COM0015-Blog#1-Tools & Sources

Social media has evolved, changed and enhanced the marketing game and has come to be a big part of our daily lives. It can be used for professional purposes or casually just to have some fun. With the growth of more online businesses in 2023, major platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok and Pinterest play a great role in advertising these companies’ products and services. Reaching new and potential customers through these online channels has become effective, quick and efficient as well as providing up to date news and/or entertainment. As a photographer, writer and editor, I rely on social media as an excellent place to advertise, grow and market my services, in an authentic and credible way while providing value for such services.

My favourite trend listening and monitoring tools would definitely be Google Alerts and Brand24. I have some experience using these two tools while completing the Monitoring & Measurement course in this program. They provided me with all the necessary information I needed to complete assignments and I would recommend these specific tools to anyone now entering the industry. With my first few weeks trial of Brand24, I was able to track mentions, comments and whether they were positive or negative. Google Alerts was sufficient in keeping me informed on how often the brand was being mentioned on the web and anything related. Theses are my preferred tools and I strongly believe they have the ability to provide the most accurate data which is important for any brand in today’s culture.

My two best sources for news, updates and everything regarding social media would have to be Sprout Social and Social Media Today. In regards to my professional development, they provide me with the latest trends and what I need to know in order to improve my online marketing activities. Because I am passionate about the subject, I can spend quite a few hours reading and analyzing various changes, updates and trends with the goal of improving how I navigate the different platforms. Both are great when it comes to exploring the online world and you will always be kept fascinated about the many evolving changes and progress that is constantly happening. Finally, I would like to say how grateful I am for these tools and resources as they will definitely improve how we manage and measure social media.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

via Canva

Before starting the Social Media program with Algonquin, I was just using the basic Instagram Insights for listening and monitoring but after starting this course, I found a whole world of social media tools I never knew existed.

Brand 24

Brand24 is not a free monitoring tool, but you can try it for free for two weeks. That’s really helpful when you are trying to learn the tool and see if it works for you. It is a really detailed tool that can help you find mentions in real time, what kind of conversations people are having about your brand all over the internet and what tone i.e.: are they positive or negative? You can get hashtag data and social media data. This is especially helpful for me as an actor and filmmaker who’s business brand is myself.

Social Media Platform Analytics

TikTok and Instagram analytics are a great way to track your TikTok and Instagram posts. There aren’t many free tools out there, which is why using the internal analytics and insight tools along with a paid service will help broaden monitoring for your business. Using these to analyze all of your posts will help you find out which ones have been successful, which ones are lacking and if the hashtags are working.

The two best news sources for me personally are TikTok and YouTube. The reason why is that I follow many different news pages that are not conventionally on cable television, such as The Young Turks, The Mehdi Hassan show, and The Daily Show. YouTube will have full length versions of the short clips that I get to see on TikTok. I also like to follow creators on TikTok who talk about Social Media trends and upcoming changes to platforms or new tools to discover.

What are you go-to social media tools?

COM0015 BLOG #1- My Go-To Social Media Tools and News Sources as a Virtual Assistant and Social Media Manager

In the world of social media today, there is an overwhelming amount of listening and monitoring tools and resources available. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, I have my faves. Most of my work is centred around Facebook, Instagram and Website traffic. Meta Business Suite and Metricool are my top two choices for monitoring tools. In order to stay on top of news, updates and trends I enjoy reading Hootsuite Blog and Social Media Today. 

Why do I like these you ask? Well, let me explain.

Listening and Monitoring Tools

Meta Business Suite is a valuable tool that allows me to manage Facebook and Instagram profiles, pages, ads and schedule posts from a single dashboard that is both mobile and desktop friendly. This tool provides audience insights, engagement metrics, shares, and ad performance metrics, as well as reach and impression data. Meta Business Suite also shows page insights to help monitor growth and engagement trends. The dashboard also provides detailed performance metrics for posts and videos like, average watch time, audience retention, and engagement levels. These analytics are very valuable for virtual assistants and social media managers to assess and optimize our strategy to allow change to happen when needed. 

Dashboard screenshot of one of my clients profiles as an example of some metrics. S. Douglas May 2023

Metricool is another useful tool that I use specifically for website tracking and SEO although it does provide many other metrics for a bunch of social media platforms. Metricool helps me monitor metrics like traffic, page views, and bounce rate. The SEO monitoring features allow me to track keyword rankings, analyze backlinks, and conduct competitor analysis. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, Metricool’s data helps me step up my SEO game making sure my efforts to gain more website traffic are working (or not). 

Metricool dashboard example. Photo credit: Metricool July 2022

News sources and updates

Many of you have likely heard of Hootsuite dashboard and now they have a blog specifically for us social media managers and professionals alike. This blog covers everything we need to know like platform updates, social media strategy, content creation, analytics, etc. It’s like a one-stop shop for all things social media. The articles found on the blog are practical by providing useful insights and tips that you can implement fairly easily. 

Similar to Hootsuite, Social Media Today is a blog that is geared towards social media professionals, including virtual assistants and social media managers like myself! It stands out to me for several reasons. It covers many topics in the social media world like platform updates, algorithm changes, new trends, industry insights, and social media strategy all of which are extremely useful with the rate things change these days. The website also features articles from industry experts and experienced professionals sharing valuable insights, and in-depth articles that analyze trends, case studies, and best practices going beyond social media news updates. 

When it comes to social media tools, I’ve got a few favourites. Meta Business Suite helps me manage Facebook and Instagram with loads of metrics and data. Metricool is excellent for tracking website traffic and SEO. As for staying informed, the Hootsuite Blog and Social Media Today are my go-to sources. Hootsuite Blog covers everything I need to know about social media, while Social Media Today keeps me up to date with platform updates, trends, and industry insights. These resources make my life as a virtual assistant and social media manager so much easier!

Have you used any of these before?
What are some of your favourites?

Tools and Trends- How I Listen and Monitor

My Top 2 Social Media Tools

Social media has come a long way and so have the tools created to monitor and listen to different platforms. To keep up with what’s trending you need a tool that can keep on top of every organization you want to listen to. I like to use Google Alerts because you can create keywords for every possible trend you are looking for, this allows you to be specific and really narrow down the kinds of alerts you want to receive. I use Feedly, another social media tool that uses an RSS (Real Simple Syndicator) reader to view all my Google Alerts coming in. With this tool, I can get real-time alerts and organize them into folders, Feedly collects articles, blogs and more that contain my keywords making it easy to monitor my latest trends and updates. I can look through my Feedly results and determine if certain keywords are not giving me the results I am looking for or if I need to try new ones.

I prefer these tools over others because they are:

  • Easy to use
  • Free
  • Able to organize all alerts into categories
  • Straight forward unlike other tools I have tried in the past
  • There is an app for IOS and Android
  • Interacts with other applications
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

My Top 2 Social Media News Sources

As for news sources and updates, one of the best platforms I use is Twitter, there are so many accounts of individual people or organizations that can post real-time updates so you can stay in the know of what is happening. You can follow any users or organizations that interest you and receive updates when they post, and you can also use the search page to see what is trending, news, sports, and entertainment. My second-best news source is TikTok, on my FYP (for you page) I have endless videos I can scroll through that are based on what I have previously watched or talked about. TikTok can produce these videos because of its algorithm. These videos keep me up on the latest news around the world, and what’s trending, by following those accounts I want to keep up with I can continue to see these videos and receive notifications when they are updated. TikTok has made me aware of many things going on in the world that I either would not have known about at all or would not have seen as soon as I did.

There are so many tools and news sources out there constantly being updated and gaining new competition daily, it is hard to judge one over the other when there are so many I have still not tried yet. I would love to know what tools you prefer over others and what you guys’ think are the best sources for news and updates.

Favorite Social Media Tools and Sources

COM0015 – Blog Post #1

Twitter and Tiktok? Think of me as an individual with a small attention span like the state of the new generation today. Although I don’t fall under that generation, with the time I focus on work and sports, I do not have much time for following long snippets of new updates and news around the world.


I refer to Twitter mainly for that. I like how I can find small posts with updates.

  • CP24
  • NHL
  • NBA
  • Weather Updates

This list is all of my reasons to love Twitter. Why would I sit through hours of television to gather various updates that may interest me or may not? Why not do a quick search with some keywords and find what I am looking for? To me, this is why Twitter is one of my listening/monitoring tools that I find in my best interest to gather updates and news.

Why wouldn’t I choose Instagram for this? I’m sure I can get the same updates… Of course, … if I prefer picture books! I feel Twitter is more significant in this aspect of my life when I am relating it to my professional development and interests. I can find fast information without having the appearance of me surfing the web looking at photos and pinpointing the right caption with the information I need. In my opinion, it just makes sense.


You may already be asking yourself, why Tiktok? Short videos. If you play with your algorithm correctly, you won’t just see dancing videos of meaningless content. I now see sports updates, business updates, and information content is driven toward my area of interest. It’s how you use the app to your advantage.

I believe this app has its differences and various appointed opinions. However, it’s an important part of my life now. As crazy as that sounds, I am now able to use it for:

  • Golf swing tips
  • Workout movements
  • Sports clips
  • Shopping opportunities

I prefer this tool over YouTube mainly for convenience. I can open Tiktok and start scrolling and the video I want will show up. On YouTube, I need to search for them and even then, I will find 10-30 minute videos on what I could watch in 2 minutes on Tiktok. This is mainly why I prefer it. I can also find significance in this tool when relating it to my professional development. Now this may not be the typical answer, but when I relate this answer to why I chose Tiktok, it was personal but business. I believe this app can provide me with professional help to my list above in approving my game of golf and provide me with a better understanding of various sports topics. One day, I could get into a sports field of work, and with the help of Tiktok, I would be able to know about sports news.

Social Media listening tool and source

On the fertile ground of the Internet, social media has exploded with brilliant intensity. The information it disseminates has grown to play a significant role in how people browse the Internet, inspiring a never-ending stream of trending topics in people’s social lives and inspiring traditional media to follow suit.

It is important to note that the main distinction between social media and traditional media is that news can be published and disseminated by the general population via social media.


Twitter is more immediate in that it is better suited for brief messages, such follow-ups on breaking news, etc. Twitter plans to introduce new products to cater to situations like sporting events, entertainment events, and breaking news in an effort to capitalise on the fact that many view it as the platform of choice for following up on real-time news stories. Companies are able to be the first to learn and engage with users’ perspectives since users may access and share information on social media. Additionally, social media, which is the first voice channel for businesses, enables timely public relations, increases user reliance, and fosters user trust while enhancing brand reputation.


The maximum duration on TikTok is three minutes. The ideal video length, according to tikTok, is between 21 and 34 seconds, while most videos last between 15 and 60 seconds. Some people dislike reading. Video is the content format they favour most. You can reach a larger audience by turning your blog entries into videos than you could otherwise. Video material may communicate knowledge more effectively, especially when developing tutorial content. This is particularly true for tacit knowledge because screencasting software can be used to demonstrate ideas to an audience.

COM0015 Blog #1: Tools and Sources

I work as a freelance musician and YouTube content creator. I’ve been doing so full-time since 2015 and it has been an incredible journey. Managing my own YouTube and social media channels on my own isn’t a simple task so, today, I’d like to share with you the monitoring tools and sources of news that have been the most beneficial to my work.

I make arrangements of video game music in various styles/genres, so keep that in mind as you read this post.

Photo credit: Aman Pal on Unsplash

Trend Listening/Monitoring Tools

  • YouTube Channel Analytics
  • Twitter Search/trending tab

As a YouTube content creator, the “Channel Analytics” section of the Creator’s Dashboard is an incredibly powerful tool to use when trying to monitor anything from video performances, engagement, all the way to trends. With it, I’m able keep track of the types of videos that pleases my core audience the most while also being aware of which content reached the widest audience that isn’t already subscribed to the channel. One of my favourite feature is called “Content your audience watches” which allows me to know what my audience likes to watch/listen outside of my channel. That way, I can know which video games and/or music is popular among them and work on something YouTube tells me they’ll like. I then get comments telling me that my timing with this cover was incredible, and to that I can only reply… “I know”.

When it comes to social media itself, Twitter is my favourite tool to use for monitoring the video gaming community. Since I follow a lot of video game related accounts, my “For you” trending tab is always video game related. This allows me to keep track of what’s trending both for myself as a gamer, but also as a video game music content creator who likes to follow the trends. The Twitter search bar itself provides me with a way of knowing which hashtags seem to be more popular for me to tag my content accordingly. For example, a game such as Final Fantasy VII Remake can have multiple hashtags such as FinalFantasyVIIRemake, FF7R, FFVIIRemake, etc. But which one is the most popular one to use if I don’t want to fill my tweet with too many hashtags? That’s why Twitter Search is useful to me.

Sources of News & Updates

  • Twitter’s trending tab
  • Trusted industry experts (on social media)
  • YouTube on social media

In terms of staying updated, the Twitter trending tab also does a fantastic job at keeping me up to date on the recent video gaming news. This allows me to know what people will be excited about and prepare new content I that know will get searched. I also follow many industry experts who pass on news as they are made public. I prefer using Twitter over other platforms as it provides, in my opinion, the best ratio of text/images/videos. I don’t seem to gather information as quickly on Facebook or Instagram.

Finally, following YouTube on social media is a great way for me to be aware of new features or changes surrounding the platform so that I can start using these new features myself or adapt my content for these changes.

To conclude…

Whether you’re an individual like me or a large organization, I think it’s very important to familiarize yourself with some social media tools that will help you put yourself out there. The competition is fierce these days and keeping track of trends and news around your business’ field of interest becomes crucial to its success.

COM0015 Blog #4: Out of the box

The question for this blog was what unexpected applications did we find in the field of online marketing? Thanks to this course I found exactly what I wanted for my accounting business, its clients and our bowling centre. My favourites are Inoreader, Social Buzz, Bitly, and WordPress.  

            Coming into this course I always wondered what companies use to easily track all posts for one company across every social media platform. This is when I found out about dashboards and learned of Inoreader. I used Inoreader to create a dashboard and successfully track all the information concerning a bowling ball company on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Web. I was very impressed at how easy it was to use and how organized the information came through.

            Bitly was a small tool I found that I love. I create many posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms and hate how messy a long link looks. I know there are rules as to when I am supposed to shorten the link but if I am posting for people to see I am going to Bitly and convert the link to a hyperlink, it just makes the post look much cleaner. For those who do not know if you have a long link to anything, all you do is copy the link, go to and paste it, click convert, and bam you have a clean short link that looks much more professional.

            Social Buzz is the application I use to see what is going on with a company before I create a dashboard and start to track it myself. Social Buzz will tell you how many posts have recently been posted about the company. The percentage of those posts that are negative, positive, and neutral. It will tell you what keywords are used that hit that company. And many other very useful features that make it worth a subscription.

            Out of all the new tools that I have found the only name I had heard of before this course but didn’t know what it was, was WordPress. In this course, we used WordPress to create and post our blogs. It is easy to use and edit even after publishing the blog. The look after you publish has the feel of a professional article written by someone that has been doing it for years. But WordPress is well known for its website creation. Since the start of this course, our bowling centre has needed a new website. So, we contacted someone to create one for us and our only request was that it was easy to update as we need to update quite often. The site turned out great and the interface to update is very easy to use. I am including the site if anyone is interested in seeing it firsthand

            As this is my last blog for this course. I will conclude by saying how much I enjoyed everything I learned from blogging to the new tools and applications I am excited to use. Learning how to network and promote my brand is a practice I can’t wait to work on. And when I started this course, my age thought immediately the second blogging was mentioned I think I signed up for the wrong thing. I was wrong, I love blogging and with all the things I have experienced in life, I can’t wait to start my own blog.  

This article was generated by a human – what if it wasn’t?

Image by Tyler Comrie, The Atlantic

The technology industry has been booming for years now. It rapidly intertwined with pretty much everything we do: education, health, entertainment and so on. A lot of people can say that the evolution of technology is happening too fast, but the only thing we can really do is get on board and develop our critical thinking.

The tool I want to discuss today is something I am really interested in, ChatGPT. Forbes described it as the fastest-growing app of all time as it is becoming available on different platforms across many industries. The tool can provide answers on many subjects, write emails, computer codes… by being added to apps such as Snapchat, internet browsers like Bing, it will also affect people who aren’t in the field of content creations or technology. The human-like answers from ChatGPT can be seen as a friendly tool to help with pretty much anything from daily life: telling jokes, giving you recipes ideas and more. Similar technologies are also making their way onto programs such as Adobe Photoshop bringing the artificial intelligence to video creation. 

What are the concerns? 
In a pannel on the impact of AI and ChatGPT on plagiarism in school, Dr. Tham compared the impact of AI chatbots to the invention of electricity for their capacity to be transformative in our lives. Learning institutions will have to adapt and questions themselves on the use of those new technologies, and will have to statue on the validity of using those tools. Even if some can say that they will recognize a piece being written by AI compared to one written by a human, how can we really be certain? Should it be considered plagiarism if no reference are needed when it comes to AI? 

Goverments around the world are also asking themselves questions to protect their population. For example, Italy decided to block ChatGPT over privacy concerns, and here at home the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada decided to launch an investigation on the use of the data by the AI. 

Will I be using it?
I personally think that you can’t fight against the evolution of new technologies, and I will probably be using ChatGPT to help me generate interesting content. I believe that using AI as a tool to elevate your own style is a great way to use it! Getting educated and comfortable with new technology is the best way to keep control over it. 

I am curious of knowing your take on ChatGPT and AI use. Are you going to add it to your daily tools? 

My own experience with online workshops, was it worth it?

My decision to choose this workshop over the others was motivated by the title: Learn to write content to attract your ideal client or start freelance writing. It sounded engaging and I’m someone who easily gets in her own way when it comes to writing. I was hoping this workshop would help me by providing advice and key points on content creation.

I was hoping this workshop would help me by providing advice and key points on content creation.  The person giving the workshop, Rachel Lawson is a digital creator who partnered with the BBC and other clients. She is someone who was used to taking in-depth news and shortening them for readers. As a freelancer, those workshops are a way for her to expand her possible clientele by offering online coaching for content creators and freelance writers. 

Was it a good way to network with other professionals?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discuss with other participants. When we were waiting for the workshop to begin, we were all able to introduce ourselves in the chat, but the speaker closed it off afterwards to avoid any troublemakers during the presentation. Afterwards, she was only taking questions about the courses she offers and did not direct the conversation toward an open discussion.

Did I get interesting interactions from this event?
Because I was only able to introduce myself really quickly, I was not able to get the amount of interaction I was hoping for. Prior to connecting on Zoom through the Meetup link, I made sure my office space and myself were presentable just in case the interaction would include some sort of video introduction… which ended up not being needed at all. No interaction was really needed from the participant, but Rachel, our host, made sure she was engaging in her presentation. Her way of giving her workshop was definitely an interesting experience since she was sharing part of her knowledge in exchange for our attention.

What did I gain from participating in this workshop, and would I do it again?
Will I participate in online workshops again? Absolutely. You are gaining access to interesting professionals, in this case for free. Even though I didn’t learn or network as much as I thought I would, this exercise was definitely a positive one. It gave me a new perspective on materials I was already introduced to in this course and more than anything it provided me with an opportunity to have a reflection on how I was doing with my current goals.
One quote that Rachel Lawson said during the workshop resonated with me: “Everybody is time-poor”. In the case of this workshop, I did believe she valued the time of the participant and had a great balance of promoting herself and giving pieces of knowledge she has.

If you don’t put yourself out there, opportunities can run short pretty fast. Free online events are available, and if they don’t allow you to learn anything new, they will always provide you with a different point of view that I believe can be helpful. Let me know if you participated in an online workshop type of event and how it went in the comments below!