Anyone in the social media-marketing world knows that it can be difficult to turn your phone on silent, or go without it for a day. While we may have the luxury of working remotely, our devices are our desks, and those stay with us far beyond the typical hours of 9 to 5. The reality is social media does not sleep and our job, as marketing professionals, is to stay on top of the latest news and trends.
So, what’s the secret to staying ahead of the game? Believe it or not, the answer is simple. Your source is everything – and most likely, you’re going to utilize more than one. (This will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases.) Sure, you could simply pick up a newspaper, or keep refreshing Twitter, but nobody, especially marketing professionals, has time for that. To help you be as efficient as possible, I’ve shared several apps and tools that effectively function as a news/media “strainer” – meaning everything you’re reading and absorbing will have significance. And while the news you need to know, and post about, certainly depends on your overall social media strategy, here are my favorite ways to find out what’s making headlines:
- New York Times Alerts
This app will send you a notification when something major has just occurred. The Alerts serve as a warning for breaking news and what will soon be trending on all social media platforms. For instance, I woke up to a New York Times Alert on Sunday morning, June 12th, which read, “At least 50 are dead in the shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, officials say; the shooter is identified as Omar Mateen.” Seeing this first thing Sunday morning gave me some time to try and process what had happened. I think it is important to get news like this from a highly credible source, especially as it unfolds, as opposed to finding out inadvertently on Facebook, Twitter or from friends.
- Refinery29 This AM
Download this free app and find out the “8 Things You Need To Know This AM.” They cover everything from the Zika virus to campaign trail updates – and even that day’s most significant Entertainment news, like Justin Bieber’s new face tattoo. (I think the daily Entertainment piece is provided as comedic relief.)
This is an email newsletter that will arrive in your inbox first thing in the morning. In their words, “it makes it easier to be smarter.” And in my words, theSkimm is like the storytelling version of the Refinery29 app. If you’d like to read a quick summary alongside the daily headliners, this is the app for you. Vanity Fair called theSkimm “a must-have survival guide for any professional.” I definitely recommend trying it out. Even if you just skim theSkimm, you will get quick insight into the world today. By the way, you can now download Skimm Ahead, which will tell you what’s coming up; in other words, you’ll be in the loop before the loop exists.
Unlike the apps and email subscriptions listed above, these are more specific tools to help keep you in the know…
- Google Alerts
This tool has been around much longer than some of the other apps I’ve mentioned; yet, it is still a relevant and valuable method of communication. Google Alerts can keep you notified in real-time about your clients and industry trends. Use this to track any time your client or company is mentioned so that you can immediately react. An email will hit your inbox to notify you and from there, your team can make moves.
- Twitter Lists
Develop a Twitter list, private or public, with relevant news sources and/or influencers/thought leaders for your industry. Creating lists means having a curated feed. I recommend scrolling through this feed for a few minutes a day to discover relevant, trending stories to you or your client’s industry.
- Meltwater – Your Social Sidekick
This email subscription tool will be delivered to your inbox each week. It will not inform you of breaking news, but lists a variety of things happening that month, as well as a dated summary of famous birthdays, national food days/holidays and even TV premieres. For instance, who knew today, Monday, June 20th is Vanilla Milkshake Day? Well, actually I do…because I subscribe to Meltwater’s Social Sidekick.
No one likes to feel left out when your co-workers talk about the latest headlines or today’s bizarre, but hilarious “National Food Day.” Adopting just one of these strategies will ensure you never receive the dreaded “have you seen this yet?” email ever again.