Time to type. It’s been a while since I last posted. Of course at this point in my Social Media journey, my posts have all been the creative result of my various course requirements and I’ve not yet adopted my own “real” blog space or raison d’etre. I’m certain that what I’ve learned and am learning will be the inspiration for many future contributions in the area of Social Media. Already, I have incorporated what I’ve learned into many aspects of my day to day career and home life, which brings me back to time. Time to type. One of the key things I’ve learned to this point is that in order for any Social Media campaign at any level to have success there has to be a commitment of time and consistency through planning.
We’ve learned throughout the program that you must have a plan and you must know and understand your market, your goals, objectives and yourself. This type of information does not just appear like magic. You have to put in the work. Fortunately there are tools that can help at any level. Whether you want to invest financially or keep it simple and no cost, there is a tool or two out there that you can use in order to make your efforts more effective. At home and in my current career position, I’m only beginning to delve into what’s out there. I work in sales for a HealthCare supply organization. I’m in the Dental Division so as far as working tools and sources go, what I look for is related to industry news and trends that are affecting practitioners and manufacturers in the business. I’m also more of a content and anecdote guy so I tend to shy away from statistics and data as much as I’m able to do so. Although I know that will change going forward.
Being a “words” guy means that when it comes to trends and monitoring I tend to keep it simple. I don’t have a formal dashboard at this time but I’m sure that I will be making more use of that in the future. I’ve used Google Adwords and seen Hootsuite. I’ve reviewed many blogs that review some of the best monitoring tools and I promise to learn more about them in future but for now I tend to use good old URL searches and Google Search for topic related blogs and articles. I use Facebook searches and I do have an RSS app on my I-pad which is currently monitoring for posts by a blogger named The Dental Warrior, http://thedentalwarrior.com/ as well as two or three Social Media sites like Social Media Today and others. The Dental Warrior is a site I found recently and I’m somewhat fascinated by the author’s take on many of issues in the industry as he really has a different way of looking at things. I don’t necessarily agree but that’s okay too. I usually spend about half an hour a day hitting Facebook and Twitter to see what is being posted by some of the manufacturers that I follow as well as seeing what my own company is posting. So if I were say what my two favorite social media trend/listening monitoring tools were I would have to say Google and Facebook’s search feature combined with my own sleuthing skills. Pretty basic, but it works for my needs right now. For personal interest like sports or music I usually follow the feeds from the various news outlets utilizing notifications and alerts.
As previously mentioned, Facebook, Twitter and Google combined with RSS feeds are my favorite tools for monitoring and listening at this point. For news and updates, the big three are still my go to tools. They allow me to simply search out the topics I’m following and scan through either the blogs or the articles that I am following or have searched for. Within my industry there are any number of sources for news. One of the most popular is Dental Economics which is the digital version of a print publication that covers most of the trending issues and topics in the world of Dental. The various manufacturers pages and posts provide a wealth of knowledge for product information and trends. Media pages and tweets keep me up to date with the state of the world, such as it is. I won’t begin to discuss that topic here as that is an entirely different area of study, although not without relevance to our subject.
In short, I have a very simplified tool box for my needs. My feeds, my searches provide me with what I want to learn about and monitor. RSS does a lot of the work for me. It means that I do a little more work on my part but the way I have things set up, its pretty automatic and that’s what I like and need at this point in time. You might be interested in some of what is out there for monitoring tools. Here is a little blog I have book marked that briefly discusses what they consider the top 25. http://keyhole.co/blog/the-top-25-social-media-monitoring-tools/ . Check it out and let me know if one of your favorites is there. Perhaps I can modify my tool box based on your feedback!