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 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.

What is your social media strategy?

Social media strategy – do you have one?

Take a look at this article by Buffer. It has some great ideas about your social media strategy.

Did you get to the part of the article that said 12 hours per week and laugh out loud? So many people are so busy that they may not have 12 hours a week to sleep let alone manage their social media.

Remember that social media is marketing. How do you obtain new business? Through marketing, right? If you consider social media as part of your marketing plan, the time spent makes a bit more sense. It is sort of like making a recipe for success. You need to plan, implement and measure, repeating as necessary.planimplementmeasure

The Buffer article has very valid points:

Planning – if you plan your posts and your focus, you can work your plan. I think for the average business person spending an hour to plan your social media for the week is accurate. Within that hour, you may think of the topic for your blog article and what you want to include in an upcoming newsletter, advertisement or event.

Implementing – this is 10 hours of that magic 12 hour number. Writing a blog article and finding a great image might take an hour. That leaves 9 hours. If you don’t have 2 hours a day to spend, take advantage of some of the tools available like Buffer, Hootsuite, Scoop.it to help you with the curating and scheduling of your posts. You still need to check back for the engagement aspect, but doing that during the course of the day isn’t as cumbersome as thinking that you need to block out 2 hours at one time. Check on things in the morning, mid-day and near the end of your business day.

Measuring – this is one of the keys. Use that hour weekly to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Take a look at the upcoming schedule and see if there are special things you need to include in the next week. If something worked especially well, try replicating it.

If all else fails, give me a call and we can discuss your strategy and how to use some of the tools that I mentioned.

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.