Monday 11 June 2012

Blogging - Just Do It

This post has been inspired by @chrisbrogan and his blogging primer. It's very much a case of just getting on with it - my apologies if it turns into a ramble. I just wanted to get something started.

So I thought I'd share with you some of my blogging tips.

  • Keep a list of ideas you can call on if feeling a little stuck.
  • Get a blog reader (on your phone or computer) and add all the blogs you like, I am rubbish at remembering which blogs I enjoy, again this is great for inspiration.
  • Start a weekly or monthly themed post such as 'How To Fridays' or 'This month we love...'
  • Sign up to challenges such a Post a Week or Photo365, as well as giving you something to post about when you're stuck it's a great way to find other blogs and bring new readers to yours.
  • Don't forget to promote your blog on Twitter or Facebook. It's much more fun blogging if you know someone else is reading it.
  • Don't get too hung up on SEO and fill your posts with keywords, write so it's easy to read and if the content is good you will get traffic. 
  • Be useful! The most popular posts on this blog are the ones that show how to use Facebook and Twitter.

I'm glad I've started and hope it will inspire you to write too. So, go - blog. :) 

Friday 20 May 2011

How to schedule tweets in Hootsuite

If you use Twitter, you may find there are times when you feel you should be tweeting, but you just can’t be available. For example, tweeting while you are asleep but the other side of the world has woken up. For times such as this there are apps available to schedule your tweets, so when you are awake and do have time, you can write what you want to say and schedule them to be sent at a specific day & time. 

There’s a lot to be said for NOT scheduling tweets – what happens if someone wants to interact with you then & there? They think you’re available because you’ve just tweeted so why aren’t you replying? But I think as long as it is done sensibly it can be a huge benefit. 

If you have a lot to say, it can also help to get it all out of your system, but spread the tweets over a few hours, say 15 minutes apart and you aren’t spamming your followers and maybe losing them. There’s a blog post on about this. 

I use Hootsuite to manage my Twitter accounts, so I’ll use this to show you how to schedule tweets. 

To schedule your tweets 1 at a time:

Write your tweet as you usually would in the text box at the top of the HootSuite screen. (If you have more than one account set up, make sure you choose the account you want to send the tweet from.) Instead of clicking the ‘Send Now’ button as usual click the little Calendar icon in the box below your message. 

A Calendar will pop up, as in the image below. So select the day & time you want the tweet to be sent (make sure its in the future!!) If you’d like to be told when the tweet has been sent, tick the box below. Then click Okay.

You should now have a yellow bar at the top of your screen including details of your scheduled tweet. 

If this is wrong you can Cancel, if you’d like to go ahead, you’ll notice that your ‘Send Now’ button has been replaced with ‘Schedule’. Click this and your tweet will be ready to go when scheduled!

To schedule many tweets:

Hootsuite also has an option where you can upload a spreadsheet to allow you to schedule up to 50 messages at once.

So, download the spreadsheet using the link above.

In column A, you need the date & time you want the tweet to be sent. In the following format DD/MM/YYYY hh:mm, so to send a tweet on 22 May 2011 at 2:35pm you would put ‘22/05/2011 14:35’. The first tweet must be a minimum of 10 minutes from the time you will be uploading your spreadsheet and times should be in 5 minute increments.

In column B, put the tweet text you want to send. For example, ‘Look at me – I’m scheduling tweets!’ (Don’t forget you are still restricted by the number characters, and if you want to add a link you need to leave space for that too. )

In column C you can enter a URL or web address if the tweet needs to link somewhere. This link will be shortened, but don’t forget to allow space for it. Make sure you add the http:// prefix before your URLs.

Save your file.

In Hootsuite click the calendar icon, as above, then click the ‘Schedule in Bulk’ button. Its worthwhile reading through the information Hootsuite has provided before continuing.

Browse to your spreadsheet and select the Twitter account the tweets will be sent from & click Submit. 

You should get a message to say it has been successful. Then sit back while Hootsuite tweets away for you!

Friday 13 May 2011

GOW 2011 - Act on Opportunity

 Day 5 of Green Office Week is all about Opportunity.

Taking the time to encourage discussion and planning in your office on how to become more green and carry on your commitment to think about the environment.

Here are today's tips:

1:  Utilise the week as a way of implementing changes FOR GOOD and spread the message. Inspire others and have pride in your achievements! 

2:  Tell colleagues about what they can do to make a difference

3:  Publicise your company’s environmental policy, or draw up a simple one if you do not have one (an example is available on the Green Office Week website) 

4:  Tell suppliers and customers what you are doing and encourage them to do the same

5:  Add a strapline to your email sign off to discourage people from printing it.

So, at the end of Green Office Week, what have we learned and what will we be taking away with us? Well, same as least year it has helped to highlight where we could do better in things such as choosing suppliers, making sure everyone is recycling not just the key drivers. So over the coming weeks we will be updating our environmental policy and issuing a reminder to all staff about what can be recycled, saving energy, and only printing when necessary.

Thursday 12 May 2011

GOW 2011 - Act on Purchasing

It's Day 4 of Green Office Week and today is all about Purchasing. 

Today is all about the choices you make when buying new equipment, stationery, even cleaning products for your business. Today's tips are:

1:  Buy office equipment with an Energy Star label which rates models on their energy efficiency, saving you money and helping the environment.  
2:  Opt for multifunction IT equipment rather than individual faxes, printers, scanners and copiers  
3:  Chose a fast boil eco kettle over a conventional appliance.  
4:  Coordinate your stationery orders to reduce the number of deliveries to your office.
5:  Specify recycled products such as paper, envelopes, office furniture and stationery where possible.

BSS is a Konica Minolta dealer* and we have a number of the bizhub multi-function devices in the office that we use for printing, scanning and copying - when we need to. All of the Konica Minolta bizhub devices are built to be energy efficient and carry the Energy Star rating. They also print excellent quality documents, even on recycled paper.

We do watch what we purchase and try to buy recycled or more economical products when we can, make sure toners can be recycled, and take care when choosing suppliers.

* The Document Management Company is one of BSS' divisions, so if you would like to find out more about these lovely machines, have a look at or call 01792 222 300 to speak to an engineer.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

GOW 2011 - Act on Waste

Today for Green Office Week we are being encouraged to Act on Waste

This is probably one of the easiest, most practical and used methods for being green in offices, The three R's - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

Here are today's tips from the Green Office Week website:  

1:  Use a bulldog clip to transform scrap paper into bound notepads for internal use or get the local printer to cut and bind some for you.  
2:  Donate used furniture and computer equipment to charities, youth groups and other local organisations 
3:  Re use envelopes, jiffy bags and cardboard packaging by over-labeling previous address details  
4:  Avoid using envelopes with plastic windows which are difficult to recycle   
5:  Set your printer default to double print using both sides of a sheet of paper

We have a policy in place to ensure that only essential documents are printed to keep print wastage to a minimum, and do as much on-screen as we can. Any printing that needs to be done, we make sure is double-sided, where appropriate.

Where it is practical to do so, we will re-use packaging such as cardboard boxes and padded envelopes. I have a box under my desk where any waste paper goes, which we form into notebooks for telephone messages or notes and can use for printing.

We have a number of recycling points set up around the office to recycle paper & plastic. We also have a an arrangement with a company who collect & recycle any unused hardware.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

GOW 2011 - Act on Transport

So, how did you do yesterday? Did you turn your computer off before going home?

Look around you, do you need all the lights and devices around you on right now?

It's day 2 of Green Office Week, and today we are asked to Act on Transport

Today's tips from the Green Office Week website are:

1:  Make conferences and off site events greener by offsetting miles travelled and energy used during the even.

2:  Hold a webinar or conference call instead of travelling to a meeting 

3:  Choose a venue that’s accessible via public transport and provide public transport information to delegates.  

4:  Set up a car share scheme for people who live close to each other  

5:  Encourage people to use public transport over cars and taxis where possible – this also cuts down on parking costs and fines!

Personally, I find this one a bit more difficult to tackle. My husband works in the same office as I do and we do come to work in the same car. We also have one or two members of staff who will come to work on their bikes when practical. Unfortunately, it is not especially easy to get to our office, or many of our clients' offices for that matter, by public transport.

However, we do try to cut down on travelling as much as we can, without compromising on our service, and we will use public transport when it is available. As a web and IT services company we have a number of tools at our disposal to be able to offer support and training remotely. We also conduct as much of our business as possible via email and telephone, which reduces mailing and printing costs as well as travel. 

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for more updates.

Monday 9 May 2011

GOW 2011 - Act on Energy

Today, Green Office Week are asking us to
Act on Energy

We have been monitoring our energy consumption for quite some time as a way of saving money as well as reducing our impact on the environment. It is amazing how much of a difference the little things can make.

For example, instead of automatically turning on every light in the office when we get to work in the morning, only the ones we need are switched on and all the blinds are opened to let the natural light in. As well as saving energy, the light bulbs last longer and everyone feels better seeing some sun....when it's out!

Any computers and equipment that are not needed to run backups or other systems are switched off at the end of the day, and all power saving settings are set where practical.

We all share the same printers via our network to reduce the number of machine we need to have running, and these are only turned on when needed.

We have also made sure that everyone in the office looks at what they are doing to check that equipment is not left on, cables are unplugged when not in use - and  I think we've all become a dab hand at making sure we only boil the water we need when making a cuppa, plus making the tea in rounds means the kettle is only boiled once.

Here are some more great tips on staying green at work.