Blog Post #4: Out of the Box

Throughout this course we have learned about the ever-changing world of social media. Some of the focus has been on the tried and tested platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while other focus has been on more unexpected applications such as RSS feeds, social bookmarking sites, and blogs.

RSS feeds such as Google Alerts and Feedly are a great way to get up to date, relevant information all in one place. Instead of looking around for this information, you can set it up to be organized for you and delivered right to your inbox. The ease and usefulness of some of these feeds was surprising.

Social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon were also surprisingly helpful. It makes it easy to quickly save and organize favourite items and makes it easy to find similar ones. My “favourites” folder used to be a long, unorganized mess that I would avoid going back to. With StumbleUpon, I can easily find what I’m looking for – saving me valuable time.

Blogs have been around for a while now, but I rarely used them. This course has shown me how valuable they can be for both helping with my own learning and communicating, but also for helping develop my professional network. There are massive online blogging communities that offer many opportunities to engage and connect with others with similar interests. There is much to learn from reading blogs written by others and the information and perspectives are often ones that cannot be found elsewhere.

It is important to take time away from the tried and tested online marketing and social media channels and to look at others – both new and old. You never know what unexpected surprise you might find.

Blog Post #3 – Professional Networking Now and in the Future 

Networking isn’t what it used to be. In the past, you would have to attend expensive conferences or know the right people in order to grow your professional network. Nowadays, networking is much more accessible to anyone regardless of who you know or how much money you have to spend.

This benefits people like me, who are presented with many networking opportunities both online and offline. But accessibility doesn’t automatically mean success – a robust networking strategy is still key. My strategy is to combine a mix of online and offline networking, using the information and ease of the online world to help set me up for success in the offline one.

My strategy includes searching for and reaching out to key contacts online, asking them if they would like to meet for a virtual or in-person chat. It is much easier to find and contact people online, so I plan to capitalize on that advantage. I also plan on building a strong online profile and using my social networks to connect with people, staying up to date on key events, conversations and relevant news articles.

To put this plan into action and grow my professional network, I will do the following activities in the next 12 months:

  1. Update my online presence, including blogs, social media to ensure content is reflective of who I am
  2. Update my LinkedIn page with my current resume and expand my contact list
  3. Review my trips planned for the year and identify possible people to connect with while I am there
  4. Schedule virtual video calls with online connections (existing and new)
  5. Seek out local events to attend, through Facebook events, online blogs, etc.
  6. Attend conferences (both traditional and ‘un-conferences’) and research presenters and attendees, with a plan to reach out to them beforehand

Networking has certainly changed over the years, but this isn’t a bad thing. It is simply an opportunity that, with the right strategy, can be capitalized on.

A Social Media Strategy That Puts the Audience First

An organization with a strong social media strategy is Oxfam Canada. I was drawn to their channels because the content is bright and eye-catching, is always changing and is engaging. Their content reflects exactly what their audience wants and needs.

They share local events (with sign up links), pose questions for their audiences to answer in the comments, share videos and mark special dates and occasions. These are great ways of serving content that is relevant to the audience.

Their posts also make me as a supporter feel good about supporting the organization by sharing updates from the field showing how they’re helping. For example, they recently posted about their recycling and waste management program in the Za’atari refugee camp and their support in areas affected by the recent earthquakes.

Their posts are always eye catching with lots of colours and strong visuals, and they alternate between photography, animation, quotes and videos. Every day is different which keeps me interested!

Event invitations are a great way to provide relevant, engaging content to your audience (Oxfam, 26 March 2023).

An organization that could learn a lot from Oxfam’s success in social media is CODE.

They could be interacting more with the audience to help build engagement and more followers. By comparison to Oxfam’s nearly 6,000 Instagram followers, they have around 300. This is a missed opportunity to not only grow the supporter base, but also engage current supporters to help build on the relationship.

By using new tools and techniques they can help create a bigger variety of content that is relevant and engaging to their audience. They should be aiming to reach the following objectives:

  • Use more videos – this can help show the work they’re doing in a new way and help supporters feel good about helping the organization.
  • Use a wider variety of content – this can help engage different members of the audience in difference ways, depending on their preferences. Variety also keeps the audience engaged and more likely to return to the platform.
  • Share more locally relevant content – this can include things such as events and volunteer opportunities. A great opportunity for the audience to deepen their engagement!

It can seem overwhelming to overhaul the content in such a big way, but even by making small adjustments at first can make a big difference. The first step is to think about what the audience wants, and make sure each post engages them in some way. Don’t post just for the sake of posting, but make sure there is a purpose and that the followers will gain something out of it too. Understand the audience and what they want and the rest will come!


Oxfam Canada [@oxfamcanada]. (n.d.). Posts [Instagram profile]. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

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!