Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Social Communication Through Your NP's Mailbox

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It's often hard to get back in the swing when you've been out of the office for several days, or even a week or two. Especially if you've also been away from the inbox. So now you've got to ramp up your social media effort and wrangle all of those emails sitting there. No wonder people post "It's Monday" pictures.

But I was happy to find something that can make Mondays, and any other day a little better. It's a Chrome Extension for Gmail, Yahoo mail, and Outlook called PowerInbox.
Note: I don't have any association with PowerInbox at all. This is purely my opinion.
Here's the list of options:

My favorite of these is Preview Apps, which makes your email interactive.

You connect it up to the social networks you use and you're able to add, follow, or otherwise deal with new business, all without leaving your inbox.

For example, I connected PowerInbox to my Twitter account. Now, when I get a new follower notice, I can click on the email and see the details and decide whether or not to follow back:

And I don't have to go to Twitter at all.

Besides making it easier to actually see what's going on without having to go anywhere, you can add their sidebar option and be connected within your mailbox:

While you're still rolling through your emails, you can keep an eye on your most used social network feeds and respond as quickly as you need to.

Other features include security icons - if it's from Twitter, the Twitter icon will display next to the email, so you can be more sure that it's not a spoof. Two features in beta are unsubscribe and compose. When you hover over newsletter email or email from another organization, you'll see a little 'unsubscribe' button. You can click on it to go directly to their unsubscribe without having to go into the message itself to find the unsubscribe link. This has already saved me a bunch of time. With 'compose', you can add interactive content to your emails. For example, my email signature includes a link to an anthology in which I have a story. When I used 'compose', a picture of the cover of that book, with a link to its Amazon page was included as part of my email.

I actually chose to disable 'compose' because it made creating an email a very slow process. I hope that this feature is improved in the next release, because it could be very useful.

There's also a Developer mode, but I don't recommend getting into that unless you're a programmer.

Obviously (as my experience with compose shows), the product is not without blemishes, but it has great potential for allowing a busy nonprofit staffer to handle social media chores with less hassle and in less time. If you're interested in PowerInbox, check it out in the Chrome Webstore. If you're using it, let me know what you think in the comments.

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