Top 5 FREE social listening tools for 2021

In this modern world, the closest you’d be able to get to reading people’s mind (realistically) is through social listening. Perhaps this trait might be one that can be rather questionable in your personal life, but the business benefits of being able able to listen to public opinion are innumerable. Doing this manually can sometimes be inaccurate, especially if your business covers a broader target demographic. Social listening tools are designed so you can have a closer look at what your audience is saying.

Approximately 3.6 billion people now use social media daily, and millions, if not billions, of posts are added across major social networks every minute. If you are able to successfully filter through the masses of content, chances are, you will end up with the most genuine, unbiased insights you can get for your business.


In today’s cutthroat competitive environment, brand reputation management has become a bigger priority for companies, especially when online conversations about your brand take place on a 24/7 basis. Social listening gives you instantaneous access to what everyone is saying about your business, industry, or competitors – often without them being aware of you listening.

Before you read ahead, if you want to know the exact business benefits of media monitoring, you can take a look at part 1 of our series: Why social listening matters for your brand. Now let’s take a look at the top 5 social listening tools to help you gain and act on those insights in 2021.


Brandwatch is a social listening tool hyper-focused on consumer intelligence and trendspotting solution. It focuses on producing distilled, vital insights within the billions of conversations happening daily, in the fastest possible manner. 


Fundamentally, Brandwatch consists of three functions:

  • Analytics – which helps you search, segment and analyse social conversations and sentiments. This is basically the social listening tool of Brandwatch. 
  • Vizia – it’s data visualisation platform which enables you to share insights
  • Audience – which decodes the online content to help you understand the masses better

Brandwatch also has a subset product developed specially for agencies, Brandwatch for Agencies, which merges their social intelligence solutions with agency-specific training and resources to assist agencies in securing new business and retaining clients.

A cutting-edge platform focused on a hyper-specificity, Brandwatch is a great tool for those who are looking for social listening tools that work with consumer intelligence and trendspotting solutions.


Mention has the ability to scour the internet and social media to track millions of content sources across almost 50 languages to monitor brand mentions all over the world. You also have the choice to select and filter specific content to align your focus on trends that matter.


Primarily, this social listening platform has 4 plans as follows:

  • The Solo Plan – for entrepreneurs and individuals. It has basic media monitoring tools for your brand, across 5 media platforms
  • The Pro Plan – for marketers and small-businesses. With this plan, you have the ability to monitor your competitors as well. You can access an Influencer’s Dashboard and run sentiment analysis as well.
  • The ProPlus Plan – for growing businesses and skilled-professionals. This is their latest plan, which allows you to crawl over 20,000 mentions at one go.
  • The Company Plan – for teams and agencies. This plan gives you access to Mention’s additional features, such as Facebook crawling, historical data, a customizable Twitter dashboard, and more.

Before settling on  a specific plan, Mention allows you to test out their full range of features with a free-trial.


Though Buzzsumo is mainly a content analysis tool, if utilised correctly, it can serve as an excellent social listening tool as well. 


It allows you to comb the web for any content that carries your search term, and can even provide the engagement figures associated with each result. 

Having access to the number of impressions and shares certain posts have makes it easy for you to analyse the success of your brand, content and outreach. This valuable insight helps you discover the types of content and platforms that garner the best results. 

Not only that, Buzzsumo also tells you the specific days and times of the week that you should churn out your content, and the ideal post length. With this tool, you are able to strategically boost your brand outreach to gain the most visibility and engagement.


Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management platforms. It has a whole sub-section, Hoodsuite Insights, dedicated to social listening. 

Hootsuite Insights allows you to view and respond to all your brand posts, comments, and mentions across multiple social channels in a singular dashboard. This functionality enables you to easily see the social sentiment around your brand. 


This platform also allows you to filter results by location, language, and gender. This gives you a well-rounded, multi-dimensional view of your industry segments, allowing you to spot trends easily. 

With Hootsuite Insights, you not only have access to your own brand’s social channels, but can also tap into conversations happening on news outlets, blogs, forums, and other domains. With access to this real-time data, you can track trends and leads ahead of your competitors, making sure you always stay on top.


If you’re specifically looking to study your Twitter reach, Tweetreach is the platform for you. This social listening platform tracks and analyses your brand reach, exposure, impressions, mentions and relevancy with a selected keyword, handle, or hashtag.


TweetReach also helps you identify who your most impressionable followers are so that you can strategically target your content at them, to garner the most impact. Interestingly, it also helps you identify who has the biggest impact in spreading the word about certain topics. This can be of great help when you are looking for influencers to broaden your brand outreach.

Social listening is often dismissed, but is easily the best way for you to keep tabs on what customers and prospects have to say about your brand, market and even potential customers. Managing your brand’s reputation using these social listening tools will help you stay one step ahead of your competition and can have a positive impact on your bottom line.


If you are keen to find out more about exactly how to utilise social media to maximise your brand awareness, engagement and ROI, download our latest free Social Media for PR Guide. We’ve extracted the insights we’ve gotten from the work we’ve done for over 200 startups and SMEs into simple steps. 

If you’re looking for a PR agency in Malaysia or PR agency in Singapore, or want to know more about how to make the most out of your startup budget for PR and content marketing? Get in touch with us at [email protected]

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