Social Listening vs. Monitoring: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters

Avatar

What happens on social media can and should matter to your business. One study revealed that nearly 90% of small business owners have used social media to generate business exposure, and 72% have used it to generate website traffic.

But you must understand what’s happening on social media to have the impact you want and to engage with your audience. You can have a significant effect on your business’s online reputation by engaging in social listening and social monitoring — which are two different things.

What Is the Difference Between Social Listening and Social Monitoring?

The difference between social listening and monitoring is more than just semantic. Although you may hear people use the terms interchangeably,  they refer to different social media marketing strategies.

Social listening refers to analyzing the collection of your social media conversations, mentions, shares and other data so that you can make better business decisions and improve the customer experience. It can also provide insight into your competition and industry. Social monitoring is identifying individual mentions of your brand in real-time (or as close as possible) so that you can respond appropriately.

Browse real-life customer success stories

Smiling woman looking at her phone.

Social monitoring is when you identify and respond to mentions of your brand on social media.

When your business engages in social listening, it takes all of the data available from your social media platforms and uses it to form a long-term strategy for innovation and improvement. As a whole, this data can give you a better idea of why individual interactions took place on Twitter or Facebook. It can also provide the insight you need to create more positive events and experience fewer negative ones.

Through social monitoring, you can connect with individual customers and prospects. For example, a customer logs onto their social media account, leaves a review or @mentions your business, and you respond quickly and appropriately. You not only help that individual customer by answering questions or resolving a product or service issue, but you also demonstrate your commitment to service to others who are paying attention.

Automated vs. Manual

Social listening is largely an automated process. This involves putting sophisticated insights to work for you that will give you the data you need to make decisions about your business. These tools can help you identify trends and better understand your customer’s wants and needs.

While a social suite can monitor your mentions on social media and send you notifications, your replies will be mostly manual. With social monitoring, it’s essential that every individual interaction with a customer be authentic and customized to fit the situation.

Two smiling people looking at a computer screen.

Social listening gives your company the tools to make more informed and effective business decisions.

Which Will Benefit Your Business More?

When it comes to choosing between social listening and social monitoring, you can’t and shouldn’t favor one over the other. They’re both a vital part of maximizing your online reputation and creating the best possible customer experience.

“Listening” to conversations on social media gives your business a broader overview of how people feel about your company and the industry. It can help you identify opportunities as well as potential brand advocates that may wish to collaborate.

Social monitoring can help you identify people on social media that are either speaking about your brand or have more general questions related to the industry. It’s ultimately a technique for delivering superior customer service, demonstrating knowledge, serving as an advocate and even social selling.

While social listening and social monitoring are a good start, they’re not enough. Your company must also engage with customers. Monitoring and listening allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of customer sentiment. Engaging helps you connect with your audience to build advocacy and loyalty.

Together, you can use these tools as part of a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Download our report: How to Improve Your Reputation with Effective Social Media Management for more information.