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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seven Tools for News That You Can Use

Cat  Pictures Are Fun, But They Aren't News
One of our goals of the W.L. May Blog is to keep our customers informed about developments and news stories that effect the appliance repair trade and stores that sell new appliances. The vastness of the Internet and the the "long tail" that keeps old, sometimes outdated, articles online means that more than a Google search is needed to keep up. We use a few different tools to do that. All of these tools are free, except for your time setting things up.

Perhaps the most useful tool we use to stay informed. Google News is a great way to keep up with the world. Anyone can access the basic news page that Google offers. To make this a power tool requires a few more steps. First, create a Google account if you do not have one already or log into your account if you do. Once you sign in, return to the news page. In the upper right hand corner of the page, just below the magnifying lens for search you will notice a button with a gear icon. Clicking on that icon will give you the opportunity to "personalize your news". You will notice a list of preset news topics that you can adjust to receive more or less coverage of that topic. Below that is a search window that you can use to add topics that interest you to your news page. Some ideas might be your companies name, manufacturers names or types of equipment you service.
Sort of spin off of Google News, Google Alerts is service for Google account holders that can send the articles from your Google News directly to your email inbox. This allows you the convenience of keeping up with the news when you check your email, rather than making a separate visit to the Google News Page. 
More than just a place to share what you had for breakfast and what you are doing Saturday night, Twitter can be a helpful news source if you set it up right. To use Twitter for news, search out and follow the places where news is likely to come from. this might mean suppliers, it might be manufacturers, it might be your competition. Twitter also can serve as way to stay in touch with your clients, making it a very versatile tool.
Facebook is a popular tool for staying in contact with friends and family. It can be a great way to reach out to your clients. It can also be a good source for news. A User Profile on Facebook is an individual user. A Page is created by a business or any organization that wants a presence on Facebook. For news, pages are often your best source. Any Page you "like" will potentially show you posts on your timeline. Facebook is popular though, and as a result they create a timeline for you based on your interest and interactions with other Facebook User Profiles and Pages. To counter this and stay informed requires a little extra effort. If you will notice the list of links on the left hand side of your Facebook timeline. One of those links is to "Pages" clicking on this will give you a feed comprised of only Pages that you have "like"d. Going directly to your favorite Pages timelines is also a way to make sure you are seeing everything that page posts, which will not likely all be in your timeline.
Google+ is the new kid on the block for social media. Because of the power of Google, many Internet gurus recommend using Google+ as it likely has a bearing on your companies SEO and its placement in the results when people search for your service in your area. Like Twitter and Facebook, following people and companies in our industry should provide you with results.
  • RSS
RSS means Really Simple Syndication. Most blogs and news source pages offer an RSS feed. RSS is a specially formatted version of a blog or web page that can be subscribed to with an RSS reader. Then, when new content is posted that content will show up in your RSS reader. You can then read it in your reader, sort of like a magazine. The email program Outlook includes a built in reader, but I like to use a reader called Feedly. It does the same thing but I like the attractiveness of the layout on Feedly a little more. On many pages there will be a link to RSS that will allow you to select your reader and subscribe right from the web page you are visiting. As you gather subscriptions you can sort them in your reader by topic.
Of course, we use all these tools to find news and information to share with you. You can find all of that regularly here on the W.L. May Blog. Especially on alternating Thursdays when we offer our News Recap.To get email notifications of new updates you can enter your email in this form and every weekday a new post will come to you in a convenient email format.

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