It is imperative to monitor your name, company, and/or brand at all times in order to listen, engage, and respond to your audience. Who is talking about you? What do they need? How can you help? Since it’s impossible to be everywhere at once, there are an abundance of options for keeping track.

Here are 7 effective free (or free with the option to upgrade) social listening tools.

1. Google Analytics. “I like Google Analytics not only because it’s a free tool, but also because it’s easy to use and has a strong online presence in terms of free resources and support forums,” says Victor Tang, Online Strategy Marketing Manager, Sage 50 Canadian. “I can track how many visitors who visited my site through a social channel ended up converting into a customer. I can also track and identify which social media channels were most likely to convert. This, in turn helps me understand where I need to either invest more for social … or pull back.”

2. Google Alerts. “Google Alerts can be extremely effective,” believes Outreach Manger and Link Building Specialist Matthew Zajechowski, Digital Third Coast. “You can set up alerts so that whenever your business is mentioned you are notified. … Frequency of the alerts is up to you.”

3. Facebook Insights. “This is another free tool, available from Facebook, that lets page owners view various Facebook metrics,” Zajechowski continues. “It’s kind of complex to pick up, but the free data is worthwhile for any business owner.” Users can track likes, reach, popular – and most commented posts – and much more.

4. TweetDeck. “My favorite free tool is TweetDeck by Twitter because of the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts with seemingly limitless columns to track trending hashtags, specific profiles, mentions, interactions, etc. for each account,” says Max Ivan Rava, Communications Director, FwdHealth, Inc. “One can also time tweets, which helps with reach.”

5. Social Mention. ”For a quick, but thorough, look at your brand online, I recommend Social Mention,” says Erin Cushing, Account Manager, Social Media & Content Strategy, inSegment, Inc. “It crawls all of the usual social media suspects, but it also looks at blog content and blog comments as well as forums for any mention of your keyword. It also gives you a plethora of stats, including reach, sentiment, passion, and frequent authors. I haven’t seen many other free services get this in-depth.”

“The tool also ranks sentiment about your brand as being negative, positive, or neutral,” adds Alex Rafferty, Director of Public Relations, Rakuten Loyalty, “which is a handy metric to track and helps enable you to respond quickly and effectively to any negative customer questions or issues, as well as engage with key influencers on specific social channels.”

6. Mention. “It’s a great platform that monitors all channels and catches things that services like Google Alerts do not catch,” says Jim Devitt, Owner, Devitt Consulting. “I like to keep tabs on my clients “mentions” so that I can respond quickly. For example, if someone gives a shout out on Twitter but does not # or @ you will usually miss it, with mention, the comment will be picked up and you can respond to the content. …There is a free version that limits the number of “mentions” that you can use per month and of course there is a fee-based service as well.”

7. Hootsuite. “I swear by the social media monitoring tool HootSuite,” says Emma Nemtin, Marketing Director at Hubba. “There is a free, pro, and enterprise version available. … The HootSuite Dashboard is open on my desktop all day, every day. I use HootSuite for tapping into conversations with our audience, keeping track of certain hashtags within a specific geo-location, and auto-scheduling certain tweets. … And I really get my hands dirty with their awesome analytic reports.”

Social media monitoring tools are abundant. So, test them out and use the one – or ones – that work best for you!