COMM0015 | Blog Post #1 – Come Equipped

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As an inner “military video game” nerd aficionado I find the best moments are when you’re a highly trained sniper on a stealth mission, simply standing by, observing, listening and gathering intel. It requires you as a highly trained special forces operator to be very patient, calmly persistent and above all, extremely observant. Taking note of human behaviour, landmarks, and high value targets.

So why am I boring you with all this military geekery? Well, if you haven’t made the connection yet, being a sniper is similar to being a social media specialist. Before you barrage the public with your arsenal of tweets, status updates and blog posts , a good amount of reconnaissance must be done; observing what’s trending, listening to what matters and then creating a plan of attack.

As a sniper social media specialist in training, I’ll show you some of the gear I take into the field.

Mission: Monitoring

KLOUT

What it’s good for: Giving you an overall scope of your social media influence

I’m not too sure of how it’s all calculated , but it analyzes many of the popular social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn to name a few…) and scores you a number from 0 – 100, with a higher number meaning a greater influence. This tool has improved over the years, and is able to breakdown which social media tools are the having the most impact from all your posts. I find it quite handy because after prolonged use, it actually gives you recommendations of where to increase engagement with other social media influencers. It’s a good tool to give you a general view of your campaigns, or to monitor industry influencers and thought leaders.

FACEBOOK INSIGHT

 What it’s good for: Super detailed analytics for Facebook engagement.

With a reported 1.1 billion active users, Facebook truly is where the people are at. The analytics here are pretty thorough, and are all dashboard-ed for you, so it’s easy to navigate through. It shows you the age demographic of those who like your page It gives detailed insight an all your posts, such as its reach, how “viral” it is, and even sentiment (negative or positive). Definitely a great tool for the biggest social media network, that will probably be part of most social media campaigns.

Mission: Listening

TAGBOARD

What it’s good for: #hashtag herding!

Hashtags are everywhere now. It’s grown outside of Twitter and is now being supported by many different platforms. Big players like Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and quite recently Facebook have all adopted the hashtag system. So what TAGBOARD does is that it herds these hashtagged posts into one convenient place, allowing you to create “boards” of certain hashtags that you want to keep tabs on. As a graphic designer,  keeping an eye on visual posts from Instagram, Vine and even Facebook is important, and I can do it with ease with Tagboard.

Honourable Mention: GOOGLE READER (R.I.P.)

From taking the other Social Media courses , Google Reader was our go-to tool. It was easy to use and pretty effective once you got around it’s limitations but sadly, it breathed its last breath this past summer.

Mission: Gather Intel

I don’t have one or two go-to sources for news… but I have a few go-to news aggregating tools and sites that scour the intertubes and collects all this intel for me.

Flipboard

I use this amazing app on all my iOS Devices to keep me in the loop about graphic design, social media, video games, sports… pretty much everything! It gathers all my news and searches for any topic I want to keep track of. It’s pretty nifty, check it out:

Alltop.com

I discovered this site when I signed up for my first Social Media Course last year, and it’s been and continues to be a great resource for Social Media news, trends and commentary.

“Stay Sharp”

These are just a few of the tools that I deploy to stay on the radar. With any tool that you use be sure to take the proper time to get acquainted. I always suggest to give it a good 14 day minimum when trying it out first. I think 2 weeks is enough time to really tinker, research and experiment with certain tools in order to get the best out of them.

So those are a few in my arsenal. What social media tools are you using to keep tabs on your industry?