COM0015: Social media tools: it doesn’t have to be complicated! 

With a seemingly endless amount of social media tools to help listen, monitor, track, and analyze, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Using just a handful of tools – some as simple as traditional social media functions – you can stay on top of your personal and professional trends and news.

Trend listening and monitoring


When monitoring social media and listening for trends, I like to use a combination of one customized tracking tool, Hootsuite, and one simple and more traditional tool, Twitter search.  There is no need to subscribe to multiple tools; you can get everything you need with a combination of these two.

Hootsuite is a convenient choice for me, as my organization’s social media channels are managed through Hootsuite already. With one simple click, I can see my organization’s multichannel posts and engagements in real time, alongside trending posts from similar organizations or using keywords I’ve identified as important. I can also see when my organization is mentioned, and what exactly people are saying about it.

Hootsuite is a great tool to keep on top of similar organizations and industry trends across a variety of social media channels. It provides a great and handy overview of the world in which my organization resides.

On the other hand, I like to also use the more manual and traditional method of a simple Twitter search. You can learn so much just by reading the topics that are trending! This is where I gain quick and easy insight into the wider world. I can quickly see what my organization’s followers are talking about – anyone from competitors, to benefactors, to donors. Anyone and everyone seems to be on Twitter, so it’s a great place to sit back and listen.

News sources and updates


Just as I like to use two very different tools for social media listening, I like to get my news and other updates from two very different tools. Here Twitter is another personal preference, where trending topics and hashtags offer quick insight into what the big news stories of the day are.

If there is a particular breaking news moment of interest, I can follow along on Twitter and receive updates long before I can from traditional news channels. I can also see a variety of perspectives; from people on the ground, to experts, to those with varying opinions. As long as I take the time to fact check, I appreciate the speed and variety of receiving news from Twitter.

Alternatively, I like to visit my Google News feed on a daily basis, where the feed has identified and served me with stories related to my various personal and professional interests. This is where I get my news from the more traditional sources – just targeted perfectly to me and my interests! This is significant because I don’t have to waste my time scrolling through articles that don’t interest me, and I don’t risk missing news stories that are of interest or importance to me. I can stay on top of industry trends and be alerted through Google Alerts when a news story is published about something I’ve identified as important to me or my organization.

Social media is a great place to listen for the latest trends and to follow the latest news. You can get all the information you need by using a combination of traditional social media functions and a customized tool delivering to your preferences. For me, this is an ideal combination of Hootsuite and Twitter for my social media listening, and Twitter and Google News/Alerts for my news delivery. It really doesn’t have to be complicated!

One thought on “COM0015: Social media tools: it doesn’t have to be complicated! 

  1. Hi Erin,

    I agree with you when you say that Hootsuite is the best tool for social listening. I like the way you can monitor multiple social media channels in one place!

    I’ve also taken your advise and did some Twitter searches for the industry I currently work in. I noticed I didn’t have my ‘notifications’ on so I turned them on! I’ve heard that Twitter is a great source for listening in to trends, etc. I will make a conservative effort to use it more.

    I also did some Google News searches and will start using this tool. I find it very valuable when keeping up with the news within my industry.

    I do subscribe to various news sites to get the latest news right in my inbox which I love.

    Thanks for your great insights on Twitter and Google News!


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