Are your ears burning? Ultimate Guide To Social Listening Tools

Social MediaTech + Tools

As a nonprofit organization, you’re always looking for ways to save money and stretch your budget. Luckily, there are plenty of free social listening tools available that can help you track your brand, monitor your competition, and understand what people are saying about your cause.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the concept of social listening and provide a list of the best free social listening tools on the market.

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is the process of tracking online conversations in order to better understand what people are saying about a given topic. It’s similar to traditional market research, but it takes place entirely online.

Organizations use social listening to track their brand reputation, understand their target audience, and monitor their competition. And because social media never sleeps, it’s a powerful tool for understanding how people feel about your brand in real-time.

Benefits of Social Listening for Nonprofits

There are many potential benefits of social listening for nonprofits. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Monitor your brand reputation: By tracking what people are saying about your nonprofit online, you can get a sense of how well your organization is perceived by the general public. If you see a sudden spike in positive sentiment, that could be an indicator that you’re doing something right (or that something good has happened). On the other hand, if you see a decline in sentiment, that could be an indication that you need to take action.
  • Understand your target audience: Social media is full of data that can help you better understand who your target audience is and what they care about. By tracking relevant conversations, you can get insights into the demographics of the people most interested in your cause as well as the topics they’re talking about.
  • Monitor your competition: It’s always important to keep an eye on what other.
  • Track trends relevant to your cause and industry area. Knowing a rising trend can help your comms team create content responses that will increase attention for your organization.

General Listening

  • and can be used to search for your organization and then relevant keywords for your field of interest, include a search for competitors. Grab the RSS feed at the bottom of the search results page and add to Google Reader. If you’d like email alerts, If This Than That (IFTTT) is the fastest way to set up a triggered message to be sent.
  • Google Alerts can be used to listen for brand and competitor mentions and conversations.
  • Google Trends can be used to watch macro search trends around your cause area.
  • is a way to follow news thems and track multiple RSS feeds or blogs in one place.
  • Talkwalker Alerts is a tool that tracks news stories, social media activity, and blog posts mentioning your brand or keywords. You can get results delivered via email or RSS feed.

Twitter Listening

Twitter’s API made it really easy for developers to build listening and analysis tools with their data. However, over the past few years, has continued to improve into the most powerful way to analyze your own account. Never the less, there are still some fun Twitter toys out there to help you analyze broader topics:

  • this tool is run by Twitter and lets you monitor live feeds across the platform.
  • allows you to analyze your or a competitor’s followers and their reach. Great for finding influencers in your network.

Facebook (Meta) Listening Tools

  • Facebook Insights is the native listening tool provided by Facebook. It’s free to all Facebook Page admins and is best managed through the business portal.
  • is a great tool for finding and sharing content on Facebook (and other social networks). They have a handy listening feature that lets you see what’s popular in your niche. Their base plan is $6/month which is pretty affordable.

Broad social analytics

  • Buzz Sumo – good for content searches and competitor content checking.
  • is a tool that monitors the web for mentions of your brand or keywords and surfaces them in an easy to use interface.

Yeah, we promised you free but sometimes you have to pay to play:

  • Sprout Social – a great tool for scheduling, analytics and listening.
  • Hootesuite – solid tool for listening and responding across social platforms.
  • Khoros – a broad listening tool.
  • Brandwatch – leader in the listening industry if you’re looking for a robust option.
  • – is a enterprise grade social media analytics platform that offers a free version with limited features.
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