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Twitter is one of the most valuable channels online. Using it to connect with potential clients or simply building a strong network is crucial. Yet, moving forward on Twitter can also be very time consuming. Finding tools which help us to focus more on the work we are doing is key.

So here are 10 new and innovative tools to harvest more of Twitter’s power

1. Tweriod – Start tweeting when others listen

Although there exist a few different apps measuring your best times to Tweet, Tweriod comes out as the best. It analyses your past tweets and the ones of your followers and then gives you a detailed graph for when it is best to tweet. The results show you the exact hours of each individual weekday so you can go away immediately and start tweeting at these times. This helps particularly in connection with a publishing App as you can set up these best tweeting times on a schedule.

Best bit: What I love is that you will be sent a DM straight to your inbox once the report is ready, as gathering all this data takes a little while.

Give it a go here: Tweriod

2. Twylah – Fanpages for your Twitter account

Twylah is a fantastic solution to keep your Tweets fresh for a longer period of time. It gathers your sent tweets and organizes them into a personalized page displaying richer content then just links. By referring others to your Twylah page you can give users a better overview of what your tweeting is about. I found that this is a lot more effective than just glancing at other people’s stream as these most recent tweets might not reflect the complete picture.

Best bit: Twylah offers a functionality that is called “Power Tweets”, which result in increased engagement then normal tweets do as related content is gathered around it.

Give it a go here: Twylah

3. Strawberryj.am – Only read the most important news

This is an App I have come to love. It pulls in all your followers tweets and shows you only the most relevant ones. It does so by determining which ones were the most mentioned and talked about and orders them in a list for you. This means, instead of scanning your Twitter stream for hours, you can just log into Strawberryj.am and get the most discussed news at one glance.

Best bit: What I like most is that you can also get personalized updates of your Strawberryj.am straight to your inbox.

Give it a go here: StrawberryJ.am

4. Ifttt – Optimise Your Tweeting

This nifty new App allows you to create social triggers in order to connect the syndication of your various accounts more easily. So for example if you save a new bookmark to delicious, then a tweet will be posted. Or if you are mentioned on Twitter you want an email to be sent. You can optimize it fully to your needs.

Best bit: Different to other syndication Apps such as dlvr.it or Twitterfeed you can be a lot more creative by linking natively completely unrelated apps.

Give it a go here: Ifttt

5. KeepStream – Collect your most valuable Tweets

Another recent discovery of mine is an App called KeepStream. It allows you to make collections of tweets and organize them in more readable format. You can try collecting a few of these tweets and then embed them as a blogpost on your site. One example I found very handy is to use KeepStream to collect tweets from an event or a Twitterchat to share it with people who couldn’t attend.

Best bit: The fact that you can follow others and see their tweet collections makes for a richer experience of past tweets.

Give it a go here: KeepStream

6. ManageFlitter – Unfollow others with ease

This is by far the most intuitive Tool I came across in order to help me clean up my Twitter account. It shows you who of the people you are following isn’t following back, who is cluttering your timeline and who is no longer active. Just give it a few clicks and unfollow those not adding enough value to your stream.

Best bit: What like most is that you don’t have to fiddle with creating an account. Simple sign in with Twitter, unfollow unwanted followers and off you go.

Give it a go here: ManageFlitter

7. TwitSprout – Onepage analytics dashboard

Finding out about the most important metrics for your Twitter account can often be confusing. Twitsprout however does a brilliant job on giving you only the most important metrics such as increase in followers, listings and mentions over time. You can also brand them with your own logo, so it turns into a beautiful infographic you can share elsewhere.

Best bit: The App allows you to export the data as a PDF report, that I found particularly useful to use for offline presentations.

Give it a go here: TwitSprout

8. Commun.it – Build out your Twitter Tribe

This is another very innovative idea for an App. Commun.it shows you all your followers and orders them by most engaged, supporters and influencers. This means you can focus on these interactions and build out your network beyond these connections. I found this particularly useful to know whom I should engage with more in order to get noticed.

Best bit: What I like best is that the App suggests you potential leads showing mentions of your brand or blog outside your network.

Give it a go here: Commun.it

9. Proxlet – Unclutter your stream

One of my all time favourites is a very helpful App called Proxlet. It allows you to filter out certain Twitter users, hashtags or keywords from your stream. So you can get rid of unwanted paper.li or Foursquare tweets, that don’t add value to your timeline. It is also very helpful to filter out hashtags if there is an event happening you aren’t interested in following.

Best bit: In addition to Twitter.com Proxlet also works on major Twitter clients such as Twitter for Iphone, Tweetdeck and Twitdroyd.

Give it a go here: Proxlet

10. Buffer – Never Flood Your Followers Again

(Full disclosure: I work on Buffer) Buffer gives you a complete new way to send out Tweets. Whenever you find an interesting article, give it one click on the Buffer icon with one of the browser extensions (Chrome, Safari or Firefox). This will “Buffer” your tweet and post it for you well spaced out over the day. So you can add lots of tweets whilst reading the news, but never flood your followers.
Best bit: Buffer also allows you to add tweets to multiple Twitter accounts and even works on Twitter.com to Buffer some RTs.

Give it a go here: Buffer

These are my favourite new Twitter Apps at the moment. I hope some of them are useful for you too. Do you think any of the above can help you be more efficient too?

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Ah, referrals. I can’t think of a more powerful selling tool.

It’s a fact: People would rather do business with people they know–or know of–than with strangers. When you’re introduced to a prospect through a personal recommendation, that prospect has a vastly higher comfort level than, say, a buyer you find through cold calling. After all, few things are more reassuring than a positive endorsement from someone you know and trust.

So why is it that, while we all covet referrals, we don’t pursue them as much as we should? I think it’s largely a matter of developing good habits.

Change Your Thinking
Imagine your business as an infinite web of relationships. Every one of your business contacts has the potential to connect you to dozens of other contacts. The relationships are out there, but they’ll likely remain out of reach unless you actively pursue them. It may never occur to your current contacts to broker an introduction. It’s up to you to put the idea in their heads.

Don’t feel sheepish about asking for referrals; there’s nothing pushy or smarmy about it. People won’t give you referrals unless you deserve them. In fact, getting a referral is the highest compliment you can receive. Let your customers know you prize referrals, which you’ll earn by providing excellent quality products and services.

Make It a Habit
I know one entrepreneur who built a successful business almost solely on referrals. How’d he get so good at it? When he was an eager young sales apprentice, his manager trained him well. Every time he glanced at his watch, which he did often in his zeal to stay on schedule, it meant it was time to ask for a referral. Eventually, it became second nature.

Here are more easy ways to start developing good referral-building habits:

  • When you begin working with a new customer, make referrals part of your initial agreement. “If I do a great job for you–and I will–you agree to give me X number of referrals.” Chances are your customer will be impressed by your dedication and drive.
  • Whenever a customer compliments you, respond with a thank you, quickly followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?”
  • Use every client meeting as an opportunity to collect referrals. To keep yourself on track, jot a reminder down in your meeting preparation notes. Make it one of your standard talking points.
  • Set a weekly goal for yourself. Keep track of the number of referrals you ask for each day. You don’t need to limit your requests to clients; you can also ask business associates, acquaintances and prospects.
  • Make the most of every networking opportunity. Step out of your comfort zone at networking events and set a goal to talk to at least three new people. Plan in advance what you might say. We’re all drawn to interesting, enthusiastic people.
  • Always be specific when asking for a referral. Looking for high net worth individuals? Say so. Interested in midsize companies? Let them know. If you don’t tell your contacts who your target customer is, you’ll waste time pursuing leads you can’t use.

Give and You Shall Receive
One of the most powerful ways to elicit referrals is to give them generously yourself. Whenever you have the opportunity to refer an associate or bring two contacts together, do so. And when you’re attending the aforementioned networking event, make a point of introducing people to one another. Most people will appreciate the referral, and it may inspire them to respond in kind.

One last thought: Always thank someone who has given you a referral. Send them a note, keep them informed of your progress and maybe even treat them to lunch.

What’s the close ratio on referral business, compared to other prospecting methods? I don’t have a definitive answer for you, but I’ve seen estimates that range from 50 to 500 percent more. Those are big numbers. Whatever that number is for you, you can bet it’s a whole lot higher than cold calling, advertising, web marketing or virtually any other sales technique you might employ.

The referral is the number-one tool in your tool kit. Get in the habit of reaching for it often–say, as often as you might glance at your watch.

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For millions of people Google is an indispensable search tool that they use every day, in all facets of their lives. From work or school, research, to looking up movies and celebrities to news and gossip, Google is the go-to search engine.

But instead of just typing in a phrase and wading through page after page of results, there are a number of ways to make your searches more efficient.

Some of these are obvious ones, that you probably know about. But others are lesser-known, and others are known but not often used. Use this guide to learn more about, or be reminded of, some of the best ways to get exactly what you’re looking for, and quickly.

    1. Either/or
      Google normally searches for pages that contain all the words you type in the search box, but if you want pages that have one term or another (or both), use the OR operator — or use the “|” symbol (pipe symbol) to save you a keystroke. [dumb | little | man]

 

    1. Quotes
      If you want to search for an exact phrase, use quotes. [“dumb little man”] will only find that exact phrase. [dumb “little man”] will find pages that contain the word dumb and the exact phrase “little man”.

 

    1. Not
      If you don’t want a term or phrase, use the “-” symbol. [-dumb little man] will return pages that contain “little” and “man” but that don’t contain “dumb”.

 

    1. Similar terms
      Use the “~” symbol to return similar terms. [~dumb little man -dumb] will get you pages that contain “funny little man” and “stupid little man” but not “dumb little man”.

 

    1. Wildcard
      The “*” symbol is a wildcard. This is useful if you’re trying to find the lyrics to a song, but can’t remember the exact lyrics. [can’t * me love lyrics] will return the Beatles song you’re looking for. It’s also useful for finding stuff only in certain domains, such as
      educational information: [“dumb little man” research *.edu].

 

    1. Advanced search
      If you can’t remember any of these operators, you can always use Google’s advanced search.

 

    1. Definitions
      Use the “define:” operator to get a quick definition. [define:dumb] will give you a whole host of definitions from different sources, with links.

 

    1. Calculator
      One of the handiest uses of Google, type in a quick calculation in the search box and get an answer. It’s faster than calling up your computer’s calculator in most cases. Use the +, -, *, / symbols and parentheses to do a simple equation.

 

    1. Numrange
      This little-known feature searches for a range of numbers. For example, [“best books 2002..2007] will return lists of best books for each of the years from 2002 to 2007 (note the two periods between the two numbers).

 

    1. Site-specific
      Use the “site:” operator to search only within a certain website. [site:dumblittleman.com leo] will search for the term “leo” only within this blog.

 

    1. Backlinks
      The “link:” operator will find pages that link to a specific URL. You can use this not only for a main URL but even to a specific page. Not all links to an URL are listed, however.

 

    1. Vertical search
      Instead of searching for a term across all pages on the web, search within a specialized field. Google has a number of specific searches, allowing you to search within blogs, news, books, and much more:

    2. Movies
      Use the “movie:” operator to search for a movie title along with either a zip code or U.S. city and state to get a list of movie theaters in the area and show times.

 

    1. Music
      The “music:” operator returns content related to music only.

 

    1. Unit converter
      Use Google for a quick conversion, from yards to meters for example, or different currency: [12 meters in yards]

 

    1. Types of numbers
      Google algorithms can recognize patterns in numbers you enter, so you can search for:

      • Telephone area codes
      • Vehicle ID number (US only)
      • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) equipment numbers (US only)
      • UPC codes
      • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane registration number (US only)
      • Patent numbers (US only)
      • Even stock quotes (using the stock symbol) or a weather forecast regarding the next five days
    2. File types
      If you just want to search for .PDF files, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets, for example, use the “filetype:” operator.

 

    1. Location of term
      By default, Google searches for your term throughout a web page. But if you just want it to search certain locations, you can use operators such as “inurl:”, “intitle:”, “intext:”, and “inanchor:”. Those search for a term only within the URL, the title,
      the body text, and the anchor text (the text used to describe a link).

 

    1. Cached pages
      Looking for a version of a page the Google stores on its own servers? This can help with outdated or update pages. Use the “cached:” operator.

 

  1. Answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Search for that phrase, in lower case, and Google will give you the answer.