Social media monitoring describes the practice of collecting information across social media platforms for a business or organization to see what people are saying about it. Though called social media monitoring, it gathers data from more than Facebook and Twitter. It collects information from traditional publishers as well as social sites. Social media monitoring tools work by continuously crawling sites – in real-time or periodically – and indexing them.

Some marketers or web developers use data providers while others do the crawling themselves. Once sites enter the index, the person doing the monitoring can search them to find specific keywords and phrases on the sites (called “mentions”). The monitoring tool will then archive these sites to the tool’s interface for further reading and analysis to improve keyword queries and contaent efforts.