The internet presents users with an unlimited source of information. The amount of content that is created and published daily is more than any user could read in a lifetime. With an unsurmountable amount of data, how do you know where to focus your efforts, personally and/or professionally? Luckily, among the advancements in digital technology, there have also been advancements in algorithms and programs that sort and file data for users.
In today’s digital world, there are hundreds of programs and websites that aid in social media listening, often referred to as monitoring and measurement tools. Personally, the tool I find most helpful in this area is Brand24. Brand24 is an application that helps brands boost their online presence by social listening. It collects all the data you require about brand mentions, tags, etc. and categorizes everything into one easily maneuverable interface. Although Brand24 is a paid subscription, which may deter some users, I find the data it provides to be invaluable. Brand24 is very easy to use and is not industry specific, meaning it can provide you with the required data regardless of what industry your business happens to be affiliated with. To date, I’ve only used Brand24 for my education, however, I am very much looking forward to continuing the use of this platform for both the corporate company whose social media I am managing, as well as the charitable organization for which I volunteer.
The second social media monitoring tool that I believe deserves high praise is Hootsuite. Again, Hootsuite acts as an algorithm that collects, sorts and disseminates tracking information on a dashboard that is easy to interpret. It provides competitive analysis, customer engagement, reputation management, sentiment analysis and trend analysis. Additionally, Hootsuite has posting capabilities and allows you a platform to schedule and monitor your social media calendar. Again, Hootsuite is a paid platform which may deter some users. The only other pitfall with the Hootsuite technology is that it is not overly integrated with Instagram. Therefore, if you are a business that focuses on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any combination thereof, the application would be much more useful than someone who focuses on Instagram specifically. I’ve used Hootsuite for quite some time for the company I work for and I have been impressed by the program’s offerings for all platforms, excluding Instagram posting. I plan to continue to use Hootsuite in the future.
In regards to sources of news as opposed to social media listening; the Holy Grail (in my opinion) is Twitter. In my personal experience I’ve found Twitter to be both the most instantaneous platform and the platform with the largest reach. Twitter was inevitably invented as a news sharing platform and although it has transitioned slightly towards being more of a social platform in recent years, its fundamentals still hold true today. The news sharing capabilities of Twitter are strongly backed by those sharing the news. News stations, both big and small, as well as local government, police, etc. all quickly began to disseminate information via the Twitter platform. People began to get their news, traffic and weather in real-time. The only potential pitfall to the Twitter platform is the restricted character count (as it is a micro-blogging platform), however, with shortened hyperlinks to supporting websites and articles, 240 characters seems to be just enough to convey a news headline. Although I heavily rely on Twitter for business interactions, I do not personally use the platform; however, with each passing day, I am thinking more and more about creating a profile personally as well.
The second source of news dissemination that I use the most often would be blogging. Blogging is an excellent way to publish the exact content you wish to share. Blogging is less instantaneous than Tweeting, however it is generally longer in content and more thoroughly thought out. Personally, I only blog as part of my education, however, I use blogging professionally quite often. Blogs are an excellent way to tell a story which can then be hyperlinked, quoted or revised to be distributed via other social media platforms. These two options combined (blogging and Twitter) create an excellent news sharing platform that can be highly effective, both individually or in conjunction with one another.
Question: when you want accurate up-to-date news, where do you turn?