Best Practices for Social Media Monitoring

While the terms “social media listening” and “social media monitoring” are often used interchangeably, they actually differ in some respects. Social media monitoring involves watching social media websites for mentions, where social media listening concerns more the way a brand is perceived by consumers—and you should be incorporating both in your overall marketing strategy.

Why should you be listening and monitoring on social media?

  • With a good listening system, you can see how your brand is viewed by the wider population
  • Social media is a great tool for testing a new idea
  • Companies using social media monitoring and listening are able to respond to consumer needs quickly and build one-on-one connections with potential consumers, which is a huge competitive advantage
  • Listening and monitoring allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of cultural trends and news stories, which helps to create timely agile marketing

In an interview with, Bill Kiss, the chief digital marketing officer for Sears and Kmart, put it like this: “You put things online, you get reaction, you get real-time feedback and data, and then you can make the decision on how big and bright you want to go with it.”

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Getting It Right to See Results

Once you have determined how social media listening fits into your greater marketing plan and what you will use it for before you, you are ready to develop and implement your strategy. Below are some of the top best practices from around the marketing-sphere to help you enhance your efforts while avoiding common social media listening and monitoring hazards.

Don’t Alienate Your Potential Consumers
Not having your plan backfire is always a top priority. According to a recent survey from J.D. Power, 51 percent of consumers simply do not want companies to eavesdrop on their conversations, and 43 percent believe that monitoring is an intrusion on their privacy. The majority of consumers, 64 percent, insist that they want companies to respond to social comments only when spoken to. According to an article on by contributing writer Avi Dan, companies should do the following to ensure that you are getting closer to the customer, not pushing them away:

  • Don’t just listen—understand 
  • Consider the context
  • Engage with reciprocity
  • Explain why you are listening

Be in All the Right Places
A good listening and monitoring strategy takes into account a wide variety of factors, including both positive and negative feedback, as well as follower backgrounds, interests, and social media influence. Remember that not every social media channel will provide the best feedback from every demographic. Find where your audience is and focus your efforts there.

It’s also a good idea to check out to find out which sites you are not currently on that have your username available, and register for the most popular networks. According to a quote from personal branding expert Dan Schawbel in a recent article on, companies should AT LEAST claim their name on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, LinkedIn, Technorati, Tumblr, and YouTube, and purchase their domain name as a .com, .org, .us, and/or whatever makes sense for the company.

Be Active
Just like the human body, being active is a key way to keep your social media listening and monitoring strategy healthy. Actively posting positive, professional content associated with your shop is crucial to seeing results with any social media monitoring and listening plan. If you build a good reputation that you are keenly monitoring and fostering by posting appropriate content, people will be more receptive to marketing messages from you and are more likely to gloss over negative content related to you.

Develop Relationships
Through social listening and monitoring, companies have a unique opportunity to hear, understand, and respond to what their audiences are saying about them. Start tracking how your audience interacts with various pieces of content you give to them, then use this information to inform how you interact with your audience in the future.

The Bottom Line

Implementing these best practices at your company will help to ensure that you are operating an effective social media monitoring and listening strategy. Just remember to always be proactive and diligent about managing your online reputation—these days, most potential customers will meet you online before they meet you in person or speak with you on the phone, so it’s important that your online image accurately reflects your brand.

Free Download: Remove the guesswork of finding your audience online. Download our guide, The Pre-Targeting Advantage, and learn how to maximize your advertising budget.

Quin Woodward-Pu

VP-Marketing Audienti. Former Director of PR Brightline Interactive. Former Editor Vocus. Social media guru.

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