Tag Archives: social media

Top 10 Websites You Know You Should Be Using but You Don’t!

Internet toolsEveryone wants to offer advice, uncover little-known resources and introduce websites that require more of your valuable time.  Many professionals overlook important and productive activities because they are too busy trying testing the next tool or website that claims to save time, maintain organization or improve productivity.

 

These are the 10 sites you are overlooking because you are too busy wasting time elsewhere and don’t realize what you are missing.  My favorite thing about the list is that it is “time-neutral”.  I’ll explain afterwards, but if you follow and execute the list it should become obvious.  I even threw in some bonus tools for good measure.  Start with the first 10, then move on to the bonus resources:

  1. Evernote – it’s not just for project management!  Download the app to your phone and use it to quickly save reminders, links, or content you want to share.
  2. IFTTT – don’t waste time posting and re-posting your content to multiple social networks.  Set up recipes using IFTTT to share content across several platforms with a single click.
  3. Quora – it’s LinkedIn Discussions on steroids.
  4. Google Plus – your profiles syncs with a Google account.  Strengthen your brand and social influence.  90 million+ members is no joke!
  5. Academia.edu – an academic approach to developing your brand.Crazy clock
  6. Yelp – establish yourself as a trusted source of feedback.  You offer your opinion through conversation anyways so you may as well reap the benefits of social influence.
  7. Foursquare – the easiest way to get on the mobile marketing bandwagon.  It’s a growing trend you can’t ignore.
  8. Google Voice – create a free account and use your Google Voice number to track response rates from specific advertising campaigns.
  9. About.me – build a customized landing page for you or your business in less than 30-minutes.
  10. Cloud Storage Services – I wrote about how I use cloud storage services.  Whether you use Dropbox, Drive or Box, all of your files should be backed-up properly and accessible from anywhere with internet access.

Before you continue to the bonus resources, read through the first list again.  Evernote, IFTTT, Google Voice and cloud storage are all tools that should save you time.  These tools help offset the little extra time required to execute the rest of your list.  Now that you are on a path to success, check out some of the bonus resources:

Checklist accomplishedBonus Resources:

  • Hootsuite
  • Mailexpire.com – avoid inbox clutter with temporarily email addresses that expire when you want
  • GifSoup.com
  • Ted Talks
  • StumbleUpon
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Filed under Branding, Marketing, Productivity, Professional, Social Media & SEO

12 Ways to Keep Tweets Under 140 Characters

Tweet 140 Characters or lessIt is a constant challenge for Twitters users to live in a 140-character world.  The elements of a successful tweet are a clear message, audience engagement, and influence expansion.  All this must be accomplished in 140-characters or less.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Content is the cornerstone of Twitter.  With a solid foundation is in place, you can focus on perfecting your delivery.  Next, you must master how to communicate effectively using 140-characters or less.  Use these 12 steps, each 140-characters or less, to conquer the art of short-form content delivery:

  1. Avoid the word “and”.  Replacing “and” with “&” or “+” is an easy way to save two characters.
  2. Use numbers over words.  Use digits (ex: 23, instead of twenty-three) instead of their respective longhand word form.
  3. Embrace contractions.  Although frowned upon in professional prose, it’s perfectly acceptable on Twitter.
  4. URL shorteners are your friend.  I use Bit.ly, but Ow.ly, and TinyURL are other popular options.
  5. Remove prepositions.  Readers on Twitter understand.
  6. Use synonyms.  Same meaning, fewer characters.  What’s not to love?
  7. Adopt 125 or less.  Leave room for retweets and make sharing convenient.  It’s Twitter etiquette.
  8. Be vague.  Better to raise curiosity than show your cards.
  9. Punctuation optional.  When in doubt, cut it out.  Only include items pertinent to understanding the message.
  10. Cut yourself off. Write “normally” but end tweets with “such as”, “including”, “like”,  etc. TwitLonger is a great tool for this approach.
  11. Limit Local.  Avoid including location info (ex: Foursquare, check-ins, etc).  Save the space for when it matters.
  12. A.C.E. content.  Acronyms Create Engaging content, command attention, and leave a lasting impression.

Here’s another acronym: K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple, Stupid.  You may find that it’s easier to say more with less.  Or in abbreviated Twitter-prose: Say more with less.

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Why Klout Is More Important Than Street Cred

Word on the street is that your “street cred” may be on the decline because there’s a new player on the block: Klout

Street Cred Klout

Klout.com started gaining steam in the second half of 2011 and an algorithm update in August 2012 helped silence some of their critics.  Why should you care?  Your reputation precedes you.  Street cred measures your outside influence on peers and their acquaintances, but Klout places a value on your influence across the entire worldwide web.  You can forget being a big fish in a little pond when it comes to measuring your Klout.

speech bubbles people talkingOnline reputation management and monitoring social influence are growing trends.  Employers, competitors, friends, and even potential dates are diving deep into your online archives and judging you based on the material they find.  The occasional Google search is not a sufficient approach to monitor your online reputation and relevance in the online community.   Your Klout score is a great first step to measure your influence across various social networks.  However, nobody is promising a squeaky clean and positive influence.  Start with your Klout score and work backwards to uncover what material you are associated with on the web.

Popularity and street cred were different when you were an awkward teen on MySpace so those kissy-face pictures in the mirror won’t save your online image even if your Klout rivals President Obama.  A respectable Klout score is a good start but you need an effective social networking strategy that helps your score and protects your online reputation.  With your own identity under control, you can pay it forward by helping your friend that suffers from verbal diarrhea on her public Twitter feed.

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A Perfect Social Media Strategy in 2 Hours or Less (Part 2)

social networking cartoon bubblesNow that you created an identity and general online presence, it’s time to focus on maximizing the impact of your efforts.  There are hundreds of social sites, profile pages, and databases that you will never have time to monitor.  With a solid framework in place, steps 6-10 are designed to optimize your results, protect your image, and measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy.

Steps 6-10 that complete your 2-hour social media makeover (see steps 1-5):

6.  Go Pro.  Professionals rely on social media for prospecting, hiring, and monitoring their brand.  Maintaining a professional image and establishing credibility are simple.  If nothing else, create a LinkedIn profile with your name, company, and position.  Joining groups, answering questions, and receiving recommendations are additional steps to improve your presence in the business world.  Use Quora and About.me to establish additional credibility and create your professional footprint.
7.  Become a trusted source.  Everyone has an opinion.  Reviews and feedback influence our decisions every day – Oprah’s O List, political polls, restaurant recommendations.  Establish yourself as a trusted source of information.  Start by posting your feedback on Yelp or Google.  Add details and examples to increase the value of your reviews.
8.  Drunk failA picture is worth a thousand words.  Too much to drink at a wedding?  The awkward headshot for your high school soccer team?  Don’t spend hours perfecting profile content only to have it destroyed by the first picture of you that people see.  Post a public photo album using Picasa or create a YouTube channel so you can control the material available to the public.  Photos and videos are also a great way to add depth to your social profile online.
9.  Be in the know.  You cannot always control the materials other people post.  Set your notifications on each profile so you’re aware of photos, comments, and other material tied to your identity.  Sign up for emails from Google Alerts to receive emails each time your name or alias shows up somewhere online.
10.  Where do you rank?  Before you started this makeover you were virtually non-existent.  The purpose of establishing an online identity and social media strategy is to improve your presence and influence others.  Sites like Klout, KredStory, and TrustCloud use complex algorithms to measure your prominence and impact on the online community.  Use this information to find areas you can improve and see where you stack up against others!

Steps 6, 7, and 8 represent trifecta #2 and should be a secondary focus in your overall social media strategy.  Steps 9 and 10 are designed to measure and monitor.  It took you less than 2 hours to go from social zero to social hero, but you’re not done yet!  A successful social media strategy requires commitment.  Once you’ve established a presence, neglecting your online identity is worse than not having one.  Stay current, provide content, create interactions and don’t use social networks as an excuse to procrastinate!  Revisit these steps in 30 days to see if you are still on track!

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A Perfect Social Media Strategy in 2 Hours or Less (part 1)

social icon assortment arrayI’m not going to lecture you on the importance of your online presence and monitoring your social profiles.  We’ll leave that to the social media gurus, warlocks, and ninjas.  My social makeover will transform you from a social networking wannabe into a borderline media mogul in under 2 hours.  The 2-part approach gives the skeptics a chance to bail on my plan at the halfway point.  Meanwhile, you can explore the results of your initial efforts, collect your first metrics, and note opportunities to improve your social strategy before you progress to the second phase.

10-step Social Makeover and Guide to Create a Social Presence in Under 2-Hours:

  1. Ron Burgundy online identity crisisDetermine your online identity.  I suggest seizing ownership of your name whenever possible.  Obviously if you’re a ‘John Smith’ that may be tough, but you want to choose a social alias that will become synonymous with real-life you.  Use this identity as your username for new accounts and your custom URL on each social profile you establish.  My preferred identity is ‘DanLeavitt’, but I share a name with a somewhat socially savvy musician from Colorado so I occasionally use my alternate identity: ‘DanLeavittJr‘.  Check KnowEm.com before you choose an identity to make sure your alias is available on each of the major social platforms.
  2. Outline your profile.  The information you publish should be consistent on every social platform.  Create a short version bio, long version bio, list of interests, books, TV shows, movies, and any other content you regularly see on someone’s profile.  Copying and pasting this info to the new profiles we plan to create will save time, ensure consistency, and improve SEO efforts.  Now we can focus on the personal and professional identity trifectas!  (Advanced Tip:  Create a document titled ‘profile content’ in Evernote so you can easily access and update the material)
  3. Facebook social media cornerstone & home baseGive Facebook a face-lift.  (trifecta pt. 1)  It’s time to stop being a creeper and become a contributor.  Facebook is the king of social networks and it represents the cornerstone of your online identity.    Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not a forum to share every detail of your personal life.  The easiest way to create an audience is through content that is funny, cute, and/or relevant to a broad audience.  Avoid taboo topics and newsfeed-jacking (limit yourself to 1 post every few hours you little addict).  Keep an eye on your privacy settings and follow the golden rule: “If you wouldn’t share it with a stranger, don’t share it online.”
  4. Twitter isn’t a dirty word.  (trifecta pt. 2)  What do I write?  How come I only have 140 characters?  Does anybody pay attention to this crap?  Write whatever you want (something quasi-intelligent is preferable).  It needs to be short and sweet, so get to the point!  Millions of content addicts flock to Twitter each day to learn breaking news, helpful hints, or find an audience that shares a common interest.
  5. I think therefore I blogOnly the best blog. (trifecta pt. 3)  Blogging is the yellowbrick road to social networking Oz.  Follow the yellowbrick road.  What do I write about? Anything!  Follow the Golden Rule and write about your interests or share your expertise.  The content you create will become a portfolio you can share with your new online audience.  (Free blogging platforms: WordPress.com, Tumblr, or Blogger)

Tomorrow I’ll share steps 6-10, including the second trifecta necessary to solidify your professional identity.  Are you still concerned that managing your social presence will become a tedious time burden?  I’ll introduce you to my favorite tools and resources that will make monitoring your new social presence a breeze.

***BONUS: you can establish your online identity by joining social networks and interacting with that network.  Feedback is another tool that expands your presence.  Provide reviews on sites like Yelp.com, Google, and MerchantCircle to become a valuable source of information in your community.  Part 2 will include a couple of tools you can use to track your influence on the community.  Want to get a head start?  Go write reviews for your favorite restaurant, pub, and local attraction!***

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Why the Gurus, Mavens, and Wizards are destroying the credibility of the Experts

Ruby SlippersPlease forgive me for being a bit out of touch,  but what title are people using these days to indicate their self-proclaimed expertise?  It was somewhat confusing when the “Gurus” showed up, but we honored their creativity.  The first “Maven” was witty and progressive.  Nobody was prepared for the army of wizards, masters, czars, and even a virtuoso that showed up.  I think that’s where I got lost.

With more name confusion than John Mellencamp, the identity crisis among today’s “experts” leaves plenty of room for the imagination and little comfort for individuals seeking true expertise.  The solution is simple – ignore titles.  An expert is measured by experience, past referrals, and performance.  These are the characteristics behind a shift towards the new world of marketing we discussed the other day.  Engaged consumers will see beyond the flashy, artificial titles and job descriptions as they embrace the web 2.0 environment.

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The New World of Advertising

CREATIVE GUERRILLA MARKETING– “…brands still do exactly that. Beleaguering and bombarding us with their over the top commercials.  Advertising is still a world that overflows with deceitful babble and blah-blah, and in such a world, nothing sticks.  Too slick makes sleazy. Too airy makes empty.  And all of this makes you long for bumps and pits to stumble in and fall over. Wish for unconventional, rattling ads that are relevant and engaging: guerrilla marketing.”

The advertising world is more fake than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s romance (also see: publicity whores).  What if every product worked as advertised?  What if every promotion generated an instant buzz? The answer to both questions is that many marketers would be out of a job.  Commercial broadcasting is becoming less effective as consumers gravitate towards conversation and interaction.  Nobody trusts television commercials anymore (except my grandmother, she will buy any infomercial product you show her).  We ask a friend’s for a recommendation, read Yelp reviews, or browse customer comments on a Facebook page before making our decision.

Many self-proclaimed experts, gurus, and wizards of SEO were thrown for a loop when Google released the Panda update, followed by the Penguin series of updates in April of this year.  The takeaway is simple: Create instead of fabricate.  Any company can claim they offer a great product, but can the company inspire their customers to boast about their experience?  Coca-Cola was ahead of the curve with their “Open Happiness” campaign.  Since 2006 we’ve been praising “The Most Interesting Man in the World” and the creativity of Dos Equis.  And we can’t forget how Isaiah Mustafa and Old Spice used a “stripped-down” campaign that inspired celebrities Alyssa Milano, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ashton Kutcher to partake.  A successful campaign needs to captivate and inspire – grab the audience’s attention and drive them to interact.  I’m on a horse!

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