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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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Constant Contact Story – Hasty Decisions Can Cost Big

Constant Contact Salesperson got the better of me.

I decided to sign-up for Constant Contact through the link for the Savings Program link on my Elgin Area Chamber site. Check out becoming a member of this great chamber if you aren’t already. I would get a 25% discount and 60 days free to prep my list of contacts, setup my templates and mentally prepare to send emails.

The next morning, I received a phone call at 9:45AM from a Constant Contact salesperson telling me they were my “guide” to make sure I had blah blah blah. I told the person before they got into their spiel that I had a 10AM conference webinar that I was hosting.  I indicated to the person with which I was speaking that I had only a few minutes to complete the call before I needed to prep for my webinar. To be polite I stayed on the phone with the rep to answer some questions. He wanted to schedule a walk through call for me as I had previous experience with Constant Contact. He didn’t bother to tell me that that walk-through was part of the Email Plus plan and since I was in a hurry, I didn’t ask. He told me I needed to have a paid account before I was able to have that appointment scheduled. He made it sound like the appointment times were very rare and I agreed to get my account paid for right away. As I felt rushed I was not asking the appropriate questions about which level of account I was signing up for. I logged into my account and entered my credit card information because I refuse to give to anyone that initiates a call with me my credit card number of out of principle. I was charged $430. I was expecting $180. I finally hung-up on the guy at 9:57AM. I felt anxious, nervous and frustrated.

I had an out of office meeting to attend. When I returned, I saw a “Thanks for your payment” email. When I opened it and saw the $430 amount, I about hit the ceiling. I called and had to cancel my account because I was planning on using the 2 free months to get everything set-up and then pay for a year at the end of the trial period. Now I have to set-up a new account. Fortunately, the Customer Service Rep told me she would make it so that I can use my email address again to set-up the new account. She exported the list with all of the data points of the people I had already entered because I was only getting parts of the data. Let’s see if the CSR comes up with her end of the bargain!

So this is my story to you:

  • Don’t do anything in haste. Make them call you back.
  • I am totally disappointed in the practice that was demonstrated by the young man to whom I was speaking. AND that I let him.
  • I will set up another account,
  • I will use my 60 day free trial, and,
  • I will get my 25% discount.

In the survey I received, I let them know that I wrote this blog article and that it will get posted to my social media. I can’t fault the company, only their rep. I have to accept partial responsibility for this because I was less cautious than I normally am.

Posting Job Openings

Where do you post your job openings?

How many responses are you getting for the job openings that you post? Are you paying a bunch of money and not getting the right candidates? Have you thought about hyper-local postings?

I teach a number of LinkedIn classes to job seekers as well as business owners about LinkedIn. For the job seekers, I also teach a class about using the internet to build a brand for themselves. After we get done with that part, I focus on where job openings can be found without totally relying on the major job search sites like Monster and Career Builder. I would advise business owners the same. Don’t depend upon or rely solely on those major job posting sites. The job seekers get frustrated because they are not getting responses from business. Business is getting frustrated because they spend big bucks and get either a gazillion responses that have to be weeded through or the matches are poor.

I would advise both business and job seekers to investigate some alternatives:

Local Chambers of Commerce

One of the local chambers to which I belong has a very robust job opening site. Members are encouraged to post their openings for free as a member benefit. A couple of job openings that I saw while grabbing a screen shot for this article included an accountant and a project manager. In all there were 31 listings. In 2018 the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce had  12698 views of the EAC Works page on the website.  These are considered hyper-local listings as the business is usually in the community of the chamber to which they belong.

Association Sites

Another place to post or look for job openings is association / organization  sites. Do you belong to an industry related association? Those are a good place to post job openings or look for open positions. Sometimes the business is required to pay for the postings, but the price to post is well below the price on the big job posting sites.  In most cases the job listing is free to the job seeker. These organizations may not be as hyper-local as a chamber of commerce, but are typically in an economic region of your area. Check out the postings from the Valley Industrial Association.

When posting to one of these sites, you are more likely to receive resumes from candidates who are in the field for which you are posting and are looking to the association site as a niche tool. You might even recruit an organization member who didn’t know they were looking for their next opportunity!!

Whatever your job opening is you may want to consider these opportunities for the next time you want to post.

Using Beaver Builder to Create a Blog Post

Beaver Builder Blog Post – After you have logged in to the website and gotten to the Dashboard.

I just worked with a client whose template employs Beaver Builder. It is a new tool for me and after I got used to it I like it quite a bit. For the pages, there are some things that are difficult to find, but I will make due for now.

Here are the steps and images to use to create a blog post (or most of them for a regular Page)

  1. Select Add Post
  2. Add a Title that includes your Keyword focus of the article you are writing
  3. Make sure it looks the way you want it to look
  4. Edit the Snippet with a sentence that will show in Google Search results. Make sure to include the Keyword from the title.
  5. Find the Focused Keyword Phrase – from your title and snippet. This should not be the same thing all of the time. You have to pick different words or it becomes ineffective. You need to use your keyword in the article itself at least twice.
  6. Click on Beaver Builder to start the article.
  7. Click the + sign to add modules to the box. Pick the style for the article. I suggest a picture on one side or the other unless you are adding a gallery.
  8. Drag it over to the box in the main part of the screen.
  9. Switch to modules.
  10. Select the photo module
  11. Drag it to the side that you want the photo in. The module editor will pop open on the left of the screen. Be ready to add or upload the photo.
  12. Select the text editor.
  13. Drag it to the side that you want the text in. The module editor will pop open on the left of the screen.
  14. Start entering your text.
    1. A – make the first line of the text a Header that includes the Keyword. Click the box next to the B for Bold and select Heading 2.
  15. When you are all done with the text that you want to add including links to pages on your website or to reference sites, then click the Done in the upper right corner. You can save it as a draft OR you can publish. The beauty of WordPress is any changes you make happen as soon as you hit PUBLISH, so you can find a typo and make a change.

Let me know how I can help you with your WordPress site or any of your social media needs!

LinkedIn – More than just Like Comment and Share

LinkedIn rolled out a new set of icons to allow more than just a “Like, Comment and Share”

I saw the article the other day and was hoping that I would be an early recipient of this new feature to allow you to express more than just a “Like” on someone’s post in LinkedIn. LinkedIn introduces Reactions!

It happened today!!! I just went in to check my feed and the new icons were there for me to use. So I quick grabbed a screen shot and came to my blog to write an article and share it with all of you!

Check your LinkedIn profile – the news feed. Find a post and hover over the “Like”.
If you were one of the lucky folks that have it rolled out to you, then you should see this>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Obviously the thumbs up is for the traditional Like option.
  • Clapping hands is to celebrate what someone is saying or the achievement they posted.
  • Heart is if you Love something that someone says.
  • Lightbulb is to tell someone that their comment was insightful. – I would try to engage someone that uses this option to see if they might be able to assist you in your endeavors in any way.
  • Hand to chin face is to reflect curiosity. – If someone uses this option, I would try to engage them to see if they need more insight or use of your product or services.

Here is the link to the original article making the announcement that I found.

Here is the link to the process of making the design. I like the post-it Kaizen board, but I have an even better tool for that! Check out Trello.

I am excited to share this new update in my LinkedIn workshops! Watch for it on your profile soon.

Time2Mrkt is Proud to Announce Woman Business Enterprise Status

Time2Mrkt recently earned Woman Business Enterprise status from the State of Illinois.

After working with one of my clients for a number of years, the procurement process changed. They now require all of their contractors to be on the Illinois Procurement Guide as registered business.

Since I wanted to keep my contract viable with them, I went through the process of completing the application. This was an involved process! It took a couple of weeks from start to finish. I was totally confused but a webinar I attended about completing the application gave me enough information to assuage my trepidation with the applicaiton.

Thankfully, I save emails and documents, so gathering the information they needed was time-consuming but relatively painless. I had to  contact my attorney for copies of incorporation documentation, my CPA for some tax documentation, and get a couple of documents notarized. I happen to be a notary, but I am unable to notarize my own documents.

After everything was uploaded, and all of the questions responded to, I participated in a phone interview. They wanted tax information about our construction company and I asked why. The response made me laugh out loud. Apparently, all business in which you hold a shareholder stake have to be tracked because the total income cannot exceed $75 million. If I was making $75 million in either of our businesses…

All in all, this is a great opportunity that may open up the clients with whom I might do business. Since I have the Woman Business Enterprise certification, I am able to potentially meet quotas for business with government contracts who have to track those sort of things.  It also allows me to complete applications in other states and agencies in the state based on the documents that I have already submitted for the current certification.

If I had know that the state process was this easy, I might not have waited so long to complete it. They also have veteran owned business certification, along with minority and minority woman categories. Something to think about when you are looking for a new service vendor.

FYI – they don’t have a logo, so I created one of my own. I think I will submit it to someone to see if they would like to use. Give me your feedback on the design.