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Tips 131-135: Streamline Social Networking

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131.

Streamline Social Networking

Social networking can be a useful business tool, but you can also spend enormous amounts of time sifting through messages from irrelevant people and companies. Consider a service such as Ning or SocialGO, both of which let you create and control your own private social network. Bonus: Admittance can give clients and business partners the impression of white-glove service.

132.

Archive Your E-mail

Don't want to spend hours every month deleting old e-mails and worrying that you may have discarded some you might need later on? Consider a product or hosted service that compresses and archives messages, rather than forcing each computer to handle that task. Fewer old e-mails on your computer means there's less chance that Outlook or Entourage will crash, forcing you to retype messages or restore its database.

Hosted services include everyone.net's one_archive and LiveOffice; these often are bundled with other services, such as a hosted Microsoft Exchange server. If you prefer to own the hardware, one place to start is Exchange's archiving features.

133.

Make It Easier for Prospective Clients to Find You

Bone up on search engine optimization (SEO), which is basically a broad range of tactics--and, if you're willing to spend the money, consultants--for driving more and better traffic to your website. Instead of spending time getting your message out, or hoping that people Googling for someone with your expertise will come to your site, SEO increases the probability that potential customers will find you.

134.

Stop Calendar Tag

Use a service such as Tungle, Google Calendar or Microsoft Office Online so you're not wasting time with back-and-forth e-mails trying to find a time when everyone is available for a call or meeting.

135.

Collaborate Efficiently

When multiple people collaborate, lots of problems can crop up, including missed deadlines, multiple versions of a document floating around via e-mail and to-do items that fall through the cracks because no one is quite sure who's responsible.  Software and services such as Basecamp and Sharepoint minimize those problems by creating a central point for things such as storing the final, approved version of a file, assigning tasks and automatically issuing reminders, and automatically sending alerts when new files are posted. Version control alone is a major time-saver, but efficient collaboration--both internally and with external clients and partners--makes your business come across as highly professional.
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