The Difference Between Social Listening And Social Monitoring

Did you know 75% of millennials make their purchase decision based on a brand’s social media reputation? 

And you still believe social media is a waste of time! 

Well, we agree that some small businesses haven’t yet experienced any serious benefit from being on social media other than building their reputation and increasing awareness.

But, is it enough? 

At times, you too may have wondered if it is worth spending thousands of dollars only to get a bunch of mentions and likes.

What is the point of being on social media when all you get is criticism? 

Why hire a team of professionals to handle your social media activities when you hardly get any real business from there? 

The dilemma of being on social media or not is quite common among small and medium-sized businesses. 

Sometimes, even big brands hesitate to be a part of the social media space, assuming that all you get is criticism and backlashes.  

You can be trolled on social media whether you are present there or not.


If you are not there to defend yourself, the social media audience will assume that the complaints against you are right. 

Don’t let that happen; be proactive and drive the conversation from the get-go.

Respond to their complaints and assure them that you are willing to resolve their issues. 

Apologize whenever required. If your audience is seriously upset, do anything that you need to do to retain them. (Within reason of course).

Find people who are looking for products/services that you offer. Approach them with an irresistible offer and there are high chances that you could win them! 

Wondering how’s that possible because until now you haven’t benefited much from your current social media efforts?

That may be because you are not using Social Media Monitoring or Social Listening. 

A lot of people assume they are the same. They are also used interchangeably because both of them help businesses create a more effective social media strategy. 

Social listening is about changing your strategy based on the overall results you see from your social media monitoring efforts.

Social MonitoringSocial Listening
micro levelmacro level
responding to individual customer commentsshaping your strategy and product based on your monitoring efforts


Before we discuss more about social listening vs social monitoring, let’s first understand what they are and what their scope is. 

What is social media monitoring?

The definition of social media monitoring makes it obvious that it is all about monitoring your brand’s social presence and determining the performance of your social media campaigns. 

It sounds simple and it is simple

All you do is to monitor your brand’s mentions across the web. 

Some of the mentions could be complaints, which you need to fix. 

Some of them could be suggestions. 

Some of them could be appreciations, etc. 

Most mentions would be directly addressed to your social handles but there would be some mentions where you wouldn’t have been tagged or maybe tagged incorrectly. 

Some media monitoring tools like Notifier can help you track them too!

Social media monitoring helps you respond to customer issues on social media. But, that’s not all. 

Social media monitoring tools also track millions of blogs, news sites, review sites, Q & A websites, and much more. And they do a pretty good job! 

So, whether someone is creating a ‘Dell Hell’ type blog against you or some social media influencer reviews your product on his blog, these tools will find it out for you. 

Once you get to know of the mentions, you can act when needed or if needed. 

Sounds good, isn’t it? 

Wait, you still haven’t learnt what social media listening is and what’s the difference between social listening and social media monitoring.

What is social media listening? 

As you can assume, it is all about listening to your social audience at a macro level; whether they are talking about you or not. 

Listening provides more insights to what your buyers and prospects want or like. 

  • Do they want you to improve something? 
  • What type of content do they respond to the most? 
  • What thing do they like about your competitor and not yours?
  • How are they perceiving you as a brand or business? 
  • Are there people looking for products/services that you offer? 
  • Which platforms are they using to get recommendations? 
  • Who are the people who respond to such queries? 
  • Are there some influencers in your industry? If yes, how can you approach them to vouch for you? 

Social listening basically goes deeper than monitoring and helps you understand your social media audience. This is great for businesses that have been struggling hard to get some attention from their social audience. 

Social media monitoring has a very limited scope. It just focuses on gathering past information so you can measure your success. It doesn’t really help you figure out what you can do to be more successful on social media. And that briefly answers what’s the difference between social listening and social monitoring. But, there is something more to it. Keep reading. 

Also, do check out this blog to understand why no business can afford to ignore social listening

What’s the difference between social listening and social monitoring?

Check out this handy infographic we have created:

Social media listening is about proactively driving product and marketing strategy based on insights you get from social monitoring 

driving those insights

When we talk about social listening vs social monitoring, the first thing that comes to our mind is that social media monitoring is reactive. 

You only react to the mentions. And that’s great because it helps you provide better customer service and emerge as a responsible, customer-friendly business!

But, do you want to spend your entire social media budget only for responding to complaints? 

That sounds unworthy. You shouldn’t be online only to solve your buyers’ complaints. You should use social media evolve as a customer-friendly, modern, passionate, innovative, ever-changing, highly-reputable brand. 

And that is possible only when you start listening to your audience. 

Check out this article to see examples of how companies are creatively using Reddit social, the 6th largest social media in the US, to listen to customers

Use Social Listening to drive marketing and even product direction

You need to take a similar approach. Proactively interact with your buyers. Ask them about their experience. 

Appreciate them when they recommend you to their circle. Wish them on their birthdays. Congratulate them on their achievements and maybe offer them a special discount. Be a part of their online campaigns. 

If they share something extraordinary, appreciate them. Get friendly but remember your boundaries. 

Social Listening as a Product Road Map

This all gets to a concept we call “Social Listening as a Product Road Map”. 

What that means is that the best companies don’t just stop at using social listening to gain insights into how to better market themselves.

The best companies use Social Listening to drive the direction of their Product.

Here is an example of something someone posted about Discord recently:

The next step for Discord here is to check and see if they are getting other mentions and feedback about this same issue.  Then if they are they need to redesign their product to adjust for this.  

Social media listening helps create more engaging content 

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How many times have you felt disappointed after getting almost no engagement to a piece of content that you ‘enthusiastically’ shared on your social handles? You hoped that it would get an enormous amount of likes and shares but it didn’t. You and your team brainstorm for hours and days to come up with even more effective content ideas. But, they too fail! 

Well, that happens because you still share what you want to share and not what your audience likes to read. 

So, how do you find out what your audience likes? 

That’s what social media listening is about. 

It helps you understand your audience, their likes, dislikes, what type of content they prefer, what type of products they buy, where they spend their money the most, etc. 

When you understand their taste, you will definitely be able to create powerful social media campaigns. The more powerful your campaigns are, the better ROI you will get. 

Looking for tips and tricks to improve your social media strategies? Here is an interesting article for you

Social listening vs social monitoring – what helps you serve your audience better

Honestly, both of them help you serve your customers. But, as expected, social listening helps you do that proactively. 

By opting for social listening, you will be able to:

Identify the issues that can eventually make your customers ‘dump you’

Are your products arriving damaged? Is your app giving frequent glitches? What are the most mentioned complaints? 

You need to work on these issues to avoid future complaints. And, once you have done that, approach each of the customers who complained about it and brought it to your notice. Inform them that you have worked on these issues. Thank them and make them feel that their feedback really matters. 

Identify the influencers in your industry

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As obvious from the above image, 89% of businesses that tried influencer marketing have agreed that its ROI is comparable or even better than the other popular forms of marketing

We understand that small businesses might find it hard to rely on this emerging marketing trend, but it is already a multi-billion dollar industry and expected to hit the $13.8 billion mark in 2021. Businesses are generating $6.50 revenue for a $1 investment, which is unbelievably good. 

Don’t confuse it with celebrity endorsement. Influencer marketing is more like word-of-mouth marketing where trusted figures of a niche community review a specific product/service and share their honest opinion about it with their loyal followers. 

For example; if you are selling yoga pants, you can contact yoga vloggers to use your products while making their videos and subtly inform their viewers that they are using XYZ brand yoga pants. You may request them to share their honest opinion in the video even if it requires mentioning an ignorable issue. This is a very basic example. You can get creative and approach influencers in the health and nutrition or fitness niche to talk about your product on their social handles. 

Social listening tools can help you identify the influencers that are the most relevant for your business. 

Analyze the strategies of your competitors

This article describing what’s the difference between social listening and social media monitoring will be incomplete if we don’t tell how social listening can help you with competition tracking. 

You can use social media listening/monitoring tools to track the mentions of your competitors as well as the general keywords that matter the most to your business. The collected data can help you understand what your competitor is doing and how he is benefitting from it. You can then use this information to improve your strategies/products/offerings.  

Track the leads and generate more business

Social media listening tools can help you track discussions that happen around the keywords relevant to your business. Maybe someone is asking for recommendations about a service or product that you offer. These are your leads. You can approach them (directly or indirectly) before your competitors do and it will definitely help you win more business. 

Social media listening: how to get started 

Don’t get nervous. It is not much different from social media monitoring, which you are probably doing. 

All social media monitoring tools offer ample data that you can use to understand your audience better. You just need to select the one that suits your business needs. 

Have you tried Notifier yet? It is one of the most affordable tools but it offers features that you won’t get from any other tool at this price. For example; most tools provide instant notification with their premium plans. They don’t let you download your data unless you opt for expensive plans. Their basic plan is so limited that it will hardly serve your purpose. 

Notifier has transparent plans. No matter which one you choose, you get almost all the features. The only thing that varies is the number of searchers. Read this article for more details and, if it interests you, do opt for our 7-day free trial.

 Feel free to contact us for queries and feedback.