The Difference Between Social Media Monitoring and Social Listening

Published on 30th March 2021

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This insight post is a summary of the original blog post authored by Beutler Ink. View the original,post:Social Monitoring vs. Social Listening: What’s the Difference?.


Social media monitoring and social listening are the two most common terms often used to describe the process of tracking social conversations about brands and businesses. The fact that social listening and social monitoring are often used interchangeably suggests they’re both referring to the same practice. However, in the marketing world, there are several key differences between monitoring and listening.

Defining social media monitoring

In the broadest sense, social monitoring refers to checking social media platforms to discover what users are saying about you, your brand, or your product and services. For smaller brands with manageable levels of mentions, this is easy enough to do, especially when users are responding to your posts, tagging your account, or posting comments on your official page. 

The word monitoring also implies a level of recording, not just observation. In fact, social media monitoring as a service usually includes reports with relevant tracking data. Monitoring can also be part of a larger social strategy for social engagement. For example, it may be necessary to respond to customers asking questions or raising concerns.

Defining social listening

While social listening also involves extensive monitoring, the search focus extends beyond brand mentions to keywords and key personnel associated with a particular industry or relevant demographic. The purpose of social listening is often to identify and analyze trends or to spot conversations that could be significant (even if your brand isn’t specifically mentioned) and to then explain relevant context and implications.

Both processes involve a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis, however; social listening is ultimately far more strategic, especially regarding long-term decision making. For instance, social listening is often a key component of market research or reputation management efforts, and findings from listening reports can be used to craft new social campaigns or other marketing strategies.

Another key difference: social monitoring tools are typically geared towards the top core social platforms, while listening tools extend to niche platforms like Yelp, Reddit, and Glassdoor and media coverage across the web.

Which is right for you?

If your brand has a substantial online presence and you’re interested in pursuing social monitoring, the question isn’t “should you be doing it?” but “are you doing it correctly?” Learn how you can be effective with social monitoring and social listening in the original blog post, Social Monitoring vs. Social Listening: What’s the Difference?

Want to learn more? Check out more insights from our partners on social media and digital marketing.

Beutler Ink is a digital agency that focuses on creating custom marketing solutions that meet core sales and growth objectives. While being an industry leader in Wikipedia strategy, its agency works with global brands like Google, Verizon, Uber, Amazon and more to help them share stories with their online audiences through stunning visuals and clear, concise copywriting.

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