Social media monitoring and social media management are two similar-sounding terms you probably hear frequently as a business owner. But, the reality is, the two are quite different.
Though both are essential for any social media strategy, they each play different roles in supporting said strategy.
- Social media monitoring = Checking for and replying to messages and comments as appropriate.
- Social media management = Creating and posting content to your social media channels that resonate with your audience while improving on that content as necessary.
Today, we’re sharing the difference between the two and why they’re both essential components of any successful social media strategy.
Let’s get started.
What is social media monitoring?
What exactly is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring involves overseeing any messages, posts, and mentions directly to your brand and responding to any engagement around it. In other words, the actions you typically think of when maintaining your social media presence.
Social media monitoring is a reactive strategy, as you’re responding to reviews, product questions, comments, private messages, and more promptly.
This tactic also pertains to your brand’s messages and comments, even if your brand isn’t directly tagged. These types of messages don’t pop up in your notifications panel, so it’s critical to have a monitoring system.
So why is social media monitoring important to your business?
Around 50% of the world’s population—or 3 billion people—uses social media. If you aren’t keeping tabs on your social media presence, it could have a severe impact on your online reputation.
You’ve likely seen examples of social media monitoring every time you log on to a popular channel, like these examples from Panera.
In this first example, Panera scores a quick customer service win by replying to a question.
(Source: Panera Bread on Twitter)
Though it’s a simple interaction, it could mean the difference between this customer purchasing decaf coffee at Panera or a competitor.
In this second example, Panera reached out to two customers who were tweeting photos of themselves and their Panera coffee to ask if they could share their tweets on their corporate page.
(Source: Panera Bread on Twitter)
The customers consented, asked for food vouchers, and Panera sent them a direct message. Panera was able to secure some user-generated content (UGC) and make customers happy at the same time.
This is an excellent example of a real-time interaction, otherwise known as social media monitoring. This exchange wouldn’t be nearly as effective if it weren’t as reactive.
What is social media management?
In a similar vein, social media management involves overseeing your online presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more by creating, publishing, and assessing the content you post.
Social media management entails the content creation and analysis components of a social media strategy. Like social media monitoring, social media management is a critical part of a successful online reputation strategy because it creates opportunities for customers to discover and connect with your brand.
According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social media users use social media to research products before buying or visiting a store. What’s more, users spend an average of three hours per day on social media.
What does this data tell us?
Potential customers are consuming social media content at a high rate, and are likely to consult social media channels (i.e., a brand’s content and reviews) before making a purchase.
Therefore, to get the most from social media, you must create and share content that resonates with your customers and draws attention. This could be anything from a spotlight of a positive customer review or an eye-catching video that encourages users to engage.
Take these social media posts from Starbucks, for example.
In this first example, Starbucks posted a bright, seasonally-appropriate, engaging photo.
(Source: Starbucks on Instagram)
Not only is the photo eye-catching, but Starbucks included the name of the drink in the caption so customers can order the drink the next time they go to Starbucks. Or, the post could spark a dedicated trip for the summery beverage.
In this example, Starbucks tried to generate user engagement with a game-style post.
(Source: Starbucks on Instagram)
This bingo board is a great way to encourage users to comment on and tag others in the post. It also demonstrates how customers can make Starbucks part of their summer fun.
How do both play a role in a social media strategy?
Social media management and monitoring work like a two-way street, and both are critical to a successful social media strategy.
Social media management and monitoring help grow your business in various ways:
- Connect to customers
- Identify areas of improvement within your business
- Learn about your customers and how they interact with your product(s)
- Improve your customer service experience
- Boost sales opportunities
Content is an integral part of creating a space for customers to connect with your brand. But being timely in your responses to questions, messages, and comments is equally as important.
Now that we understand the difference between the two, let’s take a look at the benefits of social media management and social media monitoring.
Connect to customers
As a business owner, you know that connecting with customers is a critical part of growing your online presence. Social media is a great way to do just that.
In fact, 71% of customers who claim to have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to friends and family.
Through social media management, brands create and post content that communicates a message to their customers, whether it be a new deal or promotion they’re running or an update on contactless options like this post from Pizza Hut.
(Source: Pizza Hut on Facebook)
Pizza Hut can then use social media monitoring to track comments, questions, and other messages customers may have about these new options. With this post, Pizza Hut communicates to its customers that it has their safety and best interests in mind, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Identify areas of improvement
Social media isn’t just great for sharing photos of your products or happy customers; it’s also a great way to determine areas of improvement within your business. This is especially true if you run a franchise or business with multiple locations and cannot be physically present at each site every day.
When you’re running a business (or several at once), it can be challenging to spot the areas that need improving. Outsourcing your social media monitoring and management needs to an experienced online reputation management team can take the stress off you and your team.
You can bet customers will turn to social media to express their experience with your business. This may seem intimidating, but it’s an essential part of growing your business and learning where you can improve.
This customer interaction from Chipotle is a great example.
(Source: Chipotle on Twitter)
A customer tweeted at Chipotle about their order being cold upon pickup. Chipotle responded by asking the customer to send them a direct message.
Once the customer issue is taken care of, Chipotle can investigate why this happened initially, especially if that store location continues to receive similar complaints.
Learn about your customers and how they interact with your business
Social media serves as another way to gauge what your customers think about your product or service.
From reviews and comments to messages, you can glean a lot of insight from what your customers post about their experience with your business. Social media monitoring comes in handy in this situation.
If you’re monitoring what your customers are saying about your business on social media, you can better understand how you’re doing in a way that you otherwise might not without social media.
Social media monitoring makes it easier to gauge these customer sentiments and help you understand where you and your employees shine. These customer reviews for an Italian restaurant, Compari’s on the Park, are a great example of this in action.
(Source: Compari’s on the Park on Facebook)
These customer reviews of Compari’s on the Park help the Compari’s team understand what customers are happy with and what they don’t like.
Sharpen your customer service experience
Social media is an excellent channel to facilitate customer service — when done correctly. If you provide a platform for your customers to leave reviews and ask questions but don’t respond to their inquiries, that can backfire quickly.
Through social media monitoring, you can quickly respond to customer questions, messages, and comments, which goes a long way in the customer service game. However, it’s not enough to post a generic reply to all customer messages. You must be authentic, empathetic, and professional.
This exchange with AutoZone is an excellent example of what not to do when responding to customers on social media.
(Source: AutoZone on Twitter)
This is an example of social media monitoring gone wrong. By failing to pay close attention to what the customer was asking and using a canned response—which would be applicable under other circumstances—AutoZone came off as tone-deaf.
As mentioned above, if you don’t have the right responses in line for your social media monitoring strategy, it could harm your online image.
Boost sales opportunities
Social media management can help you spread the word on just about anything—specifically new deals or promotions you’re running. This tactic is a great way to spark interest among your customers and encourage them to purchase.
This post from Subway is an excellent example of this in action.
(Source: Subway on Facebook)
Subway leveraged social media management to create the post, and then uses social media monitoring to watch for customer questions and comments.
Grow your online presence with social media monitoring and management
Though the two tactics sound similar, social media monitoring and social media management play two different roles in a brand’s overarching social media strategy.
Social media monitoring entails keeping tabs on your brand’s mentions, messages, posts (both tagged and untagged), and comments on social media and replying accordingly.
Social media management involves creating content that resonates with your customers and keeping your profiles updated with accurate information.
Putting an equal stake in both tactics will help you build a robust and successful brand on social media. If you’re looking for some help with your social media monitoring, contact us today, and our team will gladly help.