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 – still one of my faves – but they have changed things up. Now for free you get 2 social account. I am now paying $75 a month for what I used to have in the legacy edition for $5.99 per month. This was a big shift and what they promised me isn’t working out. I still have enough slots for all my customer accounts but… (updated 7-2021)
- Trello – this is a Kaizen board tool to help you track projects!!! Love this tool. (updated 7-2021)
- Miro – this is a flow chart tool. It is just cool. Play with it. I used it for an on-line baby shower and everyone got to play at one time. (updated 7-2021)
- Slack or Teams – communication tool to help you stay in touch without having to send emails. (updated 7-2021)
- Zoom – virtual meeting tool (updated 7-2021)
- Thryv – CRM tool – I wish they had the ability to use one log-in for multiple accounts. Right now, I have to have a separate email for each account I manage for customers. (updated 7-2021)
- 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.
- 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.
- SNAG-IT – 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?
LinkedIn Open to Work
If you are Open to Work, do you truly want to advertise that? Just a thought. Everyone has their own opinion about this. Mine is that it is better to share that type of information in a more private type of message or a post rather than have a “photo frame” on your profile image. I still feel there is a bias against interviewing or hiring someone who is not currently employed. If you are open to work and employed, with that photo frame, do you feel 100% secure that your current employer is not going to find out (unless you are part of an approved layoff). Unfortunately, I feel that recruiters look at having a current work history shows as making you more stable.
The settings in LinkedIn for the job preferences allow you to enter five job titles, pick multiple job locations, start dates, a variety of job types, and last but not least add a photo frame on your profile image of #Opentowork to share with anyone on LinkedIn including your current employer if you have one.
To me, the more subtle way of approaching this is by selecting the Recruiters only option.
Additionally, I recommend that you never use the words Looking for (insert word related to jobs or work), Open to New Opportunities, or Currently seeking at all in your headline or summary. If you are working at a part-time or fill-in job, you can use the phrase “While waiting for an opening in my career field” I am doing X, Y, or Z. But make someone search for it.
Can you add screens when you are away from your office?
I personally work on 2 monitors that are 20″ each. When I had to downgrade to my laptop because I was at a client’s office, I would strain and try to get done as fast as possible. But now, I can add screens to my laptop and have almost as much space as when I am at my desktop!!!
Enter Mobile Pixels!!!
I started out with one of the 12.5 inch options. Then I upgraded to wings!! I now have 2 of the 14″ monitors. I love the flexibility it gives me. I can have one open, or both. I can have them facing me, or I can have them facing away when I am sharing a presentation.
Now I can have the flexibility I want when I am on the road! And if you want to use them with your mobile phone, you can share your screen on one as well.
If you would like some of your very own, use my affiliate link to make the purchase and I will be happy to help you with any set-up questions or use questions that you might have.
And if you have any questions about your social media, please give me a shout!
Does your LinkedIn headline help you in landing in search results?
Three places in a LinkedIn profile need to focus on keywords:
- Summary (About)
- Skills & Endorsements
It is good to splatter those keywords wherever else you can in your profile, but those three are the biggest spots. They are where people will look the most and where search algorithms come into play.
Think of keywords in your LinkedIn profile the equivalent of organic adwords.
Is your LinkedIn headline searchable keywords?
In other words, do the words or phrases that are in your headline include those words that people type into the search bar if they don’t know your name?
I see a number of my connections that have phrases or “cute” words. Think about what you enter when you are looking for someone other than their name. Do you enter “Enhancing Performance to Drive Business Results” or would something more succinct get better results. If you did changes yours to keywords, are they all run together without spaces i.e. keyword/keyword/keyword. Or do you just have your job title in the headline?
Whether you are looking for a job, own your own business, or are comfortable in your current job, consider using keywords in your headline that tell the story of what you do. If you aren’t sure what those keywords should be, look down at the skills section and start typing in your keywords. The suggested phrases will offer you the proper suffix to use i.e. trainer or training.
If all else fails, give me a call and we can work through your profile to optimize it to help you be found.
What does your email signature tell others?
My email signature might be a bit of overkill, but I cannot be accused of someone not being able to reach me. I have 5 emails that I check on a regular basis. Each signature has the phone number at which I can be reached, a web address if there is one associated, an email address, and if it is one of my business emails, the links to the associated social media.
Frustration sets in when I am in the middle of my day trying to answer emails and need a quick bit of information and there isn’t a phone number to try to call the person.
Some of my regulars are on my Slack or Teams network so that doesn’t bother me as much – but they all have the information I need to reach them on the bottom of their emails.
Not only should you have the contact information in your outgoing email signature but some of the information should always be included in the reply email signature as well.
It is really super simple and all of the email platforms have the option for you to personalize your email signature. If you are in job search mode make sure that you include your customized LinkedIn URL in the email signature so people don’t have to find you.
Change your settings with these steps:
- Click the gear in the upper right corner
- Scroll to the bottom of the General tab
- Signature – click the pencil or create new
- Pick where you want the signature to appear
Change your settings with these steps:
- Select File>Options
- Select Mail>Signatures
- Select New, type a name, and select OK.
- In the Edit Signature box, compose your signature and select Save
- To include your new signature in new messages or replies/forwards, next to Choose default signature, select the drop-down box and then select your new signature.Happy emailing!! AND update those signatures!
What is better a resume vs LinkedIn?
If you are thinking that you only have time to do one thing, what would it be a resume vs LinkedIn? Well I am here to tell you that you can build one and the other will benefit. Read on to find out how. Take a look at the graphic to gain some extra tips.
I advocate that keywords are imperative for LinkedIn and nowadays we need them in a resume. So many companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that focus on keywords or phrases prescribed by the job posting that keywords MUST be used in a resume.
Headlines and summaries on LinkedIn allow you to focus on the functions of your job by employing the keywords I just mentioned. Functions are a great way to build a resume for someone who has tons of experience or very limited actual work experience. When you focus on functions, make sure you tell a story about a problem you faced, an action you took and the result that happened. If you can relate it to savings or a gain in money, time, percentage or number a reader’s interest may pique.
Using functions allows you to include experience that may have volunteer roots rather than paid experience. Depending upon the type of resume that you build, the listing of job experiences can be a chronological listing or may necessitate including the particular functions of that job right there. On a LinkedIn profile you are forced to include your job experiences in a chronological fashion. If you have gaps in W-2 jobs, try to fill in with “consultant” type work. At the time of this writing, LinkedIn is promoting stay at home experiences because of the explosion of child care and elder care happening these days.
- Leave off the address – you really only need an email address, phone number and LinkedIn profile custom URL.
- Skills – bullet list your top 15 skills. If you can complete your list without using things like Microsoft Office (this is expected knowledge for many jobs) or employability skills the better your resume will work in an ATS reader.
- Time – avoid including dates on education or experience older than 15 years. While you can tout subject matter expertise, it could eliminate you from the original pool of applicants.
- Practical and focused – For the initial contact, make sure your resume is focused and succinct. No more than 2 pages. 1 page is better. Leave the artistic resume for the “leave-behind” at the interview. Don’t include an image on the resume you submit initially, the business isn’t supposed to accept it. In this situation, LinkedIn is a must-have. You can have the image; you can add attachments and links; your summary and each work experience can have 350-400 words; you can have as many jobs as you want that are applicable; you can list all of your certifications; you can include 50 keyword skills; and, you can have as many endorsements and recommendations as you can gather.
Summing it up
You need a resume. You probably need a LinkedIn profile. Take advantage of the tremendous amount of information that can be added and edited in LinkedIn to pick the best of the best to use on your resume. Take advantage of the file uploads to put your best generic resume on LinkedIn as a file. Both tools can be fluid. Make sure you aren’t building either one and leaving them out to get stale.