A cheap, easy tool for scheduling your social media posts

I’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about one of my favorite tools for scheduling posts.

Buffer logoI’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about Buffer. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to schedule your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn updates in advance.

The nice thing about Buffer is that it gives you tremendous flexibility. If you have messages that are appropriate for all your platforms, you only have to post them once and it’s done. Yet it allows you to post to individual social media accounts, too. And it’s easy to reschedule posts if need be.

You can schedule up to ten posts at a time with the free version, but I recommend upgrading. For 10 bucks a month you can schedule unlimited posts. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can consolidate your social media time by scheduling ahead weeks or even months.

Is it flawless? No. But the company does have an awesome customer support team. I give them a solid A-. If you have been struggling to keep up with your social media, give it a try. (Or call me. Or both!) 🙂

How to create a customer survey using Google Docs Forms

One of my clients wanted to create a survey to send to her customers, and asked me how I would recommend setting one up. I suggested using Google Docs.

Survey graphicOne of my clients wanted to create a survey to send to her customers, and asked me how I would recommend setting one up.

Since her budget is limited, I recommended going with something free. I know of at least two good free survey platforms, Survey Monkey and Google Docs. In this case, I steered her towards Google Docs, since Survey Monkey would have limited her to only ten questions, and she needed a longer survey for her purposes.

Don’t be put off by the fact Google Docs are free. You can create a very professional-looking survey with Google Forms.

Setting up a customer survey in Google Docs is easy. Here’s how, in x easy steps:

1. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up a free Google account. You can do this here.

2. Click on “Drive” in the menu bar at the top of the page.

(If you are accessing Drive from your Gmail or other Google account page, you can find it by clicking the little “Apps” grid in the upper left.)

3. In Google Drive, click on the “Create” button on the upper left.

4. From the drop down, choose “Form.”

5. This will pop up a window where you can type in the title of your survey and choose a theme for its appearance. (We chose “Purpleicious.”)

6.Click OK.

7. Now it’s time to fill in the questions for your survey. In addition to the question, it will allow you to select the type of question (multiple choice, text, etc.) and/or ask for information (date, etc.)

7. If you want more than one question, click “add item” to fill in the next one.

8. When you have entered all your questions, scroll down just a bit to select what your viewers will experience once they’ve finished the survey (Google forms lets you choose from several options – just click the box(es) to select your choice(s) ), and hit “Send Form” in the lower left.

9. You’ll get a pop up that offers you a link to your survey, as well as the option to share on your social networks and/or email your survey to your contacts.

10. Once you have copied the link and/or shared your survey, it will prompt you to create a new Google spreadsheet (or a new page in an existing spreadsheet.) You do this by going back into Drive clicking the “Create” button again as in Step 3, but this time you’ll want to select “Spreadsheet” rather than “Form.” Your customers’ responses will appear in this spreadsheet (which you can find listed in your Google Drive) when people start filling out your survey.

And that’s pretty much it! 🙂

Surveys are great for all sorts of applications. My client wanted hers to use as part of a free diagnostic service for new customers, but they’re also excellent for getting feedback from customers, testing marketability of a potential new product, etc.

Do you use surveys in your business? Do tell!

How to discover your true rankings on Google

Make Google spit out the truth

Don’t you hate it when people insist on telling you what they think you want to hear instead of the raw, naked truth?

Nowhere is this more frustrating than when you’re dealing with Google.

Google is amazingly user friendly. They make sure that when you’re searching, they feed you results you’re most likely to want to see.  They do this by tracking your browsing preferences and taking your past browsing history into account when dishing up search results.

While it’s a useful feature and easy to appreciate when you’re looking for personally relevant information, it can get a little annoying at times.  I won’t go into the privacy can of worms, but personally I find it awfully frustrating when I’m trying to determine actual search rankings for my sites.

Are we really #1 on Google…or is Google just telling us so to make us happy?

Fortunately, there are ways of making Google talk.

One easy way to get your true rankings on Google is to use a site called Scroogle.org. It allows you to search privately, without your identity being disclosed.

If you’re a really underhanded, sneaky, conniving person you may have used Scroogle to cheat your boss at work by typing your Christmas shopping (or whatever) search terms into their search box instead of doing whatever it was you were hired to do.

But there are legitimate ways to use Scroogle, too. One is to type in your primary keywords and get the real scoop on how you rank on Google.

Try it today. The results may surprise you.



1/6/14 Update: Scroogle is dead. Check out this forum thread for an effective solution using Google Chrome.