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

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

Confused about social listening vs. social monitoring?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The two terms look similar and yes, there is some overlap between them, but there are major differences and it’s important to understand them and learn how they are used by businesses to achieve separate goals and outcomes.

Social listening and social monitoring are vital tools for branding, customer service, conversion, and a lot more.

This post will explain everything you need to know about social monitoring and social listening and give you all the tools and techniques you need to use both powerful techniques for your business.

What is social monitoring?

Social monitoring, in simplest terms, is monitoring social media mentions of your brand. This means tracking the posts, reviews, conversations, responses, and activities made by individuals to which your brand is referred on each social media platform, website, and forum.

If you keep monitoring whenever people mention your brand, even when they don’t use a hashtag, your business will receive both positive and negative feedback.

In short, social monitoring allows the brand owner to see customers’ engagements with your brand and also learn what people are saying about your products and competitors online. 

Tweet about McDonald extracted from social listening

What is social listening? 

You might be thinking now I understand what social monitoring is, but what is social listening then? Once you have tracked the online activities of your customers, you can take it a step further by collecting data from all social media platforms and pulling insights from them.

This process is known as ‘social listening’. We might be able to say that social media listening usually involves social monitoring beforehand but then the extra step is added.

Overall, social listening requires more effort and time, but the outcome is highly rewarding as it empowers businesses to make better decisions for their customers.

Dashboard from social listening tool

Social monitoring vs. Social listening: how are they different?

Before you start planning a marketing strategy for your own business, it’s important to gain a better understanding of the differences between the two concepts. Now let’s compare social monitoring and social listening in a more detailed approach.

  1. Micro vs. Macro

The first difference lies in their scale. Social monitoring primarily involves responding to and addressing customer queries, problems, or complaints on a micro-scale.

For instance, brand representatives or social media managers engage with customers by providing answers to their questions or directing them to relevant departments. 

On the other hand, social listening is gathering data from social monitoring and customer interactions and analyzing what the customers are saying to guide the right direction of your brand development. It operates on a macro scale, focusing on the broader picture.

  1. Reactive vs. Proactive

As you may have noticed, social monitoring follows a reactive approach, while social listening follows a proactive one.

When it comes to social monitoring, the customer initiates the interaction, and then the brand representative steps in to resolve issues or fulfill customers’ needs. 

Screenshot of a Tweet about Guzman Y Gomez Mexican food

However, we don’t have to (and shouldn’t) wait for the customer to make the first move all the time. This is why social listening matters. Social listening lets you gain insights, anticipate potential issues, and make preventive changes by actively analyzing the data.

  1. Manual vs. Automated

Here comes another crucial difference. Social monitoring is usually more simple and can be done manually. You can monitor the inboxes, page notifications, and other channels to keep track of what your customers need. 

However, social listening usually requires automation and technology as it involves collecting and analyzing data. With the automated tools, you can read the data that is organized, comprehensive, and presented in a way that you can easily make use of it. 

Mandala Analytics social monitoring tool

In short, social monitoring focuses on addressing the issues on the spot, while social listening aims to identify the root causes behind those issues in advance.

The Benefits of Social monitoring and Social listening

You might be wondering, do I need both for my business? The simple answer is yes because social monitoring and social listening serve different purposes.

Social monitoring is a short-term solution, while social listening is more of a long-term solution.

When you’re sick, you need a doctor to prescribe medicine, but you also need them to diagnose your condition and take preventive measures. The same principle applies to business.

Screen shot of a tweet about VB beer

Now, let’s explore the benefits you can gain from social monitoring and social listening:

  • Understanding customer insights: By knowing your customers’ behaviors, comments, preferences, and needs, you can effectively address their pain points and provide better service.
  • Competitive analysis: Learning about your brand only is not enough, it’s essential to also learn about your competitors’ activities as it could allow your brand to stay ahead in the game.
  • Identifying trends and opportunities: By staying informed about upcoming trends, you can spot opportunities for your brand to grow further.

That’s why combining social monitoring and social listening is the perfect strategy for every brand.

Social listening vs Social monitoring examples

By now, you probably have learned what social monitoring is. But to put it in a clear picture, here’s a list of things you can do.

Examples of social monitoring:

  • Searching for your brand name and common misspellings
  • Searching for your product names and common misspellings
  • Monitor mentions of your competitors, both the brand name and their product names.
  • Keep track of the statistics on people searching for your products within your service area.

As you can see, social monitoring is a pretty straightforward process. Now, let’s explore what we should focus on when it comes to social listening.

Suppose you’re trying to promote a new fashion brand, you can start by discovering which clothing pieces are currently trending. This can be easily done by creating a social listening topic list and utilizing automated tools to help you delve deeper into the data.

Mandala Cosmos dashboard

Here are some common social listening examples:

  • Understanding public perception of your brand or products 
  • Analyzing discussions and hashtags within your business’ industry
  • Evaluating competing brands or products.
  • Assessing the performance of marketing campaigns
  • Tracking audience response to conferences or events
  • And more.

How can social listening and social monitoring help you increase customers?

The following list includes how social listening and social monitoring can help your brand.

  • Responding to customers’ needs promptly: Ignoring issues can give customers the impression that the brand doesn’t care about them. Research has shown that 83% of consumers expect brands to respond to their queries or online comments within one day or even sooner. Social listening and social monitoring will allow the brand to be able to see customer concerns and fulfill their needs quickly.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: It’s not just about addressing negative feedback; expressing gratitude for positive feedback also makes a difference. By sending out thank-you messages, customers will feel valued and appreciated, thereby strengthening their loyalty to the brand.
  • Identifying trends and patterns: As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial for the brand to be proactive. With the right social listening tools, you can track relevant keywords and trends, allowing you to stay updated and understand your audience better. This ensures that you don’t miss any important insights.

Recommended tools for social monitoring and social listening

For Social Listening:

One example is Mandala Analytics from Mandala AI. This platform includes everything you need to conduct in-depth social listening with large sets of social media mentions data, with all engagement, time, sentiment analytics, and more, but the standout benefit is the large volumes of data available, as well as the high number of keywords offered.

You can try Mandala Analytics free for 15 days.

tools for social monitoring and social listening

For Social Monitoring:

Busy social media managers and business owners want a tool with full functionality while simple, streamlined, and easy to use.

Mandala AI’s Cosmos lets you add all the social media feeds you need to monitor, as well as important keywords into one dashboard. From there, you have some important stats and metrics, and industry-based feeds too.

Social media feed from social monitoring tool

Key takeaways

When customers talk about your brand, whether it’s in the form of compliments, complaints, or simply comments, they are revealing what they need and what they want.

This feedback holds value and should never be ignored. Mandala Cosmos and Mandala Analytics can help you in utilizing this valuable data. You can register now at or take a fifteen-day free trial at 

Once the system has collected and analyzed this valuable data, it is now your job to uncover opportunities for your brand to thrive further.

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