Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Twitter for the Beginner - musings and some helpful websites.

I do not pretend to be anything but a beginner in the miasmic world of Twitter and other Social Media.   However, for those who have and those about to enter into the heaving firmament of Twitter, I have a little advice gleaned from my recent immersion into this world.

There are lots and lots and lots of sites out there that say they can help, will help, are helpful - but AREN'T.

Twitter is and can be a HUGE waste of time unless you manage it well - that is the art of Twitter - MANAGEMENT.

So following on from my last blog listing out some websites that have been recommended by others I will give my opinion of the ones that I have found most useful. 

  • These are similar platforms that enable you to run different columns so that you can easily see your Twitter stream, divide out your followers into any sub category you like (which makes them easier to follow), mentions, schedule tweets and your tweets.  Rather than just one long twitter feed.  Makes it much easier to see what and who is Tweeting so you can respond.  You can add further columns but that is for the advanced user!

  • Umm I like this one, once loaded it enables you to click on an icon at the bottom of any webpage and it will load the URL for that website for you to form into a Tweet for  distribution.  So, if you find something interesting it is easy to share it with friends and followers.

  • Another useful website that will shorten those peskily long URL's (thus using up many of your precious 140 characters) enabling you to add more comment and less web address.  Very clever.

  • Wow, I've only just found this site and it's the best how to, where to, what to, why to site of ALL things Twitter.  It has the answers to all those questions you want to ask but don't know who to ask!  This is a definite go to site for the beginner.

What else have I learnt.

  • Do start lists of the people you follow on Twitter - from the very beginning!  Otherwise you will find yourself swamped with info and not sure where they all belong in the scheme of things.  
  • How to do this:  when you click to follow someone, there is also another button with a little head and shoulder - click on that and then add to list.  Create your own list titles and add each person each time.  Essential management.
  • That I can spend and have spent hours and hours just looking at all the fascinating information that people forward on.  This is a problem - I have other work to do and I am being diverted from that while I 'play' on Twitter.  I know that this will calm down in time as I find out exactly how to manage Twitter - but for the moment it has opened a whole new internet information stream to me and it is difficult to justify this as anything but a waste of time!
  • To be honest I am not completely sold on the idea that Twitter will help me in my professional life, but I can see it's value for some businesses.  If I set up a new business - I would without a doubt Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin as an essential form of marketing and getting your new business name and new product out there. But for me - now at this moment, I'm not sure.  What do you think?  Do comment.

Now what do I have to do when not playing on Twitter
  • sort out my marketing, 
  • get a new website, find a new 'look' for my business, 
  • decide how I want to promote my business over all media 
  • get new business

Oh yes, and in the meantime make sure that all current clients are kept happy and work is done!  Ah the life of the multi tasker, such hectic bliss is ours.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Six, now seven, of the best websites to make it easier to manage your social media life!

Listed below are a number of websites that were recommended at the Social Media seminar I went to given by Keren Lerner of Top Left Design and Alicia Cowen - to make managing your social media life easier.

I am still working my way through all of them - some proving more useful for me than others. 

Mashable : Social Media news blog covering cool new websites and social networks: Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube

Tweetdeck :is your personal browser for staying in touch with what's happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace

Tapatalk : More engagement and participation - Mobile solution for online communities, empowering discussion forums with mobile access since 2009.

Google Reader : constantly checks your favourite news sites and blogs for new articles and information.

Buffer: makes it super easy to share any page you're reading. Keep your Buffer topped up and we automagically share posts for you through the day.

Bitly: Wonderful site that shortens the URL's of sites that you think are interesting so that you don't use up all of your 140 characters when sending a tweet. 

Hootsuite:  Helps you manage your Twitter account, scheduling tweets, seeing whats come in that you need to respond to and allowing you to sort out your twitter feed into manageable columns of data.

There were many others but I think that these were some of the most useful. 

Having  spent a couple of weeks sorting myself out the top two of the above websites that I would recommend for the beginner are: BITLY and HOOTSUITE

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

What should you spend your money on when doing up your home?

Money doesn't grow on trees (I wish it did) and I know that saving money is important but here you are doing up your house and you want to know where to spend your money to get the best effect or even what is important.   

In no particular order I suggest a few areas that I would  spend money on and others that you can get away with spending less.

1.   Flooring:
Get the floor that you want - don't skimp on this.  Replacing a floor sometime down the line is hugely disruptive.  So this is one item I would suggest that you spend money on.

2.   Worktops:
here you can save - replacing at a later date a  cheap worktop with a nicer one is not too difficult (depending if you have splashback tiles or not). 

3.   Kitchens:
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good looking kitchen, what you will compromise on will be the hinges, drawer runners and carcass of the kitchen.  But if you only need the units to last for a few years.  Compromise on this.  Also remember that fashions change!

4.   Bathrooms:
Spend on taps and your plumber, save on baths, basins, trays and wc.   Tiles again are a fashion item, so don't get too hung up on an expensive tile.  Often you can find a very good looking tile similar to the expensive one.

5.   Lighting: 
This is an area you should spend your money well.  Items like table lamps can easily be up graded, but ceiling fixtures can't - so spend the money and put in the best you can afford.  Also, put in more sockets than you think you need.  With the electrification of our lives (ipods, pads, computers, hair gadgets, mobile phones etc) you always need more sockets.  I know many people who don't like ceiling lights, spots or other - so one has to find innovative ways of putting light into a scheme.

6.   Storage: 
More is best.  YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH STORAGE.  The law of mess dictates that whatever storage you have will be filled.  So plan, plan, plan as much storage as you can.  If you can't afford to put all the cupboarding in now, at least plan for installing it in the future. 

7.   Furniture:
 I know you lust after that must have iconic item, you want it, you need it..............but do you really?  Being practical here, unless you are an uber cool chic person with a fabulous loft style apartment, will that steel and leather day bed actually suit your life?  No!  Well don't buy it now, but remember it and buy it later when the children have left home!

8.   Art: 
A difficult one this as art is so subjective,  I am of the opinion that if you love, love, love it - buy it!  Otherwise it will be an opportunity missed.  But it is one of those luxuries that can completely scupper your attempts at keeping to a budget so beware the impulse buy.  Sometimes a good piece of art can be the starting point for a scheme, layout or idea.

9.   Gardens: 
Love the outdoors - but you've just spent a fortune doing up the house and don't have anything left.  I would suggest that you do something simple for the short term and plan to do up the garden at a later date.   But do plan and put in electricity and water for that time!

10.   Interior Designer: 
Well what would I say except that money spent with an good Interior Designer won't be wasted.  We know our business and  know what is important and what isn't.  We can save you money by concentrating your mind and showing you what is essential.  We also know where to go to get those must have items at excellent prices.  Kitchens, flooring, lighting, storage, furniture, art and gardens - you want the look but don't have the money.  This is what we are there for; planning and strategic thinking.  Pay for us and we will pay for ourselves in the long run with money spent wisely.

Lighting under glass shelf - also access panel for the thermostatic control.