What’s the Difference Between Social Listening and Social Media Monitoring?

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As social media marketers, we get all sorts of questions about social trends. One recent common question we’ve been getting is about social listening, and how businesses can utilize it. See below for a breakdown of what you need to know about social listening.

ISM Listening FB

What is social listening?

Social listening is a way to track conversations about your business or industry that are happening in the digital space. If you aren’t doing social listening, you might only see direct mentions of your business when people write on your Facebook page or tweet at you – but there are so many more conversations happening that you may not see if you aren’t looking. With a strong social listening strategy, you can properly respond to trending topics in your industry, you can learn about any issues your customers might be having even if they haven’t taken the time to tell you about them, and you can keep an eye on competitors in order to find a way to outmaneuver them.

So, what’s the difference between social listening and social media monitoring?

The difference between social listening and social media monitoring is social listening dives into “unowned” territory. It’s not just the comments or wall posts on your owned pages, it’s also mentions of your business or industry in blogs, on review sites, and in conversations you aren’t tagged in. Social media monitoring is checking to see who’s talking to you and responding to them, while social listening is learning how your audience is talking about you when they think you aren’t listening. Then, using that information to form new ways to reach your audience and inspire marketing content.


How can my brand use social listening?

Businesses can use social listening to inspire marketing plans, track customer sentiment, and monitor competitor behavior. Another element of social listening is the ability to find key influencers in your industry & imitate what works for them.

How do I get started with social listening for my brand?

While the easiest way to do social listening is to use a tool designed for it, you can absolutely glean insights from a more manual approach. Set up daily Google Alerts to track mentions of your brand (don’t forget to include misspellings!) and your competitors. Set up a private Twitter list to follow competitors and key industry people, so you can quickly see what they are talking about in a few clicks. Make a list of industry buzzwords to search at regular intervals for content inspiration. Finally, search your business name on Twitter and Facebook weekly rather than just checking your notifications – you may see some conversations you weren’t tagged in that are enlightening.

Looking for someone to handle social listening for your brand? We’d love to help. Contact us here.

Ignite Social Media