Social media is a double edged sword in the world today. On one hand you pretty much need it if you are going to be doing any form of customer outreach, promotion or branding, even for yourself.
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But on the other it is a time suck, and it is hard not to get lost in hours of surfing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the multitude of other online stopping points that have so much to entice you away from productive work.
That’s why you need some tools in your corner to get you past the hump. You can still use social media, you just need to do it more productively. Here are nine tools to help you do it, covering every facet of social media use.
I was a long time user of Passpack to save all of my passwords in the past, because I occasionally had to share them with clients. I still use it, but in a much less dedicated manner. Now it has become a database for sharing.
Everything else goes into 1Password, a tool a friend of mine converted me to a couple of months ago. It not only stores all of your valuable information, including credit card or financial institution details, but it signs you into all of your accounts securely, with a click. This is such a relief given how many social accounts I manage on behalf of brands that I can’t stop singing its praises.
I am a huge Cyfe fangirl. It is the most thorough business platform on the web, and unlike others it actually delivers on the all-in-one claim. You set up widgets on your dashboard, and customize them to do pretty much anything you want.
Sales, customer service, help desk, technical support, marketing, social media, CRM, analytics… the list goes on and on. All for $19 per month for their premium service, which is an insanely low amount given what they offer. If you want to get all of your ducks in a row, Cyfe is a must.
Standing for If This, Then That, IFTTT is an awesome, easy to use tool that combines different apps into a single service. For example, you can combine Wikipedia with Feedly to get something new to learn about every day.
Or sync Buffer and Google Calendar. These are called recipes, and you can make any number of them to turn your Internet use into something much more streamlined and clean. They have a number for social media sites, so you can limit the time you spend on any of them without sacrificing what you want, or need, to do.
You are sitting on the web, working on a piece of content you need to finish that night to publish by the morning. In spite of the latening hour, you keep finding yourself browsing AskReddit threads about creepy ghost stories. It has nothing to do with your task, keeps distracting you, and is setting you back on your deadline.
Welcome to the attention span given to us all by the unending goodies of the Internet. Cold Turkey can stop those distractions and keep you on task, including by stopping you from checking social media profiles.
Are people talking about you brand? Probably, but most dashboards are cumbersome and pick up unrelated conversation that has nothing to do with what you are watching for.
So you have to go through manually, finding the mentions that actually are relevant and picking them out of the lineup. Mention is a better way of monitoring your reputation, offering you cool email alerts.
Have multiple accounts on a wide range of platforms? You can use Agorapulse. It is a social media dashboard with a focus on scheduling content.
Monitor all messages from one place, watch for activity involving your brand, answer tweets and page comments, and more. All from one place for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. That’s right, they have Google Plus compatibility! That already sets them apart from a lot of dashboards that either haven’t gained access to their API, or don’t see the need to. This is a great one for local pages in particular.
LinkedIn is one of the worst designed social media sites on the web, I am just going to come out and say it. No one likes searching through it, navigating their profiles, or dealing with the ugly profile pages and the haphazard information. But there is no doubt it is a useful social media platform.
To avoid spending ages navigating their site, you can get the relevant details right in your Gmail account with Rapportive. I love this tool, it has saved me so much time. Not to mention it has made my networking a million times more efficient.
Here are some rapportive alternatives too!
If you have a team to run, keeping track of every task can be incredibly hard. When you add social media into the mix it can feel impossible, and you end up playing backtrack and catch up as much as you do going through your original tasks.
Asana is a pretty great team management tool that lets you track everything your team is doing, in real time. I really like using it to keep my content, social and sales people in the loop, and watch what they are doing.
How much time have you wasted sifting through images to try and find copyright free ones that actually match your posts on social media? The answer is probably too much.
While we all have our special sites, this one is a must add for anyone doing social publication. Pixabay actually has a database of free images, not “free” pages that have horrible pics then lead to paid stock advertised underneath. There are more than 750,000 to choose from.
Bonus! 5 Best Social Media Productivity Browser Plugins
- Broken links checker: Don’t waste your time clicking broken links on social media feeds. This page explains http status code very well for you to understand
- Twitter URL expander: See the actual linked domains right within Twitter feed. Skip those you know you don’t want to click.
- Social Fixer for Facebook: Filter your Facebook feeds to never hear about politics and keep sanity
- Dayboard: Keep a simple to-do daily to-do list and check things as done before closing the browser
- Save to Pocket: Don’t waste your time reading everything you see on social media right away. Save URLs for later reading using this sweet extension.
Do you have any tools you think should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments!
3 Clever Tips for Finding the Best Internet Provider in Your Area
More than 3 billion people use the Internet all around the world today. You’re definitely among that number (aren’t you reading this right now?), but how does that amount of volume affect your internet speed?
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As a blogger or online business owner, it’s tough to find the best internet provider. Outside of the contract terms being too confusing, bandwidth speeds that have your head spinning, there are just too many providers and plans to make sense of.
At the end of the day, we all just want reliable internet, with fast delivery speeds. Good thing most of us aren’t hosting our sites and businesses from our home internet providers!
In any event, we’ve got you. Read on to learn more about your internet options and for three top tips on finding the best internet providers.
Do Your Research
There are four different types of internet services: satellite, DSL, cable, and fiber optic.
Satellite is often the only option in rural areas, so if you’re not near a city, it might be for you. The cons? It tends to be more expensive, and rather slow compared to cable and fiber optic.
DSL works over your phone line, like the old dial-up systems used to. It’s typically a lot less expensive than the others since its relatively outdated. If cost is a big factor for you, DSL might be your ticket.
Cable is a popular option in suburban areas since it’s a good medium between price and speed. The main downside is that everyone else in your neighborhood is on the same cable service, which can slow it down during peak times.
Fios is the newest, most cutting-edge option out there. It almost delivers your internet at the speed of light. The main drawback is that it’s not very widely available yet.
Now that you have a better idea of your broadband needs, you can refine your “internet service providers in my area” Google search to include your specific service type!
Figure Out Your Need for Speed
Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second, also referred to as Mbps.
Streaming HD video requires around 5 Mbps, streaming music only uses 2 Mbps, and downloading large files can use as much as 50 Mbps.
How much speed you need is entirely dependent upon what you use your internet for. If you mostly use it to browse the web and stream Netflix and Hulu, you won’t need as much speed as a professional gamer. If you’re a professional photographer who’s always sending large files to clients, for example, you’ll want more Mbps for your buck.
Most internet service providers have a wide variety of options for Mbps needs. The best ISPs, like Pac-Wave, for instance, won’t even offer speeds below 25 Mbps. In today’s digital world, you’ll find that’s pretty much the bare minimum you’ll need.
Check the Contract
Be sure to find out contract details during your search for the best internet service provider in your area. Some require you to pay monthly to use the modem or buy it outright.
Some will offer you a promotional rate and only write it in the fine print that it’ll go up in a year. Some have great add-on options for phone lines and cable that you might want to partake in.
Some won’t require you to sign a contract at all. The point is, read the fine print before you sign anything!
Entrepreneurs Need the Best Internet Provider
If you’re an entrepreneur, like 57 million others in the U.S. working the gig economy, there’s no doubt you need the best internet provider on the block. You also need a whole host of other resources to help you slay your business goals in 2019.
Check out our latest entrepreneurship article for all the best tips, tricks, and advice every entrepreneur needs to know!
3 Reasons Why Bloggers Love Google Chromecast in their Home Office
As bloggers and entrepreneurs, we are are usually working 80 to 100+ hours per week, so we don’t have to work 9-to-5 for someone else. While the concept of all of this is great and fine, we are living most of our lives in our own home offices. With so much time being spent in a specific location, it’s important to make sure our environment isn’t just a fun place to be, but also one that’s productive and efficient as well.
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One of the best ways to accomplish this, is to maximize the amount of space we have, while also getting the most out of our favorite electronics, items, desk space and more. To help with this process, I recently got my hands on the latest Google Chromecast and started thinking about how great of a tool it is, not just for entertainment, but also for productivity and making my work space better in the process.
With all of this in mind, it also gave me the idea to write this list post on how every blogger can benefit from adding one to their home office or workspace. Here we go!
Stream from your Phone to TV
In addition to working from home, bloggers and entrepreneurs are usually working from their mobile devices when they are on the go. Not only will a Google Chromecast work with your TV through an HDMI port, it will also allow you to watch shows, listen to playlists and more right through your mobile device. This is perfect for when you are working in one room, then have to leave for another, but don’t want to miss what’s playing on TV or any audio or music you might have streaming.
Works with the Streaming Apps you Know and Love
Remember when there were only a couple hundreds apps to choose from? Those days are long gone, and now it seems like there are apps for everything — whether it be for business, productivity, gaming, or even personal use.
Again, Google Chromecast makes it easy for anyone to enjoy TV shows, movies, videos, songs, games, sports and more from over 2000 apps like Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, and HBO NOW.
When it comes to working out of the home or planning to build out a new home office, this also eliminates the need to worry about cable cords and wiring!
Start Streaming with Just Your Voice
Eliminating cords and additional wiring in the home or office is always great, but there are still times when you need to look around for the controller or have to plug something in. This can waste a lot of time if you are trying to get work done throughout the day.
Another benefit to adding Google Chromecast into your home office, is that you can control all settings and commands right through your voice. For anyone that might already haver Google Home in place, the two work seamlessly together and make the experience even better!
Not sure what channel your favorite show is on? No worries… just say “Google, play Game of Thrones” and you are ready to go!
Improve Productivity and Technology with Google Chromecast
No matter what type of business or brand you might be running, it’s always great to stay at the forefront when it comes to technology. Not only will this make your workspace more exciting, it will also make you more tech-savvy in the process.
As fun as this post was, and it might make you want to start watching TV, just think about the many different ways you can use Google Chromecast to start improving your productivity and getting more done throughout the day.
#ad @BestBuy @madebygoogle *IMAGE
Finding the Right Project Management Software for Your Content Marketing Team
A project management software is a must-have resource for business. There are hundreds of options for your project management software — all promising to do what the others can do, but better. While this may be true, the fact is that some features may not be necessary for your content marketing team. What works for some may not work for others. So, how do you choose the right project management software to suit the specific needs of your content management team, while not paying extra for features your team is never going to use?
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The key to a good project management software is in the essentials. You’ll want to make sure that your software has the foundational capabilities to navigate every stage of your content marketing project from beginning to end successfully. Read below for features to look for, as well as some tips for finding the right project management software for your content marketing team.
Features of A Good Project Management Software
Without a proper way of communication, your team won’t work as a cohesive unit. Especially for groups working remotely, constant communication with coworkers is among the most vital of components when working as a team. It is critical that your software has a way for effective communication and maintaining adaptability when problems arise.
Trying to run a content marketing campaign without talking about the crafting, writing, and publishing of your content will be virtually impossible. Furthermore, how are you supposed to know who is handling what project and how far along they are? In any aspect of business, communication is vital, and emails will only get you so far. In many cases, a second form of communication is necessary for instant messaging for the clarification of instructions and problems in real-time.
Another useful tool is Zoho, which can help with many different levels of communication and management in your business. To learn more about this tool, we recommending taking a look at this Zoho projects review from Time Doctor.
The foundation of a functional content marketing team is the ability to collaborate. Creating and publishing content involves the hands and eyes of everyone on your team. So, it is imperative that your project management software has collaborative functions.
Content creation and marketing relies on the sharing of ideas, and this includes file sharing. Email cannot provide the pace in which a content marketing team needs to work on files and pass them back and forth between members. Additionally, email can come with some drawbacks — some people don’t check their email often, files can get lost in inboxes, and other email disasters can happen. In recognition of these drawbacks, your project management software must have the file-sharing capabilities at speeds that can keep up with your team members’ ideas and processes.
No matter what advertising or marketing methods you are exploring, the important thing is that you have a PR and marketing platform that can measure your results. A good example of this would be GoodNoon, which is a PR agency that provides placements into world’s largest publications. This is something that can be approached manually, but without the right connections and moving parts in place, it can end up taking a lot more time than expected.
It is also recommended that you supplement your project management software with a collaborative tool such as Google Docs. Google Docs is an extremely cost-effective app that allows team members to work on the same document, in real-time. With these two tools combined, you can work on a document with a coworker on Google Docs, and send it to another employee through your project management software for them to work on or edit.
Project Management Duties
Other than the functions above, you’ll want to make sure that your project management software performs all of the duties that will keep your content marketing campaign running smoothly. Since there are different project management software, each one puts their flare on the user experience of the functions they provide. However, you’ll want to make sure that your software provides some crucial elements.
First and foremost, your project management software or tool needs to have a working calendar. In the process of content creation and marketing, there are deadlines to meet, and you don’t want projects to be constantly up in the air. The firm tracking of dates to remember is vital in any business operation, and your content marketing campaign is no different.
Marking the priority, and the ability to assign tasks to others is another part of a content marketing team’s processes. Facilitating effective time management, understanding the priority of upcoming tasks can keep your team members in the loop. During the creative process of content creation, it is good to know how much time you have to work on a project while acknowledging projects that you have to get started on shortly.
QuickBooks illustrates the importance and convenience of a project management software, saying that “with a project management tool, you won’t need to ask your employees for that one email or the status of that one project. All ongoing and completed work—along with all relevant information—will be instantly accessible.” So, make sure your software can let a team member work on a task, mark it as urgent, and notify the next team member that the project needs to be at the top of their list. This function will elevate time management and productivity levels while avoiding confusion.
Tips For Finding The Right Project Management Software
Deciding how much you want to spend on your project management software is tricky. Of course, you want to provide the best tools for your content management team, but you’d also like to be cost-efficient. Things to consider when calculating the cost of your software are how well it performs necessary duties, alternative software, and your team’s feedback on the software you’re considering to go with.
You don’t want to be paying for extra features that are going to be seldom used or little understood by your teammates. So, make sure you try out and do your research on other project management software and listen to your team’s feedback.
How else are you going to find out exactly what you need in a project management software than to try out all of your options? You wouldn’t blindly buy a car without doing your research first, would you? While a project management software is not as expensive as a car, it will save you time, money, and frustration to take the time to make sure you are going with the right one.
There are many options for a project management software, and all come with different ways to perform the same tasks or offer different functions entirely. Your object here is to see how well the user experience and services offered corresponds with your content marketing objectives and team member preferences.
Get Feedback From Your Team
Your team’s input on the project management software you are considering could ultimately make your decision for you. If your team doesn’t like or understand the software you are thinking of choosing, it is in everyone’s best interest to go with another software — rather than spending the time and money trying to learn and deal with software that no one likes or understands. User experience is subjective to the people using the software, as well as the tasks you will be performing. If the software you are considering doesn’t fit your content marketing team’s goals or preferences, don’t waste the money on buying it.
Additionally, listening to your team’s opinion will illuminate some function of a project management software that you will lean on heavily and some that you may not use at all. Why pay the extra money for things you won’t use, or waste the money on software that doesn’t carry out the functions you need it to? Your team’s feedback will be valuable during your decision to choose a project management software.
Finding the right project management software is a decision that can make or break your content marketing campaign. Instead of wasting time and money, your team could be on its way to creating some very compelling content and marketing strategies. The information above will help you get started on your way to finding the perfect project management software for you and your team.
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