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Useful Tools to Save you Time

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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Giving Props to Great Customer Service

Epson wins a High Five for Great Customer Service!

I purchased my Epson printer because of the multi-function capabilities Great Customer Serviceand the dual paper trays. It had a ton of functionality for a great price point. And the size worked for our home office.

I used it hard and heavy. We have two businesses in our home and I was printing daily, multiple copies of things for at least one of the businesses, sometimes both – and church!

I started having problems with the print nozzles and the paper feed was going a little wonky. I tried to fix things by doing the nozzle head spray adjustments for about two months. Things were not improving.

Finally, I called customer support. They talked me through a few things that I had done previously and then a couple of things that I had not. It was recommended to let the machine sit overnight unplugged to “clear” the cobwebs. The next morning I fired the machine back up and the same poor printing was happening. I called back to customer service with my reference number.

After reporting what I had done that morning, they broke the bad news that my printer had a bad print head. They said I was out of warranty. (I called one month and one day after the warranty expired.) Without me even asking, they escalated my tech support call to another department. The woman asked a few questions and said, ok, we will overnight a new printer to you. You can just recycle the old printer. We are taking the serial number out of commission.

My new printer showed up by 10:30 the next morning and I have it set-up. The printing is beautiful again!

This was a bright spot in my week, because I sure didn’t want to have to shop for another printer. I liked this one!

Thanks EPSON!! You have won a lifetime customer!

LinkedIn Mobile versus Desktop for your Profile

Can you get the best results for your profile from LinkedIn Mobile?

I just read an article by Catherine Fisher from the official LinkedIn Blog. She has some really great points. This quote is perfect for expressing my opinion of LinkedIn as well.

The biggest challenge most of us face in today’s world is finding time. But making the time to ensure your professional story reflects your achievements and future goals is key to not missing your next opportunity.

Read the whole article here

While I totally agree with what Catherine says, I truly feel that what you can do with LinkedIn from your phone or tablet is a fraction of what you can do if you finesse your profile from a desktop or laptop. mobile vs. desktopI have even noticed a difference in the functionality of LinkedIn between a touch-screen and not.

There are so many things that you can do with LinkedIn. One of my most recent favorites is to add projects to your profile. This gives you the ability to describe a major project = accomplishment in your profile. And best yet is, if you worked with other people in the project, you get to include them in your project description. People who view your projects on your profile or the project on the other people’s profile get to see you too!

The things that I recommend you not miss in your profile are the things all star status on LinkedInthat equate to having a 100% complete “All-Star” status profile. How you use those sections is how much higher your profile will pull in search results. Just like Catherine, you need a profile photo, a summary, a key list of your skills, and a current job. What I also suggest is that you incorporate your searchable keywords in as many of those areas as possible, including your headline.

So all in all, I find that when I really want to work with a person to optimize their profile, I prefer to work on a desktop or a laptop than on a mobile device. LinkedIn is going to have to step up their game with the mobile app if they want people to use the mobile app more frequently.

Where do you use your social media?

I use my social media on many devices.

When I ask this question during one of my presentations – “What are the top two reasons why people buy a smart phone?” I often get the response for social media. While that is a good answer it isn’t correct.

I sit at a desk a good part of my day. I use my desktop for quite a bit of my social media updates etc. I often use my smart phone, a tablet, or a laptop.

One of the things that I have noticed all too frequently is that I don’t see the same thing in my Facebook feed on my mobile as I do on my desktop, tablet or laptop.social media - Facebook is slow

Quite often my desktop version of Facebook is very slow to react, so slow in fact that I often kill the tab and sometimes don’t reopen it. (See the picture.) Sometimes, I think Facebook is trying to push people to use mobile so they Social Media - Facebook Failmake the desktop version slower and slower. (Now it could be the fact that I have 20 tabs open at any one time and three browsers, but…)

Some platforms like Instagram don’t even let you use it from a desktop. Twitter is an on the go platform. Pinterest is a tablet and a glass of wine or cup of coffee type of platform. LinkedIn is often used on a phone or tablet, but has so much more functionality on a desktop or full laptop.

Where do you use your social media the most? Does it suit your need for speed, or is it more like the tortoise? If you are in business, do you have the right tools to use to enhance your process, are you keeping up with your audience, or better yet, is your audience able to keep up with you? Do you posts get seen? Better yet, are you getting the reactions you want from your posts?

If you were answering no to any of these questions, it may be time for us to have a chat about how you use your social media.

(By the way, the answer to the first question is 79% buy it for phone calls and 78% buy it to read emails.)

 

Your Listing May Not Show in Google Search Results

How often do you get a call on any of your phone numbers about your Google Listing?

Today was the freakiest of the calls that I have ever gotten about my Google listing. I got one of “those” phone calls from a 708 area code about my listing on Google may not show up if my address and phone are not verified etc. I was working on some data entry for a project on which I am working, so I thought I would hold and see what they say.

I waited about 4 minutes listening to the repeating messages that they have. They didn’t even have a person come onto the line.

Suddenly, the line clicked over and it sounded like the person was in a room full of customer service operators. I started to say hello, is someone there and a voice on the other end of the phone said that they were there and didn’t want to talk to me. They were in a hospital recuperating from major surgery. I told the guy I wasn’t with Google and I wanted to tell them I didn’t want to talk to them either. I would say that the two of us spoke for about 30 seconds and then all of a sudden, there was a message that I was being disconnected from this group call. What the $&LL?

Here is my lesson, if you need to create or update your listing with Google,Google Listing just go to http://google.com/business or give me a call and I will help you make sure your listing is complete and accurate. Those companies that are calling don’t really care about you or your business. They are just trying to make a fast buck. Contact a reputable local business, or follow the directions on line.

The next time one of them calls, I think I will see if the same thing happens, just like when one of those companies calls telling me they are from “Microsoft” and my computer is throwing off a ton of error messages. Another story for another day!

Connecting – Do you know who they are?

Be careful when connecting with new people on social media.

Let me say that one more time – Be careful when connecting with new people on social media. Now that coming from me, the queen of the phrase “It’s not about who you know, but about who they know” is quite profound. Here is why – the other day I noticed I had an invitation to connect with two new people on my Facebook page. I tend to be a bit more protective of the people to whom I connect on Facebook because it is more about my family than the other platforms.

I connecting with Facebook invitesnoticed this something that you might see in the image to the right. Do you see it? I will give you a couple of seconds to notice it. That’s right, Ashley and Gabriella have the same profile image. Now if I would have seen just Ashley, I may have connected with her, because it says that we have 6 mutual friends. That just means that 6 of my friends may automatically connect with people OR it may mean that THE HACKER was able to manipulate that account to show the mutual friends.

Most people tend to connect with someone because of the mutual friends without thinking twice about it. When it comes to Facebook, I tend to be a bit more careful. Click on the mutual friends to see who is included in the list. If the people are close friends, ask them if they know who the person is. Once I found out it was a cousin of one of my in-laws that lived in another state and just wanted to stay in touch with the family.

Several of the other platforms like Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, you select who you follow. Often, you cannot block who follows you, but you can choose not to engage with them. In most instances, you can block followers from comments.

LinkedIn is not exempt from hackers, but it seems like the API on LinkedIn is a bit more secure and people aren’t quite as able to hack into someone’s account. They can create a fake account. I have done that myself for training purposes. So it does pay to do a bit of due-diligence with LinkedIn as well.

You know how they say locks are only for the honest people? Well, the same goes for social media. That is why it is best to keep your most private thoughts and information under lock and key.

Be care when connecting!