Save Yourself! Email Triage with SaneBox #Infographic

Have you thought about how much time

you (or your assistant) spend(s) sorting through and prioritizing incoming email messages? I used to spend tons of time setting up filters for my gmail account and my assistant still spent at least an hour a day defending me from email I simply did not need to see. What a waste of our time!

Luckily, there is a better, easier, and faster way.

Enter SaneBox and setting up tedious filters is a thing of the past. Woohoo! It’s also quite a bit smarter than the filters and sorting built into gmail. I no longer delegate my email because there is no need.

Tip: You do not need to be tech savvy to use this tool. Difficulty Level: EASY
Check out this fun infographic to see how it works:

Email Triage: An Email Management Infographic by SaneBox

If you get the feeling that the guys at SaneBox are super fun,

you would be absolutely correct! You may never have cause to speak to them, since their tool works so well, but if you do you’ll be glad you did. They are some of the nicest and most responsive human beings you will ever deal with in the online tool world. No kidding. I don’t get any special compensation for sharing their stuff, but I’m happy to do it for them and for you! (I did once make a very silly video about SaneBox, which they loved and they surprised me with an awesome blue hoodie.) There is a great bring a friend offer, where you get a $5 credit, which is open to everyone with an active account. They even offer a 14 day free trial. So… if you’ve read this far… what are you waiting for?

14 Day Free Trial

Social Savvy Geek Heart's SaneBox


Top 4 Rated Social Media Management Tools of 2015 – Rated by Their Users

Time to Share

Looking for a really helpful infographic on the top 4 Rated Social Media Management Tools for 2015?

Look no further, these results come from detailed customer reviews from G2Crowd, and cover a variety of information including user satisfaction, product direction, how easy it is to learn to use the platform, level of support, usability and more. Ian Anderson Gray did a great job putting this information into a visually appealing format for your viewing pleasure and education.

We are currently using a plethora of tools here at Social Savvy Geek,

or at least some days it feels that way! Hootsuite is in daily use, among others. We do an internal review at least annually, if not quarterly on a smaller scale, to evaluate our systems, processes, and the tools we are using to facilitate those. So far, we haven’t found reason or justification for replacing Hootsuite, mostly for the reasons represented in the infographic below. Basically, we have found that it performs the most of the tasks we want functionally, for the least trouble and physical cost. So, for now, we are satisfied. We will see what we see at our next tool review.

The Top 4 Rated Social Media Management Tools of 2015 Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd

What are your thoughts? Which tools are you using? Did they make this infographic or no?

If you would like a detailed description of these tools, a few more to consider, the methodology used to create this lovely infographic, and more… then hop on over to and check out Ian Anderson Gray’s original post.

How Canva for Work is Listening… and Winning!

Have you ever had a favorite tool that announced changes that made you super, ridiculously excited, and then on the launch date you were… underwhelmed? If you read, Canva for Work has Arrived and it’s… Meh, then you already know that’s what happened to me with the launch of Canva for Work. However, that’s very, very far from where the story ends.

Almost immediately after publishing and sharing via social, I received messages from Canva COO, Cliff Obrecht,  who commented on the post,

“fonts and multiple colour pallets are coming very soon! Watch this space.” and via Twitter: “@SocialSavvyGeek Fonts & multiple colour pallets are coming very soon. This is just V1 there is lots in the pipeline. Watch this space :)”

He was responding to Canva for Work users politely, professionally, and with smiley faces regardless of the sentiment they expressed. Kudos to Canva; they’re doing it right. They also sent survey emails asking how they are doing and what else needs doing.

I had expressed a disappointment with the initial launch, only because the features I was most anticipating weren’t available and no mention had been made of future releases. That’s my only criticism of Canva during this process and it’s a pretty small one in the grand scheme of a release this huge. If it had been made immediately clear at the outset that more features were already in the pipeline, then I could have avoided my moment of disappointment (almost) entirely. Luckily, there was only a small gap between my first experience and Cliff Obrecht’s communications.

Fast forward to today… I was using Canva for Work because, let’s face it. that’s what I do. Regularly. I’m quite pleased with the way my brand is coming together within Canva and as I was searching for a suitable font to substitute for Wisdom Script, I came across a message reading,”Upload your own font. (Coming very, very soon)” SQUEEEEE! My day is made. I nearly jumped for joy, literally. I am that excited! I contained myself, since I’m only at my computer on a holiday weekend because my 2 year old is napping… shhhh!

Canva for Work Upload Your Own Fonts Coming Soon

So, if you run into me out and about in Denver this weekend and I have a big, fat smile on my face, you may think that it’s the gorgeous view, the fabulous weather, or the superb company in which I find myself… but really it’s this: My own fonts in Canva for Work! Woohoo!

Is it just me? Who else is this excited? Anyone? Bueller?

Have You Been Ignoring Video Marketing? GoAnimate and Leave Your Excuses Behind!

If a picture is worth a thousand words,

GoAnimate Screen Shotthen what is the value of a video? Would you believe that someone has actually done the math? According to Forrester, a single minute of video is worth about 1.8 million words. That’s quite a bit of copy! Using video in email marketing makes readers more likely to click through and people who view videos about products are also more likely to buy.

2015 has been called “The Year of Video Marketing.”

According to business and marketing experts, including Marketing Profs and Forbes, video will continue to dominate the online world in 2015. So, why are so many businesses continuing to ignore such a widely accepted best practice in their own marketing? Why aren’t more companies investing in video marketing?

“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.”
—Ernest Hemingway

I’ve heard a lot of reasons for not doing video

and most of them are the same excuses that are used for ignoring any other medium. Video is hard, expensive, confusing, and time consuming. Plus, there are the added fears of getting in front of a camera. Many people don’t like the way they look and sound in recordings. I have personally procrastinated on video projects simply because I am pragmatic; I have a finite amount of time for creating content and I wanted to maximize the effectiveness of the time and energy I spent. Here’s the rub: by not making videos I was not maximizing my result. Doh!

The problem has now been identified.

I need video in my marketing mix. Ignoring it is a huge mistake. But, how do I accomplish this task without expensive video equipment and still produce a quality video? I’ve edited video for clients in the past. I can clean up the sound and add text. I’m not afraid of the camera. I don’t mind how my voice sounds, even though I have a lisp that I spent years in speech therapy trying to get it to go away… Still, I’m not doing it. And then a blogging friend of mine reached out and asked if I would be willing to try GoAnimate. Voila! I agreed and with a free trial available I got to work.

I made a video.

Okay, I admit… I made videos. I will make more videos. I can’t wait to make more videos! My sixteen year old nephew made a video in under 5 minutes. Mine took a little bit longer. My first video is pretty lengthy, at 3 minutes and 15 seconds. I wanted to try to tell a story and I think I succeeded. I love the whiteboard theme and the tools were ridiculously easy to use. It was FUN! Of course, I’m a geek and I enjoy such things, but I’m confident that anyone who has any tech savvy at all, even just a little tiny bit, will be able to produce good videos without too much trouble.

Steve’s Story by Social Savvy Geek on GoAnimate

GoAnimate is my new favorite thing.

My mind is already churning out new ideas at an alarming rate. I’m thinking of ways to add elements from Canva and really rock it out! There are so many elements to play with… animations, music, voiceover (I used my own, but you can hire that part out if you hate your voice), and more. Suddenly, I find myself excited about video and wondering why I wasn’t before.

Are you using video in your marketing? Have you tried GoAnimate? If not, get out of here and go try it. Really. Right now. GoAnimate!

Canva for Work has Arrived and it’s… Meh.


I’ve been getting excited about the prospect of Canva for Work being released. Today, I got an email announcing that it was finally here. Prior to the launch, I responded to a request for input into features and this is what I said:

“It would be amazing if we could save color palates for repeated use. It’s a pain to type in our brand colors on every project.
Copying and pasting or dragging and dropping elements from one project to another would also be a plus. Lastly, more fonts! Specifically, in our case: Courier and Wisdom Script.”
Pinterest Graphic

Pinterest Graphic

As you can see, I had rather modest expectations for the new roll out. Even so, they weren’t met. Yes, you can move elements from one design to another (I haven’t tried that, yet, but it’s a feature mentioned in the welcome.) You can save ONE color palate, which is better than none, but I would have to create an account for each client to save their brand standards. Unfortunately, there are no new fonts and no way to import your own. I either have to use a font that is somewhat close or finish my work in PicMonkey where you can use your own fonts. That wasn’t such a big deal when the tool was free, however it’s not something for which I want to pay a monthly or annual fee.


The graphics in this article are an example of my using the new brand template. The brand kit asks for your fonts (headings, subheadings, and body) and then doesn’t use them in the templates. What was the point? You can save your colors, which is a huge help. However, you cannot reorder them by dragging and dropping, but must retype the hex code. That wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience, but the order of the colors highly impacts the template color choices and they do need to be rearranged, at least initially. You also upload your logo(s) which are then left off your designs, as well. The “Magic Resize” feature is a great jumping off point and is certainly a shortcut versus the old method, which involved making a separate graphic from scratch for each social network. I would not suggest magically resizing and then not further editing because most of the graphics have much too much empty space; it just looks weird. Also, don’t forget to change the name of each graphic before downloading your files. The tabs display the social platform the new images are sized for, but the graphic descriptions (also the file name when you download) are all the same.


Do I like the new features? Kind of. Mostly. I like it, but I don’t love it. I was expecting more. Am I willing to pay to use these features? Most likely not, especially since the fee is per person and there isn’t an agency version to handle client accounts. I realize that it’s a simple tool and it’s a very good one, but right now it’s somewhere in between the awesome free tool that I have come to love and the paid version of which I have higher expectations. I have 60 days to decide… or rather, Canva for Work has 60 days to announce updates. We will see.

*UPDATE* According to Canva Coo, Cliff Obrecht,  who commented on this post, “fonts and multiple colour pallets are coming very soon! Watch this space.” and via Twitter: “@SocialSavvyGeek Fonts & multiple colour pallets are coming very soon :) This is just V1 there is lots in the pipeline. Watch this space :)” I have to say that I am impressed with his quick response and that I am very glad that they are listening and working the features for which I will gladly pay! Faith restored.

*FURTHER UPDATE* Custom fonts are available! Download and use your own in Canva for Work within your Brand Kit. Yay! We have paid for year up front because we are that happy. 


Facebook Graphic

Facebook Graphic

Facebook App Graphic

Facebook App Graphic

Social Media Graphic

Social Media Graphic


Instagram Graphic

Instagram Graphic

9 Meaningful Ways to Improve Your Personal Brand Today

The term “branding” has traditionally been associated with companies, but today each individual has a personal brand, whether they are aware of it – or not. Most people haven’t consciously cultivated their brands, but they still exist. Almost everyone leaves a digital footprint, which can be accessed by friends, colleagues, bosses, and many more.

Personal branding is, at its core, about how you distinguish yourself from those with whom you share general characteristics. Think of a time when you were searching for a coach, mentor, or some other expert in their field. What made them stand out to you? What was their unique selling proposition? What made them special? Why did you connect with that person in particular? Your brand is your intrinsically unique set of qualities that illustrate your value outwardly.

You must be faithful to yourself when crafting your personal brand, which has always been my approach and one that I highly recommend. There are plenty of clients out there who are looking for what you have to offer. Someone else may be selling exactly the same type of thing that you sell, but that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to buy it from them! You are who you are; own it and use it to your advantage.

The relevant question is no longer if you have a personal brand, but whether you actively inform and direct your brand or if you leave it up to chance.

1. Define your brand.

Who are you? How do yWoman searching in mirror.ou want people to think of you when you come to mind? What image or feeling will be associated with your name? What is your area of expertise? At what do you excel? Is there a feeling or quality that you want to project?

Perception is reality, to some extent. Once you map out how you want your brand to be perceived, you can strategically plan out how to build and manage that persona. Make sure that you create a reasonable expectation for yourself; don’t try to change yourself or expect to suddenly become your perfect self. You are expected to be human and therefore fallible. Whew!

2. Choose your standards.

Brands have standards to create a consistent look and feel across platforms and mediSocial Savvy Geeka. Think of Target. Every time you see that red and white target or the little dog with the bullseye over it’s right eye… you know exactly what’s coming. It’s also the same red every time and the same fonts. You don’t have to get as creative as Coca-Cola and create your very own font, but do choose which ones you will use and stick to them. You can keep your standards as simple as you like or get into great detail. You probably already wear the same style of clothes to work each day and tend to use your favorite color palate… just take it a step further a purposefully define your style and then carry it over into all your collateral.

3. Your website is your domain.

Having a personal website is one of the best ways for your name to rank highly on search engines. Keep it simple; it doesn’t need to be fancy (unless fancy is part of your story.) It can be as simple as a landing page or two to three page site with your resume, links to your social platforms, and a brief bio. Your website should evolve over time as your life and goals change. If you are serious about standing out from the crowd, add a blog.

4. Create appropriate social profiles.

Sign up for the most useful social platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and make sure that they reflect the image you are purposefully projecting. You don’t necessarily need to be active on all of the social networks, but it’s a good idea to secure your name, regardless. Focus on whichever platform will bring the most ROI for your time and energy. If you’re a photographer, focus on the visual sites. If you are an employee at a large company (or wish to be), then focus more on LinkedIn and any appropriate industry related sites. If your personality will inform your work, consider a professional page on Facebook; this approach makes sense for Realtors, authors, speakers, and other professionals whose brand helps them sell.

5. Monitor your online presence.

Google yourself. You will likely be surprised at how many people share your name. Using your middle initial is an easy and effective way to differentiate yourself from most of your name-mates. (Ladies: If you’ve spent years cultivating your personal brand with a maiden name, consider adding your married name onto the end and dropping your middle initial to maintain your online ranking, rather than starting over.) Set up Google alerts and make sure that you keep up with anything that is being published or shared that is related to you. It’s hard to react or respond if you don’t know what is being said!

6. Stay on target.

Remember that everything you share becomes part of your brand. Every tweet, every status update, every picture you share, and every comment you leave contributes to the whole of your personal brand. Your brand is a living thing that develops and changes over time, just as you do. Remember your standards and don’t deviate from them – unless you have good reason to do so. Also, keep in mind the appropriateness of where you share; a cute funny video may be entirely appropriate on Facebook, but is likely not a good fit for LinkedIn.


7. Provide value within your network.

Share relevant content, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Participate in conversations when possible and especially when the topic under discussion is within your area of expertise. Find the balance between being too quiet and oversharing; there is a happy medium and it’s the best place to be!


8. You are defined by the company you keep.

Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other individuals and their brands. Find and leverage connections with people and brands who can elevate your own personal brand. Start with your three C’s: company, college, colleagues. Which schools did you attend? Are there related groups you can join? What can you do to strengthen ties to your company? Consider submitting a guest post to your company blog or look at other digital assets you can connect to your brand. Connect with your co-workers as appropriate (avoid connections with people who could potentially hurt your chances of success.)

9. Reevaluate over time.

Your brand is your story. As life goes on your narrative develops and changes. Make sure to tell your story in a way that resonates with your goals and ambitions, while projecting the image that you want to be your face to the world. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone, but focus on who you are and how that is important. Your message will resonate with some and if your brand is as you hope, you will have found your audience.

The best reason to consider nurturing your personal brand is, perhaps, that it can be carried with you. Your brand can open new opportunities and as you advance your career or change paths, whatever image you portray will either help or hinder you. Consider it an investment in yourself. Save this infographic as a handy reference.

Get Your Infographic

Will ‘Buy’ Buttons for Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter a Game Changer or Stumbling Block?

Browsing Social Media from iPadBuying

Rewind one year and the idea of shopping directly from Google, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook seems very strange. Fast forward to today and these companies are hoping it becomes one of the hottest Internet trends over the next year.
It’s not hard to imagine why this concept would appeal to all four of these massive digital platforms, who hope to cash in on consumers who are increasing buying online. Each of these social networks have announced plans to test or release some form of “Buy Button,” but will there efforts pay off?
Twitter and Facebook have been testing publicly for quite a while with little or no signs of progress. While large numbers of Pinners do buy based on their browsing activities, they are used to heading first to a third party website or even out into the real world to purchase from a local brick and mortar business. How do Pinterest (and Google, for that matter) convince people to buy in app?
There are a few challenges facing these social media giants Including integrating inventory and payments systems from retailers having little or no experience selling outside of their own storefronts. Building trust and the logistics of buying from their site initially can be a roadblock. And what of the companies who are meant to be using the Buy button? What if they don’t want to sell directly from a social app where they lose the opportunity to up-sell, cross-sell, and build a strong customer relationship?


Social Media IconsPeople tend to view social networks as “free.” While the only cost associated with using them for individuals is measured in lost time, they are businesses and they exist to make money. Each of the social platforms has the same commodity; the user. They make money through advertisements and they are always looking for ways to ramp up their game, especially on mobile.
While mobile commerce has grown more than three times faster on mobile than on desktop sites, the conversion rate hasn’t. Meaning that while people are looking at merchandise more, they aren’t buying it, or at least not from their mobile devices. The big social platforms seem to think that making it easier to purchase through their app (buy button!) will increase sales, which in turn will increase the demand for advertising through their site.


Buy from PinterestHere’s the rub: purchase information will be stored from the first transaction, either by the vendor, the platform, or by a third party. That data will eliminate the need for the mobile user to retype their credit card and shipping details for any subsequent transactions. Making it easy to shop is the key to repeat business and offering retailers a way to compete with Amazon and other big e-commerce sites, which draw a lot of business away from single site sellers.
Social media not only drives people to make online purchases; it also drives an equal volume of in-store sales. In the July/August 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review , we put Pinterest under the microscope to show how it puts people in stores. Data from the US, Canada and the UK demonstrates that for all the worry about how “showrooming” benefits online retailers at the expense of bricks-and-mortar, there is an even bigger phenomenon of “reverse showrooming”: customers who browse online, and buy offline. The Harvard study paints a picture of Pinterest’s impact on in-store shopping that at times stands in sharp contrast to the overall impact of social media on onlline and in-store shopping combined.


Buy Online Store OpenWhat’s the big deal?
Huge hurdles exist because selling outside their own website or store causes issues for small stores and for major retailers. If it’s the first time they’ve attempted to sell products through a third party site, they need to sync their product catalog, order management, and payment systems with whichever site they are selling though, in this case Pinterest. Otherwise, they won’t be able to receive, process, and ship the order in a timely fashion.
Platforms also need a way to make sure that Buy buttons only appear on items that are in stock or it loses appeal to retailers and brands, as well as to consumers. Pinterest has plans to work with partners to get updated inventory information, using pings, every 15 minutes and when anyone clicks on that particular Buy button. How well this will work on a mass scale has yet to be proven.


Buy Buttons on Facebook Twitter GoogleRetailers don’t like single sales and there are legitimate reasons why it isn’t in their best interest. Online retailers have a sales funnel and use it to market additional products or add on sales, especially when the purchase is low cost or has related products that would be an easy sale. Plus, order fulfillment and shipping costs affect product margins more on single item orders than on multi-item orders. Retailers lose the opportunity to show shoppers things like: other shoppers who bought your item also bought, recommended purchases based on your purchases, or simply showing their own ads for upcoming sales or promotions based on a customers buying habits, season, or an impending holiday.
Early success of Pinterest’s initiative will be determined in part on how well Pinterest targets Buy button placements, especially since the majority of Pins won’t represent items for sale. Present Buy buttons to the right people at the right time and the new business could succeed. Push them too aggressively or in contexts that don’t make sense to Pinners and the Pinterest community may reject them entirely. A small subset of bloggers who used affiliate links to monetize their Pinterest efforts are already losing thousand of dollars a month and are upset at being pushed out.
Twitter and Facebook got a head start on implementing Buy buttons, but neither platform has gained a noticeable lead is usage. Twitter has found that some tweets with Buy buttons have led to the sale of hundreds of specific products and, in a few cases, even thousands. However, Buy buttons are still not showing up on the social network frequently and most casual users are completely unaware of their existence.
Facebook is still in testing mode 11 months after first announcing the buy feature, which is typical of the social behemoth. Unlike Pinterest, which is integrating directly with sellers, Facebook is working with Shopify (which helps small businesses set up online shops or stores) to get small businesses selling directly on Facebook. The company isn’t yet working with any big-name brands or retailers and seems to be taking a methodical approach unlike its big competitors even while pursuing similar tactics.
What do you think? Are you jumping at the chance to buy immediately when you find your new favorite sweater on Pinterest or are you more likely to Pin It and shop later?

Are You Ready for Google’s Mobilegeddon? The Update that Changes Everything Arrived Today.

MobilegeddonApril 21, 2015 Today’s the day!  Google has made a major update to its mobile search algorithm that changes the order in which websites are ranked when users search for something from their mobile devices, more specifically from their phones.

This new algorithm favors mobile-friendly websites which meet certain criteria and ranking them higher in search. Websites that fail to meet the mobile-friendly standards will get demoted.

Mobile friendly sites, according to Google, meet the following criteria:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Mobile Friendly Test Pass

Mobile Friendly Test PASS (Click to enlarge)


Mobile Friendly Test Fail

Mobile Friendly Test FAIL (click to enlarge)

Approximately 60% of online traffic originates from mobile and Google wants users to have an optimal experience when they click on a link, regardless of the way they are accessing the Internet.

Google gave web developers and businesses ample warning by announcing these upcoming changes in February, giving everyone almost two months and ample information to make any changes necessary to keep their sites relevant in mobile search results. Regardless, today’s update is anticiapted to cause a major ranking shake-up. It has even earned the nickname “Mobilegeddon” due to apocalyptic effect it could have on millions of websites.

Businesses that depend on people finding them through localized search, local restaurants or service providers, for example who will be found by typing a service and location into Google on their phone (i.e. “auto repair Denver”) will see a decrease in foot traffic as a result of this update, if they are unprepared.

Any business could be affected, not just the smaller companies. Is your site mobile friendly? Check here to find out.

It’s simple and painless. Don’t delay. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you have some work to do! You may be happily surprised to find that your site is just fine the way it is, especially if (like us), you had properly set up a simple self-hosted WordPress site.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about preparing for this update. Please let us know… Was your site mobile friendly? If not, is it now?




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