Sunday, April 5, 2015

Most Essential Social Media Tools For Today’s Entrepreneurs

Juggling so many tasks can be daunting and lead to a lot of stress. So if you’re an entrepreneur and you want to become more efficient, productive and successful, there are tools that can help you track all possible social media data. Most are easy to use if you take the time to learn them, and many have both free and for-fee versions, the latter offering more detail. Take a look at the list of tools below.

  1. Buffer is a great platform and app to find and schedule content on all social media platforms. You can also view analytics, shorten links, create schedules and reshare messages that have already been shared before. This makes building up your brand and company on social media extremely easy.

  2. Asana is a free project-management tool that allows teams to communicate without email, in one central location. Because many work with virtual teams, this is a great tool to stay in touch.

  3. Most people already know about Google Drive , but Chromebooks and ability to convert and edit Microsoft Office documents make it (and accompanying Docs and Sheets) a great way to collaborate and share documents with your clients, freelancers or employees.

  4. SoundGecko translates online content — like news and blog posts — into an audio file. This allows you to “read” any content that can help you with your business — including articles on productivity, sales and branding — on the go.

  5. If you are seeking funding for you business, AngelList is a great social network that can help you seek funding and make connections with those in your community.

  6. If you need a logo, social-media cover photo, podcast intro, website content and more, be sure to check out Fiverr. Sure, the gigs start at $5 but that doesn’t mean they are sub par. Look at reviews and actual Fiverr gig samples before deciding on a contractor.

  7. If you need a freelancer for a long-term project or something more extensive, try Elance, a platform that allows you to post projects and find freelancers that have what you are looking for.

  8. Original websites are always a good thing, but if that is lacking in your budgets, Wix is a pretty and simple website builder that has modern templates that almost anyone can edit.

  9. If you need an office or just a place to work for the day, try ShareDesk orDeskTime to find a co-working office or open desk that allows you to have office space without paying for an entire office.

  10. If you are an Android user, connect your Google account to your phone and take advantage of Google Now , which can tell you when to leave for appointments that are on your calendar, whether or not your flight is delayed or even new articles from websites you frequent often. This “virtual personal assistant of sorts” can help you stay organized and on track, even if you have a lot of balls in the air, as most entrepreneurs do.

  11. If you fly or travel to a lot for conferences, meeting with investors or clients, or other events, TripIt Pro (there’s also a free, less robust, version) can help you stay on top of flight changes, frequent flyer numbers and more.

  12. NerdWallet offers an array of airline credit cards, which can help you accrue points to fly where ever you need to build your business. Put all your business expenses on a single card — from Dropbox subscriptions to office supplies — and watch the points stack up.

  13. Amazon’s Audible/Kindle Unlimited allow you to listen and read several books from its service each month. Just like SoundGecko, it’s another way to stay up-to-date with business, self improvement and more.

  14. AllConferences, Lanyrd, ConferenceAlerts, and Confradar great ways to build a good business is to meet other entrepreneurs and industry colleagues through conferences.

  15. If you are looking to drum up business within your local community, try Meetup to find networking groups, industry meetings and speakers. EventBrite is also a great place to find tickets to smaller, local events as well.

  16. Pinterest can be a great place to find inspiration for new products and upcoming trends (so you can use them in your own projects), as well as a place to share your products and inspirations as a company. Power personal blender Nutribullet is a good example of a growing company that capitalizes on its audience’s interest in healthy living on Pinterest.

  17. Once LinkedIn accepts your request to join LinkedIn Content Platform , you have free reign to contribute content as much as you want. It’s probably best to only post original content on LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is already such a large platform, its content will get indexed faster and could potentially give you more visibility than your company’s blog.

  18. Contently automatically creates a writing portfolio for them based on the websites they say they write for.

  19. Think of Talkwalker as Google Alerts, but better. It offers more comprehensive results and more options that allow you to check for mentions of your company online. This helps with public relations and the chance to interact with people who are discussing your brand online.

  20. HARO helps a Reporter Out is an email that goes out multiple times per day, with requests from reporters for sources for their stories. This can turn into free publicity for your company. Be sure to respond ASAP, as some requests can get competitive.

  21. HelloSign or EchoSign is legally binding digital document signing services that allow you to get contracts, agreements, W2s and more signed quickly and over email. Be sure to check your state’s regulation on these documents, but they usually stand as legal in the majority of states.

  22. Going back to working with a distributed workforce, Join.Me allows you to share your screen with another user quickly, for free. All you need is the free software, and the other user can see your screen from their browser. If both of you have the software, however, you can also cede control of your mouse to the other user, allow tutorials, customer service and how-to demonstrations easier than ever.

  23. Jing is a free screencast (screen recording) and screenshot software that makes it easy to record product demos, illustrative how-tos for virtual assistants or screenshots for blog posts and product description pages.

  24. If you are looking to reach out to journalists to cover your company, product launch or other news, PressPass and JustReachOut allows you to search for journalists by beat, industry or region.

  25. Like PressPass and JustReachOut but for bloggers, BlogDash allows you to connect with bloggers in your specific niche to review products, sponsor blog giveaways or build relationships.

Further more tools provide anything from simple tracking systems to advanced data management from multiple social media accounts, and knowing your social media goals and objectives will help you decide which ones to use. Here are a few more:

  • Blitzmetrics lets you monitor content from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and other platforms. Checks news feed coverage and feedback rates, and helps determine which demographics are most responsive.

  • Bottlenose analyzes and provides data from real-time activities across numerous social networks.

  • Carma lets you review and evaluate your social media image, brand recognition and message penetration through traditional and social media analysis.

  • Conversocial monitors comments and customer service issues on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. Comments are sorted into positive, neutral or negative categories, and can measure such data as customer satisfaction, agent response times and issue frequency.

  • Curalate applies advanced image analytics to social media conversations to help strengthen campaigns for Pinterest and Instagram.

  • Facebook Insights is Facebook’s free built-in analytics tool provides metrics based on Facebook content.

  • Google Analytics provides web, social media, mobile content, conversion and advertising analytics and reports.

  • HootSuite is a social media management tool that tracks various social media platforms at one time with free analytic data. A pay version provides more detailed reports.

  • MediaVantage provides real-time traditional and social media monitoring in a single database to keep track of what’s being discussed about your brand.

  • NetBase lets you monitor social media or specific platforms in real time to analyze your campaigns, consumers and competitors, and engage or react accordingly.

  • Pinterest Web Analytics is Pinterest’s free analytics that provides users with data on reactions and responses to their pins.

  • Social Mention is a free aggregator that tracks user-generated content in a similar manner to Google Alerts, except the focus is on social media sites. Also provides email alerts on your brand, your competitors or your industry.

  • SocialOomph allows you to follow up on keywords, auto-follow new Twitter followers, track retweets or utilize the many functions for tracking your social media accounts.

  • Sprout Social is a web app that tracks content and conversations across social media platforms by demographic measures, monitors trends in social engagement, and tracks customer service response times.

  • Talkwalker monitors trends, your brand and products, and also identifies influencers.

  • Topsy lets you search by location or keywords and monitors tweets, retweets, websites and blogs. Also analyzes, indexes and ranks content and trends.

  • TweetDeck is a service that allows businesses, organizations and individuals to monitor, manage and schedule their social media marketing activity.

  • Viralheat aggregates your social media traffic into a single stream for easy access, and lets you sort using various filters.

  • YouTube Insight provides total views, their demographic and geographic breakdown and even how long people are watching your videos.

from WordPress


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Let These Web Tools (Mostly Free) Work For You To Grow Your Business

Of the infinite resources available on the Internet, there is still nothing better than FREE. Below are 12 (mostly) free tools that can help build your business:

  1. 1M/1M offers access to the extensive startup network and collective knowledge in Silicon Valley to entrepreneurs everywhere. This is a truly interesting source for “starter uppers” to talk about branding, positioning, financing or anything else entrepreneurial.

  2. Want to merge your brand into the social networks within your industry? Instead of searching the hundreds of thousands of Twitter hashtags, does that for you. This site aggregates the overwhelming volume of topical discussions and delivers the most popular ones to you so that you know who to start a conversation with. You can also type in your name or Twitter handle and see how influential you are — or not.

  3. Looking for another revenue stream? Skimlinks will measure and implement affiliate-marketing links not only on your website but also on your RSS, Twitter and Facebook feeds. This handy tool turns links and keywords on your site into their equivalent affiliate links, thus allowing you to focus on more pertinent content: your business.

  4. For those startups who collaborate over graphics, try Lucidchart , a sort of Google Docs for visual projects. You can build collective mind maps, flow charts or anything else your graphics-based heart desires.

  5. Graphic designers have a broad range of services, fees and (sometimes) attitudes, which is why finding the right one for you is as much a cost to your wallet as it is to your emotions. Cool Text generates free graphics for web pages or logos without overburdening you with the design work. Simply choose what kind of image you like, fill out a form, and your custom-made image will be created right then and there.

  6. Needtagger allows you to find a target audience on Twitter based on your product or service. You can set filters for like-minded people in your industry and build a followership of potential customers based on your business.

  7. Bright Journey offers a collection of startup knowledge from extremely successful entrepreneurs around the globe with the intent of sharing their expertise with others. Users post questions and the best answers are voted to the top.

  8. Want to know where your website stands along a grade scale? Go to Hubspot’s marketing grader and see where you rank in terms of effectiveness. It will measure your blogging, SEO, lead generation and more.

  9. While Fiverr may not be free, it’s pretty darn close. You can buy and/or sell anything for $5. From writing a blog headline, generating an “About Us” page on your website, to drawing a cartoon character, is a one-stop-shop for anything under $5.

  10. Looking for an elegant digital or print layout for a magazine or company newsletter? LucidPress is an easy-to-use resource that offers drag-and-drop capability, making video, text or photo layout much easier.

  11. CreativeLive hosts video classes spanning five different categories: photo and video, art and design, music and audio, craft and maker and money and life. Videos are free and there’s even a calendar to peruse for upcoming content.

  12. Of course, no list of websites is complete without the resident Google tool.Google for Entrepreneurs is another pool of insider knowledge with free videos of instruction, such as learning how to brand yourself from Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and more.

from WordPress


Friday, April 3, 2015

Work Smart: These Business Productivity Apps Will Help You To Do That

You’re busy–you have a business to run, payroll to make, products to refine, innovations to … well, innovate.

Marketing is what happens between all that–which is why it makes sense to get help from mobile applications that can simplify and organize your efforts. Here’s a dozen of supersmart business productivity and marketing apps for the real-world entrepreneur.

  1. 30/30 (Free)

    If you’re struggling to accomplish a difficult task, give it your full attention for 30 minutes, then take a 30-minute break to recover and refocus. The 30/30 app uses that rule to increase productivity by helping you organize and manage your tasks and timing so you stay on track.

    Great for: writing content or copy, responding to e-mails or doing anything you tend to put off.

  2. Cal (Free)
    Cal offers an aesthetically pleasing interface with integrated functions that tie in your contacts and social media accounts.

    Great for: keeping a packed schedule organized, without feeling overwhelmed.

  3. Pocket (Free)
    Content overload isn’t just a clich?; it’s a real problem. Use Pocket to save interesting articles, videos and more from the web to read or watch later. Once saved to the app, the list of content is visible on any device, at any time–even when you’re offline.

    Great for: staying up to speed on news and industry issues. It also allows you to share an article you’re reading on Pocket directly to Twitter, with no need to go back to the original link or to the Twitter app.

  4. Buffer (Free)

    Buffer allows you to easily manage your social media accounts from one interface. Share news and links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ in real time, or use it to schedule tweets and retweets. It offers a nice analytic back-end, as well.

    Great for: easily managing social profiles with an all-in-one interface (though I’m not really a fan of scheduled tweets).

  5. Mention (Free for one alert, $9.99 per month for two)

    An alternative to Google Alerts, Mention ensures that you don’t miss a thing on the web or social media. It tracks keywords and delivers instant updates to help you quickly react, collaborate and analyze your online presence in real time.

    Great for: a robust view of who’s talking about you or the things you care about.

  6. Evernote (Free)

    This popular app is a way to capture and organize ideas, links and notes–like a virtual Moleskin. But unlike its paper brethren, Evernote syncs across your desktop and mobile devices to give you ready access to your stuff.

    Great for: collecting things. A caveat: It’s so easy to use that you might find yourself becoming a digital pack rat, with too much stuff. I’ve learned to resist the urge to save everything to Evernote.

  7. Dropbox (Free or subscription)

    The ubiquitous collaboration and file-sharing tool, for both mobile and desktop.

    Great for: moving large files around and sharing them within your own devices or with others on your team. Also great for keeping track of and accessing files.

  8. CardMunch (Free)

    Snap a photo of a business card, and CardMunch will turn it into a contact. Owned by LinkedIn, the service even adds the person’s full profile, when possible.

    Great for: networking, and it’s especially handy for trade shows, when you’re dealing with a large volume of business cards.

  9. GoDocs ($4.99)

    If you frequently find yourself needing to update Google Docs when you’re away from your computer, give this app a go. GoDocs lets you sort, edit and upload new docs to your Google Drive from your phone.

    Great for: convenience. This isn’t a Google product, but it feels like one, because it allows for easy access and updating to any document, including spreadsheets.

  10. Statigram (Free)

    This app offers back-end data, aggregating Likes and Comments, as well as advanced analytic, to help guide your Instagram strategy.

    Great for: performance insights into your Instagram accounts (it’s the secret weapon for visual-content creators).

  11. Analytics Pro 2 ($7.99)

    The best mobile Google Analytic experience, Analytics Pro 2 has what you need to view data on the move, dividing reports into eight sections: summary, visitors, traffic sources, social, content, goals, e-commerce and app tracking.

    Great for: optimizing your site’s performance. It may sound like a lot of information to absorb, but you’ll revel in the richness.

  12. GoToMeeting (Free)

    GoToMeeting has allowed for virtual collaboration via desktop since forever. The app lets you do the same thing when you’re on the go.

    Great for: calling in to a meeting or webinar from an inconvenient location. I’ve even used it from the car.

  13. Waze (Free)

    Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Other drivers share real-time traffic and road info, crowdsourcing your commute.

    Great for: road warriors. If you spend a lot of time on the road in unfamiliar cities, it’s a lifesaver. And it’s got you covered even on those days when your challenge is just finding the fastest route to the office.

from WordPress


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let The World Feel Your Presence

Growing online presence is no easy job — especially for small and midsize business that are often lacking the brand awareness and resources of their much larger counterparts. Fortunately, now, more than ever there are a plethora of tools to help newly-minted entrepreneurs build their brand quickly and cheaply.

Here are Five to help jump start your online-community presence.

  1. Buffer to post content. Content sharing is one of the easiest way to grow and nurture community. Yet, with more and more social platforms popping up online, content sharing can be time consuming, as each has its own style and messaging. This tool is a great way to streamline posting and schedule on multiple platforms, making sure you’re talking to everyone where it counts. Plus, it’s a great way to keep communications going on the weekend, a time when many users are interested in sharing online content.

  2. LaunchCrew to launch campaigns. When launch day comes, startups need to get the word out to as many people to have the most impact and increase the probability of being heard in crowded industries. Often this entails getting current followers to share with their friends, family and connections. LaunchCrew will help you do just that. It lets you cast a much wider net, practically doubling or tripling your impact. But how? By asking your audience for their credentials to be able to post on their behalf on the day of your launch. Or for any major campaign. You’ll get that initial boost you’ve always dreamed of — the one you really need these days to break out of the pack from the very start.

  3. Unbounce to create landing pages. Landing pages are now a must-have design choice to boost your online special operations. By customizing these towards a targeted audience, along with specific and relatable calls to action, it makes them way more efficient at achieving higher click-through rates. Unbounce allows you to create landing pages incredibly fast, with no technical skills required, making it easy not only to build but also to A/B test and implement the best results.

  4. Click to Tweet to foster sharing. It’s ok to ask people to share. But the simpler it is, the more people you’ll get to do so. By giving out a simple, pre-composed click-to-tweet URL for your audience to tweet in seconds, you’ll find that your potential for virality is drastically increased.

  5. Mention to monitor and react. Once people start talking about you, the best way to continue growing is to detect these mentions and to reply to every one of them. By doing so, it fosters a lot of motivation for them to talk and mention even more about you, creating a network of trusted brand advocates. By having alerts based on keywords — like the name of your company, your products or your competitors — mention allows you to stay in the know and react in seconds by connecting your social accounts directly to the app.

With these five tools, you’ll find yourself developing and maintaining a clear brand voice in no time. And it’s then that you’ll start to see your online presence heating up.

from WordPress