Useful Tools to Save you Time

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As a social media professional, I am always seeking ways to make more efficient use of my time.  I belong to a couple of forums and groups that often discuss free tools or low-cost options.  I would like to share a compiled list here with you:

  • Hootsuite – one of my faves – up to 5 social media accounts for free, up to 20 for $5.99 per month
  • If This Then That - will help you do just that with about 11 social platforms – ex. if [Twitter mention] then [thank them] – will work with Facebook pages.
  • Buffer – share your posts at a later time on any Twitter account or Facebook personal pages
  • Dreamstime – free photos for use in your materials – they also have photos for purchase.
  • DIIGO – similar to Dropbox for websites you want to save for later – lets you bookmark in a cloud favorites by keyword.  You can even highlight things, place sticky notes on pages and share it with connections.
  • FanTools – the free side lets you set up one Twitter and one Facebook page, upgrades available for planning, coupons and deals.
  • YouSendIt – sending large files through email is no longer a problem, use YouSendIt.  You upload, the receiver downloads.  You must stay under a size limit for it to remain free.
  • Morgue File – more free photos. Has a connection with Dreamstime.
  • CutePDF – makes pdf files for any of your printable documents for programs that don’t already convert them.
  • Join.me – screen sharing
  • Skype – video calling and screen sharing, have a group video conversation for a monthly fee.
  • IWOWWE – video email and conferencing.
  • MailChimp – e-newsletter system free up to 2000 emails
  • FreshBooks – on-line accounting, up to 3 clients for free, up to 25 clients $19.95 mos.
  • BeFunky – photo effects editor
  • Zoho – CRM on-line tool.
  • Gimp – photo editing software – you download it.  You don’t need Photoshop with this one.
  • Inkscape – modify vector art similar to Illustrator.
  • ClipArt – open clip art library
  • AVG – anti virus
  • Adobe Browser Lab for website testing
  • WeTransfer – for sending files
  • PrimoPDF is also free PDF converter
  • Hamster – another Free video converter
  • MyPictr – Avatar creator – for profile pictures on social networks – not sure if its up to date but you can manually change the px size
  • DaFont – Free Fonts
  • OpenOffice – The Free and Open Productivity Suite
  • LastPass – Online Password storage.
  • Malwarebytes – Don’t run windows without it – not free
  • Nitro PDF Reader – recently added thanks to SME club thread
  • Toggl – Time tracking, great when you are billing by project
  • Avast! – Anti-virus, some free, but all the bells and whistles cost
  • Audacity – Sound recording and editing
  • TeamViewer – Screen sharing and more.
  • Jing – screen capture. pro version for a small upgrade is no longer available.  Will have to switch to Snag-it or Camtasia.
  • FileZilla – FTP management
  • CCleaner – keep your hard drive clean and optimized
  • Synergy – use one mouse and keyboard to connect multiple computers (from Zoho)
  • Any Video Converter – convert any video, aptly named
  • Dropbox – store and share files online
  • Google Docs, Calendar, mail, keyword tools, alerts, analytics, insights for search – access docs that you share, share with others, check your calendar, multiple email accounts from you desktop, phone, or laptop, find what keywords you need to use, set up alerts for anything you want to track from the web and blogs, add analytics to your website and track traffic to your site, .
  • Evernote -remember everything, anywhere
  • Readitlater – don’t have time to read that article now, save it to readitlater.
  • SimpleNote – similar to Evernote, jot yourself a note anytime, anywhere
  • KeePass – another password compiler
  • Free Conference Call - teleconferencing line available 24/7. Each call accommodates 96 callers on an unlimited number of 6 hour free conference calls.
  • SuveyMonkey - free survey tool
  • Evite - free party planning tool
  • Producteev - task management app, helping to organize office days. It’s cross-platform, desktop and mobile.
  • AnyMeeting – web conference meetings
  • Bit.ly – link shortener and tracking
  • Box.net – add files to this on-line application and link it to your LinkedIn profile
  • Scribd – post your pdf files and documents to share on your social networks if you don’t want to post them on your website.
  • Visual.ly – create your own infographic
  • Get Listed – enter your business name and zip code.  The tool finds the location sites on which you are or aren’t listed.
  • Timeline Image Tool – helps you build custom tab images without needing design software.

What have I missed?  What do you like best?  What wouldn’t you use?

 

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Coffee Shops or Social Media

I am a huge advocate of social media.  That is stating the obvious, since it is how I make a living. While saying that, I need to say it is not the only tool you should use to market your business or is it? This Forbes article struck a chord with me.Why Social Media Isnt Doing For Us What Londons Coffee Houses Did For 17th Century – Forbes.

According to the article, using social media may help you spark the creativity and gain the new Time2Mrkt New Ideasideas that you need to be more effective on your job. That is what the coffee houses of the 17th century did. The coffee houses were bemoaned as a waste of time, much like people bemoan Facebook or Pinterest calling them and social media in general a time-sucking black hole. But, how many times have you found the answer or the spark for something that you needed on one of the social media platforms? How often do you turn to YouTube for the how-to of something you need to accomplish or learn? I would have to say frequently.

Today in the coffee houses, most people have their faces glued to a device of some sort, so it makes it next to impossible to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Unless you are attending a networking event, you may not meet anyone new or be able to get the spark of creativity. For people like me that work independently, we need a resource for brainstorming. Sometimes I turn to groups on LinkedIn, sometimes, I float around on Pinterest or Houzz for construction ideas. I receive a number of e-news letters that sometimes give me the spark to write an article like this one.

Where does your inspiration come from?

You need endorsements AND recommendations

Endorsements vs. Recommendations

In September of 2013, I wrote an article about endorsements and recommendations. Since that time, LinkedIn has does some remodeling and the part of the article that addressed product recommendations is no defunct.

Let’s revisit endorsements and recommendations.

Who gives endorsements? Have you written any recommendations? Have you ever shared someone’s profile with another connection? Do all three from a visit to one of your connections profile. Pick the down arrow next to the “Send Message” box.Endorse Recommend Share Profiles on LinkedIn

Endorsements

LinkedIn’s search algorithms use keywords from three locations to help boost you in the search results. One of those areas is your Skills and Endorsements. If you aren’t using the endorsements feature, you could be missing a valuable part of your ability for people to find you in a keyword search on LinkedIn.

I would caution you to carefully choose the items for which you endorse others.  I suggest that you only endorse them for the skills they have selected instead of suggesting skills for them. I would also encourage you to endorse them for the skills that you know they possess. I hear from attendees in my class that they don’t like when people endorse them for things about which they have no knowledge whether the person owns that skill or not.  If you are one of those people, take a look at this post about managing your endorsements http://time2mrkt.com/linkedin/linkedin_endorsements/.

Recommendations

Recommendations are harder to come by.  Many people find it difficult to ask someone to say kind words about them. In our hectic lives, we often forget to say kind words about others. Use the recommendation feature to write a sentence or two about someone with whom you have worked.  The recommendation just needs to include a few of the keywords that the person has used on their profile.

If you are seeking a recommendation about a particular thing, you could send the request and include the keywords in the body of the request. Heck, you may even want to include an example sentence or two that the person could just copy and paste!

Sharing

One feature that I think is often overlooked is the Share Profile option.  Endorse Me for LinkedInThis lets you send the profile of your connection to another connection.  So many times, I am asked who do I know that does X. I go through my list of connections (that I have tagged) and share the profile.  Other times, a connection will ask me to recommend them to a group of my connections. I go to their profile, select share, and send it off with a short message about why I am sending the profile to them.

So many options from which to choose.  Which one do you need? All of them!

By the way, if you are feeling the urge, I could use a boost on my profile for just one of my skills. If you feel inclined, please visit my profile at http://linkedin.com/in/deereinhardt and click the Plus next to the word LinkedIn.

Turn Bad Reviews into Good

In a recent article from Inc.com, I read how negative reviews can become a positive.

Turn those Bad Reviews into Good Customer Service

Here is what I see:

How many of you have ever applied for a job that you did not get?  Did you receive a “So Sorry” letter? Did you make a phone call or email inquiry about why you didn’t get the job so that you might improve for the next similar interview?

Who has ever submitted a proposal to a client? Did you receive a note back to say “Sorry, but no thanks”? Did you find out the “why not” – price, timing, scope, etc.?Turn that frown into a smile - Time2Mrkt

Negative reviews on social media to me are very similar to a turn down on a resume. The one exception here is that you know what you didn’t do well enough to meet that customers expectation.

Years ago, before the advent of the internet, when I was working retail, the company training program addressed good and poor customer service. If you treated a customer well, they may tell two people, if you treated them poorly, they may tell 10 people. Today, by posting a review on a site like Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon or Google Local, that poorly treated customer could tell thousands of people.

Use that negative review to find out how you can improve your service or product. So often, we just never see that customer or client again. They don’t give us the opportunity to improve or make things right…AND they tell all of their friends.

This brings up the next point that you need to be checking your profiles frequently. You may not know that someone has written something about your business if you aren’t using a particular tool.  That is a great reason to have a Google Alert with your company name. Whatever you decide to do about answering the negative review, my advice is to limit your public comment to asking the person to reach out to you by phone or email so that you can rectify the issue.  Do not ever have the conversation over social media! You won’t win. What you will win is allowing potential customers the chance to see that you want to address any customer concerns, they may discount the negative comment as just one bad experience out of a googob of great ones!

B2B vs B2C – Enews

B2B vs B2C – Enews marketingB2BvsB2Cenews

Last in our series of articles on social marketing for B2B vs. B2C is Enews.

People who purchase smart phones have a variety of reasons why they buy a smartphone but the important one for this article is that 78% of people use it to check email. 1 By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68 percent. 2 More email is read Mobile than on a desktop email client. Stats say 47% of email is now opened on a mobile device Litmus –”Email Analytics” (April 2014) So what do all of these things tell you?

For a long time, email newsletters had gone out of vogue. Nobody was reading them because they were inundated with emails of all types.  With the onset of Facebook, G+ and Twitter, people had other ways to communicate. Now that means that emails might have a “meatier” purpose.

While some might argue that emails aren’t social media, you can share links to your e-news on social media.  It is a great way to share a number of items from a variety of areas in one platform, sort of like a “Best of” compilation. AND, as the statistics show, your subscribers are more likely to read them now from their mobile device. That means that you must ensure that they are reactive to any email platform.

B2B

Share offers, news, product information, links to blog articles, places you are exhibiting or speaking, and workshops you are offering. This is also a great way to promote any partnership efforts – for example, one of your clients is offering a product or service that might be valuable to your customers. My suggestion is at least once a month or someone may forget that they subscribed and overlook your newsletter.

B2C

Share offers, upcoming new features, community news, helpful tips related to your industry, how-tos, links to your blog, coupons, pictures of happy customers, and more.  One warning to B2C is regulate the number of times you send an email to avoid overloading your subscribers in-box. You don’t want to cause someone to unsubscribe because you are oversharing.

Both

For both B2B and B2C, it is important to time your enews to avoid being overlooked. One article I read said Sunday afternoon. 3 Others will tell you more emails are sent during the week than on weekends, with Tuesday and Thursday being the highest volume days. Changing which day you send your emails may improve your open and click rates. 4 No matter what, do some testing on times and then check your statistics to find out when your subscribers open your emails the most.

 

Why | Blogs | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Video
Google | Image | Pinterest | Location Sites | E-news

  

B2B vs B2C – Location Sites

B2B vs B2C – Location Sites

As we near the end of this series of articles, our topic of this post is B2B vs B2C – Location Sites.  This area of social marketing may not be 100% social media, but it is something that can play an important role in how our business is viewed and found!

The platforms that I consider is this category include Yelp, Foursquare, Google Places (now Google+ with a Local business designation), directory listings, and all of the map sites – Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Mapquest (yes it is still in existence).B2BvsB2C location sites

Another consideration that may be included in this category is local or industry related sites. In construction for example, sites like Angie’s List, Houzz and Hometalk may be great sites for you. Do they have mini-web pages or business listings that could drive people through your door or to your website?  One good example is my page on the Elgin Area Chamber website.

B2B

While you may not have a storefront location that is open to the public, you still want to put your location on the maps. Grab your real estate! Add any links that go back to your website or social media.  If you offer promotions, add them to your profile. If images are included in the platform, upload your limit. Make sure that all sections of a profile are complete using as many keywords as you can. You may not want to pay for an upgraded listing in the directories like Yellow pages or Dex, but at least make sure that your listing is correct. AND check frequently in case someone has written a review on your business. Since you don’t deal directly with consumers, this will be unlikely, but an unanswered review can be bad for business.

B2C

Location sites are great for consumer based businesses. Reward people who “check-in” to your business. Use a contest format for people who write a review. Offer coupons and post images. Google Maps now offers an option of a 360 view of your establishment. Here is a link done by my friend and Google Certified photographer – Keith French. If you need one of these done for your Google Maps listing, tell Keith I sent you!!

The advantage in this situation goes to the B2C business.  That does not mean you should not take advantage of the listings even if you don’t entertain customers at your offices.

Why | Blogs | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Video
Google | Image | Pinterest | Location Sites | E-news