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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Using Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a great tool to use for scheduling posts!

I wrote an article a while back about adding a LinkedIn company page to your Hootsuite scheduler. You can take a look here.

Hootsuite keeps adding great options to make it a time-saver when posting to social media.  Their phone app isn’t as robust, but the desktop version is a wonderful tool.

If you want to add company pages to your stream you can view a video of how to do that in the link above, but here are a few still shots for your review:

1. Log into your account

2. Click on your image on the left side

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3. Click on your name

hoot2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Find your “My Social Networks”

5. Hover over and click to add a social network

hoot3

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Pick the platform that you want to add.

hoot4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Connect your personal profile

8. Add the group, profile or page that you want to post in or follow.

hoot5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Once added, go to the streams and modify what appears in a stream!

hoot6

Only 10 LinkedIn Company pages or showcase pages are available.

The one challenge to Hootsuite is you cannot add your personal G+ feed, and if you have more than 10 company pages including the showcase pages, you may not be able to see the company page that you want to add. That is something that Hootsuite needs to fix.

 

 

 

 

Let me know if you have any other social media questions! I offer one-on-one consultations or small group classes. Take a look at all of my services here.

Don’t get caught by a Hacker

Public Service Announcement – Hacker tried to access my computer files

As a home-based business, I have to be just as diligent as a company that has office space. Read my story and share it with those who might be caught unaware.

Last Friday both of my phone lines to the house rang at the exact same time. That in itself was odd, but what was even more odd was that there was a foreign voice at the other end telling me that someone had installed some malicious files. I said thanks, I will have my IT person look into it and hung up.Beware of the Hacker

Not being satisfied with that, the would-be hacker called back on Tuesday. This time I was prepared as I had already had a conversation about the potential threat with Trish from TG Consultants.

Again, both phones rang at the same time with the same number showing up with “Name Unavailable” showing on my caller ID. We have the Xfinity Triple Play with an extra phone line. I picked up one line, Rick picked up the other. This time I was a bit better prepared to “play”.

The guy on the phone said his name was “Michael” from Windows Technical Department. He had a thick accent and I had to have him repeat himself several times just to understand what he was saying. He asked if I was in front of my computer and was it on. He was going to tell me the steps to eliminate the infected files that had been downloaded without my knowledge.
I wanted “Michael” to tell me the steps, I would write them down and then have my IT person help me with the repair to my computer. I think I spooked him. He transferred me to the Sr. Technical guy named “Jake”. Again another thick foreign accent. He said I had malware and malicious files on my computer because I had been hacked by someone in Los Angeles CA. He started to try to tell me my computer ID number – I only had four on at the time… He got through the first four numbers and couldn’t tell me the rest.
I asked both guys to give me the directions, I would write them down and then have my IT person help me with them. They both said that only they could help me.
I finally had played cat and mouse with the guy long enough and said I don’t believe you are telling me the truth, and I hung up.
Today the same phone number dialed back. I was on my way to a meeting so I asked for a call back number which traced to a city in California – and the plot thickens! I wonder who might have installed the malware????
I scanned each computer with the anti-virus software that is on each device. I used a Malware detection software to eliminate a threat. AND I called the Sheriff’s Department and filed a report. Passwords have been changed. I think I feel confident that no files were lost or held for ransom!
Here are the lessons -
  1. Windows, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Adobe, or any other big name company is not going to call you!
  2. Don’t answer “Name Unavailable” numbers from area codes that you don’t recognize or at all. They can go to voicemail if they want to talk with me.
  3. Make sure your anti-virus is current. Sometimes it can update more than once a day.
  4. Find a good malware screening program -Trish suggested malwarebytes.org
  5. Back up your data with an automatic back-up service. There are several – like Crashplan, Carbonite and other reputable ones. Check with an IT professional like TG Consultants or FutureLink or Bryant Crawford from FastTeks for a good recommendation.
  6. Change your passwords regularly and don’t use the same password for everything!
Please share this information with your friends and family so that they are not caught unaware and allow someone to enter their computer.

New Facebook Tweak to Use

Facebook Updates Tweek

Who manages a Facebook page? How often would you like to comment as yourself, or perhaps a different page that you admin?  Facebook has given you a simple option to accomplish just that!

Take a look at this video to see how to do it.

In case you don’t want to watch the video, here are some directions:Facebook Update Options

  1. Make the post as your company page however you make that post – schedule it, share someone else’s post, use a scheduling tool.
  2. Find the post in your personal feed.
  3. Look in the upper Right corner for the icon and the drop down arrow.
  4. Click the arrow and select which profile you would like to use to post.Facebook Update Options 2
  5. Select Like, Comment, Share
  6. Use this option for all pages that you Admin to share a post and perhaps even gain some likes from followers of other pages!

Let me know if you have any additional thoughts or things that you need to see demonstrated.

This might even help you with call to actions and events that you need to share in more than one place. Less duplication of effort and personalize the message to the page upon which you are sharing the post.

Using a Boolean Search

How can you take advantage of a Boolean Search?

All of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing let you enter keywords you select to find the topics you are researching. This works the same way in LinkedIn and many other platforms. If someone doesn’t know your name, but enters the words for things you provide, will they find you?

I do a great deal of work with job seekers. Since LinkedIn is my passion, it is only natural to spend time teaching job seekers how to make the most of their profile. One of the suggestions is to make sure that their profile is able to be found when the right string of keywords is entered into the search parameters.What are your keywords?

When teaching hands-on LinkedIn classes, I demonstrate how recruiters may enter six or seven keywords to limit the number of search results they obtain when seeking candidates. The goal the recruiter is seeking is 3-6 people who have all of recruiters keywords entered in their profile. You can use this same technique searching for a recruiter or a potential client.

I recently found this article from Beyond.com about using the various Boolean search patterns. While this article was written for job seekers, it is transferable to business owners to understand how someone may find them when doing a search. I don’t want to start an entire discussion on SEO, but understanding how Boolean search works will help you make sure that the right keywords are listed on your various webpages and social media profiles.

Please contact me if I can assist you with your LinkedIn personal or company profile. I am happy to consult with you in-person or through a webinar to help you optimize your LinkedIn or social media presence.

LinkedIn – Warm up Cold Calls

What is your process to warm up cold calls?

With 30% of the over 300 million users in the United States, isn’t giving LinkedIn worth a try? This 2013 Harvard Business review looked at some of the statistics with salespeople and LinkedIn.  With that many people at your disposal, you would be foolish not to at least give LinkedIn a look.Warm up your cold calls.

My suggestion is to make use of every part of LinkedIn to warm up cold calls. Back in the day when LinkedIn was just getting it’s legs, users were advised to have a minimum of 150 users. That minimum has now been boosted to 500 or more. The average salesperson has more people than that in the contacts on their phone!

Take a look at your connections connections. This will give you a good idea of who might be able to help you in your pursuit to warm up the cold call. There are two tactics you can use after you find the contact that you wish to reach:

  1. Ask your contact to make the introduction, either through LinkedIn or in an off-line method. This puts much of the work on the other person. With busy schedules, many people may balk at the thought of doing that much for someone else.
  2. Send your contact a message, either through LinkedIn or in an off-line method, asking them if it would be acceptable for you to mention their name in a communication you will be sending to the sought after contact. If there are a number of their contacts you would like to reach, you could send the list in one email. Using this method requires your contact to send you a yes or no response. Easy peasy!

Afterward, all you have to do is send a message or make the phone call to the desired communicant, mention the mutual connection, and give them a moment to recognize the name.  Share a LinkedIn profile

Another very useful method is to share a profile. I often do this when I want to make an introduction between my contacts. Use this as a “pay it forward” tactic. If users know this option, it is an easy way to share your skills and talents with the person to whom you want to connect. CAUTION: Make sure that your profile is something that you want shared!

Last but not least, you can follow the company that you need to reach. Check the people in the list of how you are connected. This is especially beneficial if you have an appointment scheduled. Find the people from the company and do a bit of research before you show up for your appointment.

If your profile leaves something to be desired, or you would like some one-on-one tutoring on how to use LinkedIn better so that you can warm up cold calls, I am available to help you. Just send me a message.