Social media is a big part of our lives nowadays. Almost everyone has an account and uses it to connect with family, friends, celebrities as well as brands. Apart from sharing media and discussing on various topics, social media presence can also be used as a tool by businesses to promote their products. For this, businesses can make use of a technique known as social listening.
On the other hand, a lot of businesses are engaged in other techniques such as social media monitoring. Often, social media monitoring is mistaken for social listening, and hence it is important to distinguish between the two. These concepts are often considered similar but this is not correct. Social media monitoring is simply not sufficient enough in today’s online world because the process is not comprehensive enough. So let us have a look at the 4 essential differences between social media monitoring and social listening.
#1 – Conceptual Difference
Social listening is a much broader term than social media monitoring. Social listening encompasses not only the reading and tracking of what users are saying online but also understanding what is the meaning behind it and how it can be utilised. Social media monitoring is undertaken by most of the businesses that have an online presence. However, businesses need to understand that merely monitoring the comments made by online users is not enough. It is important to create a strategy and act on those comments in order to maximise your sales. Each discussion needs to be looked at as a potential opportunity to engage the users. This is where social listening comes in. It is a much wider concept which allows the business to not only track social media discussions, but to also formulate a strategy around the same. This strategy is usually built in order to understand user needs and opinions. Once the opinions have been monitored, they are analysed and utilised to the fullest by the business.
#2 – Reactive Vs Proactive
Another major difference between the two is that social media monitoring is a reactive process. It involves looking at the discussions by social media users and reacting to it, be it in the form of comments or likes. On the other hand, social listening is a much more proactive process which involves the formulation of an active strategy. Businesses which make use of social listening make sure that they have a social media strategy in place beforehand.
All their interaction and engagement with the users is then undertaken on the basis of this strategy. For instance, if there is a business which has a product push strategy, it will try to market its product at every single opportunity. It will monitor the discussions which are around similar products and almost seamlessly suggest their own product to the users.
This entire process happens so smoothly that the user often does not even realise that it was part of a strategy. Social listening is all about timing. It is about listening to what the users are saying and then striking at the opportune moment. Businesses which engage in such a well planned manner are more likely to maximise their online marketing activities.
#3 – Actionable Insights
Social listening provides any business with actionable insights. This means that it sets up a potential opportunity to analyse as well as act on what the social media users are saying online. For example, if users are talking about a potential problem that they face in their daily lives, a business can analyse this and identity a gap in the market.
Thereafter, the business can look to plug that gap by introducing newer products which solve that particular problem. In such a manner, the business can not only develop its product line, but it can also boost its brand image. Customers are always looking for brands that listen to their problems and create products which can simplify their lives further.
On the other hand, social media monitoring does not involve any analysis, and thus it does not provide your business with actionable insights. Thus, in terms of utility, social listening is a much more useful technique to adopt for a business. It results in any business’ revenues being maximised to the fullest.
#4 – Manual Vs Automated
Another key difference between the two is that social media monitoring is more of a manual process. This is because it involves tracking each and every post made online by social media users. On the other hand, social listening is increasingly being automated or at least it is semi automated.
This is because each post or comment made needs to be part of the wider strategy of the business. This can be done in a better manner by automating the process. There are various social listening tools available online which help in simplifying the process and automate it to a greater extent. Such software programs are especially useful since they provide you with all the information at one glance. Your business can take the appropriate action and grab the opportunity thereafter. Conversely, social media monitoring is a process which is primarily manual and does not involve much analysis. That is also the reason why businesses should look towards social listening. It is a technique which is not only more holistic but is also more time efficient.
To sum up, there are a lot of fundamental differences between social media monitoring and social listening. Social listening is a much broader technique which is also much more useful. Whilst social media monitoring involves a lot of time and effort; social listening provides you with actionable insights while also saving your time. It is also a much more proactive technique which makes use of strategies that are planned well in advance. Further, social listening is much more effective in terms of end results since any business can use the technique to maximise product promotions which lead to higher revenues. At the same time, social listening can also help the business in developing new products as per the prevalent customer needs