3 Tools for Social Media Listening on a Budget

Listening to what your customers are saying about your brand and product(s) is an important part of any social media strategy. Tools that provide monitoring services are doorways into a world of product feedback, customer complaints & praise, competitor announcements, industry trends and much, much more, such as conversations around Making a Murderer or pets on Instagram . However, if you’re a small shop or running on a very tight budget, listening tools can seem out of reach. If you can’t afford to pay for an account with a listening tool, we put together a list of three free tools that can help you tune in.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are an easy way to get updates when a specific word or phrase is mentioned; a great, free way to find out if a crisis is brewing of if your competitors made a big announcement. Google Alerts lets you set up a query and allows you to choose several settings such as how frequently you get alerts, sources (news, blogs, video, etc.), language, region, and volume. Simple, but effective.



If you don’t give a hoot about reporting on conversations, but want a more thorough way to collect and organize mentions, RSS Owl is one of the more-robust free options for listening. With RSS Owl you can subscribe to a specific RSS feed or set up a keyword or phrase-based query, select a source (including Google News, Twitter, YouTube, and others) and RSS Owl will start collecting mentions that match your query. RSS Owl also provides some nice flexibility with a filter feature that allows you to only include posts that contain or match a certain condition and perform an action like deleting or labeling. If you want to read more on how to set up RSS Owl, check out this tutorial we wrote a while back!



Topsy used to be a great go-to for trends and social search results but, unfortunately, it went the way of its namesake two years after it was purchased by Apple. socialmention is a similar alternative and offers slightly more analytical benefits than RSS Owl and Google Alerts. socialmention is a “real-time social media search and analysis” tool that acts like a search engine. After entering your query it returns results blogs, tweets, news, etc. In addition to a list of mentions, it provides some light analysis such as sentiment, top keywords, and top users. While not the most accurate or comprehensive tool, socialmention is a good way to get a read on conversations relative to your brand, get some hints as to how people are talking and how they feel about it.


What free tools do you use for social media listening? Tired of the limitations of free listening tools and want something more? Contact us! We’d be glad to set you up with a listening strategy and solution that best fits your brand.

Ignite Social Media