Scroll Top

Social mentions: How to protect your brand while nurturing community


When creating a social media strategy, it’s crucial to pay attention to the constantly flowing conversations and opinions online. Tracking social mentions gives you visibility into conversations and presents engagement opportunities. You can see how your audience feels about your brand, respond to messages and encourage conversations to foster community. But to do this effectively, you need to have a plan in place for managing social mentions.

What are social mentions?

A social mention is a reference about your brand, product or services on social media. Social mentions can be in the form of text, images or videos. This can include @-mentions, but it’s important to remember that social mentions aren’t limited to the messages that tag your business directly. Sometimes there are conversations about your brand on social that you don’t get notifications about.

An untagged social mention might include a relevant brand keyword like a product name, or comparisons about a competitor. Another example is an engagement mention, like a user tagging a friend on a brand’s Instagram post. Essentially, social mentions include any conversations surrounding your brand, even if the goal isn’t to grab your business’s attention.

Why are social media mentions important?

Each mention, whether positive, negative or neutral, represents an opportunity to connect and build meaningful relationships with your audience. But there are more benefits beyond supporting community management and engagement.

Social mentions are a rich source of market intelligence, enabling companies to stay in tune with consumer sentiments and preferences. By monitoring and analyzing social mentions, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their target audience, identify key influencers and uncover valuable customer feedback.

To put it simply, when people talk about your brand, they’re spreading the word that it exists. If their feedback is positive, this can lead to new customers and more revenue. If their feedback is negative and you’re not tracking these mentions to help resolve problems, it could result in a poor reputation. Social mentions are a key component of reputation management. By responding to mentions promptly, you can help shape a positive brand image, build trust and show that your business is responsive and engaged.

How to monitor social mentions across networks

Here’s a brief overview of how to monitor mentions manually by social media network. We’ll show you how to view mentions on Instagram, Facebook and other networks.

How to see mentions on Facebook

On Facebook, simply type your brand name into the search bar, then click on the Posts tab to find posts including your brand name.

A Facebook search results page that shows posts that mention Sprout Social.

You’ll see posts your brand has published in your results, but as you scroll, you’ll find public brand mentions in Facebook Groups, on Pages and on profiles as well. You can also set parameters for where and when the posts were created to narrow your search.

How to monitor TikTok mentions

Similar to Facebook, you can monitor social mentions on TikTok by searching for your brand name in the app’s search bar.

A search on TikTok for Sprout Social with several videos mentioning Sprout (directly and indirectly) appear.

You can also find TikTok mentions by navigating to the activities menu. Tap All activity and select Mentions and tags.

The All Activity tab in TikTok settings with dropdown options for likes and favorite, comments, content creation and mentions and tags.

By entering relevant hashtags for your brand in the search bar, you can also discover additional posts that may have referenced your business without explicitly stating it or tagging you.

How to see mentions on Instagram

You can view mentions by navigating to your notifications or settings on your Instagram account. To see direct mentions, tap the heart icon in the upper right corner to view notifications. From here, you’ll be able to see mentions in posts and Stories. Note: The notification tab only shows your most recent mentions.

To see mentions for posts and videos you’re directly tagged in, go to account settings. Select Your activity.

The Instagram settings and activity screen.

Tap Tags.

The activity screen in Instagram settings with several tabs for interactions such as likes, comments and tags, along with a section for deleted and archived content.

From here, you can filter by author and date.

Tagged screen on Instagram where all social mentions are listed.

How to monitor mentions on X (formerly known as Twitter)

To see mentions on X, type your brand name into X’s search bar. Use quotation marks around your brand name to make sure you get an exact match. Then navigate to the Latest tweets to find your results.

The search results page for the query,

In the image above, the first result doesn’t use an @-mention to tag Sprout directly. Instead they include “Sprout Social” in the post copy and include the hashtag “#SproutSocial.” Without the direct mention, our social team wouldn’t have known about this post if they weren’t monitoring closely.

Although you can see your social mentions manually across networks, if you monitor them natively, it’s easier to miss some of your brand mentions. That’s why we recommend a social media management platform like Sprout to aggregate your social mentions across networks.

5 strategies for responding to social mentions

Each time you find a social mention of your business, you should try to respond. It’s an opportunity to interact with people who are already aware of or interested in your brand. There are many reasons people might mention your brand—and they might not even be customers yet. Let’s cover a few tips for social mention review management.

1. Respond quickly

Consumers expect timely responses and interactions from brands. The Sprout Social Index™ 2023 shows 69% of consumers expect a response from brands on social within 24 hours or less. To protect your reputation, you should monitor social mentions and respond to them as quickly as possible. Acknowledging customer feedback or service requests and assuring customers you’ll let the correct team know is a great way to respond. Responding quickly makes all the difference when your audience asks for help. Larger companies have dedicated marketing teams to handle their social mentions, separate from those handling development or support issues. But it’s a good idea for any size company to have a plan in place to handle these types of social mentions.

Here’s an example of a Sprout Social user mentioning us on X about a support issue. Our team investigated quickly and discovered the customer had several emails on file. They shared this update with the customer and used it as an opportunity to move the conversation into direct messages.

A post from Sprout Social apologizing to a customer and asking them to move the conversation to a direct message to resolve the issue.

Responding to support queries promptly and taking action to resolve the request demonstrates responsiveness and commitment to customer care. Pivoting the conversation to a secure setting to learn more about the issue and escalate it to the appropriate team is another best practice to follow.

2. Move the conversation to a private setting

Sometimes the best way to respond is to move the conversation to a more private location and work to resolve the issue. This can look like asking the customer to send the brand account a direct message, directing them to a support channel or providing a secure form like Chick-fil-A did when responding to a customer on X.

A response from Chick-fil-A on X, formerly known as Twitter. The brand account apologizes to a customer and shares an online form and phone number to help them receive a solution.

It’s better to handle things privately rather than out in the open to protect your reputation, safeguard your customer’s personal information and provide a more personalized customer experience.

3. Show empathy

Even if the person mentioning your brand is unhappy, stay positive and reassure them you’re going to do whatever you can to make things right for them. Respond to negative mentions with a professional, empathetic tone to show that you value feedback and are committed to resolving any issues. Remember this: If a customer shares a bad experience with your company online, it’s likely they simply wanted to vent and bring your attention to it. Finding these social media mentions provides your brand with the perfect opportunity to turn their experience around.

4. Know when to stop responding

Unfortunately, there are some issues you can’t solve right away. And some customers won’t be fully satisfied, even if you attempt to make amends. If a customer is having a bad experience or a support issue, do whatever you can to turn the conversation around and help them. But know when responses become unhelpful, too. Make sure you know when to disengage by creating an escalation protocol for your internal case management.

5. Engage in conversations

Don’t just say “thank you” and leave it at that. Engage in conversations by asking questions, seeking clarifications or providing additional insights about relevant topics. This encourages continued engagement and demonstrates your commitment to interacting with your audience and providing value.

How to track social mentions and target keywords in Sprout

There are many benefits of tracking and analyzing your social mentions. But monitoring manually can be time-consuming if your brand has several accounts across multiple platforms. Social media management tools like Sprout help you avoid manually tracking social mentions in a network’s search bar or notification center. Sprout uses artificial intelligence (AI) to aggregate and sift through millions of conversations happening around key topics.

Let’s go over our top three tactics for tracking social mentions in Sprout so you can maintain responsiveness and keep a pulse on social conversations about your brand.

Set up social monitoring with Sprout Social

Social media monitoring with Sprout helps make sure you never miss a social mention because you can focus attention on specific keywords related to your industry and brand. These keyword mentions can include specific features and product names, industry phrases, popular hashtags and competitor names.

For example, the image below shows a word cloud with top keywords, hashtags and mentions in Sprout’s platform. In this example, a coffee chain might monitor keywords like “#coffee,” “espresso,” “cup of joe,” “latte” or “barista recs” to pinpoint rising conversations within the industry.

A preview of a word cloud within Sprout Social Listening. The word cloud visualizes key topics, hashtags, mentions and themes found in listening data gathered from across networks.

You can also use Sprout’s Smart Inbox to monitor and aggregate social mentions across platforms. In the Inbox, you can filter by brand keyword (including hashtags) and review inbound messages across the major social media platforms.

Use Sprout Social Listening

While social monitoring and social listening are in the same family, they’re not one in the same. Social monitoring is more for finding social mentions to respond to, while social listening is more for gaining insights to understand what your audience is talking about in your industry and what they want to hear from your brand.

Social listening is a next-level strategy that helps you act on all of the social mentions you find. Through social listening you can use online conversations to optimize content, increase revenue and make data-backed decisions. Social listening can also fuel sentiment analysis, competitive analysis and a brand health assessment. Check out our article on social listening to learn even more about how to properly set this up for your business.

Create a hashtag for your customer to use in their social posts

One incredibly easy way to find mentions of your business is with branded hashtags. This makes it faster for you to search for social mentions, and it’s a great way to gather user-generated content to share on your feeds.

Many companies share branded hashtags in their social media bios or on their website so users can easily find it and remember to tag it. Others will even include it on packaging slips or physical marketing materials when shipping products to let customers know how to connect with the brand.

Take a look at how Fenty Beauty shares their hashtag, “#FENTYBEAUTY” right in their Instagram bio.

Fenty Beauty's Instagram bio that shares where to buy Fenty Beauty and shares a branded hashtag

You can view branded and unbranded hashtags on X with Sprout’s Reporting. The Trends Report tracks which hashtags your audience uses, how they’re performing and relevant topics. This enables you to build your content strategy around what your audience is most interested in, rather than just latching on to hashtags that are widely popular but have little relevance to your brand or audience.

A preview of Sprout Social Trends Report showing the most popular keyword topics and hashtags.

By following these three tactics and using Sprout’s robust tools, you can track social mentions, learn more about your audience and improve your overall social media strategy.

Ready to start tracking your social media mentions?

Social media mentions can come in many forms. They could be a customer praising your new product on Instagram or an industry influencer sharing your content on LinkedIn. Not every account will tag your social media profile, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find these messages.

Keeping an eye on social mentions gives you invaluable insights about customer sentiment, market trends, growth areas and your brand’s presence and reputation. See how you can make tracking social media mentions easier with Sprout and sign up for a 30-day free trial.

Related Posts