Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Tools and Sources – My Favorites

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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.

Social Media: Do You Create or Curate?

To create something means bringing an idea, a concept or a visualization to life.  It also means that it never existed before.  In social media, the creation process involves taking your own photos, drawing your own images, writing your own text without any other references other than your thoughts, making your own videos and putting together your own designs.

To curate means something different.  Curating involves researching, finding, gathering, organizing and sharing the content of another person or entity to present it to the public.  The question becomes if it is possible to “borrow” or to “copy in parts” the work of another party without consent.  That may be cause for copyright infringement. 

What exactly is copyright?

“Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise.” (Government of Canada, 2016)

To know more about copyright, watch the following video:

What does infringement mean?

“The action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.  The action of limiting or undermining something.” (Lexico, 2019)

It is easier now to understand that “using” someone else’s content online is not acceptable and is illegal.  Anything that is found on the Internet is not necessarily available to be shared or used freely without obtaining consent from the owner of the content.  The credit must be given to the owner of the content, which is, in general, the creator of the content itself.  So, when you are curating, it is important to indicate to whom the content belongs to, where it comes from and where it was found.

The content that is being found online is as valuable as the written content of a book, the lyrics of a song, the logo of a company or a simple photograph.  It is important to respect and research all content that is being use in any content that is dedicated to social media in order to know if it is licensed and to whom it belongs to.  Once done, a permission can be requested to copy or share, in whole or in parts, the content in question.

There is a lot more to say about copyright infringement and its importance, but the goal of this blog is to raise awareness among social media users and the proper ethic regarding “borrowing” someone else’s content.  So, the next time you will need content for social media, will you create or curate?

References: 1200 x 926 png. [Image online]. Retrieved at

Hope. (January 9, 2019). Creating vs. curating content: how to avoid copyright infringement on social media [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Lexico. (2019). [Online dictionary]. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (September 7, 2016, p. 1). What is copyright? [Website]. Retrieved from 

Government of Canada. (September 7, 2016). What is a copyright? (Canada) [Video]. Retrieved from

You are not sure if you are creating or curating your content on social media? Are you confused about copyright and infringement?  To know more, read my blog at

Are you wondering if your content on social media is subject to infringement? Read my blog at #copyright #infringement

COM0015 – Blog #1: Tools & Sources

adult chill computer connection

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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 – Post #1 – Social Media Tools and Sources

So many social media platforms, so little time!

Facebook, Twitter, RSS icons stuffed in an envelope

Image Credit: Vertical Response

One of the biggest challenges I have in life is stepping away from my devices and taking a break. There are too many amazing social media sites and articles that constantly absorb my attention! It’s no wonder I had trouble choosing only two favourites for each of the tools and social media platforms to write about. My short list includes Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, LinkedIn, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Social Mention, Hootsuite, Quora, Feedly . . . need I go on?

Social media listening and monitoring tools

One of the best social media listening tools I’ve found was recommended by an unlikely source. It was a volunteer at a not-for-profit who suggested I use Protopage. I’d never heard of it, but quickly found it to be an easy-to-use, attractive and practical dashboard.

Another tool I’ve used for social media listening is Buzzsumo. This site provides details on the most shared articles and posts for the keywords or topics you’re researching.

Why they’re the best tools for me

Protopage example

“Content Marketing News” on Protopage

With Protopage, you can add lots of tools to your dashboard to keep track of different topics for different clients. If you’re a digital marketer, why not create a separate Protopage for each client related to their industry. Check out my Protopage by clicking on the image to the left. I customized my feeds and added various widgets, like RSS news feeds, bookmarks, calendars, weather reports and more. I chose “content marketing” and “digital marketing” as my Twitter search terms.

Buzzsumo search for "Content Marketing"

A search on Buzzsumo for “Content Marketing”

As a content writer always looking for ideas, I take advantage of Buzzsumo. It’s a great source of articles that helps me ruminate and discover what’s most shareable. If you have a truly dead boring topic to write about, try popping in a keyword and see a bunch of relevant articles that have been shared on various platforms. You might be surprised to find an entertaining or interesting angle. I tried an experiment and entered ‘toilet paper’. The most shared article, complete with drawings and measurements, was on the debate about whether you should pull the paper from the bottom or the top!

Social media sources of news and updates

Twitter logo

Twitter: The “BOMB”

Hands down, for news, search and just plain old entertainment, Twitter is the “BOMB”. What turns my crank the most is the search function. Plus, I’m always amazed how easy it is to find out what’s happening right now by checking the trends. News breaks faster on Twitter than any other social media platform. Reporters use it to pick up breaking news stories, beating the clock better than any other research method. I also use Twitter for distributing blogs, articles and images.

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn: The ace up your sleeve.

If Twitter is the bomb, then LinkedIn is the ace up your professional sleeve. There are so many features you can take advantage of on LinkedIn, it makes your head spin. Besides having a resumé and connecting with similar professionals, you can research companies, join groups, get involved in industry discussions, try your hand at blogging on Pulse and send messages with its internal email feature. LinkedIn is an absolute must for all communications professionals.

Social Media impact on professional development

On Twitter, I recently discovered that my use of the hashtag #digitalmarketing was drawing attention. What happened next surprised me. Other Tweeters started following and adding me to their lists of digital marketing experts! I didn’t have the heart to tell them I wasn’t really an expert. So I just said “Thanks for adding me to your #digitalmarketingexperts list”. That made even more people add me to their lists. I thought it might become a runaway train and was quite pleased with myself, until I took a break from tweeting. Then all the following and list activity came to a halt. It just proves that you have to keep at it continuously when trying to build a business and connect through social media.

On LinkedIn, I had another unexpected experience. In real life, I belong to a group of writers called ‘Professional Independent Communicators’. At our meetings, the organizers try to get more participation on our LinkedIn group, which is not well used. Because I’m trying to promote my social media expertise, I thought I’d create discussions in this group. I wrote simple thoughts and questions that group members might relate to, and finally, there was a bit of discussion! Instead of using LinkedIn to meet our connections, we used real life connections to become active on LinkedIn – a reversal of what you’d expect. I hope our LinkedIn discussions will complement and deepen our real life connections, leading the way to develop future business alliances and friendships.