Monday, September 19, 2011

My Favourite Tools and Sources for Social Media

Over the past three years, I have learned to start a blog, to review books and products, to start following my results and to keep myself of to date with the trends. I’m still learning. Constantly. I feel as though I have entered a world that keeps changing every day… So today I will highlight my two favourite listening//monitoring tools as well as the two best sources of news and updates for me.

imageOne of the first monitoring tools I was introduced was definitively Google Analytics. It is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. I am still using this monitoring product quite a bit since it is often necessary for me to determine my page views and other stats when I sign up for new opportunities. My only issue is that I need to remember to plug in the code every time I make a change in my blog design. It happened to me again this year. I changed a few things in my design and forgot to put the code for Google Analytics back in once it was uploaded. You see I am using a product called Artisteer to change the design of my blog. Though it is a great product, it lacks on flexibility I find. Anyhow, about a month later I realized my error and lost about a month of tracking on Google Analytics. I was not impressed with myself as I should have thought about it. Still Google Analytics is very useful on a weekly/monthly basis when I want to observe the trends on my blog. I can easily see where my readers come from and what posts are attracting more hits than others.

I have other monitoring tools with facebook and twitter but this year I was introduced to Klout and I am slowly getting hooked to it.Klout-logo Klout is a social media analytics that measures a user’s influence across their social network. The analysis is done on date taken from sites like twitter and facebook and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content. Recently, I realized that Klout has added LinkedIn, Foursquare and YouTube date in its algorithm. I love the way it presents the stats for my account. I learned that I am effectively using social media to influence my network across a variety of topics, that I am engaged by influencers, that I am more likely to have my message amplified that the average person and that I have built a good size network that is highly engaged. Like I said my introduction to Klout was recent and I still have to discover its potential in the weeks/months/years to come. I am hoping to be able to discover new ways to expand my network with it.

facebookConcerning how I keep up to date with what is going on in the social media world I follow different sites. As a homeschooler, I rely a lot on facebook. Why? You might wonder… well many homeschool companies post specials
and free offers on facebook and it is always nice to be able to save some precious money on products that would be nice to have. For example, this week I discovered that the Scholastic Teacher Express site had a Dollar Deals on ebooks. A facebook page titled Freely Educate also announce that if you use a special code while checking out your order, you could save 10$ on your purchase. While looking in their dollar deals, I have found ten products that would be great for our homeschool and purchased them. Having the special rebate code, I ended up receiving these ebooks for free! So thanks to the tip I got from Freely Educate on facebook I was able to get the following titles for free: Country Report Projects, Ocean Life, Comic Strip MapSkills, Exploring Plants, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Instant Habitat Dioramas, Hands-On History Explorers, Literature Guide: Mr. Popper's Penguins and Literature Guide: Lord of the Rings! As I am writing this, I was wondering how much I had saved on this purchased alone. At regular price, these titles would have cost me 99.54$ - I am speechless. This announcement on facebook was a blessing for our homeschool

The second site that I visit from time to time (homeschooling my kids takes a big part of my daily schedule) would be Mashable which ismashable totally dedicated for the social media news. Part of me wish that I would have more time to dig into Mashable but I don’t. I have decided to include Mashable into my Flipbook app on the iPad and every now and then I update myself using this app. I find the site easy to use and to search. On a matter of seconds I could get all the news about facebook, twitter, the new gadgets out there and much more.

There are many other tools and sources available out there. The important thing is to find the ones that are useful for you and to keep up to date with what is going on out there. So to help me discover new sites, tools or sources of information I am asking you "What are your favourite tools and sources of information in the social media world? ".

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Personal blog of a homeschool family. We love to travel with our RV when we can. Fishing, discovering new places, photography are some of our favourite activities!

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