Our Favorite Free Social Media Tech Tools: Hootsuite, Bitly, and Picasa

Rose-themed Fashion Friday -- Picasa in Action
Rose-themed “Fashion Friday” & Picasa’s photo editor in action

Since Ruby® Receptionists is a virtual receptionist service, serving clients across the country, we don’t always have the opportunity to meet our clients face to face. However, we enjoy getting to know our clients and Creating Community with everyone we chat with over the phone. So how do we connect with our clients? Besides dropping handwritten notecards in the mail and other personal touches, we love to build relationships with our clients, vendors, and friends on Twitter, Facebook, and our blog.

To help us manage our various social media channels, we’ve found Hootsuite, bitly, and Picasa immensely helpful — and best of all, they’re free! Here’s how these tools may boost your small business’ social media efforts, too:

  • Hootsuite. You can connect your Twitter and Facebook feeds to this handy tool to keep track of your feeds in one place. Create Twitter “lists” (which can be public or private) to keep track of all your followers. You can even schedule tweets and posts in advance!
  • bitly. A link shortener is great for sharing content with your followers and most have built-in metrics. Though Hootsuite has its own link shorteners (ow.ly and ht.ly), bitly is Twitter’s default shortener and I find its metrics easier to digest. You can view your link history, how many clicks each received, and archive old links. Bonus: every link comes with its own QR code!
  • Picasa. Many of our virtual receptionists and staff members (myself included) look forward to our “Fashion Fridays” here at Ruby. Each week, virtual receptionists Sara-Lee and Mercedes pick a theme for a dressed up Friday, and we share photos with our Facebook fans. We love seeing our coworkers’ creativity in the festive wear, and our clients enjoy seeing who’s answering their calls. Picasa helps me edit these photos like a pro. Cropping, red eye reduction, and basic color changes are all included and help me show my fellow Rubys in the best light possible. If you share a lot of photos with your fans, Picasa is an easy, inexpensive alternative to Photoshop.

What’s your secret to social media magic? Share with us via Twitter or Facebook! We would love to connect with you!

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