Free Social Media Listening Tools

Ben Matthews

By Ben Matthews


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Creating a suite of social media listening tools to pick up on conversations about your company or areas of interest can provide fantastic insight into what your customers and supporters are saying about you, your peer organisations, and the news in general.

But what if you don’t have the biggest budget and need to use low-cost or even free social media listening tools?

Creating a suite of social media listening tools to pick up on conversations about your organisation can be done for free. Here’s how.

What is social media listening?

Social media listening means how you track conversations on social media about and around your organisation or brand name, relevant keywords, your peer organisations.

Once you know what customers and supporters are saying about your organisations, you can then use these free tools to respond to questions, help resolve any issues, and respond to positive or negative feedback and comments. Social media listening is often the responsibility of social media and community managers or customer service staff.

Why is social media listening important?

Social media listening is vital if you are focussed on building a positive brand reputation and being aware of what conversations are happening online that you can take part in.

Social media listening involves tracking usernames, keywords and hashtags, on one social media platform or across several.

Using the insights gained through social media listening, you can:

  • Create more relevant content for your supporters
  • Plan more targeted social media campaigns
  • Improve your social media strategy
  • Provide better customer service
  • Create new products or services that your customers are asking for

List of free social media listening tools

The following free social media listening tools can be used across different social media platforms to build a comprehensive view of social media conversations about and around your organisation.

  • Brand Mentions is a social media tracker that aggregates user-generated content from across social media into a single stream of information, helping you to track what people are saying about you and your organisation across social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and more.
  • Boardreader tracks forums, websites, blogs and messaging boards. It’s a powerful free social media listening tool that not many have heard of or actively use, so use it to your advantage!

Free Twitter listening tools

Here are still some great Twitter  tools out there to help you analyse broader topics:

  • this tool is run by Twitter and lets you monitor live feeds across the platform. Take a look at this post to see how to set up advanced social media listening using TweetDeck.
  • FollowerWonk allows you to analyse your followers or a peer organisation’s followers and their reach. FollowerWonk is also a fantastic tool for finding influencers in your network.
  • Twitonomy is a free tool that lets you analyse and export mentions, followers and other stats from Twitter on any user or hashtag.
  • TweetReach gives a quick and free report on the reach of conversations around a hashtag.
  • Tweetpsych: Use this free tool to create a search for your organisation’s Twitter handle and get a general snapshot of customer attitudes towards your brand from keyword analysis.

Free Instagram listening tools

  • Union Metrics has a free Instagram account checkup from lets you see how you’re doing on Instagram using the last 30 days of activity on your account. The free tool also questions about your Instagram account like what’s the best time to post to Instagram, what hashtags should you use to get the most engagement, and what kind of content should you post more (or less) of.

Free news listening tools

  • Google News can be used to search for your brand name, as well as set of keywords for your areas of interest, include competitors. To make it even easier, fund the RSS feed at the bottom of the search results page and add to an RSS reader of your choice. If you’d like email alerts straight to your email inbox, you can also set up email alerts, choosing “As it happens” as the fastest way to be kept updated
  • Google Trends can be used to watch macro search trends around your organisation’s areas of interest.
  • Google Alerts lets you “monitor the web” through its content change detection and notification service. The free Google Alerts service sends you emails when it finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research — that match the search terms you tell Google you want updates on. It’s brilliant for keeping updated on what’s being discussed about your organisation or key topics of interest beyond social media.

What are your favourite free social media listening tools?

We’d love to hear what free social media listening tools you use, so if you have any to add that we’ve missed out on the lists above, let us know in the comments below!