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As a boomer who launched a new company a little over a year ago, I’ve had to learn a tremendous amount about social media, and how to use it.

Even though I’ve owned my own business for more than 20 years, my promotional skills were a bit stale. Like many others in my generation I relied on traditional advertising and public relations for marketing. As far as social media, I had a website, and shared stories on Facebook with friends, but that was about it.

Not enough in today’s market. Everyone talks about a social media strategy. As I joined the ranks of the 16.4percent of the 55+ market (not coincidentally, the largest group of self-employed individuals in this country) I knew I had to kick it up a notch.

So I created a LinkedIn profile, signed up for Twitter, and started subscribing to every relevant blog and other publication in my field.

I scoured the Internet for articles offering productivity, social media and networking advice. Soon my email Inbox had more than 200 messages at any given moment. (That’s not counting all my shopping and discount site alerts, like Gilt and One Kings Lane.)

It was overwhelming. First, I learned about the basic productivity apps, that I have shared in prior blogs. There is Evernote, the online filing cabinet system; and Pocket, the app that copies and saves web pages. I started storing all my word document files in Dropbox so I could access them on any computer or mobile device.

Like most entrepreneurs, the more I researched, the more digital chatter I received. I still use Evernote, Pocket and Dropbox, but I’ve found some other apps and websites that are helping me streamline my day.

Here are four of my new favorites to help keep me organized in my encore career.

TheSwizzle.com: This site helps me manage my email inbox. It lets users easily unsubscribe from emails that they no longer want by placing all commercial email addresses in one for list, to quickly check off. No more hitting the unsubscribe button on each individual email. For commercial emails you want to continue, like certain catalogs, newsletters or shopping sites, it places them all in one email. Once a day, users receive a Swizzle email, with all of the other emails inside of it. This site has done wonders for organizing my email inbox, giving me a quick view of my business emails.

LinkedIn Apps

Cardmunch: This a free iPhone app that converts business cards into Contacts. Snap a photo of a business card and it loads up in your phone and sends a request to the contact asking to connect on LinkedIn. No more typing the card information into your contact list.

The new LinkedIn Contacts app sorts contacts by region for easy reference

The new LinkedIn Contacts app sorts contacts by region for easy reference

LinkedIn Contacts:  This a brand new free iPhone app that transfers all of your LinkedIn contacts into a phone book. It has the potential to become a businessperson’s primary contact list phone book and personal assistant.

Users can sync their iPhone address book, Gmail, Google Contacts & Calendar, Yahoo mail and contacts, Outlook Mail, Contacts & Calendar, CardMunch, Evernote and even TripIt all in Contacts.
It’s great for business trips, as users can sort their contacts by region and easily identify who they want to connect with when they travel.

Organizing Your Social Media

Hootsuite: It’s marketed as a social media management system for organization’s to launch campaigns, but I use it to organize people I follow on Twitter and to schedule my Tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook updates.

I recommend going through the tutorial and learning how it works so you can set up topic streams, and add the people you want to follow in lists. Now I spend 30 minutes each morning, noon and evening keeping tabs on my Twitter influencers and my tweets. I can also schedule all of my posts on my other social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn.

It’s a “must have” for anyone who uses social media — which is everyone in business in 2013.

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