New Tools I have recently started using

Those that know me know I am always on the look out for new online tools that can be used for productivity, collaboration and just plain social news.  I often find some great ones as well as some that just don’t measure up.

Here are a few that I came across recently that seem to be promising:

Post Post is one of my favorite recent finds.  It connects with your Facebook account and provides a graphical view of the items shared by friends and pages in your stream.  I only wish you could also use this tool as a page and not just your personal profile.

Bag the Web – this is a new tool that I just found and have began to play with.  It allows you to place information including posts, links and other bags into a bag for reference for yourself and others.  You can also embed your bag into a website or blog.  I created my first bag for Social Media Tools today.

Summify – I just came across this tool and it is pretty neat.  It creates a summary of your social feeds and shows you what connections shared which stories.  Like PostPost it is a good way to see what your connections are sharing.

–          Stefanie

 

 

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Productivity

Productivity

 

 The mobile Office / Det mobila kontoret
Creative Commons License photo credit: Johan Larsson

This has been a very busy week for me with various projects on all fronts that need to be accomplished in a short time frame – not to mention the kiddos are almost out of school for summer so we have had many additional activities there.  Due to the craziness of the week I have decided to step back and look at the top of productivity and the various ways a person can stay productive, increase productivity and manage it.

I personally think that being productive has many components of it.  A biggie is mindset – how do we stay focused when we have a lot on our plate.  Another aspect is managing tasks and sometimes this means offloading some of these tasks.  I recently started having someone come clean my house again on a regular basis and have found it a great help and time saver.  Another huge aspect of being productive are the tools and systems that we use.

In today’s technology world we have a lot of tools available to us to help with productivity.  These tools range from the old fashion pen and paper, to online tools, downloadable tools and tools on our phones.  I have a handful of tools that I use on a regular basis, however I would like to create a list of some of the tools that others use in your daily life and quest to be productive.

There are literally 1000’s of tools available out there but which ones do you like the best?

I am also asking this question on Twitter and will be posting a list of the tools that are suggested by others in the next couple of days.

To start with here are two of my favorites for managing Social Media:

Hootsuite – a great tool to manage your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and more

Feedly –  a great RSS feed reader

Please share your comments on your favorite tools

–          Stefanie

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Some of my favorite reads of the week

Top Reads of the week  (Friday 5/6/2011)

Reads for the week

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dominique Godbout

Every day I usually spend about 30-60 minutes reviewing my news feeds of blogs that I find useful and full of good information on either marketing, social media, connecting and sometimes just great life tips.  Using an RSS Feed Reader like Google Reader or Feedly allows me to quickly and easily manage the information I view on a regular basis.

Here are a handful of the top reads for the week that I found valuable and useful:

How to understand Daily Active Users in Facebook Insights – good quick read on some data for your Facebook Page Activity

How I Organize Google Reader for Blog Commenting – Kristi Hines did a great job with this post sharing how she uses Google Reader to organize her RSS feeds and how she is now able to comment easily on blogs, even though she is following over 500 blogs.  I use a combination of Google Reader and Feedly to manage my feeds on a daily basis.

Successful Small Businesses Know the Best Marketing Strategy.  Do you? – This is a good article on how you should be managing your daily activities for marketing and blogging and keeping time wasters at bay

Facebook Allows @ Mention Tags of Friends to be Shortened – Facebook now allows you to tag others with just using their names in your post instead of the @ Mention method.  This post does a good job of covering this change

Time Management Secrets Every Entrepreneur Should know – Dr Mani shared a great post on time management secrets

3 Sites to Get Free News Related  Images – finding images for your blogs posts can sometimes be challenging – especially since you want to be sure to use an image you have the rights to use.  This is a great post with 3 sites that offer some options.

There were several great posts and pieces of information I read this week, however these are just a handful that I wanted to share with you today.

Have a wonderful week-end

Stefanie

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Blogging Top ten lessons

Blogging is a great tool to use in your Social Media mix, but it can often be hard to get started and sometimes you will experience times when you just can’t seem to figure out what  information to share or what topic to blog about it – I have been there.

Today, I came across a great post that I wanted to share with you though on Blogging and a recap of what Tony Hastings, the man behind the Top 10 Blog shared on his first year of blogging. I thought it was a great post and shared some really good information on blogging and some things you should think about as you blog.

Please take a minute and read the article over here @Spin Sucks

- Stefanie

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Twitter tools — lots of different Twitter tools

Twitter is truly one of my favorite social networking platforms and tools to use.  I have found it is quick and easy to use and a great way to learn from others, share and connect.  I have also found that there are several tools available that can be used with Twitter.

The tools that work with Twitter seem to be increasing on a steady rate as well.  There are tools for business, fun, tracking, to make twitter do more, tools to manage your followers and your tweets and much more.

I started to put together a list of all of the Twitter tools available the other day and in doing this I found a great mind map already completed that broke down the Twitter tools available.  I will be putting this list together still, however this is a great starting point:

If you have tools that you love and don’t see them on this list I would love to hear from you.

 

 

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Writing Things Down can be powerful

I wanted to share some information on my thoughts today regarding writing things down and how this can impact the outcome.  I know it isn’t directly related to Social Media and Social Networking, but I feel it can have an impact in these areas.

Now that we are almost into the 5th month of 2011 I have started looking back at what I have accomplished so far this year and begin to look at what I need to do the rest of the year to be on target with my goals I set.  One key difference I have made this year is really spending time to write things down on a regular basis and in some cases daily.

I have my goals for the year written down and review them regularly, I also have broken these down into smaller chunks and have focused on them in monthly, weekly and sometimes daily pieces.  I also have been 100% faithful about making a daily to do list.

I have found that my daily to do list is a critical part of my success in terms of my longer term goals.  This list also helps me see how I am spending my time on a regular basis and to make decisions and weed out what isn’t effective.

This list has also helped me keep on track with my Social Media activities.  On my list I include these activities on a daily basis and have started breaking them down further into measurable chunks, how many connections did I make, did I share links, information, write blog posts, etc.

In conclusion, try spending some time writing down what you need to accomplish for the day, both in your personal and professional lives and see what impact it has on you and your ability to get things completed.

Stefanie

 

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Being Professional in a Transparent World

In today’s world Social Networks are a part of life and can be accessed by almost anyone – including your current employer, business associates and future employers or business associates.

This being the case it is time to ensure you establish and maintain your profile so that it is personal but professional.  One way of looking at this is that it isn’t necessarily a business profile, but a positive online presence.

I am sure that you have heard tales of people losing their job because of work-related remarks they have shared on social networks.  You really can still be yourself without adding status updates that reference hating work, or attending a boring meeting or playing sick – I am sure if you stepped back you would see that these comments don’t really represent who you are.

Here are a few key things that can help you establish a personal but professional or positive profile.

Pay attention to the photos posted – It is great to be able to easily post and share photos online, however you really need to think about what photos you share online or have associated with your profile.  You would not want a prospective employer or business associate seeing a picture of you after a night of partying.

Segregate your friends – On Facebook and other social networks it is possible to segregate your friends into lists.  This is a great feature and one that you should use.  It will allow you to select if you want a photo or a status update to go to all or just a sub-group of your friends.

Watch your language – Watching your language on social networks is very important.  You really don’t want to portray the image of someone with a mouth of a sailor.  This really can and will turn off potential employers or business associates.

Don’t update your status in the heat of the moment – Think before you update your status and don’t post a rash comment in the heat of the moment.

Keep in mind that that content that others see you post on Facebook and other Social Networks forms their impression of who you are.  Be sure to put your best foot forward and don’t post content that will make others see you in a light you rather they don’t.

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How has Social Media and Social Networking tools changed your life

How has Social Media and Social Networking tools changed your life

I wanted to post today about a conversation I had the other day with a business associate.  He has recently started to get on board with Facebook and Twitter for his business, but wondered if Social Media is just hype and if it will go away in the next couple of years.  I know part of his concern is due to implementing it into his business and the time it does take to implement and manage – but it was also from a personal side.

I can’t remember his exact words, but he made a comment something like – does everyone really care what we eat for dinner and where we go?  I had to laugh and say yes you have a point, but there have been a lot of changes in how people connect due to Social Media and maybe sharing what you eat or where you go on a regular basis is not the best use of it.

I shared that I read an article recently (unfortunately I can’t recall the source) that was about how experts , whoever they may have been, predicted that as we spread out into the suburbs and worked remotely more that we would become a very disconnected society – but just the opposite has happened due to Social Media and Social Media tools.  We are much more connected now than they thought we would be.

I also mentioned that Social Media tools have changed a lot of people’s lives.  I know that there are many people with disabilities that have experienced huge changes in the quality of life with these tools.  They can now connect online with others that share similar interests and have relationships online even if they can’t leave their home very easily.

Another associate chimed in and said how these tools allow her to stay connected for friends across the country.  Facebook in particular has allowed her to connect with friends on an almost daily basis and know what is going on in their lives.  She indicated that she doesn’t always have the time to pick up the phone, but this tool allows her to quickly connect and regularly too.

I know I use Facebook to connect with my family and friends and it is great.  It doesn’t mean that I see them less, but I am able to touch them and their live more than I would be if we were not connected with Social Media tools.

So – how has social media changed how you connect with others?

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What are Your 2011 Social Media / Social Networking Goals?

Now is the time of year that everyone is thinking about goals and plans for the year.  Often some of the typical goals include lose weight, get in shape, get out of debt and become more organized.  This year however I think you should also focus on goals for your Social Media and Social Networking activities.

I brought this topic up the other day with a friend and they looked at me a bit puzzled and then asked me, what do you mean by Social Media and Social Networking Goals?  What should these goals look like?

I went onto explain some of the key items that I have set as my goals for Social Media and Social Networking this year.  Below are the goals that I will be working on when it comes to Social Media and Social Networking:

Build Stronger Connections

I have been using Facebook for years and have used it to build connections with friends, family and people that I have done business with or that I want to do business with.  This year I want to focus more on these relationships and build stronger connections with my friends.  I want to make my connection know I care and take the time to learn more about them on a regular basis.

Currently I have my Facebook friends grouped into groups or lists that make it easier to manage and connect with.  In almost all cases I know why I am connected with all of my friends on Facebook, however there are a few that this may not be the case with.  One goal that I have and this may seem counterproductive to some is that I am going to verify my connections and those people that I don’t connect with and we don’t really have a reason to be connected I will probably drop the connection.  It isn’t because I don’t value them as a person or connection, but I am not sure I can give them what I feel I should as a connection.

I will be moving some of my connections over to Facebook Pages – depending on what the interest is and why we are connected.

Locate Strategic Partners

I want to strive this year to build some strategic partnerships with people on Facebook and Twitter that would be beneficial to both of us.  There are so many talented people in the world and tools such as Facebook and Twitter help open the door to these connections.  To accomplish this I plan on reaching out and connecting with the people that I admire and read their blogs or writings on a regular basis.  I will probably reach out on Twitter first so that I can learn more about them and start interacting and then work on figuring out what value I can provide them so that we can create something together.

Help Others

I want to strive this year to reach out to others when I can via Social Media and help them out in any way I can.  This may be answering a question, sharing a resource of just providing a compliment.  There are so many ways to do this with the tools that we have available to us now.  I will more than likely use Twitter for this activity since it is a fast way to reach out and there are many tools available to search for topics that I can help with, or even for the word help.

I have several additional goals for this year and a few more that are social media related, however I think if I focus on these three the rest will come.

I would love to hear what your goals are this year for Social Media.

–          Stefanie

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Social Media and Marketing Integration

The way that we search for information and do business has drastically changed over the last few years.  It is not enough for a business to run a television, radio commercial or a print ad and expect to get the results that they used to get.  It now takes the integration of several marketing channels and many of them are Social Media channels.

Most businesses now have a presence on Facebook and Twitter and many also have a presence on YouTube as well and for those that work in the B2B arena they also typically have a presence on LinkedIn.

One thing that you must keep in mind however is that you need to integrate your Social Media Marketing with your traditional Marketing.  What does this look like?

Social Media and Marketing Integration can take on several different formats.  The key items that I would like to stress however are the following:

  • Use your Social Media profiles to direct connections back to your website and/or bog

You want to have a home base which is your website or blog and you want to entice prospects to find out more about you and visit your home base.

  • Integrate Social Media into your blog or website

There are many ways to integrate Social Media into your home base.  This can be done with using Facebook Connect and tools like Twitter Tools.  This will allow you to share your Facebook and Twitter streams on your home base as well as share information from your home base on Social networks.

  • Publish your Social Networking connection information on your print and television marketing

When you do use print and television marketing always include information on how your target market can follow you on Facebook and Twitter (at minim).

Your goal is to be sure that you are making it easy for customers and prospects to find you via Social Media as well as find your Home base through Social Media.

You will also want to embrace Social Media and utilize it to build an active following and supports for your business or product.

Here are other posts I came across this morning that talks about integration:

Top 10 reasons to integrate in 2011

The power of converging social media with display advertising

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