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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Stay Connected, no matter who it is

How do you stay connected with your acquaintances?Connected to some new folks at my Alton High Redbirds reunion

A few weeks back I attended a high school class reunion. It has been about 15 years since the last one I attended.

I arrived after having looked through my high school yearbook, checking on a directory to see who from my class lived near or far. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize everyone. What did help is Facebook. I was able to be in contact with several of my classmates over the past few years, so recognition of those people came pretty easily.

After the reunion, I looked up a few people with whom I was able to spend a few minutes speaking on LinkedIn to connect there.  I am sure I will eventually look for others as time permits.

The whole point of this article is this:

  • Social media did not exist when I was in school. For that matter, neither did the internet, and computers were in their infancy.
  • Networking meant shaking a lot of hands and making a bunch of phone calls.
  • Your network is broader than you think.

How will you stay connected with all of those people, especially some with whom you may have lost contact? Using social media is probably one of the easiest answers. If you are trying to reach a particular person, look at your network to see how you might be connected to them. When I teach LinkedIn my adage is;

“It’s not about who you know, but who they know.”

Being able to leverage your network to your advantage is, what I feel, the entire purpose of social media. Get connected, build relationships, share useful information, pay it forward, and don’t over-sell.

Six degrees of separation 01Remember the theory of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? It was originally created in 1929 and popularized in 1990 and has spurred things like the Bacon foundation at sixdegrees.org and the six degrees of the Dali Lama. If you aren’t familar, the theory says that you are connected by six steps to every person in the world. I think that with social media, the gap will decrease tremendously. If you need to learn how to close the gap on social media, give me a jingle.

The Basics of Using Hootsuite

Try using a scheduler like Hootsuite to save you time.Hootsuite's mascot - Owly

Sometimes we get busy and forget to post content to our social media platforms. What could you do to make sure that you are getting your message out socially and still run your business? Try using a content scheduler like Hootsuite. It used to be that third party tools like these were dinged by the platforms because the content wasn’t posted directly. Recent research by others in the industry say that is no longer the case.

Here is how you might use the tool:

  • On Sunday afternoon, you may sit down after your weekend activities are complete, and schedule your posts for the week. (We all know that when we own our own business, the work week is never really done.)
  • During the week, you are reading your emails, run across some industry articles that you would like to share. Click on the icon in your Google Chrome browser to share your article. Let Hootsuite auto-schedule it for you. Hootsuite will pick the best time based on when your audience click on your posts.
  • Thursday afternoon you are preparing for your vacation the following week. Take a few minutes to schedule the weeks posts, including the Monday and Tuesday for the week you return.
  • You have an event coming up. Create a few draft posts that you can share on the fly or schedule in advance – a few weeks in advance.
  • Have a post that you want to share now? You can do that too! It even counts your characters so you can stay under 140 for Twitter.

There are other options included with the tool, take a look at this video to see the basics of how to use the scheduling tool:

Add Google Alerts to your plan

How can Google Alerts help your marketing?Google alerts 1st picture

How do you keep track of what people are saying about you on the web? Other than combing the web hour after hour, I have found Google Alerts to be one of the best things since, toast, (not so sure it is better than sliced bread, but, you get my point right?)

You can set up an Alert for just about anything:

  • Press release – Include the words in the title to see where it was published.
  • Your name – enclose it in quotes
  • Your company name –
  • Your product or service
  • Key words that apply to your product or service
  • Your competition
  • Job Search – Read this article from Careerealism about How To Use Google Alerts for your search.

Create Google Alerts To create an alert, it is as simple as typing Google Alerts into your browser window. Or you can go to http://google.com/alerts When you type in the word for which you want to create an alert, suggested articles and links will appear. You can establish criteria for your alert like:

  • Frequency – can be as it happens, once a day, or once a week.
  • Sources – automatic (all of these), news, blogs, web, video, books, discussion, or finance.
  • Language – practically anyone you can think of
  • Region – any, or a specific county. It doesn’t allow more specific than that.
  • How many – only the best results or all of the results, and
  • Where to deliver the alert – I would suggest a gmail address.

Google alerts image 2Once you pick what you want to track, you can establish how frequently you get the updates. If you would like to use the information in the Google Alerts to help you with content for your social posts, set your delivery time for early in the day. If you choose the digest option, all of your alerts will come to you in one email. I have alerts set for some of my clients, so I personally prefer to have my alerts come as individual emails. Hopefully, you have picked great keywords to help you find information that you can share.

Use Google Alerts to help you stay up to date on new information in your industry and to help you fill out your content marketing.

Be aware of potential hacks

If something seems fishy, it could be one of the latest hacks!

In the past few days, I have received a flurry of phone calls from “Microsoft” or “Windows”. Some friends have mentioned on Facebook that they have gotten calls from the IRS. First let me say, those huge companies and organizations will not call you. Let’s call a scam a scam! Read another story about Microsoft scammers.

Today I received an email from a contact with an aol.com email address. I don’t know if this is dropbox share Hackrelevant to that particular email server, but you should be aware nonetheless. The title in the email said
“Review Documents”. The email included a “link” to a Dropbox document.This contact does not ever send me that type of document (see the picture). So it made me a bit suspicious. I called the person to ask if they had sent me a Dropbox file and before I got the entire sentence out of my mouth, they told me that they had been hacked.

The other day I sent out a Facebook post about a company with whom I was considering doing business. One person private messaged me that her “spidey” sensors had gone up and sure enough, the people were gone this past Monday and left most of the office items behind.

If something seems fishy, it could be one of the numerous hacks out there. Do a bit of checking. As good as some virus security programs are, you may find something new that doesn’t get caught by the filters.

By the way, if you are wondering what something looks like when it is shared from Dropbox, look dropbox share realat the image to the right. The headline on the email read: Dee Reinhardt shared an image with you! The email address was Dee via Dropbox with a no-reply@dropboxmail.com address, not the person’s actual email address.

Share this with your friends and family who might not be as computer savvy as you!

Facebook New Feature – See First

Facebook has a new Feature – See First – have you set yours yet?

Just recently, Facebook decided to give us all the chance to control what we See First in our feeds. Before we had the option to set our feeds by “Most Recent” and “Top Stories”. It seemed to me that most of the time those options seemed to work alright on my desktop, but it was up for grabs what I would see on my Android phone.

Now, this new feature gives you the ability to select who or what you want to See First in your news feed. The challenge will be that if you set too many items in your See First choices, none of them will take priority. Be judicious with your choices, AND of course, add Time2Mrkt to one of your choices!

Here is a screen shot of where it appears on my Facebook page (of course I manage it). The following image is where I found the selection on a page that I like but do not administer. You may need to look around a bit to find the option depending upon the type of page you want to follow.

Facebook See First

Facebook See First Option 2

Facebook See First Option 2