As a business which offers web content and social media services, we use a lot of different online tools and applications. It was tricky narrowing it down, but these are the ones which would cause much upset if they were taken away!
Hootsuite and Tweetdeck
At Sookio we manage a lot of different social media channels for our clients, the most fast-paced of these being Twitter.
The main Twitter application is just too basic for what we need to do so we use third-party desktop apps such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. This allows us to schedule tweets, run lots of searches in columns and keep track of interactions with our communities. However, when updating Twitter from my phone I use Seesmic for Android. No particular reason why, I just prefer the interface.
Of course we can update other channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube through these third – party apps but it can be easy to become disconnected from it all, so we prefer to make these updates directly into the channel itself so we can get a feel for where the content is going.
Again, this is something which we find is essential for our social media work. I used to use this RSS reader when I was on the homepage team for AOL but had forgotten all about it until Google announced this spring that it was closing Reader (disaster!)
Although this was really disappointing, I must admit I was finding it frustrating to use as a team, as it was linked to the user’s personal Google account. This meant that when we wanted to add a feed everyone in the team had to do it manually. So the closure of Google Reader was a blessing in disguise really, and we moved to Netvibes. We now have a series of dashboards showing all the relevant news stories coming in for each client and it’s easy to keep on top of everything.
Google offer a host of great tools for small businesses; in particular we love using Gmail for our email and would never go back to Outlook, and Google Docs is so handy when we need to collaborate on a document. But I wanted to give a special mention to a tiny, plain little application which comes as part of all this – Google Tasks.
It’s so simple: someone sends an email, you can’t deal with it right now but don’t want to forget it, so you just use CTRL + T and it gets added to your task list. Easy. Then later on you just click the link and it takes you back to the original email. No forgetting important stuff, no hunting around to find it and no breaking off from important tasks to answer emails that were never that high a priority in the first place.
OK, so another Google product but definitely comes under the heading ‘can’t do without!’
I really can’t stand being late and always factor in extra time to allow for any unexpected delays. So I use this all the time when heading to meetings to find out where exactly I’m going, the best route to choose and how long it’ll take me. Then I add on a bit extra just to be sure.
Eventbrite and Meetup
Both these tools are excellent for organising events. I tend to use Meetup for anything that’s a bit more community based, as it allows for photos, event ratings and is generally a bit more conversational.
We use Eventbrite for one-off events where we’re selling tickets or if there is a private guest list.
They do a lot of the work for you, for example sending out automated emails ahead of the event to remind people to come along, or suggesting the event to people living in the area or who are members of similar groups. I really can’t imagine going back to the days of sending out printed invites and making endless phone calls to chase people up!
What tools can your business not live without?