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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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Fake Profiles – How Do You Know?

How do you know if they are Fake Profiles?

Honestly, I don’t always know what are fake profiles and what aren’t. But I recently read this article from LinkedIn about what they are doing to combat Fake Profiles – An Update on How We’re Fighting Fake Accounts | Official LinkedIn Blog

In the past year my Facebook account was cloned. You can read about that here. I was surprised I was hit because I do all the password things I am supposed to do. I don’t click on suspicious email links. But it happened. It made me very leery about connecting with people that I don’t know, especially on Facebook.

I know I have connected with fake profiles on Twitter. I am pretty sure I follow some fake profiles on Instagram, but not as many. On Facebook, I always look at the invitations from people that I might know to see how developed the profile is and who mutual friends / connections might be. If it is a repeat invitation from someone with whom I regularly communicate, I will send a text or message them through another social platform before connecting.

One of my Facebook friends recently decided to switch her account to a “grown-up” version and sent out several posts alerting people to the fact that she would be closing down the old account in an effort to share the more adult/professional version of herself.

On LinkedIn, I find that not as many people are trying to scam others. Based upon the article linked above, LinkedIn is doing what I would consider a decent job of nipping fake profiles in the bud.

7 tips

Here are my tips to do your due diligence before falling into the Fake Profile trap:

  1. Use a recent image of yourself on personal profiles.
  2. Brand your company profiles with a logo or a different image of yourself.
  3. Personalize any invitations that you send to people who might not know or remember you.
  4. Check profiles before you accept.
  5. Alert all connections if your account is compromised.
  6. If you do connect with a fake profile, be careful of any messages or requests asking for you to send money. If it is out of character, then it is probably fake!
  7. Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts to prevent a mass breech if you are compromised.

Social Media Plan – Wildly Beautiful or Just Wild

What’s your social media plan?

The other day I was walking along a path and noticed this stand-out wild flower and it made me think about plans – especially a social media plan. When wild flowers are sown (or not) they come up and they are wildly beautiful. On my walk I noticed black-eyed susans, beebalm, coneflowers, Queen Ann’s lace and a couple of others for which I don’t know the name. Just like with social media there is Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and couple hundred others that I don’t remember the names!

What is right for your brand?

Do your posts just come out based upon your whim at the moment? That would be wild. Creating a pattern that involves planned posts along with an occasional wild one can be beautiful. One bit of information which I learned that I frequently share is 70% of your posts should be other people’s content, 20% should be original content from your expertise, and 10% should be promotional.

Which platforms?

Your social media plan should incorporate what is right for your business. Do you need a wild scattering of posts across all of the platforms, or do you need to concentrate your efforts on 2-3 platforms where your clients frequent? Wild would be the hit or miss scattershot. But, a planned effort on either side of a path might be wildly beautiful. Have you determined which platforms work best for your company? If you are a B2B company you definitely need LinkedIn, but is Instagram a good fit? Maybe.

Wildly Beautiful or Just Wild?

In the long run, no matter which approach you take, content will be added to your brand and allow people to get a feel for what you do and your thought leadership. If you are looking for the wildly beautiful option, make a plan and carry it out. If you need some help with your plan, I would be happy to be of assistance.

Social media commitment required to succeed 

What is your commitment level to your social media?

I just read this article about social media commitment from the  Deleware Business Times . There are a few points I would like to expand on.

commitment

I can be as guilty of this as the next person. I go for stretches where I don’t post blog articles and then I don’t have new content to share socially. Then I might binge for a bit and have many weeks in a row where I write fresh content. This is where knowing how to schedule things plays in your favor.

Sparse, old or dated content –

I visited a website of someone I met at a networking event. The blog posts on the site were from 2014. That is not going to bring the search bots back very frequently. Write when you feel like writing or schedule a time to write. Save drafts of things that are on your mind and make a weekly commitment to completing the articles you started. If you can schedule the posts for once a week, you are really only spending an hour or so to write the actual articles. If you are using WordPress, there is a plug-in called PressThis that can help you with drafting your ideas. WordPress lets you schedule your posts.

Track what is happening

Using alerts and checking periodically during the day can help you be aware if your content on social media is getting traction. The article says that unanswered posts tells people that you don’t care. If you do find an old post or comment, answer it anyway and apologize in the comment for just seeing it.

Do what you have time for

If you only have time to do one thing on social media, DO IT WELL! Don’t spread yourself too thin because you think you have to be on all the platforms all the time. When people ask me what they should do with limited time, my answer is always create content on your website – blog. Then, pick one social site where the majority of your customers are and use that to drive them back to your website. Use scheduling when possible, or mobile if you can.

If all else fails, give me a call and I can walk you through strategy or take some of the burden off your shoulders. Do what you do best and let me do what I do best for you!

LinkedIn Search Algorithms

What do we know about LinkedIn Search Algorithms?

All of the social media platforms are typically secretive about their search algorithms. Here is a short perspective of what we do know:

LinkedIn Search Algorithms

Keywords –

Everyone speaks about keywords being the number one search item for ANY platform social or browser. So how do you find your keywords?

One suggestion I make is to create a word cloud. Read one of my previous articles about how to find your keywords with a word cloud here.

From LinkedIn Help about keywords  – (Avoid these things.)

The order of a search result is determined in part by the profile, activity, and connections of the person who is searching.

Our goal is to optimize your search results. Before we return results, we consider the searcher’s activity on LinkedIn, the profiles returned by the query, and other members who have run similar searches in determining the sort order.

More keywords aren’t always better –  If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, it’s likely that your profile will be filtered out by our spam detection algorithms, which will negatively impact your appearance in search results.

Keywords need to appear in your headline and hopefully in your job title. The job titles may have a slightly higher impact on the search result. Go with the more acceptable search term than what you may have actually been titled.*

Add keywords to your Summary, inside of your work experience, and ensure your are endorsed for them in your skills and experience.

Advanced Search Strings

People who know how to use the Boolean search method are quite successful at finding exactly what they want. This article by Paul Cameron of Speed Up my job Search .com gives a great example.

Here is a bonus article I found from 2011 with some valid premises. The thought behind the keywords and adding contract work seems like a way to get keywords in. The alternative to that now would be to add each contract under the company name as a change in job for that company.

Connections

Connect to as many people as you can to broaden your network. So many people think that you should only connect with people you have met in person, but that defeats the purpose of the breadth of a network like LinkedIn. Others say they don’t want to have their customers as connections because the competition could steal them. If you connect with everyone you know (and meet) and some of those you don’t already know,

The more connections you have, the more “detective” work you can do. My adage is that it is not about who you know, but who they know. That 2nd degree connection might be just the person you need for your next contract or job. Sometimes recruiters limit the search to 2nd degree, or a business owner may do the same when searching for a contractor.

Activity

From my research in preparing for this article, I see that the more active you are with relevant posts containing useful content, the higher you could rank (at least in the feed). I have not tested the following statement. I believe that if someone is searching for a subject matter expert, you will rank higher in search results if you also have the right keywords, skills/endorsements, and 500+ connections.

If anyone who reads this has more definitive answers, please share them with me!!

One Small Step

One Small Step at a time!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon. That’s one small step for a man, one small step imageone giant leap for mankind. I remember what I was doing that day. My parents were at work. They left implicit instructions that I was to  watch with my girlfriend Liz and her family. It was moving thinking back that I was able to see history happen. This historic event can only be matched by the first step by a man on Mars. Read the wiki about Apollo 11 here.

I don’t remember what I was thinking, but I just had to be impressed. How could I not be. Several years ago, while visiting the Kennedy Space Center, I was awestruck by the significance of what I was seeing and remembering what I had witnessed, albeit by television, in my youth. The bravery, resolve, and spirit of all the men and women who made space travel happen is incredible. One of our family friends, who worked for Boeing in St. Louis, was even a small piece of the puzzle that made all of it work. I remember seeing the pictures of him in his white coverall suit. I remember a certificate signed by the president.

Thinking about this whole series of events means that, while I am awestruck with one small step that someone took, it had to start somewhere. A dream, a vision, a discussion, led to putting man into space, on the moon, and living in a space station. I believe that we will one day live out the dreams of many creators in all the space travel adventure series. Or live like the Jetsons! I know I will probably not live long enough to see it or participate fully, but I know that I would be encouraging.

Taking One Small Step

What do you need to do that requires that one small step to get you moving toward a larger goal?

  • Starting a work project
  • Losing weight
  • Holding yourself accountable
  • Posting on social media regularly
  • Writing a blog article twice a month
  • Sending out a newsletter

If I can be of assistance, please let me know.