Category Archives: Tips & Tricks


10 top tips for social media confidence

Want to do more on social media but unsure where to start? Fear not – you’re not alone and we can help.

The sheer volume of information flowing past your eyes when you look at any platform can be intimidating, but start small and know what you want to achieve, and there is very little you can do wrong.

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for getting on top of social media quickly. They’re only guidelines, so feel free to adapt them – but the most important thing is just to get posting!

1) Don’t overcommit. This shouldn’t be a stress, so don’t go crazy and vow to update everything every 20 minutes of every working day. Rather, aim for at least three times a week on each platform you use.

2) Quality beats quantity. Better to share less and it be interesting, than put up things you haven’t read properly or that don’t fully reflect your/the product values in the rush to update your status with something (this goes back to no 1). As part of this, know overall (and ideally with each post) who your audience is and what you want them to do (be more aware of you, buy something etc)

3) Make it personal. While you may well be operating a business account, people like to do business with people, and so personalising what you say, and adding in bits of your life where you’re happy and it’s relevant, is often a very good way of making your followers know and trust you.

4) Analyse post engagements to see if you can see any kind of pattern – do you get most interactions in the morning, evening, or is there quite a uniform spread? Target it if so, aim for a spread of times if not. You can pre-schedule both tweets and FB posts using either Buffer or Hootsuite.

5) Aim for a spread of news/informative posts and pure sales pitches – I’ve seen 70/30 per cent seen as a good balance.

6) Find a quick and easy way to aggregate the types of articles you might want to look for, so that you can always find source material with ease. I recommend Feedly, which allows you to search and group articles by area type.

7) Follow other industry figures and look at what they do, how they do it and what they link to. Not to copy, exactly, but to get inspiration for what you want on your own feed.

8) Follow people in the same/related fields as you, so you can get an increased following of relevant users, get involved in industry conversations, be aware of news, and get inspiration for other posts.

9) Consider doing something like product of the week, where you look at a particular product in detail in a review style and/or competitions to win products or services.

10) Add value to everything you post and give people a reason to follow you and buy from you!

Of course, once you’ve started posting and interacting on your social media accounts, you’re going to want to download so that you can retain everything and reuse it as needed!


British spies want shorter and less secure passwords

If you thought the purpose of passwords was to be as strong as possible to give your information and accounts the best chance of being secure, Britain’s spies at GCHQ have news for you.

In a new document, Password Guidance – simplifying your approach (PDF), the organisation’s cyber director said that advice has moved on from previous guidance to make passwords stronger as a greater deterrant to hacking.

Now, the spy agency is suggesting IT managers help install systems that make passwords easier to remember. Yes, you did read that right.

The report claims that the average UK user has 22 different online systems that are password protected – clearly more than most people can remember – with the same supposedly safe password used to access around four of these.

It says the need to remember multiple passwords for different sites leads to unsafe behaviour, such as writing them down, duplication, or using simple or predictable passwords creation strategies.

But it also stresses that, crucially, the bottom line is that even following best practice guidelines (ie not doing any of the above) cannot guarantee keeping online services secure. Key loggers, phishing and interception are all cited as credible risks, with information about how to carry them out and the tools to do so easily discoverable on the internet.

In a foreword to the report, Ciaran Martin, Director General for Cyber Security at GCHQ (cool job title!) said: “Complex passwords do not usually frustrate attackers, yet they make daily life much harder for users. They create cost, cause delays, and may force users to adopt workarounds or non-secure alternatives that increase risk.”

It suggests that simplifying an organisation’s approach to passwords can reduce the workload on users, lessen the IT burden, and – crucially – “combat the false sense of security that unnecessarily complex passwords can encourage.”

It lists seven key steps that organisations (and individuals) can take to optimise system security, which are:

  1. Change all default passwords (well, durr)
  2. Only implement passwords when needed to minimise user overload
  3. Understand the limitations of user-generated passwords (tl:dr they encourage insecure behaviour)
  4. Except machine-generated ones have their own problems (tl:dr they’re difficult to remember)
  5. Prioritise admin, mobile and remote user accounts as these are more important/vulnerable
  6. Use account lockout and protective monitoring
  7. And, of course, don’t store passwords as plain text

Will seeming to be good, impartial advice, it’s worth remembering that this does come from the people who broke antivirus software so they could spy on people, so feel free to take it with a piece of salt if you are of a cynical disposition.

Facebook (2)

How to check your Facebook privacy settings

Facebook is a social giant that holds huge amounts of personal information about each of us.

Facebook is also renowned for changing its privacy policies frequently and not necessarily advertising this fact, so it pays to check at regular intervals that you’re only sharing what you post (as well as what you have posted and will post in the future) with the audience you expect.

So, how can you check what your current settings are? Partly in response to criticisms that it wasn’t open enough about what info was being shared, Facebook has a new tool called Privacy Check-up.

Accessed from the padlock dropdown at the top right of the page, the privacy shortcuts panel that opens up gives you options for a quick check of who can see your stuff, who can contact you and what you can do is someone is bothering you.

While these options are helpful, the top option is to open the Privacy Check-up, which then takes you through your privacy basics in three quick and easy sections.

The first looks at your Posts,  explaining that this setting controls who can see what you post from the top of your news feed or profile, as well as showing what your current setting is, and giving an obvious drop-down if you want to make changes for future posts.

The next step is Apps, with a list of what you’ve logged in to with Facebook. It explains that you can edit who sees each app you use and any future posts the app creates for you, or delete the apps you no longer use. It also gives you a link to the App Settings with a reminder that you can edit them at any time.

The third page covers your profile and personal information – so who can see the likes of your mobile number, email and date of birth if you have shared them with Facebook. It also reminds you that you may have shared more information about yourself and recommends you check your About page to see that is up to date as well.

Then you’re finished, safe in the knowledge that you’re only sharing what you post on Facebook with the people that you want to see it.

And, of course, once you’re done, don’t forget to download for free to back-up your posts and pictures forever, giving you ongoing access to them even if you decide to delete your account in the future.


Flashback for Friday Fun!

Schools in the UK start back this week after the summer break, and my timeline on Facebook is awash with little faces wearing pristine uniform that is a touch too big for them as they head off into formal education for the first time.

A time to move forward to be sure, as I’m one of those mums who will have done just that by the time you read this. But my flashback feature is also active, showing me an adorable picture of my now toddler when he was very tiny two years ago.

Between them, these two features got me thinking a lot about the present and past, mainly along the lines of how quickly time is flying by, and how life moves on at such a pace these days it can be hard to hold on to all your memories, even the precious ones.

Thankfully, flashback in is a great feature for finding out what you were doing on this day one, two, five or even longer years ago and being reminded of things big and small, personal and professional that had slipped from your mind.

A premium account feature (you can try it without charge for 30 days when you download the normal version, which is free to all), simply click on the flashback icon on the menu bar to see what you did across all linked accounts on this day in years past. And if you want to check other days, either specifically or random ones, just click on the calendar icon in the top green bar and then zip around to your heart’s content.

Happy flashbacking! grey-text-inline

10 ways gives you back control of your data

News of data breaches and leaks has been everywhere recently, particularly in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack.

And yet, as our popular blog on the apps that are spying on your life proved, we are giving more and more about ourselves away without questioning it, often in the mistaken belief it is the only way we can access free services.

Two big (often unspoken) truths are that many apps ask for many more permissions than they need as a default, and also that free does not have to mean giving up the rights to the data that makes up you.

Here at, we like to think in terms of the internet of me – you, at the centre of your world, fully in control of what data about you is shared and with whom. Clearly, with so much about each of us already in the wild, that full dream remains a work in progress, but our app gives you back control of your data for you to choose and use as you wish. How? Well, here are just some of the ways:

  1. By backing-up your social network content. You can use to sync four accounts from the main social media platforms, meaning you can delete your accounts if you choose in future and still have whatever you posted there, complete with the original likes and comments.
  2. Having all the data YOU posted, at YOUR fingertips – you can jump around the journal view or search across all platforms to find something you need without being constrained by search or any post visibility activated by the channels themselves.
  3. By us NEVER seeing any of your data, yet bringing it to you in a format that you can easily search and use.
  4. Run a small business and want to analyse when your posts get most interaction? Use our insight tool to find out what and when you should be posting, or download your follower data in a spreadsheet to investigate how it has grown or who has stopped following you.
  5. Feeling overwhelmed by the size of your networks? See who you have most interactions with on Facebook, for example, if you’re minded to create lists. Or see who is no longer friends with or following you if you want to cull them back.
  6. Use our flashback feature to see what you were doing on this day last year, the year before or five years ago – remember things you wanted to do, or anniveraries of things you did do that might otherwise be forgotten.
  7. Make a collection – your favourite pictures or interactions, stored together, and able to be saved and downloaded as a PDF, complete with the original comments.
  8. Compliance requirements for your business? Find anything you’ve ever said and reuse or record as necessary in a matter of moments.
  9. Organise your content into collections, grouping similar content or separating public and personal. All, of course, easy to find when you need it again for any reason.
  10. By having, at your fingertips, the complete story of you. What you said, what you did and who you did it with, even the ability to add thoughts, moments and pictures that were not (gasp!) documented on social media.

Sharing everything for free use is not good data privacy, is not the future and should not be how the world works. Join the online revolution, start taking your data power back and download for free today!

Latest update includes Flickr support has just got even better, with the launch of a new version that introduces some exciting updates while keeping all of the other brilliant features you already know and love.

The story of you can now be even more complete, as the new version (7.0.8 for those of you keeping track) now syncs with Flickr as well as all the existing platforms, which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

There is also an option to add personal entries and photos direct to the library, without posting them on any social media platforms first, making the fullest library of your life and loves to date.

So what new features can you now add to your personal story?

  • Personal entries: add private posts and attach photos from your computer to your library. These can be organised into collections and are searchable

  • Flickr: Pull your Flickr photos, albums and favs into your library. As with other sources, you’ll get comments and favs counts on your photos too

  • Instagram: view, search and export your liked Instagram photos

  • Facebook Events: search, view and export events you’ve attended or been invited to

  • Facebook comments now have links attachments included

  • Backups: a simplified view of your backup entries. The journal was getting very busy, so we’ve tidied these summaries up. You’ll see a summary bar at the bottom of every day you synced your sources and can then click on this to see the breakdown.

And, of course, we’ve improved performance where we can, meaning the app now runs smoother than ever.

Any thoughts or questions about the new release? Feel free to get in touch either in the comments or over on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn – and don’t forget to vote for what you’d like to see added to the app next!

Finally, don’t forget that your data will always belong to you. That’s why it’s downloaded directly to your computer for your enjoyment and use – we never see it.


Friday Fun: Bring Back The Sun

Inevitably the school holidays start and the children are back at home for the 6 weeks of summer and the first thing that happens is it rains! What do you do… You can’t exactly send them outside to play in the rain and unless they are little they seem to be glued to the TV or computer.

Since we aren’t miracle workers here and can’t bring the sun back we thought we would bring you some top tips for how to find things for your children to do using your social networks.

My favourite resource for this is actually Pinterest because so many parents have had the same issue and the best of the resources have been pinned so many times that they come to the surface really easily.  So your first point of call is to do a Pinterest search for rainy day activities.  Just remember to try and give an age approximation – 18 month old, toddler, teenager etc. that way you will find the most appropriate pins.

Sometimes just browsing through your Facebook profile helps as you may see other parents have done some activities that you could do with your children. Make sure you like or leave a comment so that you can find these again another day. (You can always use the search feature to find them again then. Facebook search doesn’t tend to be much help unfortunately)

I don’t tend to find Twitter that useful for finding ideas and activities unless I ask my followers.  Sometimes it is just worth asking people to see what things they come up with.  Maybe ask what activities they did as a child on a rainy day.  That always comes back with some great suggestions.

What top tips do you have for those wet and rainy summers days when the children are full of energy…

summer fete

Friday Fun: A Personal One

When it comes to having fun and enjoying ourselves we all want to come up with the ultimate weekend plans.  We look to one another for inspiration and ideas.  What better place to look for those ideas than on our social media networks.

This weeks Friday fun is one of working out what really makes us smile at a weekend.  What is it that we each love doing. Use to look back over your old social network content and see what fun things you have done last summer or even the summers before that for ideas about what you want to do this weekend.

I took a look at my own social media history and it jogged my memory that there is a country fete that is on this weekend every year that it would be nice to take my son to so that is now my plan! Let us know what plans you are making!

Capture Your Personal Data with for Free

Retrieving Your Personal Information

From time to time we all think about leaving platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  However before we leave we want to make sure we aren’t losing anything in the process but how do we go about doing that?  This article will run through some simple but effective approaches to help you capture and retrieve as much of your personal information as possible. 


When it comes to retrieving your Facebook data there are a few different ways to get your data.  Unfortunately Facebook don’t make it easy to get a copy of everything you have ever put up there and if you want everything you will need to put in a personal data request and from what we hear that can take months for a response.  Officially if you are based in Europe they should be responding within 40 days to your request however history already shows this hasn’t been the case in the past.

In the meantime what you can do to retrieve a lot of your personal data is download and connect to Facebook to synchronize and retrieve the majority of your personal data.  This will provide you with your wall posts and images direct to your computer and you can export these into an easy to use PDF. To gain access to our private messages you will need to “download a copy of your Facebook Data” which you will find on Facebook under settings. The list of what you will get with this download can be found here and it does include your private messages.


Again with Twitter you can use to automatically download your tweets as you go which will save you time and effort having to regularly remember to download your archive to keep up with your latest twitter updates.  As Twitter limits the amount of time you can go back historically we recommend that you also download your Twitter archive so that you have all your really old Twitter content.  That way you will have all your Twitter updates that you have ever created to date and all the ones you generate in from when you start using onwards will also be captured.  There are some very comprehensive instructions from Twitter on how retrieve your Tweet archive here.

LinkedIN also works with LinkedIN to help you keep copies of your most recent interactions on the social network.   However you may also wish to put in a request to gain access to every update you have ever made on LinkedIN through their access request page.  They do collect information about your search history and much more. You will be surprised just what this social network really knows about you and your data.

The other useful feature that you may wish to take advantage of within LinkedIN is the ability to export your profile as a PDF.  It is a great starting point for putting together your CV and is a fairly well hidden feature.  There is a little down arrow next to “View Profile As” when you are on your profile page. Click on the arrow and you will find a drop down with a few different options including the option to “Save to PDF”.

Let us know if you have found this article useful and remember to share it with your friends!

Keep Calm and Find My Phone

Friday Fun: Finding Yourself

When you lose your phone or your laptop fails you how do you find and restore your digital self?

The other day I lost my phone. Don’t ask me how I will never know!  Anyway it was lost for three whole days and along with it my sanity and my sense of humor were both starting to go as well.  All I will say is thank goodness that my digital life is mainly online and here’s how I managed to recover it!

First of all I started searching for my phone… I looked everywhere, turned the house upside down… then started searching my car and anywhere I’d been recently. It took forever and I didn’t find it.  So then I decided to play detective…

  1. What was the last social media content that I uploaded? What were the last pictures of me online and what was I wearing? (Maybe it is in my clothes or maybe it will give me an idea of where I was when I lost my phone… (I used the journal to do this bit as it was quicker than looking at each social network individually!)
  2. All my photo’s are backed up to the cloud so I also then went through the most recent image uploads there… The last images that were uploaded were at home… that’s a start then… it’s unlikely to be anywhere but home…
  3. My phone is on Android OS so I then decided to see what information Google had captured about my location to confirm this last assumption. All I needed to do was search “find my phone” on Google and it shows the last place it saw it.  Thank goodness it agreed the last place I had it was at home!
  4. So now to work out what I did with it.  I knew where I’d been that day so then went through the bags I’d used and voila my phone was found!

So you see social media and my online digital presence can be used to track my every move.

Your challenge today is to find out what information is out there about you and share your story online.  Remember when you share your story tag it with #itsyourlife and we’ll share the best of them on Twitter and Facebook!