Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Photo by 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 – 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.


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.


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.


Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips:

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover :

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019):

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News:



COM0015 – Blog # 1 – Tools and Sources

My two favourite social media trend measuring and monitoring tools are Social Mention and Facebook Insights. Both of these tools make monitoring much less daunting, less time consuming, and generally easier. This makes me a happy person!

Social Mention is a tool to see who is mentioning my brand, no matter where on the internet this happens. On their website I can search my brand name, my name, my competitors’ names, or any other key word of interest to me, and these mentions are directed right into my inbox. Mentions may happen in the on-line world in places that I may not even thinksocial mention to look, and Social Mention will find them and send the links to me. With one click of the link I can see the mention first-hand. Social mention is a great tool to keep tabs on my reputation, in case people are talking indirectly about me and my brand.

Facebook Insights allows me to track activity on my Facebook business page, which is where I interact the most. It can tell me everything about general activity on my business page, as well as everything about specific posts.facebook I can learn things like number of likes, shares, comments, click throughs, photo views, and overall reach of my posts. I have learned from Facebook Insights the type of posts that my readers like to see from me, and what they don’t.

My two favourite sources for news and updates that are of interest to me, are Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter allow me to target the information that I want to hear about, and weed out the things that don’t interest me, or serve my business. The things that interest me intersect both personally and professionally. Topics such as food, health, nutrition, cooking, and fitness infiltrate my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I have come to prefer certain feeds more than others, and over time my feeds have evolved to include news and updates from those individuals and companies who I feel are most credible, or whose values are most similar to mine.




Images sourced from:

Tools and Resources. COM0015 – Blog #1

Listening has to be one of the most important tools for organizations. Social media has allowed the instantaneous exchange of thoughts and ideas and this information can be powerful to organizations to meet customer expectations. Only when you listen can you modify your marketing message to be the most effective it can be. The trick is, that you have to listen to understand your audience and not listening to reply.

We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak. – Thomas Edison.

Call me old fashion, but most of my listening I do the old fashion way. When I say old fashion, I mean know whom my target audience and find out what social networks they may be communicating through. For the organization I recently did some work for, I found that the market they were trying to reach located themselves in unique grass roots groups on Facebook. Most of these were secret groups, so it took a little more investigating to find. Residing in these Facebook groups were key influencers in this community. I starting out in a couple of these groups and listened and I was able to find that these groups were located across Canada and nationally. It took a bit of time and some active listening, but this “uncensored” information was truly the most valuable to the organization I was working for. Being that the members of the group were among their peers, the information was honest and uncensored and really gave the needs of this community.

Business questions concept with a question mark symbol on a red paper and a multitude of question marks signs on scattered white papers.

Finding the right tools from a variety of resources.

In any strategic listening exercise, it would be wise to gather information from a variety of sources. Facebook is a great way, but using only one tool limits the breadth and accuracy of data. Google Alerts, Twitter, Blogs are also very important listening tools to your data collection. Google alerts is a content change and notification system that allows an email to be sent when content is changed. Some businesses require media monitoring and while this is not a fool proof medium, it certainly speeds up the process.

The project, company and organizational needs will always determine the best resources to use. Google Alerts and Facebook are always my go-to starting point, but every project is unique and needs a different social solution.

News sources are also valuable to the data collection for organizations. What happens in the world directly impacts an organization. This could be everything from social trends to federal budgets.

fresh ideas phrase and light bulb hand writing

Social media and online resources have brought fresh ideas for news formats.

Once upon a time we would pick up a newspaper and sit with a morning coffee and read the news. Those days are slowly fading with news being at our fingertips just moments after it happens. Tools to help collate various news sources can be a time saver. is my tool of choice for this as it can collate information I need from a variety of sources into a “one-stop shop.”

Although I still read local news through my twitter news feed, I spend most of my time with news sources like The Huffington Post and Mashable. I think the model works for my generation who want the news, want it fast, but are seeking a little bit of entertainment too. I confess, I do read Buzzfeed quite religiously as pure entertainment. It’s addictive, but should come with a warning declaimer that you could spend hours there. Anyone else have this same issue?


Com0015 – Post 1 – Tools & Sources

news buttonI am a Communications Specialist who regularly deals with a variety of clients. So I need to be kept abreast of what is going on in Canada and the rest of the world.

My daily source of news is Google News. It offers comprehensive, up-to-date news from worldwide sources. I also like the way it groups similar stories and displays them according to the user preferences.

For a good read and more in-depth information, I go through The Economist magazine. It covers a breadth of international issues not necessarily picked up in daily news reports, including topics relating to science and technology. I am always intrigued by the tweets I get from them and find myself reading a lot of their articles online. I like to be well-informed and current and that magazine helps me with that.

For industry news, trends, resource, and professional development opportunities, I rely on LinkedIn. Although I have been a member for years, I only recently became active in a number of industry and sector groups and found these to be worthwhile. I receive daily emails highlighting job listings, news items, trending discussions which I find extremely useful. It also gives me a pretty good idea of trends and what’s hot out there.

LinkedIn Groups are easy to use, convenient, interactive, informative and a great networking tool.

social media monitoring tools

In my business, I also need to monitor, analyze and take the pulse of social media trends on a regular basis. I opt for tools that are free and offer what I want for my clients.

I have found that Google Analytics is very useful as it tracks traffic and referral data and helps me understand blog’s audiences as well as monitor traffic to my websites from all social media channels.

Another simple but effective tool is Google Alerts which emails me important information based on my choice of keywords. It collects mentions on blogs, websites, other people or organizations Facebook pages or Twitter accounts or information published in the media. It is an effective real-time personal assistant.

To view additional free social media monitoring tools worth checking, click here.

Both images from Google images

COM0015 Blog Post 1 – Tools & Source Preferences

imagesI don’t know about you, but hands down, Hootsuite is my favourite overall tool. They have certainly earned the right to use the tagline “Get the #1 Social Relationship Platform”. From their free mini-package that more than fulfills the needs of the general public, to the modestly priced Pro version that allows up to 50 social profiles (at the lowest price point), all the way up to the Enterprise customized full product suite. Listening, analytics, collaboration and engagement all together in one secure place. The user-friendly website, choice of language, dashboard, and 24/7 support community are the key contribution to their success. Making sure the experience is positive and functional keeps clients happy and talking about the product. There’s no concern for complaints about usage difficulties with Hootsuite because they go out of their way to make sure you know all the ins and outs. There are even university training, education and certification offered through the portal. They are definitely the go-to place to learn about Social Media and put that into practice. Have you checked them out? Their product is a benchmark to the industry. With the wide variety of solutions, it’s the product I most often refer to a client, unless they have an affinity to another. Some companies don’t mind paying for more complex products like Radian6. Would you pay more? Another fantastic tool is the Netvibes Netvibes dashboard we created in COM0013 COM0015, using a combination of: Google Alerts GoogleAlerts, Yahoo Pipes  pipeslogo_whitebg MSExcel Excel. Considering you build this from scratch and completely tailor it to your own preferences and objectives, it’s a viable and economical option that works equally as well as many products out there. It’s a great alternative to keep in your toolbox when providing opportunities to your clients. I continue to use mine on a daily basis and am very pleased with the results. Do you still use yours? My favourite news source is LinkedInLinkedin. Particularly for business, it’s professional and quality news. The feeds you find on LinkedIn are always safe topics in any audience. Not sensitive or offensive in any manner. There is no gossipy drama styled feeds. No sneaky headlines trying to manipulate you into clicking. Just information that is usually both educational and entertaining. Having the ability to join groups that are topic-related is a great benefit to stay on top of different industry discussions. It also keeps me up-to-date on what news my connections find interesting. Do you have a presence for your business? The other news source I use every day is TwitterTwitter. The nice thing about it is it reminds me what is trending and perhaps needs my attention so I don’t have to go in search of the news. I don’t necessarily look for the full story on Twitter, just use it as a heads-up device then usually turn on the TV or search on Google to get a true journalistic account of what is happening. Since Twitter is often the place stories break, it is the most reliable source for news in real time. 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
  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?

Travelling to the 2014 FIFA World Cup


Travelling across the planet (for some fans) has never been easier. We’re in a golden age for travelling, where globetrotters can find out everything they need to know about their destination and become comfortable before they depart for their destination.

Social media has played a major role in helping link up those who are travelling to those within the desired destination. I’ll use myself as an example here. As soon as I was informed that I was one of the lucky fans to receive tickets to the World Cup in Brazil, I started researching. Twitter has turned out to be a very useful tool, as I was able to find out about a couple of different websites dedicated to proving information for incoming World Cup fans. One of my favourite sites so far is, which covers all 12 host cities in detail by providing information on how to get to Brazil, accommodations, food, entertainment, and highlights of each city.

Twitter has also been a great source of information about the history and culture of Brazil. I am following many different soccer journalists, fans, and historians that help me better understand the teams who will be competing, as well as the importance of soccer to Brazil as a country.

Are you excited for the upcoming World Cup? If you are, then how are you getting information about the tournament?

COMM0015 – Blog Post #1: Tools and Sources

In the first course of the program, I was introduced to many social media monitoring tools.  Now, at the onset of the fifth and final course, I have certainly had many opportunities to practice using each of them in different contexts – for school, personal use, and professionally.  Two social media trend listening tools that I find myself using over and over across each of these domains are HootSuite and NetVibes.

HootSuite dashboard

Photo Courtesy of

HootSuite: At work, we use this platform to send and schedule Tweets, track streams based on lists and keywords, and monitor messages, re-tweets, and favourite Tweets. We use this tool to post and track our Facebook activities, as well as those of our stakeholders.  Personally, I also use it to manage several WordPress blogs, including this one.  It’s a favourite because it easily combines listening and engagement with one simple, easy to coordinate tool.

NetVibes: I started using NetVibes for a volunteer project I was working on. It soon became a staple.  This tool allows you to engage via Twitter, Facebook, and more, as well as monitor news and blogs.  The user can customize multiple dashboards with innumerable widgets, which can be tailored to the exact needs of each individual.

These tools are preferred over others because they are free (the right price for work), easy to teach to a number of people with varying levels of skill (in a large team), and intuitive.  I’ve tried using Yahoo Pipes, and more expensive Sysomos software, and haven’t gotten nearly as much out of them as I can with the free, simple tools I’ve mentioned.

The following video is a tutorial by Tim Sparke, courtesy of YouTube, which can help you to get started on NetVibes.

The two best sources of news of personal interest are CBC and Twitter.  CBC is a trusted source for national news coverage, the site is updated regularly, and they tend to engage with readers. Twitter is a recent addition to my repertoire.  While I still don’t actively post on Twitter, I do tend to follow certain reporters and news outlets, for work as well as personal interest. This is by far the best tool for real-time updates of news anywhere in the World.  As a former media monitoring communications advisor, I can say that having trusted sources for news updates is crucial.

What are your favourites?

COMM0015- Strong & Weak- Who Comes Out on Top?

strong-vs-weak1When I think of social media and what companies are kicking butt right now, a few come to mind. The first organization that stands out to me, and I hate to say it is Rogers. As a company, I despise them but when interacting with them on social media, they have been professional, prompt and helpful. They have the capacity to have what I am assuming is a department of individuals managing their social media as their full time job. I give Rogers credit because they have a tough crowd. They are prone to extreme negativity from customers, especially when their technology is not working properly. Those poor people on social spending hours responding to brutal messages from customers, I give them kudos for having a strategy and sticking with it. They are doing everything right social-wise, it is just the business they are in that doesn’t make it seem as obviously effective as other organizations.

The second organization that has stood out to me over the past few months is Kitchener Waterloo Oktoberfest. This year they really ramped up their social strategy incorporating all different types of media. They focused on short, entertaining videos, interactive contests and capitalized on promotional opportunities. They are proof that a good social strategy does work. I watched their number of Twitter followers more than triple, along with Facebook fans, YouTube subscribers and Instagram followers. They did it all and they did it right. The proof is in the pudding when you find yourself visiting their social pages to see what new and interesting posts they are sharing.

On the alternate side, today I came across an organization that made me go “uh oh they sure are behind the 8 ball on social media.” This company is the Hide House in Acton. You may have heard of them through their tagline “It’s worth the drive to Acton” but they have re-branded without a social strategy which is a huge missed opportunity. It all began when I attempted to look them up on Twitter. I didn’t know they had re-branded and wanted to tag them in a post. After quite a bit of searching, I finally found them and low and behold they had 4 followers and only a couple of automated posts generated by Facebook. Their Facebook page is mediocre at best and this is about it for their social strategy.

Even if they weren’t going through re-branding, I still believe they are missing out on a huge marketing opportunity by not effectively using social media tools and techniques. They can’t go back now but moving forward they should set objectives to build their following on both Twitter and Facebook through providing frequent and consistent updates around both their product and their brand. Bottom line is, they need to start the conversation and reach out to their clients, of which they have many. Their old brand is strong and they are known for their high-end products but they are being forgotten about. They need to capitalize on their new brand and reconnect with their customers. What better way to do that than through social media?

*above image from: