Social Media Listening vs. Social Media Monitoring - Differences and Best Practices
Social Listening

Social Media Listening vs. Social Media Monitoring - Differences and Best Practices

Laura Dascau
Laura Dascau

Table of Contents

Many marketers use the terms social media listening and social media monitoring as synonyms. You probably did it too. Well, if it helps, you are not the only one.

That is why we considered it useful to make the distinction between social listening vs. monitoring to help you better understand the mechanisms that could make your business thrive.

Given the fact that a solid marketing plan is not easy to design, a well-developed strategy relies on heavy research.

Learning about the difference between listening vs. monitoring will help you understand how to increase brand awareness and satisfy the buyer persona.

Let’s jump in!

Social Media Listening vs. Social Media Monitoring

  1. What is social media listening?

  2. What is social media monitoring?

  3. The differences between social media listening vs. social media monitoring

  1. The benefits of social listeninf

  2. The benefits of social monitoring

  3. Social listening tools to try

  4. Social monitoring tools to try

1. What is social media listening?

Social media listening is an undervalued marketing tool and very few marketers have reached into the depths of marketing planning like you did.

So if you found out about it, congrats. Now let’s learn what is it good for.

Social listening refers to data collected from brand mentions and customers’ conversations about your brand, niche or industry.

Retrieving all these insights from them can help you make better decisions when it comes to designing a new strategy.

Besides learning what people think and say about your brand, you will also find out what are the main interests of your prospective clients.

This way, you will know what you have to do to satisfy their needs.

2. What is social media monitoring?

Reading the room is one of the top skills a marketer should have to understand their audience. Luckily, social listening and social monitoring can help you with that.

Different from social media listening, social monitoring is a detailed process of tracking and answering brand mentions on social media platforms, blogs, forums, review sites and basically everywhere in the online world.

Every time you find a comment or review about your brand, products or services, your duty is to respond to them.

Quickly and in a professional, but in a friendly way, if possible. The tone is very important in these situations.

3. The difference between social media listening vs. social media monitoring

While most marketers who are at the beginning of their careers keep mixing up these two social media features, maybe now we’ll make it clear for you.

These two social media features are easily mistaken since they are interdependent. There is no social listening without social monitoring.

This is a picture depicting the differences between social listening vs.

To empower the connections you establish with prospective clients, buyer persona and your audience on social media, you need to make use of social listening and social monitoring.

Social media monitoring relies more on caring about what your customers say about your brand by monitoring mentions and tags, while social media listening means understanding your audience’s needs and rethinking your marketing strategy to fulfill them.

NOTE! It is not a question of using one of these two social media strategies. It is rather about how to use social listening and monitoring by learning where they intersect.

Social monitoring shows you what you should look for to change, while social listening offers you all the insights as why you should do it.

The difference between social listening vs. social monitoring will become even more clear in a minute, after making some comparisons.

  • Micro vs. macro

Social monitoring refers to customers on a micro scale, while social listening addresses customers on a macro scale. Here is how.

In the case of monitoring, social media specialists are the ones who answer all inquiries, comments, and reported issues from customers.

They are also responsible with monitoring notifications and they may connect customers with customer support representatives in call centers, if needed.

In the case of listening, this feature analyzes what customers say about your brand, but on a broader scale, retrieving information from your audience via AI or different algorithms.

Usually, a social media listening tool is needed to make up a report for a designated time frame where also data from social media monitoring is gathered.

Due to this report, marketers can have a broader view of their audience, developing a plan in accordance with their needs.

  • Passive vs. active

To better differentiate these two social media strategies, social monitoring is passive, while social listening is active.

Social monitoring allows you to look at your customers’ reactions and respond to their inquiries, but it does not necessary imply solving their problems.

On the other hand, social listening is about taking attitude and interpreting the data received through social monitoring to develop audience-oriented goals for your brand.

  • Broad vs. narrow

From these two social media features, social listening has a broader focus, while social monitoring has a narrow focus.

If social monitoring focuses on a single brand, customer’s issue, campaign or question about a product, social listening looks at the bigger picture, including brand mentions, infos about your brand, your industry, your competitors and even the entire market.

All this data gathered from the narrow vs. broad perspective helps you get the whole picture when it comes to understanding your audience better than their therapists and adapting your brand’s strategy to suit their wishes.

  • Reactive vs. proactive

Social monitoring relies more on answering your customers’ inquiries. The sooner, the better. Your clients will be pleased if they get a quick response, even if you may not solve their problem entirely.

Instead, social listening focuses more on addressing customers’ needs in a broader sense, trying more to prevent issues related to products and services.

Via listening, you can easily transform consumer’s feedback into actionable data.

  • Manual vs. automated

When it comes to how much time it takes to put into practice both social media strategies, you will see that one is manual, while the other is automated.

Social media listening cannot be performed without a social media listening tool. Therefore, it implies an automated process.

Social media monitoring is a manual process because you need to take the comments and inquiries one by one to offer everyone a response.

Even if it is not easy, it is healthy for your brand to show your audience that you are there to take care of their requests and listen to their problems.

4. The benefits of social listening

Social media listening helps you stay connected to your audience and find out what they think about your brand.

This is a picture with a table containing the benfits of social listening

If social monitoring represents the trees, then social listening is the forest. Let’s see what are the benefits of social media listening:

  • Improve customer service

Since you can easily monitor what customers say about your products, services and brand, you will learn what you have to do to keep them happy.

The purpose of social listening is not just to find out who and where people are talking about your brand, but it is also about engaging with them. This way, you will build a loyal community.

By improving customer service, you will have a bigger, more satisfied audience. You will see that the number of negative comments will drop, making room for all the praise and positive reviews.

In case you receive negative feedback, you need to know how to handle the situation without getting into a fight.

By elegantly answering that you and your team are working on improving your services, your audience is going to be more than satisfied that you are willing to work on your flaws.

  • Learn more about your audience

Since your audience is your master, you know that you have to do everything in your power to help them get what they want.

The audience is the one one who can either praise you or share negative comments about you on social media. And you would want to prevent the second part.

With the use of social media listening, you will be able to spot who your tribe is and what their inquiries are.

If most people talk about your brand and products on Twitter or Instagram, then you will know where to focus your social media game.

  • Find out who are your competitors

Besides learning what your audience says about you in the online world, you can establish keyword tracking to find out what they say about your competitors, niche or even the entire industry.

These insights can really help you find out what people are looking for and what are your competitors’ wrongs and best practices.

This way, you will be able to make up a list of everything you can do better than anybody else in your industry to ace the game.

If people are complaining about your competitors’ products, it’s time for you to step in and offer them alternatives that could satisfy their needs.

When you show customers that you care, you will win them over and your audience may increase after you get positive comments and reviews.

  • Spot influencers

Social listening also helps you learn who are the people who share your content, new releases and information about your brand.

This way, if they have a larger audience, you can rely on them to develop influencer relationships and help your brand thrive.

A happy customer may transform into an influencer for your brand and a great advocate. And, honestly, this is every marketer’s dream. Make sure you repay them for their loyalty.

5. The benefits of social monitoring

Social media is not only a place where people meet people. All social media platforms also hold customers’ experiences with certain products.

When people talk about your products, you would want to learn whether they had a pleasant or unpleasant experience.

This picture shows the benefits of social monitoring

Through social monitoring, you will be able to answer all inquiries and concerns.

Even if sometimes you get notified when people talk about your brand, they may not always tag you. By using a social media monitoring tool, you can always find out all of it, becoming a know-it-all.

In what follows, we will talk about the benefits of social monitoring and why you should use it in your marketing strategy.

  • Answering customers' concerns

Since more and more shoppers rely on other customers’ experiences shared in the online world, you will want to make sure that the number of positive comments is higher.

We know that no brand is perfect, but your audience needs to know that you are doing your best. Otherwise, the repercussions will not cease to appear.

You have to take the time to answer your customers and find a solution for every problem they have.

By solving their complaints with the help of your customer service specialists or social media people, you will be able to raise a loyal community.

Remember that your customers are ones who can decide upon the faith of your brand. They can easily ruin your entire campaign if they have one small unsolved issue or they can praise and applaud you for your services.

Choose wisely. It is better to prevent a problem instead of addressing it.

  • Find out the latest trends

By monitoring your brand’s evolution on social media, you will also learn more about the latest trends in your niche and industry.

This could help you understand what are users’ main interests and how to adjust your products and services to satisfy them.

A social monitoring tool can help you spot the latest trends. Learn when people use your products, who uses them most, how they may repurpose them and see what drives your sales.

All these data can help you better plan your strategies and products and maybe you get inspired to develop something new.

  • Monitor competitors

When following all the noise on social media about your brand, inevitably you manage to find out more about your competition.

A social media monitoring tool can also help you find out more about how your competitors are thriving on social media platforms.

You can learn from them and get inspired, depending on their products and campaigns.

Always take a look at the type of content they share, the content that drives their engagement, how they communicate with their audience, what mistakes they do and how they try to fix them.

Learning from others’ mistakes is the best way to learn, especially in a world where everybody can find out about your faults.

  • Share your customers' thoughts about your brand

When customers compliment you for your efforts, it is only natural to share their thoughts with the rest of your community. At the end of the day, it is not all about issues and solving problems.

You also get standing ovations for your work and it is advisable to celebrate them. Show people how your customers perceive you.

It is not bragging. It’s showing your customers your appreciation for sharing their experiences with the rest of the world.

You don’t need to respond only to negative feedback, but also to positive ones. This way, your community will be proud to support a brand like yours.

6. Social listening tools to try

When making use of social media listening to develop your marketing strategy, it is time to implement tools that can become helpful.

Here is a list of social listening tools that can empower your work:










7. Social monitoring tools to try

If you have just learnt about the use of social monitoring to keep your brand flourishing and thriving, then you should think about a monitoring tool that could really ease your work. Even if monitoring can be done manually, a tool will always come in handy.

Here is a list of social monitoring tools that can help you:








-Sprout Social

Final thoughts

Trying to make it all perfect is hard, but trying to just make it in the digital marketing world is more than enough.

By working hard on your brand’s strategy, being consistent in your efforts, and implementing all the needed tools while also listening to what your customers have to say is just perfect. It’s humanly perfect.

Among all the goods and all the bads you can do in the online world, make sure that for users you will be top of mind when they’ll be searching for help. Focusing on how you react to customers’ feedback will define the way users perceive you.

The way in which you communicate with and listen to your clients can really decide your future in the online market. Do your best.

If you have questions about social listening vs monitoring, we are to help. We are just a few clicks away.

Laura Dascau

Laura Dascau

Content Writer @Socialinsider

I am a curious, focused learner born to tell stories to win over readers' hearts. Always embracing vulnerable authenticity.

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