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  • Writer's pictureSPRD

What’s The Difference Between Social Listening & Social Monitoring?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Successful PR communication is based on three pillars - defined goals, a structured and well-researched strategy, and targeted messaging. While goals give communication a direction, targeted messaging brings you closer to your audience. A well-structured strategy, on the other hand, gives your communication the right shape, purpose, and platform.

As opposed to the traditional belief, creating a PR communication strategy is more than just drafting a messaging blueprint, deciding on formats or channels, and analysing results. It involves taking help from several PR tools to understand the audience, keep a tab on the market trends, and ultimately create effective PR communication.

Two unique tools that help you ace PR communication on social media are - Social Listening and Social Monitoring. While one focuses on paying attention to your audience’s conversations; the other tracks your audience’s activities. While one involves analysing the audience’s social media activities like mentions, comments, shares, etc., the other is all about understanding the underlying emotion behind the conversation.

Let’s dig a little deeper

Social Listening is about decoding the context behind your audience’s conversations, deciphering sentiments, and understanding their needs. This allows you to create communication in the way they want to hear. When your communication makes sense to them, they connect with you on a deeper level.

Social Monitoring involves tracking mentions, comments, and interactions related to your brand on social media platforms. This allows you to step up your PR strategies based on the moment your audience is living in, and create communication that is relevant to them.

What do the two tools have to offer?

Sentiments vs Searches: While social listening helps your gauge your audience’s emotions, social monitoring enables you to act upon their social insights. The former lets you connect with them, while the latter creates a space to maintain relevance.

Reactive vs Proactive: Tracking and observing online conversations, mentions, and interactions related to a brand, product, or industry in real-time makes social monitoring a reactive tool. Meanwhile, analysing data gathered over time to anticipate potential shifts in sentiment, industry trends, or public opinion makes social listening a proactive PR tool.

Long-Term vs Short-Term Solution: Social listening is primarily a long-term solution as it continuously monitors and analyses online conversations over an extended period to gain comprehensive insights into audience perceptions. Social monitoring on the other hand can serve as both a short-term and a long-term solution, depending on the context and objectives of its implementation.

How can you bring out the best in both tools?

For your PR strategy to be effective, social monitoring and social listening must work hand in hand. Their harmony enables you to steer your brand towards richer, more informed decision-making and fosters stronger connections. Monitoring and listening to your audience’s social media footprints gives you the opportunity to make your PR strategy airtight. When the two are intertwined, your strategy can move beyond surface-level observations to deep insights bound to leave a mark.

Keeping a real-time pulse on your audience’s conversations:

Being aware of the conversations your audience is a part of, in real-time, helps you stay ahead of them and position your brand in the right place. It also creates an opportunity for you to capture the moment they're living in, and attract the most traction.

Navigating crisis situations:

Listening to and monitoring your audience’s social media actions can help you predict a crisis beforehand and prepare for it. Not just that, these two tools can also help you craft strong crisis management guidelines.

Empowering content:

When you’re aware of what your audience wants, and how they consume content, you can ace creating content that hits the bull’s eye. Whether your audience is responding to storytelling, data, or UGC, you can predict and create audience-appropriate content for effective communication.

Identifying emerging trends:

Tracking your audience’s social media footprints can help you identify emerging trends and keep up with them. When your communication aligns with the latest trends followed by your audiences, your position your brand as relevant and an aid to your audiences.

Personalised communication:

Understanding your audiences’ sentiments, preferences, and pain points creates a space for you to tailor your communication. When your audience consumes content personalised for them, it can nurture meaningful relationships.

Influencer engagement:

Social monitoring identifies influential voices, and social listening recognises which influencers align authentically with your brand's values. This distinction ensures fruitful collaborations that resonate deeply with the target audience. This also leads to the establishment of brand advocates.

Enhanced customer relations:

Engaging with your audience on social media is not limited to the creation and distribution of content and analysis of the results. It involves identifying customer issues, empathising and providing tailored solutions, as well as strengthening customer loyalty. This leads to maintaining long-term relations with your audience.

In times when authenticity and relevance are of utmost importance, social monitoring and social listening enable you to achieve them. They push you closer to your audience and ensure that the relationship you build with them is strong and long-lasting.


Psst! This blog was made with 💕 and created after some thought by a real person.


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