While these terms are often used interchangeably – they are actually different in terms of their strategies, process and outcomes.
Social Media Listening
(or “Social Listening”) is a structured approach to tuning into and listening to online conversations to answer business questions. To conduct social listening, you use a social listening platform or tool to help identify the set of conversations that are relevant to your question – while filtering out non-relevant conversations. These tools collect or identify conversations not just on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, but also blogs, forums, websites and even customer reviews. Which channels are included depend on both the tools that you use, and how you structure your search.
Social Media Analytics
(or “Social Analytics”) is the measurement and analysis of the conversations and or social media data. Social Media Analytics could be the next step in after social listening, where you could analyse the sentiment, or demographics of the conversations that were identified in your Social Media Listening, or could be completely stand alone analysis. An example of stand-alone Social Media Analytics could be a Facebook Page administrator looking at and measuring the engagement on their Facebook page, or even someone looking at their Klout score to see how their online activity is measured compared to their friend.