Doing business online means having your email inbox full every day. I for one use my email as task manager: it is easy to sort and organize email messages as separate tasks.
However as an active social media user, I have to deal with hundreds of automated email notifications and alerts daily (and on busy days even hourly). How not to get lost in that clutter and not to miss important tasks and emails?
Here’s what I have ended up doing (what about you?):
Aggregate Your Friends’ Updates
Following what your friends are saying is by far the most important part of social media networking – it’s the essence of it. You can’t just talk and expect people to hear you without listening to them.
But how to keep updated of everything your friends are sharing without losing your day job? If you are an active social media user, you are most likely to get hundreds of friends’ updates every minute.
Following your friends via RSS is one option but from experience I know, RSS is not motivational at all. Your feeds can wait for weeks until you at last find time to click through them to find the updates. For busy networkers it’s not the best solution.
Nutshell Mail is a cool tool that might help. I have recently come across the tool and found it very promising. NutshellMail is an email aggregator of your contact recent updates. Currently it supports Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and allows you for much better productivity while still being well connected to your social media contacts.
It is highly customizable and has lots of options.
Start by connecting it to your social media accounts (via secure authentication methods) and setting the basic settings: your email delivery schedule (for example, you may want to go through your contact updates twice a day: in the morning and before leaving your work):
After that you may want to receive the first email update and login to the site to improve it (that’s what I did). I discovered that you have quite a few options to customize to only see what really matters to you:
- With Twitter you can include new followers and “Quitters” in the update as well as replies, direct messages and latest Tweets.
- With twitter search you can set up any keyword mentions to track for you;
- With Twitter lists you can specify one list that really matters (to better keep in touch with your closest friends);
- With Facebook you can set any updates you want to keep track of (wall posts, tagged photos, inbox messages, birthdays, etc);
- Similarly you can also set which of the groups you “like” you want to include in your email notifications and who of your friends you want to hear more about (filter by lists);
- You can also remove any of your administered fan pages from your email digest:
Looks like an awesome social productivity tool – I am very excited to have found it!
An email hanging in your inbox – what can be more motivating to stay constantly in touch with your (business) contacts!
Filter out New Friend Requests (Without Losing them)
I am in no way a mass follower but I am not the one who would not follow anyone back unless I know the user personally. I am open to building new genuine connections every minute of my life – and I would not want to miss any opportunity to get to know someone new online.
Therefore Twitter new follower notifications are very important to me: while with Facebook I have an alternative dashboard listing all my new friend requests, Twitter email alerts have been the only efficient way for me to follow a new contact back.
But there’s one huge problem with Twitter email alerts: they tend to clutter up. Each time I check my mail, I have to click through new and new alerts – which takes some time during my workday.
Luckily, I have Gmail account registered on Twitter which means I have a lot of flexibility to play with the Gmail filters and filter out all various friend requests without completely neglecting them.
To de-clutter your email inbox (but keep the option to check new updates regularly), set up a new filter:
Navigate: Settings -> Filters -> Create a new filter
And there specify your new filter parameters (by subject or by sender):
Click “Next step” and in the new form set the new mail behavior:
- Let these updates skip the inbox (to declutter it);
- Star these updates (this way you’ll be able to un-star them once you click through the link to follow back);
- Apply a new label (let’s call it “Twitter followers”)
You are done!
From now on you won’t have to hourly get distracted by viewing your new connections: just set up a time daily to login to your Gtalk, click through the label in the sidebar and check all recent starred updates (don’t forget to un-star each one not to click through it again next time).
Similarly, you can set up tasks and filters for NutshellMail email updates we discussed above.
And what are your tricks for being constantly in touch with your social media network of contacts while still having some time to work? Please share your tools and tricks!