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Mary Wu, Social Media Consultant

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Tuesday Tip – Cloud Based Contacts

ID-10079666I've recently gotten a new cell phone. My former one wouldn't charge, and it was getting quite inconvenient. Getting a new phone is at once exciting and confusing. The average life span of a cell phone is two years, and a lot of changes happen in that amount of time.
One thing I haven’t had to worry about since 2008 though is how to move my contacts from one cell phone to another. Once I got my first Android phone, I discovered the advantage to having my phone linked to my Google account. All my contacts can follow me from my desktop to my laptop to my phone. I can have names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, birthdays, and any other information filed away in my contacts. This is not only convenient when changing phones, it also connects to other applications on the phone (the one I use most often is maps if I’m heading to someone’s house).
Woman Showing display of her new touch mobile cell phone

Woman Showing display of her new touch mobile cell phone

Another form of cloud-based contact storage is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. A few clients and colleagues I know use a CRM platform called Contactually. This keeps all of a person’s information available on a phone or computer or tablet. Contactually (and I assume some other CRM platforms) also keeps your messages together by contact. So if you can’t remember when your meeting with Wilma is you, can go to her contact information and it will have your emails and your chats and your text messages together (except for Facebook messenger because sometimes Facebook decides it doesn’t want to coordinate with other platforms; and being Facebook, and being free, they can choose to do that).
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

THURSDAY TIP – Give Credit Where it’s Due

ID-10079666Let’s say you’re starting up a business on a shoestring, because let’s face it, most start-ups are on a tight budget. You’ve heard that it’s important to have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and that you need to have a GREAT profile picture. So you’ve found a friend that does wonderful photography and he (or SHE – KERRY LYNN) does a photo shoot for you and you find the perfect profile photo, as happened for me with Kerramel Studios when I first opened my doors two years ago.

You put this photo on Facebook and your friends say, “You look awesome!” There are two things you should now do. If your photo is drawing engagement, make sure to say, “And the photo was taken by _photographer_ making sure to tag @photographer on that platform. (I find a get more personal photo engagement on my personal Facebook profile, and not so much on my business Facebook Page.)

After that (I’m using Facebook as the example here), click on your profile photo (bottom left corner of your banner)

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In this example I clicked on the picture of me, and not on my logo.

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From here, we’d click on the words in blue that say “Add a description”

In this example, I typed “Thanks @Kerry Lynn at @Kerramel Studios”

Finding great people to work can be easy if we work together and give shout outs to the people with patented “awesome sauce.”

 

Images courtesy of:

“Tips,” Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mary Wu, Kerry Lynn at Kerramel Studios

Logo, Suzanne Wills

And a special thanks to Deb Zelman, my bestie, for asking the question which encouraged this post.

Thursday Tip – App Review

English: Gmail logo

English: Gmail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In looking through my posting history, it does seem that some of my short tip posts are in praise of certain apps. I don’t mind being the person that tries things out so my readers can find out what works.

Longtime readers might have noticed that I tend to have a pretty high rate of use of Google apps (and — HELLO — FREE!!) I use Google calendar and Google Docs and Gmail, and often I’m one of the first people to adopt anything new coming out of Google.

But one frustration I’ve had with Gmail, (not enough of a frustration to CHANGE my email but a frustration nonetheless), is the inability to schedule mail.

Boomerang for Gmail was developed by Baydin and it gives you the ability to:

  • Schedule an email
  • “Boomerang” a message for later
    (for example, “resend” you a message the day before a meeting)
  • Track Responses
  • Schedule recurring emails.
  • Request read receipts and track clicks.
  • Manage scheduled messages

This is also available for phones, but after reading the reviews (and that it slowed down mail loading), I’ve decided that I’m going to keep it on my desktop, where I do the majority of my email.

Thursday Tip – those annoying requests.

On Off Switch Shows Energy SupplyI’ve heard this complaint many times (and I’ve made this complaint a few times). Our phones* devices are constantly chirping at us. I realize that sometimes things happen and we need immediate notification. The school nurse might be calling you about a problem a child is having, or you could get a call from a parent or an in-law with an urgent situation at hand, or you could be waiting for a call from a health care professional with test results. Sometimes we NEED to get found.

But then, sometimes we don’t need and don’t WANT to be found. What if you could turn OFF the notifications for those silly Facebook games.

I ran across this article by Ryan Neal in International Business Times. ‘Candy Crush Saga’: How to Turn Off Facebook Notifications for the Popular Social Media Game, Forever

(*Yes, I still call the device I carry in my pocket a “phone” even though I use it for so much more. Some habits are hard to break.)

 

Thursday Tip – The Why and How of LinkedIn Recommendations

If you’ve done business with a person and are extremely satisfied, you may want to tell the world. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. You can pick up a megaphone (which will only tell a few neighbors).
  2. You can pick up a phonebook (that might take a while – heck in 2015 it might take a while to FIND a phonebook).
  3. You can post on their Facebook page (which will soon disappear further down on the timeline).
  4. You can post a recommendation on their LinkedIn Page. This will be permanently on their LinkedIn Profile page and easy to find for anyone wanting to use their services.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to give a recommendation.

Let’s say you’ve given a colleague a recommendation but there’s something you want to change. Perhaps you’ve done more work with a person and you want to change some details, or maybe you were looking at their profile and noticed that you made a typographical error.

Click here to go to a page (on LinkedIn) that gives details on how to EDIT or REMOVE a recommendation.

NOTE: Olike-elements-glossy-icon_zy7r0hIdn the above link step 1 reads “go to your profile” and step 2 reads “scroll to the recommendations section.” This is missing step 1.5 which is “enter edit your profile mode.” If you go straight to your recommendations without entering “edit” mode you will not be able to edit.

Whether you want to give your colleague some “stars” or a “thumbs up,” LinkedIn is the place to go.

 

 

How to Add a Video on LinkedIn

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to give potential clients (or employers) an idea of the type of work you do LinkedIn allows you to show media samples on your profile.

One of the notes from the LinkedIn help center states:

“You must use a compatible file type or content provider for best results.”

Or – to quote William Shakespeare, “ay, there’s the rub.”

The (amazingly simple) trick to this is to know what content providers work well with LinkedIn. Two that I’ve found work for all purposes that I need are slideshare.net and YouTube.com

So, first step is to upload a slide show to slideshare or upload a video to YouTube. (If anyone needs tips on that let me know, I’m always looking for more blog posts).

Now it’s 5 easy steps:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile page.
    (It’s the second tab on the top)
  2. Now, hover over where it says “Profile” and click on “Edit Profile.” This will put you in edit mode.
  3. Go to the section you’d like to add the video or slideshow to (I often use the “Summary” section.)
  4. Click on the icon that looks like a box with a “+” sign. LinkedInicon
  5. Now, add the link.
    After you’ve added the link it will give you a chance to change the title and the description.

Thanks to Beth Tomas of BTomasDesign for the question.

 

3 Tips on Who To Delegate To

Yes, I’ve talked about delegdelegateation before. It’s a topic that comes up often. The other day I was reading a Facebook Status from a friend that has a spouse in the construction business.

“Watching all these shady contractors on the news ripping people off makes me sick when there are good guys out there like ____________ who follow all the guidelines and have insurance and proper registration and do a great job for their customers and lose jobs to these clowns that rip people off. If the bid is low, there is a reason. You get what you pay for.”

Sometimes we think it’s hard to find the “good guys,” but if you do your research ahead of time, you’ll save time and frustration in the long run.

Here are three tips that should help you whether you’re looking for a plumber, a lawyer, or a virtual assistant:

  1.  Just ask. Ask everybody you know. Ask your friends, ask your neighbors, post a request to Facebook. Rest assured, if you don’t know somebody, you know somebody that knows somebody.
  2. Do background checks. I’m not talking about the background checks that go with hiring bank employees or Sunday School teachers*. But if you do a Google search on a name, look at a service like Angie’s List, or look at a person’s profile on LinkedIn, that will give you an idea of their professional persona.
  3. Interview. Most reliable service providers, in any area, are more than willing to sit down and talk to you for some amount of time for free (or at a greatly reduced rate) so that you can see if a working relationship is possible.

I honestly can’t think of a single time I’ve made a decision based solely on cost that I’ve been happy with that choice. On the other hand, I’ve often been happy with work done by people that have come with strong personal referrals.

Think about what you can do if you release some of the things that make your life difficult. No dollar amount can be placed on time with your family or on peace of mind.

No Secrets (Carly Simon album)

No Secrets (Carly Simon album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 *As an adoptive parent what I often tell people is that if I had any skeletons in my closet, they would have been found during the background check process. I’m like Carly Simon and I have no secrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halfway there (Google apps and taxes)

Apps Keys Shows Internet Application Or AppIn the U.S., July 4 is the celebration of our nation’s birthday. We often spend the weekend with parties or picnics or family reunions or weddings. The weekend often ends with tired, but happy, people. When you look at a calendar though, July 1 is sort of like “hump day” for the year. The year is now half over (or half begun) and it’s a time to take stock, assess what is or is not working, and plan for the rest of the year.

This might also be a good time to realize that it’s only 6 months until the end of the year and I’m willing to bet that there are a few people that haven’t even begun to think about taxes yet. (WHAT??? You want me to think about taxes in JULY.)

YES, I actually want you to think about taxes in July. Actually, it’s something you should be thinking about every week, or at least every month, and you should be doing some record keeping so that when you do your taxes (or go to see your tax preparer) in 2015, you are somewhat prepared. I realize that sometimes it’s easy to procrastinate, and I want to encourage you to not fall too far behind.

I’m a big fan of various Google Apps (HELLO — FREE!!), so I’m going to point out a few ways that Google Apps can be used in keeping track of your expenses.

Google Calendar https://www.google.com/calendar
Besides allowing you to keep track of your schedule, share your schedule, and syncing with a number of other applications, Google Calendar keeps track of where you’ve been. If you use Google Calendar thoroughly and faithfully, at the end of a week (or month, or 6 months) you can go back through your calendar and check what you’ve done. You can look at each event and see if there’s anything you’ve done that needs to be documented.

Google Maps https://maps.google.com
After you’ve checked your Google Calendar, you’ll realize that you’ve had some travels (meetings or lunches you’ve attended) that you forgot to write down mileage for. This is where Google Maps comes in handy. Just enter your starting location and your destination and you know your mileage (double it for a round trip).

Google Docs https://docs.google.com
Specifically Google spreadsheets. You can use a Google spreadsheet to enter your costs (mileage, advertising, office expenses, deductible meals and entertainment, etc. etc. etc).

Anytime you’re using any type of spreadsheet (Excel, Google Drive, Numbers), I highly recommend beginning with the end in mind. If you’re looking to do your own bookkeeping so that you can either do your taxes or send them to a tax professional, figure out what you’ll need at the end of the year and input the proper categories. (For myself, and many solopreneurs, look at Schedule C).

Next week we’ll look at a few other Google Apps that can make your life easier.

*Disclaimer, I’m not a tax professional.

Tips and Tricks for October

Every month I will be doing a posting on timely tips and tricks. For the most part, these will be guided by the questions I run across from clients or while networking. In other words, if I have to dig out information, I’ll pass it along instead of having others need to look up the same information.

Scheduling multiple people. Okay — first I have to admit that I didn’t find this on my own. I found it on the blog at barrymoltz.com. Doodle is an easy scheduler. You create a poll, invite participants, and then confirm the date and time that the most people are available. Instead of having multiple emails flying back and forth, you can get all of the information in one place. And it’s free. The only question I have is, “Where was this when I was trying to arrange meetings for multiple professors when I worked at the University of Illinois?”

Emailing multiple people. Every now and then you’ll want to send the same email to more than one person. Some email programs allow you to do this automagically, but Google doesn’t have a “mail merge” button (like Microsoft Access does). However, if you know where to look, Google does have a way to do mail merge. This 8-minute video gives a clear step-by-step how to. (Thank you Anson Alexander).

Limit your reading time. There are quite a few blogs that I follow. I get resourceful and timely productivity tips from Evie Burke at One Insight Closer. As mentioned above, I find useful information at Barry Moltz’s blog. It would be nearly impossible to keep up with the social media industry without reading Social Media Examiner. There are others. But I do not have time to visit all the blogs I read every day. I do spend a few hours a week checking all the postings by using Feedly. It took a bit of organizing to group the information I read into different categories, but now I can take a few minutes to an hour with a cup of coffee and read all of my news or short bits of it.

Comparing email Services. There are many email service providers out there. I have used MailChimp and AWeber, but those are the only ones I have first hand experience with. I found this article from April 2013 (before the MailChimp change) that describes some of the providers.

“E-troducing” people. One way to be known as a person that is a valuable resource is to help connect people. You may often meet someone that you think would be a great client, provider, or power partner for another person (for instance, a realtor and a mortgage broker).  I spent some time struggling with the right “formula” for doing email introductions. One day I decided that I was going to write a template for doing introductions, but (as I often do when trying to figure something out) I wondered if someone had already done this. I did a search and found a great article on the Forbes site about email introductions.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Doodle Saves Time (barrymoltz.com)

Create a Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Drive / Docs (YouTube.com)

Comparing email services: Aweber, iContact, ConstantContact, MailChimp, and MadMimi (changetheworldmarketing.com)

How to make the perfect email introduction (forbes.com)

What’s Your (On-site) Backup Plan?

Last week we talked about online backupsID-100179303. I’d like to continue that discussion this week with on-site backups.

Type the phrase “how to backup your computer” in Google and you will receive “about 235,000,000” results. I’m going to assume that you don’t want to go and read them all. I listed a few of the more interesting ones in the “Related Articles” section.

Backups are like exercise. There are many articles about how to exercise and when to exercise and why to exercise, but the best exercise for you is the one that you’ll do. It’s the same with backups. We all should be doing them, we all need to be doing them, but unless you find something that you’re going to keep up with, it’s rather useless.

On my current computer I use the Carbonite Mirror Image to backup to a hard drive. This is kept safely off-site (bank safe deposit box). On my former computer (Windows XP), I used a program called Rapid Backup. When I was looking for a backup program for my Windows XP machine, I did my usual method for finding software. I went to Tucows Downloads, typed the appropriate search term in the box, and found a program that was shareware with a high popularity and a high “cow” rating. I love free software, but I also like to know if it’s tested virus and spyware free (as it is on Tucows — but be wary of the ads).

In addition to that, just to make sure I always have (almost) instant access to customer files, I have my “Documents” directory and my “Downloads” directory copied to a thumb drive, which is also held in my bank safe deposit box. (Luckily my bank is 1/4 mile away, and an easy walk or drive).

One thing every person needs to assess is what their most important files are, and make sure that those files are accessible in an emergency.

Related Articles

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Oh, and if you think all that I do seems to be too much, I’m sure some of my IT friends would be telling me some steps that even I am missing).