Make it or Break it. The Bottom Line

For every business, the bottom line is profits. How can an enterprise ensure they are going to make it? If you are a small business, and you haven’t hired an outside agency to monitor things for you, then expect to spend countless hours trying to decipher where you stand. Larger institutions have in-house staff to take care of this or hire that work out to a social media monitoring conglomerate. 

How do I do this? Where do I go?

Pixabay – Woman with question marks around her

It can be overwhelming if you are in the process of establishing a new business. Where do you begin? Well, GetApp.com looks like it might be the answer if you didn’t know where to start. It is a brand management software company that helps you decipher what would work best for YOU. Their website states “Best comparison List of Vendor Application and Tools”. The first two paragraphs of their home page deliver a brief outline of what they offer. Below that information are questions to help businesses narrow down what suits them, as it is never a “one size fits all” situation. Here is a breakdown of some of those.

  • the number of people in your organization 
  • industry type
  • filters if you want free access or varied subscription options for their software
  • what types of devices you would like to support for monitoring purposes (phone, laptop, computer)
  • organization types. Are you a private, not-for-profit, small business
  • is it a global or more defined demographic
  • most important, to me, would be star ratings of the various available monitoring platform from prior customers
YouTube video – What is Social Media Monitoring?

Similarities

It operates similarly to an on-line holiday booking platform like TravelocityCheap Flights, or Trivago with all of its filters. You get to pick your destination, hotel, star rating for your hotel, airline transportation, time of departure, and so on. When I decide to book a holiday, I usually do it through a travel agency. I always check prices, location, facilities, customer comments, and star ratings before booking my holiday.

Relax!

Do you think this is a fantastic option for businesses? Would you invest your money into this type of monitoring marketing platform? Why not take the guesswork out of the equation. Wouldn’t you rather be doing this? Hire a professional.

Person sitting on top of mountain overlooking a lake

REFERENCES:

How Brands use Social Media Listening to Measure Success – YouTube

Brand Management Software 2021 – Best Application Comparison | GetApp®

Travelocity | Cheap Hotels, Flights, Vacations & Travel Deals

Flights Deals under $99, Airlines Tickets Under $99 (cheapflightsfares.com)

trivago.ca – Compare hotel prices worldwide

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Blog # 3 – Social Media Measurement and Monitoring

Social Media’s Bottom Line for Businesses https://bit.ly/3rPDD1s

Select Your Perfect Social Media Monitoring Platform. https://bit.ly/3rPDD1s

Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

In this blog post I am going to talk about my two favorite social media listening & monitoring tools and my two favorite sources for social media news & updates. I am going to explain why I like them more compared to their competition.

Awario & Buzzsumo

What I like about Awario and Buzzsumo is that they are very user friendly. Compared to Mentionlytics, Awario & Buzzsumo did not overwhelm me.
I am still a beginner in social media monitoring and listening and learn with each time that I use one of these tools.
But even after a week, I could not make much sense out of Mentionlytics.
But with Awario & Buzzsumo I was comfortable right from the start.

I had a trial with all of them, but their prices vary quite a bit. Awario starts at 49$ a month, Buzzsumo starts at 99$ a month compared to Mentionlytics which starts at 39$ a month.

Awario monitors social media non-stop and sends you updates per email if that is your wish.
And you get analytics, for example about a companies sentiment online. This can also be easily shared with your colleagues.

My favourite, Buzzsumo lets you track cost-per-click, you can find content through their search engine, you can track keywords and it shows you which keywords are the most popular for your chosen industry, it also lets you find influencers and you can watch the competition, monitor mentions of your brand name and lastly it creates reports for you that are easy to export and send to your boss or colleagues.

Mentionlytics is a mix of Awario and Buzzsumo. It is not a bad tool. I was just not comfortable with it and for me, their dashboard lacked some clarity on how to find, use and set up activities.

Sprout Social & Social Media Today

My favourite outlets for social media news & updates are Sprout Social and Social Media Today.

Sprout Social is one of the leading social media management tools and they also have a blog with news and updates about the social media community.
I find their blog very helpful and informative. Especially for a beginner in social media, they offer a lot of helpful advice and tips.

Another page I started following recently is Social Media Today. I like that they have a wide range of topics. You can find marketing, PR, social media, advertising and business-related articles on their website.

I also like Forbes or the Huffington Post, but especially Forbes is a bit too business-like for my taste. Most of their articles are business-related. I can not really say why it is not my favourite news page, but I find the tone that Sprout Social and Social Media Today write in, is more personal and authentic. They reach me more on a personal level.

What are your favourite monitoring & listening tools? And what are your favourite social media news outlets?
Let me know in the comment section.

COM0015 – Tools and Sources

Photo credit: Melvin Gaal (Mindsharing.eu) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Two of my favourite social media listening/monitoring tools are Google Alerts and Twitter/Facebook searches.  Without having yet implemented the social media plan into our overall communications at Brock Community Health Centre, I have yet to fully explore other common platform management tools such as Hootsuite, although I imagine that will be something we look into as our social media efforts grow.

With Google Alerts and Twitter search, I can become aware of trends and announcements in health that are relative to my organization through industry leaders such as Health Canada and allied partners such as Durham Region Health Department.  Current health concerns, announcements and health promotion dates are examples of news and information that are of interest to me, as well as regional news and strategies, such as the recent forum that addressed the opioid crisis.

With Facebook search, I can discover what the community at large is saying pertaining to health concerns and needs, as well as anything to do with the organization’s programs and services.  I can also determine which groups are active and who the influencers are.  This has helped to gain a larger understanding of our audience as we strategically plan the launch of our social media presence and subsequent activity.

Out of the Box

Prior to taking this course, my experience with social media was limited to Facebook. I have a Twitter account and have tweeted a grand total of 11 times in four years. I also have a Pinterest and Instagram account but, again, haven’t posted much of anything. So, almost every social media application was interesting or unexpected to me, the newbie.

And because I am not heavily active on social media for personal or business reasons, I had very little idea about the social media monitoring and listening applications. I had never taken the time to actually learn about them because, really, why would I? But eventually I did. And I was impressed.

The metrics and statistics, analytics and trends are all really fascinating. Listening and monitoring tools can tell you everything from where your traffic is coming from, to how long people spend on your site, to what they are saying about you and your site. These kinds of tools are priceless in that they are key to helping you continue to develop your site or blog in the best way possible. Nothing else can do that.

You need to know exactly what you want to monitor; what you want to focus on. Each monitoring tool has its own strengths and weaknesses. So you need to decide what to focus, do your homework, and then choose the tool that will work best for you.

Some of the tools that I stumbled across that made a good immediate impression were:

Hootsuite:

The dashboard is organized, streamlined, and easy to set up. It consolidates multiple social media networks in one place, which is helpful if more than one person is taking care of social media in your organization.

Tweetdeck:

This is very similar to Hootsuite, and very good for beginners. This dashboard is a snapshot of activity related to your Twitter account. It’s practical, easy to use, and free.

Google Alerts:

This is a great way to monitor web pages, publications, and blogs for any search term that you specify. The alerts are sent to your email.

 

Which social media listening applications do you like the best?

COM0015 ~ BLOG POST 1 ~ TOOLS & SOURCES

It was Friday afternoon. A friend looked up from his phone. “There’s been a mass shooting.”

I reached for my phone before he said anything else and checked Twitter, my immediate go-to for news.

Paris.

It was already trending, with Tweets streaming in every second. I couldn’t scroll fast enough to keep up with them. For the next while, I watched as the story unfolded. The pace at which it grew was incredible, as people from around the world tweeted in shock, confusion, and anger.

news

Image: campmapleleaf.net

Twitter has long been my first source for what’s happening and trending. I like its immediacy, variety of sources, simplicity, and – I almost hate to say it – variety of opinions (because, let’s face it, that alone can be a source of aggravation). I love how it connects people who wouldn’t normally come into contact with each other. I love its power to mobilize and to spring people into action. I love the sharing of ideas and back-and-forth jibber jabber. It’s an amazing tool that has forever changed traditional discourse.

Zite is another source I go to for news and updates. A news reading app that launched on the iPad a few years ago, it’s a customizable site that lets you tailor your news to what interests you the most. It searches through millions of news stories every day to bring you the best items from some of the best original sources.

As for social media monitoring tools, I’ll be completely honest here; I have used exactly zero.

SMM

Image: ontargetmediainc.com

I am not very active on social media (yet!), which is why I am taking this certificate in the first place. But I did poke around and check out a few recommended tools.

Twitter Counter is a simple, easy-to-use tool that provides straightforward information. For a beginner, it is the perfect way to slowly immerse yourself  into the very big, very overwhelming world of social media analytics. This tool wins for me mostly because of its unintimidating nature.

Then there is Hootsuite, which looks like an amazing tool. I haven’t fully thrown myself into yet, but based on some preliminary poking around, it looks like the perfect place to park all of your social media apps and get some great analytic feedback. Unlike Twitter Counter, the intimidation factor is a little higher especially for social media rookies like myself. But I see this being a great help in managing and analyzing social media. Who doesn’t love a one-stop-shop?

How do you monitor your social media? What other news sources do you use?

COMM0015: Tools and Sources

What are your two favourite social media listening and monitoring tools?

I must confess that the only social media listening and monitoring tools I have used were in COMM0013 when I was monitoring a company for an assignment. I wanted to expand beyond Google Alerts and Feedly so  I did what most people would do when researching a topic—I Googled! After much deliberation I would say I like Hootsuite and SocialMention.

Hootsuite

I was really impressed with Hootsuite because of its simplicity. It allows users to manage and track their social media networks—such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—from one dashboard. From here users can schedule comments or tweets, listen or track mentions and analyse traffic.  Another nice feature is that it is free, but if you need more monitoring you can opt for the Pro or Enterprise package.

Image taken from: http://woolfworks.spaces.nexudus.com/images/hootsuite-dashboard.png

Social Mention

I like Social Mention because it intrigues me. It helps you monitor and track any mentions to you, your company and any topic of interest. This tool monitors social media sites and measures it with four categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach and it is able to inform you about how many mentions you have and from how many people. It provides a good snapshot of what is happening and it allows for alerts to be sent to you by email. This tool is also free.

Image taken from: http://www.socialtechnologyreview.com/sites/default/files/images/inline/socialmention-robinwilding.jpg

What are the two best sources of news and updates of interest to you?

Two best sources of news and updates that interest me are Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter

Just this past Sunday I was driving with my son and we noticed police, fire trucks and ambulances. It was clear that there had been an accident as we drove along the detour they had in place. I asked my son to check my Twitter feed and lo and behold we were updated on the crash that claimed the life of a 55-year-old man and sent his daughter to hospital.

This was a perfect example of real-time updates—as we were driving past the accident my son was able to read about it.

Featured image

Image taken from my Twitter feed

Facebook

I have friends from different parts of the world. I am able to quickly connect with them and learn of news in their country or participate in news right here. A simple example is the non-stop conversations about the federal election that just took place in October.

I am able to keep up-to-date on companies that interest me by liking and following their Facebook page. I am also able to learn about new companies by seeing who my friends are following and listening to comments about services or products.

Image taken from: Facebook.com

Do you use social media monitoring tools? If so, what are your favourites?

 

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?

Social Media 24/7

24_Hours_Open

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.

kpi (1)

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/

COMM0015: Tools and Sources

Listen

In the world of social media technology provides a large number of opportunities for monitoring news and information that is important to your business and listening to your own customers.  Unfortunately, the availability of these tools and the time required to monitor them can become challenges or even barriers for individuals and companies without a significant amount of time to dedicate to those sites.  As one of those individuals I have tried to find tools and resources that can provide the information I need in a quick and simple interface.  Ideally, with the additional option to ‘dig deeper’ when needed.

As someone whose social media business is entirely based in the online world monitoring website traffic, online influence and listening to our readers are the primary ways we measure success.  My favourite ‘quick glance’ tool to monitor that success is Klout.  Although it does not provide as detailed information as some other monitoring tools Klout does offer a simple and easy to access overview of your online interactions.  Using information from your social media accounts, including sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress, Klout is able to determine our influence score and who it believes we are influencing.  This allows us to develop a better understanding of our readers, of what content they value the most and whether or not that influence is growing or decreasing.

When I have more time or I want to prepare several posts/tweets/etc… I turn to Hootsuite.  Hootsuite provides me with a more detailed analysis of the website and social media traffic as well as the opportunity to schedule posts and tweets.  This scheduling option is key since I may not be available during the ideal times to promote a new article or comment on a product release.  In addition, Hootsuite provides more detailed analytics options than Klout, can track conversations and offers a mobile app which allows you to coordinate the management of your social media accounts from any location.

In the world of science fiction and fantasy fandom there is always something new and if you are not on top of the latest shows, books, technology or convention controversies your content can quickly become archaic and obsolete.  As a result I rely heavily on two key sources of information.  The first is my source of information for all things ‘nerdy’ in the United States and overseas – nerdist.com.  Through his blog, YouTube channel and now his television show on BBC America Chris Hardwick (aka – the Nerdist) keeps ‘nerds’ everywhere informed of the breaking news about the things they love.  As a result, his website provides an excellent gateway into most of the information I need.

Of course, one website does not provide all the information I need to listen to what is happening in the science fiction and fantasy fan world.  When I want more information, including specific feeds from Canadian websites, I rely on Netvibes to pull it all into one place. The Netvibes dashboard allows me to see the most recent information on my key topics in one place and saves significant time.

As a result of Klout, Hootsuite, Nerdist.com and Netvibes  I am able to stay on top of our own site traffic and comments while also keeping up on the latest information in our industry.  This allows us to steadily grow our site traffic and meet the performance measure targets we have set.

Photo Credit: Steven Shorrock