COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Every day at 12:05pm I receive an email. I hear the ding, look at the time and instantly know that I’ve received my daily Google Alerts email. I have this set up on my work email so I can receive the latest news around words that I have flagged related to my job and employer. Words include the name of the organization, certain tourist attractions, different townships as well as the name of our CEO and Board members. This helps me keep an eye on what is being reported about our organization and to alert the Executive team of any red flag.

To keep up to date on the latest trends, I subscribe to Mashable through Snapchat. It’s the easiest way for me to get the latest tech news. If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, the Snapchat Discover feature gives organizations full access to publicly visible snaps. They are updated daily and provide live breaking updates. For this reason, Snapchat is my main source of news.

What exactly is Snapchat Discover?! G2 explains it well: “Snapchat Discover is all about keeping you up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. Long gone are the days of Snapchat being used just to connect you and your friends. Now you can get the lowdown on breaking news, big events, and celeb gossip all at your fingertips. On the Discover screen you can watch your friends’ Snapchat Stories, Publisher Stories, Shows, and Our Stories.”

When I first started using Snapchat in 2013, the only “stories” users could see were posted by friends or celebrities. Snapchat Discover started in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to sign up. Snapchat users are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, with the next largest demographic being 13-17. Although I am not part of this demographic, it is still a very attractive and centralized place for me to get all my news.

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Users can subscribe to their favorite stories to ensure that they are seen first. I can honestly say that I rarely use Snapchat for its intended use of sending real time photos to friends, I spend most of my time on the app catching up on the latest. In one location I can get news from Vice, Now This News, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail (to satisfy my gossip sweet tooth, of course). Each “story” can have anywhere from 10-20 screens. Each screen includes a headline, brief description and as the above video mentions, a full article that can be found by swiping up.

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My second source of news is Buzzfeed. I subscribe to them on multiple platforms and get a lot of my information there. Their extensive cross-platform network includes things like articles, lists, quizzes and videos (which I LOVE) but I also spend a lot time on Buzzfeed News. Although they may not always be viewed as credible, they do provide the latest in “world-class reporting and investigative journalism”. As of March 24th 2019, 60% of millennials are reached by Buzzfeed and 70% of Buzzfeeds total site traffic comes from mobile devices. Social Blade reports that so far this month, Buzzfeed News has had over 1.45M views and in April of 2017, the website had an impressive 8.58M views.

I use these tools and sources because they became integrated into social media platforms that I have been using daily for years. It was not something I was looking or asked for but appeared over time. It is definitely out of convenience because all the sites I would need to visit individually are all in one location.

References:

Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:  http://fortune.com/2018/07/17/snapchat-news-partnership/

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips: https://learn.g2.com/snapchat-discover

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover : https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/how-the-telegraph-is-reaching-teenagers-with-news-stories-on-snapchat-discover/s2/a724198/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/about

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019): https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/buzzfeed-statistics/

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News: https://socialblade.com/youtube/user/buzzfeed

 

 

COM0015 – Blog #1: Tools & Sources

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The Algonquin College Social Media Program has presented me with a wealth of knowledge and different ways of approaching social media, and has shown countless ways to listen/monitor social media content that is important/relevant.  I have also learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it takes some experimenting to figure out what works best. Because I work in such a specialized field, with comparatively little content available, some of the more popular tools haven’t been particularly effective, but I have landed on a couple of things that seem to do the trick for me.  The key tool that I utilize for listening/monitoring is Google Alerts, tied into Feedly to make it easier to review results.  I started utilizing this way back when I took Monitoring and Measurement; I created lists of keywords that I have tweaked over time, and continue to change as new trends emerge.  Google Alerts has been useful, not only because it is free, but once it is up and running, it needs very little maintenance.  It also allows me to filter out terms that are similar, but do not apply to my company’s products, or the industry.

After perusing and trying out a number of different listening/monitoring tools, it struck me that I was really just over-complicating things.  As it turns out, the easiest and least time consuming method is to manually search Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, using many of the same keywords that I utilize with Google Alerts.  While this may not work well for a large scale operation, my industry is small, and fairly specialized.  The area where doing a manual search really shines is in closed groups; to the best of my knowledge there are no tools that can do this.  I get a lot of information from the groups I belong to, and a lot of that comes from searching specific terms.

Speaking strictly from a work perspective, my absolute go-to for industry news and updates is Career Wise, put out by Contact Point. It is an aggregator of the top articles, blogs, events, etc. that is published weekly.  It covers anything and everything to do with Career Counselling and Career Development in Canada.  Contact Point is also a huge influencer in the field of Career Development in Canada, so being retweeted, or included in Career Wise is a great accomplishment.  The other source I go to for industry news and updates is LinkedIn; there are a number of influencers who publish content on a daily/weekly basis that I follow.  The one downside to this is that there is no filter, the content comes straight from the author, and it is up to me, and the rest of the readers to determine the content’s value.  Of course, being social media, there is the opportunity for immediate feedback and dialogue.

Overall, these tools and sources have been working for me for some time; while I do periodically revisit my keywords list when there are new products, programs, or legislation. I don’t really feel the need to change how I listen/monitor. I am however curious to see what others, who work in niche industries do for listening/monitoring social media. Let me know by leaving a comment below.

COM0015, Blog 1: Tools and Resources

I have a full-time job, which limits the amount of time I can spend on social media work for FlashDesignsStudio.com (FDS). I created a Feedly dashboard as part of the Social Media Monitoring and Measurement course; however, I found it limiting. I prefer Hootsuite. I spend a half hour on the bus going back and forth to work each day. Hootsuite allows me to be productive during my commute. Through the Hootsuite app on my tablet, I can monitor my various streams and like, share or retweet effortlessly. Feedly does not have that capability. On weekends, I use Hootsuite’s online interface to schedule a week’s worth of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Hootsuite also connects to Drop Box, making organizing and posting images that much faster and easier. I sometimes use Ow.ly shortened URLs to track traffic.

On weekends, I use the Google Analytics plug in on the WordPress website to monitor traffic on the FDS website, which is one of the key success indicators. On a monthly basis, I can dig deeper into the website traffic and audience reports through the Google Analytics website. This is particularly useful to see who (demographic information) is coming from where (our social media networks or elsewhere). Having updated websites as far back as 1999, I am so thankful I no longer need to sort through raw website user data.

Of course, I also use Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Bitley to monitor and track social media activity, but I spend more time on Hootsuite and Google Analytics.

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I have many sources of news. I think my best source of information is a set of Google Alerts (which I view through Hootsuite) that shows photography contests, exhibits and other events happening in the Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto triangle. As well as providing content for the website, blog, Facebook and Twitter, Norm and I use the information to plan our photo excursions and submit images to contests. When I finish well in a contest, I post it on the FDS social media networks. It is a testament to the quality and creativeness of my images.

While most photographers are aware of all the magazines, stores and manufacturers on social media, few know about Science Daily’s photography research RRS feed (which I also view through Hootsuite). Having worked with medical and academic journals for more than a decade and with newspapers and magazines for longer than that, I can understand complex ideas and explain them in plain, everyday language. I rewrite the photography research media releases with information from the published research paper and post as Technology News in News Flash, the FDS blog. These have included advances in lens technology and how researchers are data-mining social media photos to guide land use policy, conservation planning and development decisions. This is well suited for our more advanced photographer audience and positions FDS as being knowledgeable of the cutting edge.

COM0015/Post 1 – Tools & Sources

My favourite social media listening/monitoring tool is by far Facebook Insights. It is extremely user-friendly.  After setting up my first ever Facebook page to promote female baseball in my hometown, the Insights tab was immediately available to me and I was amazed at the story it could tell.

You don’t have to be an analyst or statistician to interpret the data from the graph below. On July 30 the number of likes peaked at 30. On this date we held open registration for our younger players who are also our newest players.  Parents are told the best way to keep current on our baseball program is to like our Facebook page.

FB Likes

Corner Brook Minor Baseball Association

Our baseball association also uses Twitter. As the person responsible for the Association’s communications, including social media, I like Tweet Deck.

Tweet Deck

@CbbaCB 

What I love about Tweet Deck is its horizontal layout. I often use Twitter on my smart phone but I love the layout of Tweet Deck on my desktop.  No clicking the little icons to reveal what’s happening because the horizontal layout gives me the whole picture.

I have had my own Twitter account for several years and  have also been tweeting on behalf of our baseball association for about 18 months; however, I am still learning how to analyze the data.  I am a frequent visitor to Twitter’s support, click here to see for yourself, visit  Twitter Support.

Being able to easily analyze these two tools has helped me tremendously in my promotion of the sport of baseball. By building a following for our baseball association, I have helped contribute to the growth in our game – an 80% increase in player enrollment over 2014.

This is a skill that I can use in my professional career as an instructor. If I can help grow the number of baseball players, in particular FEMALE baseball players, then I can help increase the number of students enrolled in the programs that I teach at my college.

One of the best sources of news and updates that I like is Google Alerts. I like that I can set up as many alerts as I want on several different topics. I also love that it is delivered to my inbox. I can keep track of various forms of media such as videos, web postings, Tweets, etc.

Using Google Alerts I can easily keep track of what competitors are doing, such as our local soccer association, and even keep track of where I (or our baseball association) am in the social media sphere.  I can find conversations about both me (baseball association) and my competitors.

There are so many tools available that it is overwhelming. I like to find a few that work for me and stick to them.

 

COM0015 – Blog #1: Listening Tools & News Sources

Listening is one of the most important elements to a good social media strategy.  We want to ensure we are listening to what people are saying about our competitors, our industry and about us.  By doing this we can look for opportunities to communicate with our audience.  This can be through answering their questions or concerns.  This can also be by providing them with further information.  There are countless ways for us to be able to have those conversations, but they all start with good listening.

As someone who is new to social media in a professional capacity, my skills and tools are still being developed.  However, I have learned to use and appreciate two particular tools for my listening/monitoring needs.

googleGoogle Alerts

I can use Google Alerts to track information on any number of things that I am interested in following.  I will set up an alert and I will be notified when something is picked up with that information.  This allows me to keep up to date on my competition, my industry and about what is being said about my organization.

 

netvibesNetvibes

I really like the tools offered through Netvibes.  It took me a little getting used to the way it was set up but once I got my Home screen the way that worked for me, I find it very useful.  Netvibes allows me to create a listening dashboard.  It allows me to get information and the latest updates about my organization, my competition and my industry.  One of the things I really like is the way it allows me to track everything all on a single page.  It saves me time from jumping from site to site to get the same information.  I also like that I can track things that interest me personally and things that interest me professionally all in one place.  I can get my updates, weather, email and the news all at once.

I have heard good things from other people taking the social media courses about Hootsuite and Klout and I would like to learn more about them.  As I am feeling more comfortable with my current tools, I feel ready to learn about other tools that are out there and available.  Any other suggestions of tools you use and think I should check out?

In addition to listening through these social media listening/monitoring tools, I also listen to sources for news and updates about what is going on in the world around me.  The two tools I use most for those resources are Metro News and Twitter.

MetroNewsMetro News

I really enjoy Metro News for a few reasons.  I like that their mobile web page is so easy to use and flip through, this makes it convenient because I can keep up to date anywhere/anytime.  Metro News also allows me to look specifically at local, national or international news.  It also allows me to look at different cities, which is helpful as my organization has properties in different parts of the country.  I like that Metro News provides me access to a wide range of topics that would be of interest or would affect our residents/prospects.  I also like that their stories are short and to the point.  If I find something that interests me I can research it further when I have more time.

twitterTwitter

I use Twitter for both a listening/monitoring tool as well as a news and updates source.  I like Twitter because there are so many people using it and again it gives me a lot of information in one place.  There are journalists, politicians, industry leaders, our competition and our residents/prospects all using it which makes it a great resource.

As a listening/monitoring tool I can watch for opportunities to listen and participate in conversations.  I can watch for those reaching out to us or our competitors and use it as an opportunity to engage with them.  I can also watch for people looking for an apartment and make some suggestions based on what they are looking for at that time.

As a news/updates source I can watch for things that are trending that would affect our residents/prospects or our industry.  I also use it to get my local news through #ottnews, as this is often where things will break as they are happening, sometimes before they are even picked up by bigger news channels.  We can then keep our residents informed by sharing the news we find.

Being able to communicate with our residents and prospective residents is one of the main reasons we are on social media.  By using listening/monitoring tools mixed with news/updates sources we can ensure we are aware of our residents/prospects needs and that we are able to provide them with content they will find useful and relevant.

What tools & sources do you use?

COM0015 – Blog #4 – Out of the Box

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When I first started this course, my social media savvy was limited, to say the least. But over the course of this program, I have come to look at social media and it’s capabilities through a different lens.

The possibilities are endless with what social media and it’s various applications can do. It’s fast, it’s constantly changing and evolving, and it can be extremely useful or extremely damaging.

The two biggest takeaways I took from this program are the array of tools that are available, and the importance of using the consumer information provided through online platforms.

I was initially overwhelmed by all of the tools and applications available to maximize a social media platform’s potential. But over the last little while, I have had the opportunity to explore and test some of these tools. Google Alerts and Google Analytics are two that I particularly like. Although Google Analytics is going to take much more exploration to figure out the ins and outs of the program, I can see it being a very useful tool when used to its full potential. I have had the opportunity to experiment with RSS feeds, and creating a dashboard, and while I still feel I have lots to learn, it’s useful to have had the exposure as a jumping off point.

The second takeaway, was just how important a company’s engagement is with its consumers through their social media platforms. And not just because consumers want to feel like they are being listened to; but because often the customer feedback and comments are what drive the direction of the company. For example, I profiled a Canadian lifestyle magazine for one of my assignments. And based on my discussion with someone in their online department, I discovered that they don’t just read and respond to consumer comments on the various blogs and articles available on the website. They actual derive usable information from the posted content. They look for trends, recurring issues that consumers have, topic requests that consumers would like to see, and this information facilitates the content that is ultimately published in the magazine. It seems like a completely obvious tactic, to give your reader what they want, but I didn’t think it was done quite so literally. So when you think you’re “posting on deaf ears”, that’s more than likely not the case.

COM0015 Blog #1: Is Anyone Listening?

I personally don’t ‘do’ social media in my personal life, however on the business side of things, I simply love it. Social Media has taken on a huge role in how businesses market their brand. Sure, you’re on Facebook. Twitter, too. Maybe you have a blog. You put a lot a lot of work into keeping them fresh and updated with pertinent, interesting posts. But aside from the few comments you get now and again, how do you know if anyone is listening to what you have to say?

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle Switch

You think hard about your social media strategy, posting interesting links relevant to your mission, working to expand your network and engage your audience and create a solid, online reputation for your organization. You want to monitor your efforts and measure your results. Knowing whether your efforts are paying off can help you adapt your posting strategy to better meet your goals.

Top 3 Listening/Monitoring Tools
  1. Hootsuite: I primarily use this tool for it’s tweet scheduling ability and to monitor brand related mentions. Hootsuite allows you to track mentions for several different keywords such as your company, brand name, product or service, industry, the competition or a particular market term. This will give you a complete picture of the social conversations that matter most. hootsuite-2200x800
  2. Another simple but useful tool, Google Alerts will email you online mentions of keywords—for example, your organization’s name. Set as many alerts as you want to clue you in to mentions on blogs, websites, other people or organizations’ Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, or in the media.google-alerts1
  3. Radian6: This is my wishlist, soon to be reality as I was recently told that I may have access to this costly tool! Radian6 was recently acquired by Salesforce, which we also use at my work, and offers clean dashboards and real-time charts make it easy to see the most common words associated with your brand, monitor the highs and lows of social mentions, ascertain sentiment, export data, and allocate workflow. Though I am not yet familiar with the ins and outs of this tools, I look forward to getting my hands dirty soon. salesforce_radian6_logo
Social media listening tools can be your most useful set of eyes and ears on the web, providing insights you could never have gathered on your own. What are you using to listen and monitor that you feel everyone should know about?

Blog Post 4- The Social Future and You: The Secret is Out

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The Secret is Out

 

It would be naive of us to think that our online presence, however grande or small it may be, can go unnoticed and private on our social media platforms. Countless posts about our feelings, where/what we’re doing, photgraphs of documented memories to share with your friends, and let’s not forget the contact information and personal details on some profiles.

We’re a walking billboard of our lives online, to some degree at least, but do we need to be more careful what we post and share? Who might be lurking in the shadows of the internet? It’s common sense that information can be accessed at the click of a button, swipe of the finger, or quick jabber of a voice command. So what excuses us from those seekers of information, whether notorious or not?

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‘Government snooping on social media may breach Privacy Act’

So reads the headline of a recently published CBC article outlining the questions being raised by Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier to the Canadian Government, concerning their retrieval of online information on Canadians. The article quotes Bernier’s written concerns form a letter,  “we are seeing evidence that personal information is being collected by government institutions from social media sites without regard for accuracy, currency and accountability.” The letter dated Feb. 13 also reads: “Should information culled from these sites be used to make administrative decisions about individuals, it is incumbent upon government institutions to ensure the accuracy of this information.”

I’m sure it was never too farfetched to imagine that big brother is watching. Tuning in on our online social lives and daily puttering about our social communities. But aren’t we entitled to some online privacy? Isn’t that what we signed up for, thinking we were in control of who viewed our content, by being selective. Surely the impression is there when selecting who follows your twitter, joins your linkdin network, or friends list on facebook.

Maybe we missed the fine print somewhere. Maybe this is the way the majority of people want things. Easily displayed information about themselves, their lives, so people can inform themselves and stay up to date with you. Unknowingly sharing countless details about yourselves or daily mishaps and adventures. Friends, companies, the government. Or do we draw the line somewhere and try and take some control over our online social interaction? If we can?

 

Resources

CBC News Online:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/chantal-bernier-says-ottawa-snooping-on-social-media-1.2635998

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/government-snooping-on-social-media-may-breach-privacy-act-1.2636905

Social Media 24/7

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Now that I am bursting with excitement over all the different networks that can be used to chat, listen and promote my professional brand, I know that it’s just as important to start to consider how I can monitor the effectiveness of what I am saying and how I am saying it…and that kind of scares me.

When social media was new and there wasn’t much of a plan, you were celebrated for maintaining a constant posting schedule.  Now that strategies are a must and results are expected, this has become a much more serious game.

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KPIs or key performance indicators are already in my vernacular but have never pertained to social media. I believe that the important metrics are:

  • Reach (your fans, followers, and other relevant stats and gauge the size of your community)
  • Engagement (retweets, comments, bounce rates, clicks, video views, average time on site, etc.)
  • Competitive data (comparison between us and our competition)
  • Sentiment (how your brand is seen)
  • Sales conversions (the measure of your networks referral traffic)

But, do I have the time to commit to making sure our targets and goals are measured and reported on?! This is where my fear gets the better of me. Like most of you, social media is a portion of my responsibilities and the deeper I come to understand how to effectively use the various networks, the more I realize this could very well gobble-up a lot of my precious time.

There are a number of free monitoring services such as:

And even more extensive, paid-for services including:

It all comes back to time and ultimately budget too – is anyone else starting to sweat or is it just me?

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References:

http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/1458746/50-top-tools-social-media-monitoring-analytics-and-management-2013

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-social-media-monitoring-tools-to-simplify-your-marketing/

COM0015 Blog#1 Tool & Sources

Like ButtonOne of my favourite social media trend listening/monitoring tools as well as source for news and updates is Twitter, which I would not have guesses a year ago.  Let’s just say, that before I started the certificate program, I found the 140 character messages confusing.  Now I appreciate the simplicity of its search function and the easy access of information or the latest trends.  A number of times I had information available before it made the regular news channels and which made me look good in front of the client.

The second trend listening/monitoring tool I favour is Hootsuite.  I think it’s simplicity is great. I love having everything on one screen.  To me it is a great timesaver to be able to schedule, follow up and monitor conversations and it is  affordable. Having said that, I keep using a combination of Netvibes, Google Alerts  & Yahoo Pipes as well, since taking COM0013 because I want to be comfortable using those free tools as well.

My second favourite tool for news and updates are RSS feeds and Newsletters. I find myself reading them when I have a bit of downtime and often lead me to check out others. If the question would be to name 3 favourite tools, my third choice would be   podcast’s. There are many “brainless” work moments in my day, where I can easily listen and learn. Podcasts became a great source for updates in my day to day life.

Photo credit: Shutterstock