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6 Ways to Make Your Daily Social Media Activities More Productive with Buffer

6 Ways to Make Your Daily Social Media Activities More Productive with Buffer

    There were some stunning facts released recently from both Twitter and Facebook:

    Twitter is on track to hit 500 million accounts by February. At the same time, Facebook is looking at hitting 1 billion users in August.

    On top of this, it seems as if every day there are plenty of success stories of how people found a job through Twitter, how they found new clients or speaking gigs via Facebook, or connected to new people to expand their network. So the benefits from using social networks professionally are extremely powerful. Yet building up your personal brand through Twitter and Facebook is often a hard and time consuming task.

    So here are 6 tips on helping you build a stronger personal brand on Twitter and Facebook by saving time on posting and growing your network.

    1. Post Tweets at a better time – from any website with Buffer

    The key app I am using to make my day to day social media activities more painless is Buffer. It is a new way to tweet and post to Facebook at better times. You simply add tweets to your queue and they are “automagically” scheduled to be posted spaced out over the course of the day.

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      You can add updates from any website with the handy browser extensions (Chrome, Safari or Firefox). All you do is click the Buffer icon whenever you want to share an article, and click “add to Buffer”. In a recent study, Buffer has shown to improve clicks on your Tweets by 200% and get you (on average) double the number of retweets. All simply by filling up your Buffer and letting it do its work.

      2. Use ifttt & Buffer to put Twitter to work for you

      Another app that has facilitated my life greatly is called ifttt (“if this then that”). It allows you to connect any two web services together and combine their powers. Here are a few examples on what ifttt allows you to do:

      • You star something in Google Reader –> It is added as a Tweet to your Buffer
      • You take a picture with Instagram –> it is added to your Dropbox
      • Save a bookmark to Delicious –> Add as a Facebook post to Buffer

         

        Overall I found that ifttt just streamlines the process of using Twitter and social media in an incredible way. The best part? There are absolutely no boundaries of which types of “recipes” you can create. Be sure to check it out.

        3. Add to Buffer right from Twitter.com

        Another powerful way to make keeping in touch with your followers is to use Buffer’s functionality to schedule retweets right from Twitter.com. By installing the browser extension for Chrome, Firefox or Chrome, you will get a new little Buffer icon right inside Twitter.com

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          What I like to do then is browse my Twitter stream and whenever a Tweet is worthy of a retweet, I can hit the Buffer icon. That way I can spend a few minutes on Twitter and add 5 or so retweets to my Buffer, without ever flooding my stream.

          4. Post Tweets at optimal times with SocialBro

          This next tip involves the use of an awesome app I started to use a few weeks back called SocialBro. Amongst lots of great analytics insights, the app looks at your followers and finds out the best time to tweet for you.

            Once you receive your report for best tweeting times, you can click the “configure in Buffer” button. It will set your top tweeting times as a schedule inside Buffer. From now on, all you have to do is add tweets to your Buffer and they are posted for you at these optimal times.

            5. Add to Buffer form Flipboard, Zite and Pulse

            The one feature I couldn’t live without when reading on Flipboard or Zite is the ability to email in Tweets and Facebook posts right from the articles you are reading. On your iPad, just tap the “email link” as shown below. You can then type in your secret Buffer email and send it off.

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              Once you find your secret Buffer email you just hit the email link whenever you find an interesting post. Buffer will automatically recognize which email address your updates are coming from. It will put the subject line as the title of the tweet. At the same time, it also grabs the link from the body of the email and shortens it for you.

              So all you have to do is hit “send” and a new tweet lands in your Buffer. Handy right?

              There are also mobile apps available for your Buffer account. It means you can add Facebook updates or tweet to your Buffer while on the go easily.

              Both the Android app and iPhone app have the functionality of adding articles right from the browser to your Buffer. Whenever you are reading a post, just click the “share” menu in Android and you can add the tweet to your Buffer.

              I have a 15 minute train ride every morning. That’s a fantastic chance to browse the latest articles and add everything I like to my Buffer. It keeps my stream steady and my followers posted with the latest stuff I have found helpful. And best of all — it never overwhelms them with too much content in too little time.

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              6. Track your clicks, retweets and reach of Tweets

              One saying that I always bear in my mind is a quote I first heard from Tim Ferriss:

              “You can’t improve what you can’t measure.”

              So tracking how well you are performing on Twitter and Facebook is the only way to also get better with your tactics. Buffer comes with a handy analytics feature. Every tweet you send with the sharing platform will be tracked for you.

              You will know how many clicks, retweets and reach you have received and — most importantly — who has retweeted, “favorited” and replied to your tweets. You can follow new folks that have retweeted you right from there or thank them for it.

                With just one glance at your tweets you can see which ones are getting the most clicks. I have found this to be a great way to focus on improving your tweet copywriting, as you are constantly reminded what your followers are most interested in.

                The Power of Growing Your Social Media Accounts.

                Having a solid following on both Twitter and Facebook has proven to be extremely helpful for me. Whenever there is an issue that arises or help I might need, I can just send out a quick tweet or post to Facebook and there will be a ton of replies. Over the past 10 months, I have grown my audience on Twitter to around 5000 people, purely by providing interesting content through Buffer.

                Do you think some of the above tips can help to make you more productive using Twitter and Facebook? What other methods are you using to grow your audience?

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                6 Ways to Make Your Daily Social Media Activities More Productive with Buffer

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                Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                How To Be a Better Listener

                For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                1. Pay Attention

                A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                2. Use Positive Body Language

                You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                Be polite and wait your turn!

                4. Ask Questions

                Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                5. Just Listen

                This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                6. Remember and Follow Up

                Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                8. Maintain Eye Contact

                When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                Final Thoughts

                Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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