What’s your favorite tool for monitoring/tracking brand mentions?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. HowSociable

“Social business intelligence is key for young brands. In our infancy, we have defaulted to the open source freebies out there. I love HowSociable — it’s one of the only longitudinal tools that gives you a proxy beyond sentiment, topic clouds and results, and it focuses on your brand impact relative to other significant sources. Imagine it as an assigned score per social assets across 36 sites.”

Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

2. Google Blog Search and Boardreader

“If you’re a small company, you can use free tools such as HootSuite, Google Blog Search and Boardreader to track and subscribe to searches for Twitter, blogs and forums, but you may have to sacrifice some sophistication to keep costs low. If you are a bigger brand or want to evaluate competitors with a higher volume of social posts, you might need to look into a paid tool to get what you need.”

Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

3. Mention

“A relatively new service, mention, tracks your mentions across all channels (Web and social media). I’ve found that it’s more reliable than Google Alerts and have even found mentions of our brand in forums in China and Korea.”

Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep

4. HootSuite

“I live in my HootSuite account. I have multiple brands that I need to monitor, and I don’t know how I would be able to keep up without HootSuite’s ability to create different tabs. Everything is easily accessible, but I can also hide something if it’s distracting me from the task at hand.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

5. Meltwater

“Google Alerts stopped working months ago — it is a broken product. Using a higher-end tool such as Meltwateris worth it.”

Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

6. Newsle

“Newsle is amazing for tracking personal, business and network mentions. You plug in with your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and it sends you weekly digests of articles that your network has been mentioned in. It’s great for sending people congratulations, staying in the loop on the landscape and, of course, capturing your own mentions. It’s one of the few emails that I always open.”

Heidi Allstop, Spill

7. Google Alerts

“Google Alerts is the best software for tracking brand mentions across the Internet. It also features filters you can use to customize when you receive alerts and from which media outlets you receive them. You can have your results sent to you via email or your RSS feed.”

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. Sprout Social

“The Sprout Social dashboard integrates several social media platforms and allows you to customize what you want to track for brand mentions including keywords, URLs, misspellings and competitors. We are very active on social media. It is a great source of referral for us, so making sure that we stay abreast and get tangible data and insight as to conversations about our brand is very important.”

Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

9. Social Mention

“Like the name suggests, Social Mention is like a search engine for all types of media and content to search a term for photos, videos, microblogs, social networks and the general Web. It does a really good job for stats like reach, passion, brand advocacy, top mentioners/users, hashtags used and basic sentiment (positive/negative/neutral). Check it out.”

Lane Sutton, Social Media from a Teen

10. Talkwalker

“Talkwalker is basically just Google Alerts on steroids. If you don’t mind receiving more notifications, Talkwalker covers all the bases and doesn’t let you miss anything that’s going on around any given keyword/brand name.”

Logan Lenz, Endagon