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 Google Drive

Want to know more about Google Drive?

Watch the video below to find out more about using Google Drive to enable better collaboration on documents. Or you can follow the tutorial steps listed.

It works best with a gmail email address and in Google Chrome, but if you have an enterprise email address in the Google platform, it will work also. So the very most basic step is to log into your gmail account. Then follow these steps:google drive tutorial 1

  1. Hover over the 9 little squares.
  2. Find the Drive triangle and click.
  3. Drive will open to a new browser window. Navigate to that.
  4. On the left side, you will see a menu of items that includes your documents, items that have been shared with you by others, photos, recent documents, starred (favorites) and trash. Use these area and create folders within as you would with the document manager in your version of Windows.google drive tutorial 2
  5. Once you have your selection open, just pick the document upon which you want to work.
  6. The document will open in a new tab. Browse to that tab.
  7. There is a WYSIWYG editor that you can use. Some of the items are not as robust as the original “Office” software in which the original document may have been created, but you have almost every capability. If the document is created in Drive, there is no differentiation.
  8. Multiple people can be in the document at one time. You would see a box with an initial in it of who the other people are. This is great for collaboration.
  9. Check comments or share the document from the next area.google drive tutorial 3
  10. When sharing a document, make sure you know the google email that the person uses to access their drive and/or calendar. OR you can share a link with them to access the file.
  11. You can also allow them to be able to edit, make comments only, or just view.google drive tutorial 4

Watch the video

Another Facebook Change

How will this Facebook Change impact your use of third party tools like Hootsuite?

This time the change isn’t directly on Facebook, but affects your use with third party sources like Hootsuite. Read this article Owly

What the article boils down to if you don’t have time to read it is:

  1. You will no longer be able to see your personal feed in the News Streams.
  2. Only group administrators will be able to post to groups from third party tools (of which Hootsuite is one.)

Most of the time this will not affect most people, but if you manage a number of platforms through a third party tool, this means that you won’t be able to use it to manage your personal Facebook. It doesn’t appear to be affecting company pages, YET!

One of the things that I love about Facebook is that almost everyone is using it. The thing that I hate about Facebook is that it is always changing. Sometimes not for the better. Sometimes I think they change just to change. Sometimes I think they change because they are trying to please their stockholders.

No matter the situation, if we want to play in their field, we have to learn to roll with the punches!!

Changes to Hootsuite

Hootsuite updated the way you save drafts.hootsuite

If you use Hootsuite to schedule any of your posts or monitor your social platforms, be aware that they have made some changes to the drafts option. Once you have imported all of your previous drafts, using the saved drafts function is just a bit different. Watch the video below or follow these directions:

  1. In the left dashboard menu, select Publisher, then Drafts.
  2. Sort or filter your drafts by selecting a specific profile.
  3. If you don’t want to keep a draft, delete it with the X.
  4. Select the draft you want by clicking the pencil, you can edit it or add additional platforms like normal.
  5. Send it now, or schedule a date for the post. At this time, the Auto-Schedule feature doesn’t work with the drafts.
  6. To save the draft for future use, check the box at the bottom right to “Retain copy of draft message.”
  7. Either X the top right corner to close or “Clear” the compose box.

Watch this video.

What I like about this new option is you can sort by platform. Since I manage multiple business profiles, I can select the company for which I want to post and see all of the drafts that are available. This also allows an easier way to edit and save drafts. One thing I don’t like is the lack of the auto-schedule feature. That could change. Another thing I don’t like is I can’t see when I have other things scheduled when I am making the post. I will have to do some mental note taking or paper note taking to make sure I am not doubling up on a scheduled time.

If you want to read all of the details check this article.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing events/promotions and job postings is easy with LinkedIn groups.

Do you participate in groups? One of the ways that you can really score some points with the other group members is to share value. Everyone determines value differently, but if you are always sharing things that point back to you, your services or products, or your own interests, the value that others see may begin to diminish with time.

One group to which I belong on LInkedIn, doesn’t want it’s members to post external links in the initial discussion post. I understand their philosophy. It is a large group and many people are only interested in getting their blog posts out to promote their product, service or thoughts. But, one of the best features of a group is the ability to promote an event or post a job opening.LI group postsWhen you are entering your discussion into a group directly, you can select “General”, “Job”, or “Promotion”. This differentiates the post and puts it into a category that appears at the top of the group menu. If you have an upcoming event or item/service that you want to promote, share it with the group, but be honest about the fact that you are promoting something. Not everything is a valid “Discussion”.

Now, when it comes to jobs, if you know of any job openings, it is great to share them in the LinkedIn job discussion postgroups to which you belong. If you are not a recruiter and posting the job on LinkedIn, just share the link in the discussion post and it will show up in the “Job Discussions” like the picture. If you don’t see jobs, check the job discussions option. You may find something worthwhile that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Remember that sharing is caring and you want to share as often as possible in the groups to which you belong. When you are sharing in a group, it also shows up as a status update to your connections!

 

How useful is Instagram?

Are you using Instagram for your business?instagram-green

For the longest time, I was not an Instagram lover for business. I felt that it was more for foodies and clothing lines. Another challenge I felt was that it was difficult to manage more than one account at a time on a device. Then I read this article that described several apps available to iOS and Android, as well as, one for desktop use that will help users manage more than one account on their smartphone.

What spurred my initial search for answers to using it more effectively was this article about brands being slow to adopt Instagram. The article shares that Instagram engagement rates dwarf those of Twitter. But, only 12% of brands include Instagram if they are using 3 social channels to market. The percentage goes up as more channels are are added to the marketing mix.

Here are my thoughts as to why business has not fully embraced Instagram:

  1. Community managers may not be given authority to post on Instagram as the brand.
  2. Some may not see the value in posting to Instagram for a business.
  3. There is a challenge to manage multiple accounts from one mobile device.  AND It is easier to manage an Instagram account from a phone.
  4. Because much of Instagram is based on images, many brands that deal with a B2B clientele have a difficult time reaching their target audience.

Because the platform is now a Facebook property, there is a spot when posting that you can set a location. With this opportunity, your clients, customers or visitors can opt to “check-in” by Facebook or Instagram!

We all need to know which platforms are best suited to our business. With the rise of Instagram, should you be investigating it’s potential benefits for your business? If you need some help making that decision, call.