By Chris Adams

Staying on top of your beat – and responding to the demands of writing, shooting, posting and tweeting – can be exhausting. One tool journalists can use to help them do so is CrowdTangle, which is part of Facebook.

In a session with Paul Miller fellows, Robin Monheit and Catherine Cole of Facebook described how CrowdTangle works – and how it can manage the firehose of information journalists are subjected to each day. In addition, Mary Bowerman, a network social media editor at USA Today, showed fellows how she used the platform to find and execute stories.

“We try to make it really easy to monitor what’s happening on social media,” Monheit said.

Among other things, CrowdTangle allows you to track who is sharing your content on a regular basis; build lists of competitors to see what they are doing and saying on social media; use keyword alerts to monitor the news in specific areas of interest; and track whose social media activity is having a big impact on interest in your stories.

You can also learn when posting content could have the most impact – and what kind of tweets work best to capture a bigger audience. Does a video work best if embedded or linked? Does Tuesday evening or Sunday morning draw more views?

“You want people to see your work, and just knowing what works in engaging the audience is helpful,” Monheit said.

In the USA Today Network’s 109 properties, CrowdTangle is used to trace Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and sometimes Reddit, Bowerman said. “It can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you want it to be,” she added.