide for searching here with some handy tips. We especially like how you can add a Reddit search as an RSS feed on Feedly!

  5. Google Trends: See what people are searching for on Google and what topics are trending daily, in different countries and even in specific categories like health or entertainment. If you’re looking to share or create content tied to popular trends, this is an easy way see what folks are looking for so you can brainstorm what you can create to meet their needs. And, once again, you can integrate searches with your Feedly for a one-stop monitoring shop!

Our rule of thumb is that, if you hire us as your digital marketing partners, we should be the first ones to see breaking news about your organization, mentions of your CEO in the press, and even a reply to your Facebook post. The same should apply for your comms and marketing staff, too, so pass them these tools and make sure monitoring is a top priority.

If you have a favorite tool to share or a question about how to set up your monitoring, let us know!