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Business | Social Media Strategies

GMAIL CHEAT SHEET – Increase your productivity – part 2

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If you’ve just decided to move from Zimbra or  outlook to Gmail, there are few things you will need to do in order to avoid frustration.

Standard Gmail comes without any bells or whistles, making it ideal for personal business, but extremely unfit for a corporate environment.

But with just a few clicks, you can change all that. Follow these few instructions to optimize your Gmail experience.

Create Labels, Archive Messages

Perhaps the first thing that you’ll notice is that Gmail does not have folders – it has labels. So you need to start thinking of folders as labels.

When you add a “label” to a message, the message does not disappear from your inbox until you archive it. (Archive is a very important function to move emails from inbox to their “labels.”) I’d recommend that you enable the display of the archive button on the Gmail menu bar, so that you can archive messages in one click. Here’s how to activate the archive button:

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Resize Side Panel

One Gmail limitation is that the left side banner is fixed, meaning that long labels will get cut off. If you’re the type of person who uses long labels, you might want to install the “Gmail label column resizer” chrome extension. After installing the extension you will be able to resize your sidebar, allowing you to see your complete labels. Warning: You might need to install then de-install several times before it works.

Creating a Full Width Composition Box

When you try to compose an email via native Gmail you will be offered a small space in the lower right corner of your browser. To overcome this limitation install the “Full Width Gmail preview pane” chrome extension. This will allow you to create new emails in a popup window that extends the full width of your browser window.

To install a chrome extension, follow these steps:

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Enabling Undo Send

We’ve all sent messages before and then realized that we forgot some important information, sent it to the wrong person, or made some mistakes. Thankfully, Gmail allows you to “unsend” your email. Go into Gmail Setting/General Tab and then choose Enable Undo Send. Now you can recall a message that you sent by mistake within 30 seconds.

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Customize Your Email View:

Want to see unread messages first? Or does seeing your important messages first work best for you? Choose your preferred display setting by visiting Setting/inbox tab/ Inbox type in your Gmail account. Whatever you choose, your email will be sorted into two categories: “Unread message” followed by “everything else” or “important” followed by “everything else”.

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Adding a Reading Pane

To add a preview pane, allowing you to read your emails while also scrolling down your email list, select Setting/Labs/Enable Preview Pane.

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 Adding A Photo For Your Contact

Like to see the faces of the people you’re emailing? To add a preview image of the person emailing you, see the picture above – go to Setting/Labs/Enable Picture in Chat. Now you’ll always see their smiling face as you exchange messages!

Hyperlinking a image in your email signature

This was a challenge but my colleague Vlado showed me the trick.

Grab the image and wiggle it for few seconds, then the image will be highlighted . At this point click the link button in the menu bar, this will give you a sub-menu “Go to link: with two selections: change or remove. Just click the change then add your hot URL.

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 Viewing Your Google Calendar In Gmail

In order to preview your calendar while in Gmail, just go to Setting/Labs, then enable “Google Calendar Gadget”. You will find the previewer of the calendar at the bottom of the left side label panel.

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LinkedIn: The Better Option for Business

linked business post

Social media platforms, while similar in many aspects, differ slightly in function, feature and fan base – yet these slight differences can and should majorly affect your marketing efforts.  Indeed, LinkedIn, by virtue of its difference in purpose, is actually the better platform for businesses even in comparison to the social media platform giant, Facebook. For while Facebook may be the most popular of the social media sites, is it the most effective channel for your business needs? Facebook is often viewed by many professionals primarily as a site for more personal uses, best for connecting with friends and family. In contrast, LinkedIn is often the choice for professional purposes. Such differences in purpose accordingly affect what networks you’ll be able to tap into; many experienced professionals might not be very active on Facebook, or even use it at all for their business purposes.   Moreover, the users that LinkedIn attracts are ones with the focused professional purpose of networking with other B2B companies and like-minded individuals.

Between the two networking sites there are many similarities. Both offer versions of business community platforms, known as ‘Fan Pages’ on Facebook and ‘Companies Pages’ on LinkedIn; these respective platforms allow user interaction, whether through wall postings (Fan Pages) or company recommendations and comments (Companies Pages). Both platforms also allow users to see who else among their friends or network is either ‘liking’ pages or making ‘recommendations’. However, for the serious B2B professional or company, LinkedIn strides ahead of Facebook to provide a wider range of business possibilities.

Community Building and Networking: Due to the professional atmosphere of LinkedIn, those who will end up following your LI pages will be professionals whose business interests and goals will be relevant to those of your company. The option for these professionals to recommend services or products further increases the value of their connection to you.  Facebook’s ‘Like’ option gives you followers, but on LinkedIn you can amass followers who have a more specific, professional interest or relevancy to your company.

Content Control and Community Management: LinkedIn Groups offer moderation tools to help control content, with specifics on what can and cannot be posted. These moderating features are simply not present within the Facebook settings, preventing companies from effectively managing their pages. While options for Group Admins are easily accessed in LI groups, such as managing members, Facebook page administrators do not have such options readily available. These moderating features are necessary for maintaining a focused hold on page content.

Increased Presence: LinkedIn has recently changed their group settings, allowing for previously private groups, where only members could view content, to be accessed and viewed publicly. There is even the option for public-only groups, which instantly allows for increased online presence, visibility, and user interaction. By allowing their Groups to be public, LinkedIn has succeeded in evening out the advantage that Facebook Fan Pages, by always being public, had had over their Groups.

Increased Engagement: Where Facebook user discussion and interaction is stilted by character limitations in status updates, LI Groups offer more options, and more space, for users to engage with each other and your brand. Even more importantly, Groups provide an option of daily or weekly (depending on the user’s preference) digests, allowing users to see and interact with ongoing discussions over email. Facebook Fan Pages do not allow this option of digests or newsletters; interaction and engagement is thus severely limited in comparison to LI Groups.

If you’re looking to increase your business opportunities and connect with other professionals, you must look beyond Facebook and consider LinkedIn.  More and more professionals  are realizing the clear advantages that LinkedIn provides for networking and business relationships, particularly for the B2B company.  While maintaining a presence on both Facebook is a great way to access certain social media channels, consider adding to that a presence on LinkedIn, and take advantage of the great business opportunities it can offer to you. As it has for many others, it may just turn into your preferred option for social media networking.

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LinkedIn: Which Linkedin Groups are Right for You?

linked in image blog post

LinkedIn Groups give users the opportunity to connect with other like-minded professionals or companies. Depending on the size of the group, as a member, you may have the ability to connect with hundreds to thousands of these individuals, without the hassle of a mass contact email list— in becoming a member of a group, you are able to send email and invites directly to other members, and can forego the need to acquire their email addresses. This feature which facilitates smooth communication is just one of the benefits of joining LI Groups; whatever your other reasons, the singular most important reason to join up is to increase your visibility in your professional business and interest networks.

No doubt you’ll want to plunge right in to these networking opportunities, but it can be difficult to determine exactly what groups to join. LinkedIn allows you to join a maximum of 50 groups, and you’ll want to be sure the groups you choose sync up with your branding strategy. Here are a few tips on joining up and maintaining your presence in LI groups.

Use Group Search: This is a simple yet effective way of narrowing down your options, and helping you find Groups well-suited to your wants and needs. In the Group Search text box, enter keywords which describe your skill sets and interests; LinkedIn will then immediately list the most popular and active groups that match up to your search, making it quick and easy (and painless!) to find groups right for you.

Exactly which keywords should you use? This question is best answered by identifying your own networking objectives, and asking yourself who you would like to reach and why. Once you identify these, you will be better able to target appropriate groups, join up, and start connecting.

Monitor Membership: Check up on group membership every month, as membership numbers fluctuate – you’ll want to be sure that your membership within a respective group is still in keeping with your particular purposes and networking strategies.  As you increase your visibility on LinkedIn, you may find over time that you no longer need, desire or match up with your previous groups; you may also find that membership has dwindled or altered so as to no longer suit your needs. As your objectives may change, so must your membership. New groups will pop up that will often better suit your networking goals; constant reevaluation of your objectives and consequently, your group membership, will help you maintain an active and relevant LinkedIn presence, and get the most out of your groups.

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