Informing Social and Behavior Change Programs using Social Listening and Social Monitoring

Source
Breakthrough ACTION/Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

This brief offers practical guidance on how to use social listening as a tool to inform social and behavior change (SBC) programs. It is intended for global and regional SBC program implementers, evaluators, and donors in USAID priority countries. Social listening uses existing data from public online sources. It can be conducted both retrospectively and prospectively, enabling SBC program, research, and evaluation stakeholders to access relevant insights in a quick and cost-effective way.

The brief provides an overview of social listening and social media monitoring and explains how these methods can be important tools for collecting information about target audiences’ knowledge and attitudes, as well as their exposure and responses to particular SBC interventions.

Social listening is the process of tracking the number of mentions and conversation content related to a topic, program, or brand on social media.  For SBC projects, social listening can be an important tool to understand user beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Social monitoring, also called social media monitoring, is related to social listening and can be used to track a target audience’s engagement with and reactions to shared messages related to a particular product or program. Monitoring changes in engagement and responses allows program managers to measure audiences reached and conversation sentiment. 

Using applied examples in Francophone West Africa, the brief illustrates the steps undertaken in social listening and monitoring, provides examples of lessons learned, and how these methods can be applied to SBC programming.