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Buffer – more clicks, easy

What I found to be the most important ingredient to a great online appearance is to create amazing content for your followers. In order to do so, Buffer comes in very handy. You can drop tweets into your Buffer with just one click and the app posts it for you at optimal times over the day.

This allows me to spend a few minutes each morning on finding great posts and throwing them into my Buffer. The app will take care of the rest. In recent research this has shown to increase clicks and retweets about 200%.

Best bit: With every tweet Buffered you will know exactly how many people have clicked, retweeted, and how much reach it has gotten.

Find out more: Buffer [Disclaimer: The author is the creator of Buffer]

 

Twylah – more from your tweets

The lifetime of a tweet is traditionally very short and bit.ly recently confirmed that it lasts only for about 2.8 hours. Yet, putting all that content to waste after only a few hours isn’t very efficient I feel. This is where Twylah comes in.

The app turns all tweets you have ever posted into a beautifully branded landing page, displaying all your past tweets in categories and rich media display. It is a great way to help others understand what you are tweeting about and make use of your content.

Best bit: A great feature from Twylah is a function called “Power Tweet,” which allows you to send tweets that reach up to 4 times more engagement, as relevant content is grouped around it.

Find out more: Twylah

 

Storify – let your tweets be story tellers

This is an app that I have gradually started to use more as I wanted to clip tweets and thoughts together. Oftentimes you might have a quick inspiration for a piece of content, yet, writing a full post about it is sometimes difficult.

With Storify, you can quickly clip tweets, videos and pictures together and turn them into a post themselves. You can then embed it on your blog or on your Storify page and distribute it as normal content across the web.

Best bit: What I like most is that you can add clippings from a great variety of sources including Flickr, Youtube, and other blog posts.

Find out more: Storify

 

StrawberryJ.am – what’s trending

One of my recent favorite apps is called StrawberryJ.am. The app is a fantastic way to stay on top of the latest news from your stream without wasting too much time. StrawberryJ.am automatically shows you the most mentioned tweets from your network and orders it by number of mentions.

This also helps me a great deal to stay in touch with a wider network, as I can immediately see, who is interested in the same things as me. On top of all this you can even “Jam” searches, Twitter lists, and hashtags to learn more about topics outside your network.

Best bit: A feature I also appreciate very much is the change to have a daily summary being emailed to me, so I can have the best news right in my inbox.

Find out more: StrawberrJ.am

 

WhoTweetedMe – look up who’s tweeting what

This is a tool I have been waiting for a long time. It allows you to drop any URL in and get a great analysis around how it was spread around on Twitter. You will learn about the number of retweets, when they happened, and who the top people were retweeting it.

I like to use this app mostly to see how my own blogposts have performed and learn who the most influential people are that are spreading the word about the post. It is also a great way to see, at which times most retweets happen so you can improve your timing.

Best bit: What I like best about this app is that it provides you with a link to thank your top retweeters. This is a great way to strike up new conversations with important people.

Find out more: WhoTweetedMe

 

Formulists – efficient list building

Ever since Twitter introduced their list feature, I found it to be quite cumbersome to put people into various lists to help growing my Twitter following. Here is where Formulists is incredibly useful. The app allows you to create lists automatically if certain things happen.

This can mean that upon someone following, retweeting or mentioning you, they are automatically put into the corresponding list you have setup for them. I found this to be a great way to vet my followers more efficiently and stay in touch with a wider network at any given time.

Best bit: Formulists also automatically provides you with tabs of people that you speak with the most. This is one of the best online networking features I have used so far.

Find out more: Formulists

 

The Archivist – Analytics Dashboard

There exist a lot of different analytics tools, yet none is so simple and pretty to look at as TwitSprout is. You will get a great overview of the number of retweets, mentions and new followers you have gained in the past. It is all displayed on just one page and helps you detect trends very easily.

What I like here is that all your stats are shown in an overlay, so you can make sure that you are growing organically, without neglecting certain metrics. It is also a great way to understand the speed of growth you are taking on Twitter.

Best bit: TwitSprout allows you to export all your analytics very easily as a PDF file and use it conveniently in presentations or reports.

Find out more: Twitsprout

 

Parrotfish

Tired of clicking through to links and coming back because it wasn’t quite what you were interested in? Parrotfish might just be the right solution for you. It is a browser extension, that allows you to see a rich-media preview of the post or video right in Twitter.com.

I have to say that this has brought me back to using Twitter.com a lot more. It makes the browsing experience a lot more frictionless too. All you have to do is click on the tweet and it brings up the content on the right-hand side for you.

Best bit: What I like best here is that the app allows you to save posts to InstaPaper right from Twitter, so you can skip visiting the page entirely.

Find out more: Parrotfish

 

Mentionmapp – Friends of Friends?

This is an app that is both fun and also really useful. It works super simple. All you have to do is put a username in and the tool automatically draws a beautiful Mentionmapp for you. It shows you who is talking with you the most together with the number of interactions.

To me, this is a fantastic journey through your personal Twitter network, casually suggesting, whom you might should hit up again. You can insert any other username you have in mind to learn about their network more easily too.

Best bit: Try clicking on any username linking to you and the network will naturally expand including people outside your network and hashtags.

Find out more: Mentionmapp

 

Commun.it – Understand your Twitter network

Lastly, I want to introduce an app to you that focuses solely on helping you establish your Twitter network. Commun.it orders your connections into most relevant, influencers and potential leads. It includes a very comprehensive dashboard to engage with these members right inside the app.

I like to check into my Commun.it dashboard ever so often to get a feel for which people I should engage more with to keep my network growing. Particularly a recent addition of analytics around your tweets and follower count makes me come back more often.

Best bit: What I find most interesting is that the app even monitors mentions of your brand or personal name outside your network right inside your dashboard.

Find out more: Commun.it

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Creating A Page

Within two days or sooner, everyone is supposed to be able to make pages by using the Create A Page tool. Availability is rolling out now, so if you get an “Google+ Pages isn’t ready” error, keep checking back. (NOTE: Google now says everyone should have access).

Assuming you do have access, I’ll start with what you see when making a page for the “Product or Brand” category, though the steps work the same for any category of page other than local (more on that below).

Once you begin, you get simple form back:

You enter the name you want for your Google+ page, the URL you want to associate that page with on an external website (this is optional), a category for your page (a range from Aerospace to Travel is offered), along with who your content is appropriate for (anyone, 18+, 21+ and alcohol-related).

Hit the Create button, and you’ll get a new page where you can add:

  • 10 word tag line to describe your page
  • Profile photo for your page

You can actually go longer than 10 words. Nothing prevents this. It’s really that if you go long, not everything will show.

After your done, hit save, and your done.

Local Business Or Place

Local businesses get special listings, and it all starts after you choose the “Local” option by entering a phone number.

Google+ is very picky, insisting the number be entered with a + before your countrycode (in the US, this means +1), followed by the phone number separated by dashes.

To test, I entered the number of a local pizza place. That brought up an existing listing from Google Places:

If this wasn’t correct, or if my business wasn’t listed, I could have selected another option. But since it is, clicking on it automatically fills in some of the information needed for Google Plus:

You’re unable to move the map marker, if that’s incorrect. You can change the address, however, which in turn moves the marker. There are also options to pick your category of business (Food, Lodging, Storage and more are listed) and select who your content is appropriate for (anyone, 18+, 21+ and alcohol-related).

Pimping Your Page

Now that your page is created, you can pimp it out with more information, if you want. Here’s the basic page that I made for my personal blog, Daggle:

The first arrow points at the page title, the second at the tag line. The third points at additional ways I could update my page, through the About area. When logged in, I see this:

Below, you can see that I’ve added a link from the Google+ page back to my actual blog, plus I’ve added a little intro text:

Posting As Your Page

Once you’ve made your page, you’ll also likely find that Google is showing you a notice that you’re now on Google+ as if you’re the page yourself. Here’s how it looks:

In other words, any action you take will be coming from the page you’ve made. That’s how you begin to update your page’s content with photos or videos.

For instance, here I’m logged in, about to share a post from my blog through the blog’s page on Google Plus:

Once I hit share, that post went out to my page — and in turn went out to anyone who follows the page.

Similarly, I could add photos or video. One nice thing is that you can easily enter the URL of any YouTube video you might have, so that you add that video to your page without having to upload:

Managing Your Pages

It’s perfectly acceptable for you to have multiple pages. If you’re a business with several popular products, you might want pages for both the business and the products.

Google itself does this, with a page for Gmail existing separately from Google.

You could also do pages for particular events, though right now, there’s no event-specific type of support, as you’d find with Facebook, such as to designate a particular date.

To get to managing all your pages, look up at whatever profile picture is shown in the top left corner, then click on the drop-down arrow:

The drop-down option (shown with the first arrow) makes a list of all your pages appear, so that you can switch while logged in and act as if you are one of them.

At the bottom of the menu, a “Manage your pages” link brings up a list of all your pages:

You can then delete any page you don’t want, which is what I did with that pizza place one I created as part of the testing. Using the Manage button, you can also switch accounts.

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The use of press releases is common in the field of public relations. It is a powerful way to gain publicity for your business, it offers the opportunity for your business story to go viral within hours. Use a reputable press release channel and you can find your news story at the top of Google news and in the hands of journalists and websites that specialize in your industry. This then leads to targeted visitors to your site for months after and even helps your site with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What should I put in my press release?

Has your business been awarded or nominated for an award? If not then you could even develop an annual award and give it out to someone in your industry or community.

The media also loves survey results why not create your own customer survey with some controversial questions and then write the Press Release on the results.

Use the holiday season to your advantage. For example if you sell products write a story about your 10 most popular products this Christmas, top 10 lists are popular and certainly make a good read around the Christmas period.

The media loves human interest stories especially on relationships. Have you helped any of your customers find love whist using your services? Are their any tragic stories with a happy ending?

The more creative you are with your Press Release story the higher the chance of having success. Have a brainstorm with your employees and you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you come up with.

Finally make sure your Press Release is newsworthy with a compelling title. Now you should  have some ideas on what to write for your  press release , so get  writing or delegating, get your business some publicity and watch the effect on your bottom line.

If your still hesitant and need some assistance then feel free to talk to our team of experts.

Some Key Things to Remember

  • Stay away from hype-bloated phrases like “breakthrough”, “unique”, “state-of-the-art”, etc.
  • Always write it from a journalist’s perspective. Never use “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote.
  • Read lots of good newspaper writing, such as the New York Times or the Washington Post to get a feel for the style.
  • Shorter is better. If you can say it in two pages, great. If you can say it in one page, better.
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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.