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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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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!

Customer Service and Social Media

How does social media impact your Customer Service?

Recently, I ordered carry-out from a local Mexican restaurant. The customer service wasn’t the best. I want to show you the impact of social media as a result of my poor experience.

I have written about customer service before, as it relates to my life and social media. You can read one post here that is a great example of how it can be done. Another article is here.

Before the days of social media, if you were happy with what happened at an establishment, you might tell 2 people. If you were unhappy, you might tell 10 people. Your circle of influence wasn’t that large. If you were really unhappy, the time frame of your sharing might be longer, so the number might rise to 20 or 30 people who heard about your bad experience. Once social media came around, that number that you reach is as broad as your knowledge of how to post a review about a business on the variety of social outlets where they can be found, or haven’t found yet.

Let’s go back to my sad story. Early this year I chose to go gluten free on the advice of my wheat-995055_1280homeopath. That means that I avoid wheat, barley and rye. I have found that I do react negatively if I ingest one of those. There is this thing called cross-contamination where even if I don’t actually eat it, if it touches the food I do eat, it can cause me distress as well.

All of that back story to say this – I ordered enchiladas to go (corn doesn’t affect me). I got to the restaurant. I gave them my order number. The lady checked my ticket. There was only one order waiting. She grabbed it and bagged up my chilies, chips and salsa, and my dinners. I paid my bill and left. (Notice I did not check inside the container.)

When I got home, 20 minutes later, I unpacked my order, opened the container and saw burritos. (Made with flour tortillas – flour is bad for me!) I called the restaurant. They immediately knew who I was because I got another persons order that was very similar – two meals, chips and salsa. They told me I was welcome to come back to get my order. I said, I would prefer not to drive round trip another 40 minutes. I asked if they would provide a credit the next time I was in. The young man told me “We can’t give you a credit, because you would get free food.” I told the young man, I would probably not come back – EVER.

I posted in a Facebook group called What’s Happening in Elgin. I gave them a negative review on Yelp and Google. I am writing about it here on my blog and will share this on Pinterest, Facebook, G+, and LinkedIn.

Now, here are my observations.

  1. People can be rude and crude. You may use foul language in person, FB cs 2but it should not be used to make a point in a public forum. You never know who is going to read your post. If you don’t care how you sound to others, that is fine, but it can come back to bite you in the behind. Would you want your grandmother to read what you wrote?
  2. People stick up for the underdog – not always seeing both sides of a story.
  3. Arguing on social media never usually works out. If someone complains in a public forum and you are the business, you should always take it off-line as soon as possible. You can respond by saying, please call me at xx number at your earliest convenience, I would like to resolve this matter.
  4. There may be a cultural difference or a generational difference between how people perceive good customer service or good will. Many of the people in the Facebook thread thought that it was totally my fault for not checking my bag before I left OR the offer to come back and get my original meal was dealing with the situation properly. The fact that I should have been overjoyed at the chance to drive back to pick up my meal was what they considered good customer. Would they have made me a fresh meal or would I have been given the original meal (which by the time I got back home the second time would have been over an hour old).
  5. If you “react”, wait before you post. Apparently the owner’s wife posted a negative FB cscomment in the thread, changed her mind and deleted it, but not before someone got a screen shot and reposted it. AND refer to point #3.
  6. Sometimes,FB cs 5 apologizing is all that it takes to right a wrong. While the owner of the business never actually apologized, the owner of the sister business sent me a private message. Refer to #3 above. I responded to her as soon as I saw the message, assuring her, that her facility was not in question. While this did not make up for the fact that I never heard from the business itself, it gives me faith that some people do pay attention to social media and what it can do to their business. Perhaps if I hear from the actual business owner, I might go in and take down my reviews.
  7. Posting an opinion on social media does not mean you are trying to close a business down. Remember my comment from earlier about telling 10 people if you are upset? Now, posting to social media about your experiences is the norm. Peer recommendations fuel whether you are going to use a product or service. Peer recommendations get you FB cs3everything from a new dog groomer to a Mexican restaurant. Many people ask how to do things, where to find things, sell items, or buy items. This is evidenced in the decline of classified advertising in newspapers. When was the last time you bought an item because of a commercial you saw? When was the last time you ate at a restaurant because you saw that a friend of yours had checked-in. The power of social media to drive people to a business is growing exponentially.
  8. People care. One person made the comment that this isn’t Chicago, no one cares aboutFB cs4 my reviews. I advise people all the time to check their reviews. If they have a negative review about their business, they need to work on getting others to add positive reviews. If you are not concerned about what is showing up on the internet, then you aren’t concerned about your business. Google reviews show up in Google searches and Facebook reviews show up in Bing searches. Yelp has a growing following. Reviews on platforms like Urban Spoon or other new platforms, may be out there and you don’t know what people are saying about you.  My answer to that particular poster that no one cares about my review is – you don’t know who I know. You don’t know my level of influence – my Klout. You don’t know who might see my comment and change their mind based upon my words or someone else’s opinion of a business you are about to frequent. Just because the place is a small local establishment, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t care about what people are saying. “They don’t need you” as one poster says, may be right, but if enough of me’s get treated improperly, it will have an effect upon that business.
  9. One comment can go viral – be ready for damage control. Again, refer to #3 above. SM commentsThere was an incident a few years ago where a singer’s guitar was damaged by an airline. He wrote a song and posted it to YouTube. Over 15 million views later, this is a great example of what can happen if you don’t care of business. Now my small local post only garnered a fraction of that kind of response, but it is still a relatively significant number compared to when something goes right.

Does what people might say about your business on social media impact your customer service?

Overall, this was a good exercise to see how social media and customer service work together. As some of you know, I speak publicly. I tell a story about my experience with a “utility” provider. I tell this story at least once a month for the last 3 years. This story is going into my repertoire as an example of how to control your reputation. A little positive public relations can go a long way!

LinkedIn removes Saved Contacts option

Saved Contacts is going away in LinkedIn

Because of the move away from saved contacts in LinkedIn, the tag feature in LinkedIn just became that much more important. I received this email yesterday (February 16) from LinkedIn.

On February 25th we’ll be removing the ability to save new contacts and sort your contact list by saved contacts. We’ve migrated the contacts you’ve already saved to a tag called “Saved_ Contacts” so you won’t lose anything you’ve already stored. To access your saved contacts from the LinkedIn desktop site:

1. Go to “My Network” on the top navigation bar and select “Connections.” Scroll down to your Contacts list and click on the “Filter by” dropdown on the left.

2. Select “Tag.”

saved contacts move to tag

3. In addition to a list of tags you may have created you’ll find a newly added tag called “Saved_Contacts.” Click on this tag to display your previously saved contacts.

saved contacts are now a tag

If you need to learn how to tag the rest of your connections, you can review this article and video. Tagging connections gives you the ability to sort by the tags that you select. I have advocated since it’s implementation to tag your connections. In fact when people invite me to connect that I do not recognize, my message to them is = Please refresh my memory of how we may have met. I like to tag my connections for future reference. That way, I can associate them by location, industry, or type of connection they are to me like a specific networking group.

I will provide an updated short video on Tagging your connections, or we can arrange a one-on-one session to help you learn more about all of the benefits of using LinkedIn.