COM0015 – Post #1 – Social Media Tools and Sources

So many social media platforms, so little time!

Facebook, Twitter, RSS icons stuffed in an envelope

Image Credit: Vertical Response

One of the biggest challenges I have in life is stepping away from my devices and taking a break. There are too many amazing social media sites and articles that constantly absorb my attention! It’s no wonder I had trouble choosing only two favourites for each of the tools and social media platforms to write about. My short list includes Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, LinkedIn, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Social Mention, Hootsuite, Quora, Feedly . . . need I go on?

Social media listening and monitoring tools

One of the best social media listening tools I’ve found was recommended by an unlikely source. It was a volunteer at a not-for-profit who suggested I use Protopage. I’d never heard of it, but quickly found it to be an easy-to-use, attractive and practical dashboard.

Another tool I’ve used for social media listening is Buzzsumo. This site provides details on the most shared articles and posts for the keywords or topics you’re researching.

Why they’re the best tools for me

Protopage example

“Content Marketing News” on Protopage

With Protopage, you can add lots of tools to your dashboard to keep track of different topics for different clients. If you’re a digital marketer, why not create a separate Protopage for each client related to their industry. Check out my Protopage by clicking on the image to the left. I customized my feeds and added various widgets, like RSS news feeds, bookmarks, calendars, weather reports and more. I chose “content marketing” and “digital marketing” as my Twitter search terms.

Buzzsumo search for "Content Marketing"

A search on Buzzsumo for “Content Marketing”

As a content writer always looking for ideas, I take advantage of Buzzsumo. It’s a great source of articles that helps me ruminate and discover what’s most shareable. If you have a truly dead boring topic to write about, try popping in a keyword and see a bunch of relevant articles that have been shared on various platforms. You might be surprised to find an entertaining or interesting angle. I tried an experiment and entered ‘toilet paper’. The most shared article, complete with drawings and measurements, was on the debate about whether you should pull the paper from the bottom or the top!

Social media sources of news and updates

Twitter logo

Twitter: The “BOMB”

Hands down, for news, search and just plain old entertainment, Twitter is the “BOMB”. What turns my crank the most is the search function. Plus, I’m always amazed how easy it is to find out what’s happening right now by checking the trends. News breaks faster on Twitter than any other social media platform. Reporters use it to pick up breaking news stories, beating the clock better than any other research method. I also use Twitter for distributing blogs, articles and images.

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn: The ace up your sleeve.

If Twitter is the bomb, then LinkedIn is the ace up your professional sleeve. There are so many features you can take advantage of on LinkedIn, it makes your head spin. Besides having a resumé and connecting with similar professionals, you can research companies, join groups, get involved in industry discussions, try your hand at blogging on Pulse and send messages with its internal email feature. LinkedIn is an absolute must for all communications professionals.

Social Media impact on professional development

On Twitter, I recently discovered that my use of the hashtag #digitalmarketing was drawing attention. What happened next surprised me. Other Tweeters started following and adding me to their lists of digital marketing experts! I didn’t have the heart to tell them I wasn’t really an expert. So I just said “Thanks for adding me to your #digitalmarketingexperts list”. That made even more people add me to their lists. I thought it might become a runaway train and was quite pleased with myself, until I took a break from tweeting. Then all the following and list activity came to a halt. It just proves that you have to keep at it continuously when trying to build a business and connect through social media.

On LinkedIn, I had another unexpected experience. In real life, I belong to a group of writers called ‘Professional Independent Communicators’. At our meetings, the organizers try to get more participation on our LinkedIn group, which is not well used. Because I’m trying to promote my social media expertise, I thought I’d create discussions in this group. I wrote simple thoughts and questions that group members might relate to, and finally, there was a bit of discussion! Instead of using LinkedIn to meet our connections, we used real life connections to become active on LinkedIn – a reversal of what you’d expect. I hope our LinkedIn discussions will complement and deepen our real life connections, leading the way to develop future business alliances and friendships.

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