10 Tools to Track Your Real Estate Brand Mentions
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Social listening isn’t a new concept, but it is to many real estate agents. Whereas many Fortune 500 companies and influencers have long monitored their online brand mentions and reputations, agents and their firms nationwide are behind on this crucial marketing task.
Keeping tabs on who says what about your brand across the internet, on which channels they do so, how often they comment on your business, and the type of sentiment people generally have about you and your agency is paramount: You need to control the rhetoric about your brand online to build and sustain a positive business reputation and maximize opportunities to generate new leads.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of social listening tools available for brands of all sizes, many of which cost just a few bucks a month or are free, and feature a host of functions that can automate your brand monitoring activities for you. How does it work? Simply by adding in keywords associated with your brand to one or more tools and monitoring the conversation means you can enhance your real estate branding over time.
Check out 10 of the best social monitoring tools on the market, and discover what makes each so unique and helpful.
(Note: We’ve limited this list to the essential social listening resources that are either free or affordable for small- and mid-size real estate brands. There are certainly plenty of enterprise-level options on the market, but hey, if you can use tools that cost you very little or nothing at all, why not start with those and work your way up?)
One of the first things people did when Google first emerged was (you guessed it) enter in their own names to see what, if anything, had been said about them online. This trend faded quickly, given many more (a billion and counting, to be exact) websites and online portals have come to light in the past 15 years, which has made it nearly impossible to manually monitor personal and professional mentions. Google Alerts, however, is now arguably the best tool to use to conduct this task — one that’s now automated. Just enter in all names and terms associated with your and your business in Alerts, set how frequently you want to receive email updates when you’re mentioned online (as they happen, daily, or weekly), and you can easily observe all commentary about your company right in your inbox.
Not only can you check in on the noise surrounding your real estate brand with Alerts, but you can also get a peek at your competitors’ mentions. Add Alerts for the names of other local agents and agencies to determine how often they are discussed online. No, you can’t improve your own brand reputation by learning about what the world says about the competition, but you can gain an understanding of how they are perceived — positively, negatively, ambivalently, or not at all. This type of information can give you a clear understanding of just how well your real estate marketing stacks up to fellow agents and brokers nearby and potentially allow you to find new mediums those industry pros use that you can implement in your digital strategy.
It may be known as one of the premier social media marketing automation tools out there today, but Hootsuite has other functionality agents and brokers might find interesting — most notably, the software’s brand monitoring feature, which helps users detect when and where their brand names are uttered online.
The platform offers streams for different keywords users want to track. Within these streams, you can have multiple tabs. So, if you want to learn about mentions of your company name, create a single stream for it. Then, add different tabs within that stream for each social network and online medium type where you could be mentioned. This helps to keep your social listening as organized as possible, as you’ll be able to see every mention on a single screen and segmented in an easy-to-absorb manner.
Hootsuite works just as well for agent teams as it does for individual agents. If you’d rather have multiple sets of eyeballs (the agents and admins you manage or work alongside) keeping tabs on brand mentions, you can assign certain streams to these people by adding them to your account. Only the Business plan allows for multiple team members to use the same account, but if you have a big real estate brand and are concerned about missing out on praise, feedback, and general comments made about your firm, it might be the best avenue.
Arguably the most powerful and reputable social listening tool on this list is the aptly named Mention. The resource, which offers three plans for brands of all sizes, allows users to connect all of their social media accounts and designate specific alerts for a number of business-related keywords. When people discuss your brand on publications, blogs, forums, and other digital channels, each alert indicates there is new content for you to inspect. These mentions are shown all at a glance, though you can also segment them by the distinct outlet from which they originated: Facebook, Twitter, news, videos, and other popular mediums.
What makes this brand monitoring system a bit more advanced than others on the market is the statistics and analytics it offers as well as the instant-response setup implemented. You can get a glimpse of total mentions from various time periods (like the previous week, month, three months, etc.), see the ratio of positive mentions to negative ones, and learn who interacts with your online presence the most (as seen in the “Influencers” list). It’s also simple to immediately reply to any mentions on the major social networks or even get links to comments sections and forums, where you can enter the conversation about your brand.
You won’t find a simpler, easy-to-use homepage user interface on this list than the one for Social Mention. Just enter the term or phrase you want to track for your brand, hit “Search,” and you’re shown a bevy of information about the who, where, and when regarding agency mentions.
Search results can be filtered by time and location, and in the upper-left corner of the screen, you can check out four characteristics pertaining to your mentions: passion (the likelihood your brand mentioners will do so again), sentiment (whether those mentions are good, bad, or indifferent), reach (the number of unique users to mention your brand), and strength (the probability your brand is a topic of interest on social media).
If you don’t consider yourself savvy enough to discover other terms that are related to your brand, just enter your company name and look in the tab on the left where “Top Keywords” are included and you’ll see the terms and phrases most associated with your business. Moreover, you can view the top users and sources for your digital mentions, meaning you can discern who levies you the most praise online and on which channels they do so.
Do you work for (or even run) a nationwide or international real estate firm and, thus, need to monitor online brand mentions from all over the country or world? Talkwalker provides up to 50 filters for tracking brand discussion worldwide, so you can easily stay on top of the digital conversations that are germane to your agency or brokerage.
Audience breakdowns via Talkwalker allow you to see who’s talking about you across the U.S. and globe, and the specific demographic characteristics associated with those people, including specific location, gender, sentiment, subject matter, and channels they use to engage with or discuss your brand online. Even your offline mentions can be discovered using the software, thanks to Talkwalker’s print, radio, and television monitoring capabilities.
Many agents who use these types of social listening tools want a bit more information than simply who said what about their brands and which outlet they used to express their thoughts. They also want to know if these people are actual, prospective leads: ones who live nearby or have shown great interest in their market. Zoomph is different than most other brand monitoring tools available in that it offers geo-targeting for mentions. In short, you can see the relative location down to the neighborhood where some of those talking about your brand reside.
Having said that, Zoomph offers plenty of other intriguing features. It also offers automation functionality, for instance, which allows you to do things like auto-approve and -reject content the software discovers online that mentions your brand. Those pieces and shares that are approved can be added to a favorite list or reshared on your social accounts, while the rejected items can be saved for later so you can respond to (or simply view) them accordingly.
Moz is well-known in the online marketing community for its plethora of useful resources for marketers in all industries, and one of those tools it offers is Fresh Web Explorer. Roughly 3.5 million RSS feeds are connected with the mention-tracking tool. That may seem like a lot of digital sources to scour and aggregate information from, but Moz makes it look easy. It offers users numerous filtering options that help them unearth banter about their brands and backlinks to their websites.
To get the most relevant results, enter in the core keywords you want to track and any relevant links where you think your brand name may have been voiced online, along with negative keywords to avoid searching for. Once results pop up, you can see the most recent proclamations about your agency and their “Mention Authority” — in other words, how much clout those mentions have in terms of pertinence and popularity.
Competitive intelligence and content research are some of the bonus functions available with Fresh Web Explorer. These allow you to simultaneously ascertain information about distinct comments made about you and your business online and find out what the competition is up to with its internet marketing strategies, which can then inform your own tactics.
One of the more unique online automation tools available for brands today is IFTTT. “Recipes” are the primary focus of this unique marketing model: You can set up formulas for the different software and social media channels that allow certain actions on each outlet to spur other actions on other mediums to streamline your work activities.
Say, for instance, you want to know whenever there’s an exact phrase match for your brand name on Twitter. You can set up a recipe that emails you every time you’re mentioned, add the person’s handle to your contact management database, and even auto-respond when certain keywords are used in conjunction with your brand name search. The sheer number of recipes you can craft are endless (the site offers numerous examples to help new users get started with creating and setting up their own), but social listening formulas are certainly one of the more popular types put in place by businesses of just about every size.
Some real estate agents primarily know Yelp as that annoying online review channel they must monitor once a week to ensure internet trolls don’t leave fake negative reviews and that clients have only positive things to say about them, but it’s also a must-monitor medium for your social listening strategy.
While you may have to sometimes politely request clients provide commendations for your work (and multiple times, in all likelihood) so you can develop case studies for your real estate website and form online reviews you can share elsewhere online, Yelp is the one place consumers of all types — including buyers, sellers, and renters — know to turn to to express their thoughts on brands of all kinds — including agents. So, while it may not be your top social listening priority, always head to the review site after a closed deal to ensure you receive only legitimate, praise-heavy reviews and respond to them appropriately.
We’re cheating a bit here, as we’re counting the major social networks as one tool. Each social network offers roughly the same search and analysis features, and using these channels is arguably the easiest way to discover what your audience says about your real estate brand online.
Aside from checking for reviews and comments on your Business Page, Facebook’s API makes it a bit tricky to monitor what’s said about your brand elsewhere on the social media channel. However, the Notifications tab allows you to learn about the latest mentions made about you on others’ accounts in addition to replies to status updates, so start there.
Twitter, meanwhile, offers two distinct avenues for discovering brand mentions: the search bar, in which you can enter your company name (by itself, as your handle, or as a hashtag) to glean insights into tweets made about your business, and the network’s analytics tool, which relays the top people who engage with your account in one way or another (retweets, likes, mentions).
Pinterest and Instagram ought to be checked on regularly (when you post, essentially) to determine if your brand or specific content you’ve created have been tagged in any posts and pins on the visual-heavy social networks. Chances are, you won’t get any criticism on these channels, but there’s always the potential for clients to share photos of their new homes or “sold” signs on Instagram and brand advocates sharing your infographics and other image-based content on Pinterest, so keep tabs on them weekly.
Ensure your social media monitoring efforts are organized by using this time management guide on the Placester Academy, which can help you structure how you spend your time handling tasks on each social network throughout the week.
What do you do to keep track of all of your real estate brand mentions online? How do you deal with comments about your business on forums, social media channels, blogs, and other digital outlets? Share your social listening methods with us below!
Published on February 10, 2016
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.