You may have heard one or both terms at one time or another, but do you know the difference? IS there a difference?


Quite simply – yes.


Social media monitoring (also called social listening) is just that – monitoring a brand, product, or service for mentions by consumers. It is often times also used for competitive intelligence. This is helpful when brands are looking for customer sentiment, satisfaction/dissatisfaction, and other general consumer thoughts specific to the brand, product or service. Companies realize that many customers do not “talk” directly to brands on their social media sites, but instead talk among their friends and family online, which is where monitoring all brand mentions comes in handy.


Social media research, on the other hand, is more broad in spectrum. This is where you can really dig in to learn more about your customers, potential customers, or even about a particular market. Social media data is more than just what people are saying – thanks to social media profiles, additional consumer data can be easily collected, including age, gender, familial makeup, interests, etc.


The Social Media Research Association has recently launched a podcast, and the first episode is rightly titled, “What is Social Media Research?” It’s worth taking a listen to. It’s a brief overview of what exactly social media research is and how it can be used.


You can listen to the podcast here or visit the SMRA website to see their full list of podcast episodes.