Blog

Featured

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?

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Watch a Facebook Livestream

Some people may not know how to Watch a Facebook Livestream

I have been helping my parish through this Covid19 Pandemic get Masses out to parishioners. Some of the folks are challenged with how to watch a Facebook livestream, so I thought I would put together a how-to article and video.

Watch a Facebook Livestream

  1. Log-in to your Facebook. screenshot of Facebook video page How to watch a Facebook livestream
  2. Go to the page you want to watch, especially if they have posted a schedule like we have done at the parish.
  3. Scroll down the left-hand side until you see the word video.
  4. Look for any of the videos with a red box with white letters that say LIVE.
  5. Click on the video and you have joined the Facebook livestream!!

Watch the video here:

Get Notifications

If you follow any company or organization pages, you may want to get notified if they are live. Do the following:

    1. Log-in to your Facebook accountaccess settings for notificaitons
    2. Far right down arrow – click
    3. Find “Settings” – click
    4. Left column – Notifications – click
    5. Scroll down to Videos – click

video notification settings

Select how you want to be notified.

This way you should be able to get notified either on your Facebook account on your phone, by email or by text message that the livestream you want to watch is ready to go!

Happy watching. AND if you are looking for a great Catholic parish in the Elgin, IL area, I highly recommend St. Laurence Parish on the west side of town tucked back into a neighborhood.

 

 

Working Remotely

Are you new to working remotely?

With the spread of Covid19, many employees who can have been working from home. This could be new for some people. I have been working remotely since 2011. So this is old hat for me.

working remotely home office
Yeah , it looks kind of messy but…

 

All sorts of tips and articles have been posted but here is what I have experienced and would like to share.

Working remotely – Early on…

Early in my working remotely experience, I was easily distracted. Oh, I have this laundry to do, let me walk out to the mailbox and get the mail, look at those dishes in the sink, and all sorts of other distractions.

I noticed, I would start working early in the morning and forget to walk the dog. I would work very late and forget to start dinner. After dinner, I would work some more and then I couldn’t get to sleep, or I would wake up because I thought of something I needed to do.

Networking was still part of my routine, but it was cut back measurably.

As business picked up, I fell into a decent routine.

Working remotely – Now…

With my right brain and probably an undiagnosed ADD issue, I can still be easily distracted but here is what happens regularly.

I get up, walk the dog right away, fix breakfast, do a few chores and try to be at my desk by 9AM. Somedays it is earlier, but that is my goal. If I feel my attention waning, I will take a lap around the house, check out a snack or fill my water, let the dog in or out depending. Then right back to it.

Some articles say get up get ready for work just like you would normally, but I look at my calendar and see if I have to be at any appointments or networking events and if not, I stay in whatever clothes I walked the dog in. I am more comfortable that way.

Whatever I eat, I normally bring it into the office and eat while working. Yeah I know, you are supposed to get away and eat to give your brain a break but that is what networking luncheons are for in addition to meeting new people.

Now, I don’t work after 6PM unless it is on one of my volunteer projects.

If I have errands to run, I schedule them for a slow period or between projects to give my brain a break. The advantage is where I have to go is usually less crowded mid afternoon or morning and I get in and out faster.

What I miss by working remotely…

I do miss talking with co-workers, but there are these things called phones and I use mine regularly. Co-workers can be a distraction.

What I like about working remotely…

I have gotten to learn about a bunch of cool computer programs that allow me to work with a team of people in other places. I regularly use Zoom for webinars and meetings. One client taught me about Trello, that I taught to another client who taught one of his clients…. I use Teams with one client and that is often better for quick communications than a phone call, plus it allows for phone calls, video calls and screen sharing.

My commute is the best part of working from home. I walk 15 feet from the bedroom to my office.

Now, the one thing here is I don’t have small children to distract me or that require my attention during my day, but I do have a husband – ‘nuf said?

Share a Post in LinkedIn

How often do you share a post in LinkedIn?

When I am teaching my LinkedIn workshops I always suggest that you should share a post to your connections 3 – 5 times per week. It doesn’t always have to be brand new content. It can be something you read from a company you follow, a group you are in, or something from your newsfeed.

One source for news you to share a post is the Daily Rundown that LinkedIn places in your Notifications.

I love when I discover new things and just the other day I was floating around LinkedIn and discovered the handy dandy drop-downs in the window when you “Start a Post”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you manage a Company page on LinkedIn, this gives you the opportunity to share a post from your Home page without having to find your company page and add a post from there. It works the same way on a desktop or laptop as it does in the mobile version!!!

My suggestion to business owners is to share something to the business page first and then share that post to your personal feed. Then your employees can also share the post from the company and the views can grow exponentially. Give your sales people or business development team something great to work with regularly.

Remember the reason you want to share information often is to keep your name and face in front of your connections. You never know when someone sees your name and suddenly says, I need to talk to Dee about how she can help my company with social media. They may not see your post but they see the company post or vice versa.

Whatever time period you choose to follow, just make sure it is consistent. If you need help, let’s talk!

Research, Research, Research – Comcast got me again!

Research – Before you make decisions get both sides of the story.

It pays to do your research thoroughly. I pay a boat load of money to Comcast for my phones, cable and internet and I now have Xfinity phones. I switched us away from Sprint because they were eating me alive with fees and I found the by the gig option that saved us over $100 per month.

smart city and wireless communication network, abstract image visual, internet of things

Recently, while at a networking luncheon, I met a salesperson for Comcast Business. I spoke with him several times about the service. He told me that he had spoken with a residential person about what the cable would cost if I moved the phones and internet to the business side. It sounded like I would save about $40 per month. He also told me that the Xfinity mobile deal would be fine because everything was all billing to one address.

My Story

WELL, I should have called residential myself!!! I got my Business bill AND my residential bill and noticed that no one told residential to turn off the service. Now silly me, I thought maybe once they ported the numbers over from one to the other, that one hand would know what the other hand was doing. My first mistake.

On a Saturday morning, I make a phone call about why my residential was still active, blah blah blah. After getting the word that my cable bill would actually go up because I was no longer getting the “TriplePlay”, I did some quick math and discovered that I would actually be paying about $20 more a month if I retained the Business service.

I decided right then and there to switch back to the residential side of Comcast. The faster speeds that I was promised were not happening, I wasn’t saving any money, and I wasn’t going to wait around to see if the service response time was faster or not.

After I got switched around to the third person… whom I was able to completely understand, we talked about making the switch. This last person I spoke with on Saturday from Florida claimed they were Customer Solutions. She promised to call me back at 8AM on Monday my time. By this time I had spent 90 minutes on the phone. She wasn’t able to get in touch with Comcast Business.

The UpSide

When Monday at 9:30 rolled around and I felt “stood-up”, I called customer service back. i found out that there were no notes on my account. I got transferred three more times and was up to my eyebrows with rage. The bright spot in this whole story is an operator named Shannon from Mississippi. I was so mad from having to repeat myself, I thought the top of my head was going to explode. When I get really mad, I cry and I was probably unintelligible to Shannon, who listened and kept reassuring me. Shannon was on the phone with me close to 90 minutes. She made calls to Business and got the process started to port the numbers back to residential.  She had another person on the other line to facilitate the transfer. There was a hold-up because it takes up to 24 hours to release the numbers. We finally had to hang-up. But Shannon assured me that she would call me back and talk me through switching everything back to the residential modem that I had not returned.

Anxious to get this going, I called back in the late afternoon and spoke with someone who did some  checking on the numbers and they still weren’t able to port. BUT, Rachel (the second customer solutions person) told me that she checked with Shannon who told her she had been continuing to check on my case.

Lo and behold, on Tuesday morning, I got a phone call (while I was off-site teaching a class) from Comcast Technical Assistance to port my numbers over. I couldn’t talk but this kind tech called me back in the afternoon when I was back in the office. Over about 45 minutes, we got everything switched over and back to residential service.

While I was driving to return the business equipment to an Xfinity store, I got a phone call on my mobile. It was Shannon!!! She had been thinking about and following-up on my case since Monday. We chatted a bit about how frustrated she and her supervisor were. If they were frustrated, imagine how bad it was for me! I feel that even though the name is Comcast, one side of the business doesn’t know and can’t help you with the other aspects.

My Advice

This is a long story and if you got this far, take this advice from me: Do your own research! Check on what things will cost you if you move your service. If you are moving it all, find out installation, taxes etc. If you are leaving partial, find out the associated costs. If you tell a company you are leaving their service they might offer you a better deal to stay. Do your research. Do your due diligence.

Shannon from Mississippi, you deserve a gold star, a medal, an extra day of vacation or something. You remained calm during my stress and helped me solve my problem. God Bless you!

 

Email Scams are Running Rampant!

Don’t be fooled by email scams!

This time of year, and sometimes all the time, we are so busy that email scams may hit without you even knowing it. This article is dealing with email scams, but phone scams can be just as pervasive. Beware – Microsoft, Apple, the IRS, Social Security will not call you unless there is a pre-arranged time established through letters. Emails on the other hand, just pop up in your mailbox and if you aren’t careful, you could become a victim.

Look for the following!

Here is one that recently showed up in my email box. Here are the tips to the email scams:

  1. The address may look normal in your lines of emails, but if you open the email and look at the address, it is not from American Express. On a side note, I can’t remember ever having an American Express card!!!
  2. Notice the Amex Express reference. American Express doesn’t refer to itself as Amex Express. It is spelled out.
  3. Dear Amex Customer, if they are sending me information about updating my account, don’t you think they would know the name on my card and address me that way?
  4. Typos abound. A professional company like American Express is going to triple spell check a template before sending out anything.
  5. Lastly, the images are either off or non-existent. A company as strongly branded as American Express would never send out a communication that was not properly branded.

I am sure there are other tip-offs to the email scams. These are just a quick few that I saw to point out and share with you.

Warn your elders!

I remember undoing the results of phone calls my Mom got while I was at work. Do your older family members a service. Discuss with them how to recognize the potential rip-offs and email scams out there.