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It's Time To Play!

It’s Time to Play

On my way to share a blog post about being “blessed not busy”, I got sidetracked when I went to concert last night.  As I was dancing and listening in the awe of the amazing talent of The Lone Bellow – seriously having some soul stirring moments, I was reminded how much harder it is for us adults to play and how sad that it for our souls.

In our younger years, there just seems to be more opportunities to play – to physically move, to dance, to sing, to create music, to create art, to experience something so profound that it stirs your soul.  It was part of how we grew up. It was integrated into our schooling and our extra-curricular activities and our free time.  But as adults, we seem to get caught up in day-to-day trappings of being serious grown-ups with serious jobs and serious to-do-lists and playing seems frivolous.

So stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What stirs my soul?”

Now do it. Make it happen.

You can dance in your closet, dance with your kids, dance with your spouse, sing in your shower, sing in the car, color in your kids’ coloring book, paint pottery, book a concert, go to a museum or climb a wall.  Just do something fun for you! It’s good practice.

Whatever that “soul-stirring” creative play looks like to you – whether it’s drawing, crafting, photography, videography, singing, dancing, playing music – whatever it is, your heart and soul need it now.  We should be nurturing and stirring our souls a regular basis.  It’s what makes us who we are – our to-do list certainly doesn’t.

Though it sounds totally contradictory, I keep hearing the more you play and the less you work, the more successful you will be – I’m really starting to believe it.  The more we are aligned with the experiences that make us happy and heart-ful, the better we are able to give back to the world in a positive universe shifting way.

So I’m off to more concerts . . . what about you?  Please share in the comments what soul-stirring moments you will be experiencing or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.  Thanks!

8 Secrets to Successful Social Media Management

Earlier this month, I spoke at 341 Studios about “Social Media Marketing for Business” where I shared top trends, tools and tricks to help small business make the most of their social media marketing with an audience of small business professionals. It turned out to be a lively discussion, instead of a presentation! We covered the top social media platforms and strategies for making time for social media marketing.

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Here are some of the “secrets” we discussed:

1.     Choose 1 or 2 platforms and use them well: Be where your clients will be. Don’t try to be everywhere.

2.     Each platform has its own language: Try to customize content (tone, text and images) for each platform.

3.     Use feeds, searches and lists for content ideas: This is much easier with third party social media platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, PostPlanner, and Sprout Social.

4.     Use monitors to listen: Set up alerts to email you when your brand name or company are mentioned on the web. www.socialmention.com and www.google.com/alert are great listening tools.  Also, follow keywords and hashtags related to your business.

5.     Automate promotion of your blog posts via email and social media: WordPress assigns a special email address to post by email, or you can use RSS feed-based campaigns with your email program to get your blog posts out in a timely manner.

6.     Work ahead, schedule some posts in advance: You don’t HAVE to start your social media efforts from scratch every day, but always be ready to adjust to unexpected world and local events. Your social media cannot be entirely run on autopilot.

7.     Set time aside to engage and make sure your content is easily sharable: Don’t forget the social in social media! Make it a conversation, not a billboard.

8.     Take advantage of mobile: Your ability to interact quickly to mentions or posts can boost your brand and grow your audience.

What are your secrets for successful social media management?  Please share them in the comments below.  Interested in more tips and news, please sign up for my monthly newsletter and follow me (@sheesalt) on Twitter.

An original version of this piece appeared on 341 blog.

The Top Social Media Posts Shared This Year

As a recap for 2014, here is compilation of the most popular articles and posts that I have shared this year.

Feel free to bookmark this page as useful tool and go-to resource for all of your social media information.

Social Media – General
Which Social Network Is Best For Your Business – CNN Money

10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy – Fast Company

12 Essential Social Media Cheat Sheets – Mashable

Men Are From LinkedIn, Google+ & YouTube, Women Are From Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest – MediaBistro

30 Little Known Features of the Social Media Sites You Use Every Day – Buffer

How to Create Perfect Posts on Social Platforms v.5 – Socially Stacked

Social Media 2013 by Erik Qualman – You Tube

Online Marketing
Propel Your Content Marketing to New Levels – Huffington Post

3 Essential Tools To Rock Your Online Marketing – Nancy Sheed Blog

5 Easy Ways to Freshen Your Digital Face – Yahoo Small Business

What Does Your Email Say About You? Free Is Fine But . . . Nancy Sheed Blog

Facebook
Converting Facebook Likes to Subscribers – AWeber

How Facebook Calculates What Appears in Your News Feed – Mari Smith

10 Facebook Hacks – Techlicious

Facebook Housekeeping: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now – Hongkiat

Twitter
The Top 10 Reasons I’m Not Following You On Twitter – LinkedIn

11 Things You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong On Twitter – HubSpot

9 Small Business Twitter Marketing Examples to Study – Social Media Examiner

23 Seldom Used Ideas for How to Use Twitter Lists – Buffer

Understanding Twitter Lingo – Nancy Sheed Blog

3 Reasons People Will Follow You on Twitter – Nancy Sheed Blog

The 7 Key Ingredients of a Powerful Twitter Bio – Buffer

15 Tips to Get and Keep More Twitter Followers – Kim Garst

LinkedIn
How Do You Measure Your LinkedIn Worth? – Social Media Impact

Three Things You Must Do On LinkedIn Right Now – Nancy Sheed Blog

10 LinkedIn Blunders That Make You Look Like An Amateur – Forbes

17 LinkedIn Profile Must-Haves – Entrepreneur

How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Headline – Top Dog Social Media

7 Simple Ways to Rock Your LinkedIn Personal Profile – Social Solutions

How to Lose Jobs and Alienate People on LinkedIn – Fast Company

Admin / Privacy / Productivity
Target hack: Tips for all customers – CNN Money

How To Survive The Snapchat Hack (and-others) – TIME

New Start-ups: Here’s Your Digital To-Do List – Inc.

4 Online Business Tools That Will Make You More Productive – Nancy Sheed Blog

Social Media Privacy Settings – Social Media Examiner

Planning for a Productive Year – Nancy Sheed Blog

Which one did you find most useful, interesting or surprising? And what types of articles and posts would you like to see more of in 2015?  Please share in the comments.  Thanks.


Getting My MOJO Back With a Little JOMO

Did you take a break this summer?  I mean a serious break – away from the day-to-day happenings of work and home.  Well, I haven’t yet but need to soon.  I can feel the need to completely unplug and chill out creeping into my bones  (not to mention my neck muscles).

Don’t get me wrong, having a laptop and a smartphone is a great convenience allowing us to work almost anywhere.  However, it gets to a point where this technological convenience becomes a ball and chain – or a temptation – always calling us back for one more thing, one more post or one more email to check.

Did you know there’s even a gripping condition called FOMO – Fear of Missing Out that keeps us all checking our phones, emails, social media, and texts on a far too regular basis?  Have ever experienced a bit (or more) of FOMO?

Well, I am hoping to embrace a little JOMO –  JOY of Missing Out (credit Mari Smith for introducing me to this) – over the next few weeks while I am in England visiting family.  I am looking forward to feeling present (not distracted), to trying new adventures, to doing some long overdue “fun” reading and hopefully doing some nothing with my phone and laptop nowhere in sight.

The time has come.  Difficult as it might seem, it’s imperative to unplug and switch our brains into idleness.  I know it and you know it too. You certainly don’t need to go far to find articles everywhere challenging us to take a break:

So if you haven’t done it yet, PLEASE take some time off for yourself and find the joy of missing out (JOMO!).  You will feel better for it.  I know I will!    Please leave a note in the comments below and tell me about your JOMO experience this summer – Thanks!


4 Online Business Tools That Will Make You More Productive

With all of the technology available today, it is easier than ever to start a business.   You can be the CEO, CFO, CMO and COO all at the same time with the help of several online applications.  But it can also be overwhelming with too many choices and too much information and not a clear understanding about what is right for your needs.

With all of the technology available today, it is easier than ever to start a business.   You can be the CEO, CFO, CMO and COO all at the same time with the help of several online applications.  But it can also be overwhelming with too many choices and too much information and not a clear understanding about what is right for your needs.

There are several programs or software packages that I find are key to running my business that help with productivity, project management, and accounting.  Whether you are a solopreneur or working with a team, each of these tools offers automation and organization that will help you feel in better control of your business.

Also, if you are just starting out, many of these applications offer free versions so that you can test drive them before upgrading or buying enterprise versions.   Let’s take a look at my favorites:

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Evernote – I consider Evernote my online notebook and file cabinet. It keeps “notes” that can be tagged and organized in different notebooks.  You can share notebooks with other people and you can email information into and out of Evernote.  It’s great for keeping track of client files, idea files and notes, household information and keeping track of odd bits of information that you don’t know what else to do with.

  •  Cost: Free or get the Premium version for $5/month or $5/year which offers more storage, advanced search and upgraded sharing capabilities.
  • The Evernote app is key for adding or updating notes on the go as well as retrieving information no matter where you are.

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Google Drive / Docs – Whether you need to share files with others or you just want to be able to access your own files and information from anywhere, Google Drive offers a free online file storage system.  You can install Google Drive onto your computer, so that saving files within Google Drive is as easy saving them into any other file folder on your computer.  Once saved or created within Google Drive, files can be shared with others via email or sharing a link to the file and you have control over whether people can see or edit your shared files too.

  • Cost: Free up to 15GB
  • The Google Drive app is helpful for accessing information on your smartphone or tablet, when you can’t get to a computer.
  • Alternative:  If you are not a fan of all things, Google, DropBox is another option for storing files in the cloud and is particularly good for sharing images or large media files and you don’t have to log into DropBox to access anything that has been shared with you.

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Basecamp – I recently started using Basecamp as a project management tool that is fantastic for working with virtual teams on managing numerous projects and to-do lists.  (Thanks to Kate Schell of KTS Business Support for getting me started on this program!) Basecamp cleverly integrates unlimited projects and related to-do lists into a calendar and also automatically emails you updates and deadlines and discussions.

  • Cost: Starts at $20/month for 10 projects and 3 GB space
  • The Basecamp app allows you to add and check off items while on the go.

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Quickbooks
:  I feel really official now that I am using an accounting software program and it beats the heck out of trying to run my business with a mess of Excel spreadsheets.  The biggest bonus is the ability to accurately track your income and expenses and have real-time financial picture.  When your business grows, Quickbooks can handle payroll taxes and reporting too.

  • Cost:  Software package runs approx. $175 and the online version starts at $6.95/month.
  • The app is available only if you are using online version.
  • Alternative:  If your are freelancer or consultant and accounting is not your thing, you might take a look at Freshbooks which is simpler to set up, has a user -friendly time tracker feature and creates a turn-key online payment system.

So that’s the list of the top tools in my productivity toolbox.   Next post, we’ll look specifically at  “3 Essential Tools to Rock Your Online Marketing Platform.”

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you in the comments about your favorite productivity tools or what your experiences have been with Evernote, Google Drive, Basecamp or Quickbooks. Thanks.