Listening vs Monitoring

Social media listening vs Social media monitoring

I hear lots of people lumping Social Media Listening and Social Media Monitoring into the same bucket. While they are closely related, I don’t see them as the same thing.  This distinction is probably not going to be earth shattering. We have so many other events that are these days. And, I would put some perspective to it and see if it holds up to the light of day. Lets discuss scenario on Listening vs Monitoring.

Social media monitoring can be looked as a method to quantify and count the activities taking place, such as “Hey, 402 people just tweeted Obama yesterday”. The problem with this example is that I need to now go figure out how to spell. Wow, got it right.

Lets discuss a scenario, Listening vs Monitoring

It is a bit like sitting in a loud restaurant and saying there are 82 people in here. 47 are talking about the menu, 12 about the wine, 3 about their boss, etc. These numbers can show you spikes in certain conversational topics over time and maybe give you a word cloud. This is the kind of monitoring that most all of the tools on the market perform will perform at a bare minimum.

In contrast, Social media listening is actually hearing an individual conversation in a meaningful way. In the restaurant example, this would mean that you would need to get up from your table and go sit down at someone else’s table in order to listen to them. This is relatively easy to do in social media, but many companies are still not listening. These companies listen to their customers much like you listening to your husband or wife, or better yet, the way your cat listens to you. You probably need to be listening more precisely in Listening vs Monitoring aspect.

As part of an overall social media listening program, you need to both monitor and listen. Monitoring will give you a sense of where you need to be listening, and listening is where the really important information can be found. It takes more time than simply monitoring, but it is also much more valuable.

Aren’t you happier when someone is truly listening to you?


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