If you use the terms “social monitoring” and “social listening” interchangeably, you’re not alone. But, it’s important to realize that the difference goes beyond semantics. The two concepts actually represent two entirely different strategies. Let’s look more closely at their attributes and how they can improve your CXM.
Social media monitoring is identifying and responding to individual brand mentions on social media.
Social listening, on the other hand, is collecting data from those social mentions and broader customer conversations and pulling insights that allow you to make better decisions for your customers. You might call it, “reading the room.” And, its influence is skyrocketing: In a recent survey, marketers said “social listening” was their top social media tactic.
If you’re ready to execute your own social strategy, first you need to understand what makes each one unique. Let’s break down the differences between social media monitoring and social media listening so you can fine tune your strategy and create better customer experiences.
Social monitoring addresses customers on a micro scale by responding to incoming queries, issues, and comments. Here, you would monitor a feed of notifications and provide an answer or refer the person to the right department, similar to a call center.
On a broader scale, social listening takes a macro look at how customers discuss your brand on social media. It gathers that data from social monitoring and customer interactions (often via AI software), and pools it to build a more comprehensive view of what customers are saying and how your brand can address a need.
There are many metaphors you can use to make this distinction clearer. Social monitoring is the trees; social listening is the forest. Social monitoring is the pixels; social listening is the picture. Social monitoring is the bandage; social listening helps you find the cure.
No matter what terms you might use, it’s important to remember that these are separate strategies and that you need them both to provide superior customer care.
In social monitoring, the customer makes the first move by reaching out to the brand on social media. Then, the care representative swoops in to solve an issue or answer a question. It’s a crucial social strategy to have, but it’s transactional and doesn’t promote the rich interactions that lead to better customer experience.
That’s where proactive social listening comes in, allowing brands to take those short-term interactions and build on them to glean insights for a long-term strategy. This unified, birds-eye view can also help you better understand why those social mentions came to your care representative in the first place. And you can start to find opportunities to make changes that proactively prevent similar issues in the future.
Through social listening, you can also unearth trends among your industry, competitors, and consumer experiences. You can then make the necessary changes to stay ahead of the curve and keep customers happy.
For example, if an airline responds to a passenger’s question about a flight change, that’s social monitoring. But if they pull back the scope and see that there is vast confusion on flights, they can suggest ways to push out updated schedules so they are easier to understand, which can improve your CXM going forward. That’s accomplished through social listening.
At its most basic level, social monitoring can be done manually. By using Twitter or TweetDeck notifications, for instance, you can monitor your mentions and track incoming queries. And while that’s sufficient for many companies, others prefer a more robust strategy that integrates AI software to identify intent and proactively predict cases that might need to be escalated in order to avoid potentially embarrassing remarks left by frustrated customers.
Quick response is a key part of CXM: One survey found that 83% of consumers expect brands to respond to social media comments within a day or less. And that’s where a modern customer experience management platform can improve customer satisfaction compared with inefficient workflows which can lead to delayed resolution and unhappy customers.
Social listening, by contrast, inherently requires robust AI software to collect and measure data. That’s where you might need a partner who has the technology that allows you to automatically track keywords, trends, and brand mentions (with or without your handle). Ideally, the AI platform can then aggregate and present that data in an insightful way, allowing you to find patterns, uncover trends, and understand your audience without missing a beat.
Once you parse the differences, it’s easy to see that despite their similar names, these two activities are in fact very distinct. After all, there’s a huge difference between monitoring a conversation or listening to it.
The fact is that people are talking about your brand on social media – whether you’re aware of it or not. And it would be a mistake to overlook that valuable data they’re providing about what they need and want from your brand and an improved customer experience. Your role – or that of your AI software – is to collect and respond to it.
While both social media monitoring and social media listening are crucial, it’s important to understand their differences, but more importantly to grasp what these two disciplines can do for your brand and CXM – individually and together. Only then can you execute them properly and use them to better engage your consumers.
To learn more about how Sprinklr delivers great customer experiences, check out what our Chief Experience and Marketing Officer Grad Conn has to say.
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