The Basics of Using Hootsuite

Try using a scheduler like Hootsuite to save you time.Hootsuite's mascot - Owly

Sometimes we get busy and forget to post content to our social media platforms. What could you do to make sure that you are getting your message out socially and still run your business? Try using a content scheduler like Hootsuite. It used to be that third party tools like these were dinged by the platforms because the content wasn’t posted directly. Recent research by others in the industry say that is no longer the case.

Here is how you might use the tool:

  • On Sunday afternoon, you may sit down after your weekend activities are complete, and schedule your posts for the week. (We all know that when we own our own business, the work week is never really done.)
  • During the week, you are reading your emails, run across some industry articles that you would like to share. Click on the icon in your Google Chrome browser to share your article. Let Hootsuite auto-schedule it for you. Hootsuite will pick the best time based on when your audience click on your posts.
  • Thursday afternoon you are preparing for your vacation the following week. Take a few minutes to schedule the weeks posts, including the Monday and Tuesday for the week you return.
  • You have an event coming up. Create a few draft posts that you can share on the fly or schedule in advance – a few weeks in advance.
  • Have a post that you want to share now? You can do that too! It even counts your characters so you can stay under 140 for Twitter.

There are other options included with the tool, take a look at this video to see the basics of how to use the scheduling tool:

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Are you using Google for your Business?

Almost everyone I know uses the phrase “Google it” when referencing an internet search. But other than searching for something are you making the most out of a Google account for your business?  Let’s review a few of my most favorite tools.

Google Maps – if you haven’t optimized your Maps presence, jump on board.  There is a new google mapsinterface that Google announced that is going to help your business look even better. Notice the pictures of the selected location.  You can even hire Google Certified photographers to record a 360 degree view of the inside of your establishment.

Google Place Pages – are merging with your Google+ business page.  So make sure that your information, categories, contact info and links are all up to date.  If you have a page out there, claim it so that you don’t have reviews that are going unnoticed. Link here to see my page.

G+ posts and images – are now being indexed in search results.  If you aren’t using your G+ googleplus-iconprofile at least occasionally, your likelyhood of ranking very high in search results diminishes.  Also, if you have a blog, add a Google Authorship plug-in that will provide a headshot and minimal information about you in the search results.

Google Hangouts – jump on before they raise the price!  Right now you can have a video conference with up to 10 people, screen share, chat and do silly things with your screen image.  This is a great way to have a face-to-face meeting without having to leave your desk.

Google Drive – share documents that are editable with other users.  Have a spreadsheet that needs to be filled in and you are tired of having to make corrections?  Share it on Drive and let the other people take responsibility for filling in their own information.

YouTube – is the 2nd largest search platform and it isn’t even a search engine. It is a Googleyoutube_logo property as well.  You can link to it from within Google Chrome.  Talk about search engine results – put a video on YouTube and Google loves it. Check out my channel with how-to videos here.

Google Chrome – for all of you IE users out there, jump on board.  There are so many plug-in tools available for Google Chrome that I would run out of space and my fingers would grow tired from typing.  Need I say more?

What other Google tools have you found?

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A Picture is Worth a 1000 words

We all struggle to come up with the right words to say when we are working on blog posts, status updates and keeping our respective clients, fans and followers properly updated. But one of the biggest struggles might be finding the appropriate picture to accompany that  most recent post.

Click on the picture to enlarge the view

With Facebook’s new Timeline update, one way to get better peeks at your posts is to include a photo.  Look at the picture on the right – did you read the words or did you immediately gravitate to the picture?  I am a visual person.  I go right at the pictures.  Many people are the same way.  Enhance all of your posts, status updates, blog posts, even tweets with an image that relates to your post.

So the next question begs, where to find good, royalty-free, free use photos.  I always check sources even though I quite often will set-up and take images and photos to use in my posts.  I would like to share a few in this post and invite you to share other sites that you may have found.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Zemanta is a new to me resource of which I just learned.  What is great about this, is there is an extension for Google Chrome that you may install and it offers suggestions for pictures and links for your WordPress blog posts.  In fact I used this app to find some of the images for this post.

Dreamstime is a resource that offers free photos as well as photos that you can purchase.  As with most free sources, you will see a picture that really works, but it costs money.  Depending on the use, you may want to break down and make the purchase.

PhotoPin is a free photos resource designed specifically for bloggers.

 

Image representing Flickr as depicted in Crunc...

Flickr – not everything you search for on the web can be used, as not everything in Flickr can be used just because it is there. But you can check the group “Free Use Photos”.

Wikimedia – is another source for free images.  For example, I typed in the word popcorn and found this image as well as about 7 others. All of the information and licensing requirements can be found at this link.

iStock – is a photo service that offers a free image each week and a free vector graphic each month.  If you take advantage of this opportunity by saving the images, you have just obtained 52 new free images in a year.  Many are seasonal.  You might not use it now, but keep it in your files for later.

Compfight – Are you a WordPress user?  This is a plug-in that you can search for photos by clicking a little icon next to your upload/insert button. Following is a screenshot of a search for golf –

 Gimp – a photo editing program if you don’t have Photoshop.

As always, you should credit a photo that you use and the source especially if you found it on Flickr or another website.

What photo sources or editing tools have you found?

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