Over the course of the next few weeks I thought I would start an A-Z for social media. My intention is by no means to provide a definitive guide but just to highlight some tools, platforms and tips that I find useful in managing social media accounts. Hopefully they’ll help you tackle the time challenge of fitting social media into your already crammed full “to do” list.

As I love art deco and art nouveau, I’m indulging myself by using Erté’s fantastic alphabet images!

Others may have bigger or better lists and so I invite anyone to share their expertise – either through the comments section, emailing me to contribute information or writing a guest blog.

If there’s a topic that you’d like to know more about get in touch with me via any of the usual and/or social media platforms and I’ll give you my view or research into it and then write a blog.

I’ll also focus on either free or relatively cheap options as these are great when you start your social media journey to help you learn your way around. When you find a tool useful or are really ramping up your social media efforts as you’ve started to achieve results, you can generally upgrade to a paid version with more features though quite often you’ll never need to.

So this is the first of my A-Z of Social Media and, to quote from “The Sound of Music”, “let’s start at the very beginning … a very good place to start!”.

A for Alerts

Need to find out more about what a potential customer or competitor is doing? What new offers they have? Are they expanding or contracting? Launching new products? Or who are the local or international competitors in your field? Want to know what people are saying about you and/or your business? All without spending endless hours on the internet.

Alerts can do this for you and are email updates based on a search query that you enter. Some handy uses of Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favourite sports teams.

I’m just going to cover two options for Alerts today.

The first is Google Alerts. These are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, blogs, video, books) based on your queries.

Follow the link and enter a Search query you’d like to monitor. You will see straightaway see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive so you might decide to refine your search query.

Then select an option in the Result type, you can leave this at everything or select a specific source. Then decide How often you’d like to receive an alert, the options are – as it happens, once a day or once a week. Next, How many with only two choices here – only the best results or all results.

Type in your email address, click Create Alert and you’re done!

If you find the flood of alerts overwhelming there’s an option to Manage Alerts where you can change any of the parameters you’ve entered.

The other Alert programme I want to suggest is HyperAlerts. Hyper Alerts is a feature for everybody who wants email reports of posts and comments on a Facebook Page. So if you want to follow two or three of your favourite Facebook Pages without visiting them all the time, then this is a great option and, like Google Alerts, it’s free too!

You don’t have to be an administrator of the Page to get the alerts and you can have as many subscriptions as you want. You can get the alerts within minutes or a digest every hour, day, week or month – you get to choose.

So, there’s the start of my A-Z and I’ll be posting most days and hopefully find something interesting for the difficult alphabet letters!