It’s that time of year again, yes, Christmas is coming and being self-employed you have to try and juggle work around family life and celebrations and try to get things finished before taking time off work.
This year, in my wisdom (not!) I decided to take a trip to the UK the week before Christmas to see family and friends. When I decided on this break I didn’t really think about the consequences for my work. I am technically taking a week off and then Christmas, so I’ve been working really hard this week to get all client work finished and to ensure that I have lots of things in place for when I’m away.
I decided that you may need some help too on how you can organise yourself before you take any time off, so I have put together a quick blog post about my top tools for keeping your stress at bay over the festive season.
As I work with many clients, Dropbox is really important, especially when I am not going to be in front of my computer for the next week or so. I’ve recently formatted some eBooks for clients, and they may want corrections made while I’m away. I am going to take my netbook to the UK with me, Dropbox is already installed. I have copied the necessary files to Dropbox which I may need while I’m away, so I can easily open them up and make any changes needed. I keep some important documents in Dropbox at all times so I can easily access them. I have Dropbox installed on all my devices, even my iPhone! My websites are also backed up to Dropbox via a plugin, so wherever I am in the world I’ll have access to my website back-ups, you never know when you might need those!
Out of all the tools I recommend here, I think Dropbox has to be the most important of all. I have never had any problems with it, I now have over 7Gb of space available in my account for free which is great. I tried Google Drive with one client, and it just didn’t come close to Dropbox in terms of reliability!
I am always recommending Buffer, it saves me so much time and when I’m away it’s a life saver. I have written a few blog posts about Buffer, so it’s probably easier if you take a look at these instead of me explaining it all over again, here are all the posts tagged as Buffer.
Just yesterday Buffer updated their web app and their iPhone app, they look great and I am off over there shortly to make sure I have enough updates in my accounts to last until I return. Check out the Buffer blog for more information about this.
SocialOomph again is something I rely on heavily for my Twitter updates. I have queue reservoirs set-up which tweet out updates at set times throughout the day. I pay for this service, but again like Buffer it saves me so much time. Automation isn’t ideal for social media, but as I have stressed in many posts before this one it’s necessary to automate some of your social media updates. The kind of updates I add to my queues are blog posts, links to books I have formatted for clients and interesting tips. You have to remember that Twitter is so fast paced, that you want to spread your advice as far as possible and having it on repeat is a great way to get your voice out there. When I say repeat, I have over 200 updates in my reservoirs and only post every 1.5 hours, so it’s not going to cause repetitive updates each day.
Another tool that I recommend all the time. I will be using Flipboard while away from home to catch up on all the blogs I follow and then send them to my Buffer to keep it topped up. If I don’t have the time to read them then I will save them to Pocket for reading when I return home.
You all know by now I have an iPhone and it goes everywhere with me. If you remember my post Smartphone Addiction: Are You? you’ll remember that I was unsure what to do when the new iPhone 5 came out. Well for those who are wondering what happened, it caused me such a headache it deserves a whole blog post of it’s own (maybe soon). I have an iPhone 5 now, it’s a French one, so have lost the ability to text my UK friends for free, but it does mean I can use 3G when I am out and about which was the most important feature. I have some 3G problems with the iPhone 5, but I am hoping these will be resolved.
Anyway, heading back to the UK means I will have to pay for roaming or not use it at all unless connected to wi-fi. This will hopefully be ok, I plan to check emails in the morning and evening when I am connected to wi-fi and then turn roaming off while I’m out. It will be interesting to see how this is going to work, but I can’t afford the roaming charges.
My iPhone has lots of apps on it which I use for business, Dropbox, Buffer, Email, PayPal, Flipboard, Skype, Evernote, Bank Account, Reminders… as well as all my social media networks.
If only I could format eBooks on my iPhone!
If I don’t manage to post again over the Christmas period, I hope everyone has a fab time with family and friends and please come back to visit in 2013 as I have some exciting projects to launch in the New Year!
NB. Some of the links contained in this blog post are affiliate links which means if you sign-up using these link it means I may get a commission if you choose to purchase something I’ve shared with you.
I have tried them all, or it feels as though I have tried them all. I have been looking for such a long time for a monitoring tool, desktop or web-based which I can use to monitor all my social media accounts, in particular Twitter.
I don’t have a lot of followers/friends but I do like to keep up with mentions and retweets and I need something which will show me ALL of these, not just a selection. I have had various problems with all of the applications I have tried, they each have their own different issues.
Before I mention all the ones I have tried, I want to let you know the things I need this tool to do:
- The ability to post a tweet
- The ability to see ALL mentions and reply to them
- The ability to see ALL retweets and reply to them
- A keyword search where I can easily respond to tweets and follow new people
It’s not a long list is it? So why can’t I find a tool which does all this? Even Twitter itself sometimes doesn’t show me all retweets and mentions.
In no particular order, here are the tools I have tried and failed to get what I want from them.
I liked Tweetdeck but it didn’t show me all my mentions and retweets. I’d get a notification on my iPhone Twitter app but nothing would show up in Tweetdeck. I would have probably stuck with that if I hadn’t been recommended something else, and it hadn’t crashed so much, locking me out of my account and generally failing me on a daily basis. I’ve not attempted to use Tweetdeck on my Mac, I might give it a try as I liked the set-up.
I was recommended Pluggio via Twitter when I was tweeting about how useless Tweetdeck had become. I like Pluggio, I like the interface and the ability to reply to retweets all at once. Say 10 people retweet the same tweet over the course of it’s life, I can hit reply and thank those 10 people all at the same time (as long as it fits into 140 characters). I still use Pluggio mainly for this feature. But again, some of the mentions and retweets are missing – although out of all of the tools, this has to be the least frustrating. I also like their Dripfeed function, in fact while writing this piece I realise that so far this is the best of a bad bunch.
I did an interview with Pluggio about my business, it was called Need Help Running Your Business? Jo Talks About Being a Virtual Assistant, and What She Can Do For You, in case you’d like to read it.
Again I like Bottlenose, there are lots of features on their but like the others, mentions and retweets get lost. I also find the interface slightly too busy and often even when marking everything as read it reverts back to unread so it’s difficult to keep track of the tweets you’ve seen/not seen. The main issue for me with this is it’s not easy to see retweets, you have to look in Notifications which is full up of people following you and favouriting tweets. I would recommend using this for the other features, but not for 100% monitoring of your Twitter account.
This is the most recent tool I have tried, and I had high hopes for it. I noticed quite a few Twitter users were using it while analysing my followers in SocialBro. I signed up for free and started to use it as I would any other monitoring tool. I soon realised I couldn’t respond to retweets to say thank you. I could see the retweets but there was no way of replying to the users that so kindly retweeted my post. This is a major downside of using GrabInbox. The notifications for new mentions and messages is good, but without the ability to reply to retweets is a definite reason for me to stop using it immediately!
Nimble is slightly different because it’s technically a Social Relationship Manager (Social cRM) and I signed up to this because I was looking for a way of keeping all my contacts in one place. The added bonus was I could track them on social networks and keep up to date with mentions and retweets. It was great, but again some of the mentions and retweets wouldn’t show up. I always had to have Twitter open to double check I was catching all the mentions. In fact with most of these tools I always have Twitter open to double check. If you’re looking for a Social cRM this is great and I wish I had the time to put into it as I am sure it would have proved more valuable for my business. It’s something I might go back to using eventually.
Even the app on my iMac doesn’t show me retweets, for mentions it’s great but for anything else it’s rather lacking.
I use SocialOomph for automation and scheduling, I find the monitoring side of things ok but certainly not on a par with live updates from the other tools I have used.
It’s a mobile app, so although I like using this on my iPhone, when I’m at my desk I don’t want to be sat on my iPhone monitoring my account, I want a nice desktop or web app to fill the screen of my lovely shiny iMac! But I would definitely recommend this for mobile users.
I signed up to Hootsuite for automation purposes and didn’t find it as user friendly as others I had used, so I didn’t really test this out for purposes of monitoring my Twitter account. If anyone has any good experiences with Hootsuite then please let me know in the comments.
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I think I have managed to mention all the tools I have tried, although I have feeling I have missed a few… it feels as though I have tested hundreds, not just a handful. I will keep searching for that elusive tool that does the four things I need 100% of the time, but until then please tell me in the comments what you use and what problems you’ve encountered? And if you have found a tool that shows ALL mentions and retweets, please let me know!
If you’re looking for a tool to analyse your Twitter account, check out another of my post’s 5 Ways to Analyse Twitter with SocialBro.
It’s been a bit of a hectic few weeks for me, a quick trip to the UK for my best friends hen weekend and then we bought a puppy (click for a photo) last week and he’s been quite a handful. As well as that I have been trying to keep up with the Author Blog Challenge, luckily I have all the content in my inbox (author interviews) and it’s just a case of copy and pasting and a bit of formatting to get them posted each day. So this blog post has been a long time coming… I also have a Social Media Clinic email to do this week as well as keep up with the eBook formatting work I have had in from clients.
Do you regularly optimise your Twitter account?
This blog post came to me this morning while I was doing my weekly Twitter clean out. I don’t schedule it each week, but usually on a Monday or Tuesday I spend some time optimising my Buffer account and clearing out some Twitter friends/followers.
I like to know where I am with my social media profiles, especially on Twitter. This last week my stats from SocialBro told me I had over 60 new follows and 30 unfollows. By checking out all the stats in one place means you can easily synchronise the information each week and get an overview of how well your Twitter account is running and also check out your new followers too.
Everyone has unfollows each week, I have learnt not to let it bother me, partly because I know that some Twitter users use lists to follow people to try and cut down their newsfeed. Also because I am not sure if Twitter has sorted out the random unfollowing people problem yet. I wrote a blog post about it some time ago – Is Twitter Unfollowing People Randomly? – are you still experiencing this?
How do I optimise my Twitter account?
This morning my first stop was Buffer, I keep receiving emails telling me my Buffer (for Twitter) is full – I have 54 spaces, so quite a lot really but just lately I seem to be finding some great content to share. I’ve also set-up some RSS feed actions in Ifttt.com which means some blog posts are being sent directly to Buffer, so if these bloggers write a lot of posts then my Buffer gets full pretty quickly. So this morning I have been through the posts and deleted some which I don’t feel are relevant for my followers, as well as editing some to make them look prettier. The other thing I have done is add an extra tweet per day in the hope it won’t fill up so quickly. That means during the week I have 6 tweets from Buffer and at the weekend just 3.
My next stop was SocialBro to check out my new follows and unfollows. First job is to see who has unfollowed me, in general if someone unfollows me I will unfollow back. There are some exceptions though, I won’t unfollow anyone who I have dealt with in my business or if I genuinely enjoy their tweets. As I said before, I don’t know why they unfollow but those are my rules and I try and stick by them.
I then check out my ‘inactive friends’, the default setting is they haven’t tweeted for 3 months, but I always change this to 15 days. If anyone pops up in the results who hasn’t tweeted in the last 15 days I use the rules above. Some I leave and wait to see if they start tweeting again, and if they appear again the following week then I will unfollow.
I check out my new followers next, but I tend to do this on a daily basis anyway so I can quickly follow people back if I am interested in them. In SocialBro I tend to just have a quick look to see if I’ve overlooked anyone.
The last thing I do is to click on the ‘best time to tweet’ button, it takes a couple of hours to appear but then I can synchronise it with Buffer. It optimises the times my Buffer tweets are sent out and this is a great tool.
I check this less regularly, because I tend to pop on here every couple of days to add a new scheduled update. Every few weeks I check my queue reservoirs for any outdated updates and whether I can jazz some of them up a bit, or change them slightly. I also have a quick look at my stats in here, to see how many of my updates are being retweeted.
I use various apps on a daily basis and I thought they deserved a mention here as well, not necessarily for optimising purposes but just to double check I’m not missing any mentions on Twitter. I use Twitter on the web once a day to check out new followers (as well as the iPhone app). I have just invested in a SocialCRM called Nimble which I will write about soon separately, at the moment I have all my social media accounts in this as well as my email. I also use Tweetdeck for instant pop-ups of retweets and mentions (for my account and client accounts).
Hopefully there will be just one single app I can do all of the above in, wouldn’t that be good?!!
I’d love to know what everyone else uses and if I’m missing out on any similar apps.