Online there are so many wonderful tools you can use in your business. Below I’ve listed six of my must-have apps, and most of them are FREE – whether they are tools for social media management, creating killer graphics easily, or simply organising your ideas.
These are my favourite apps that I use in my business.
At times space is of the essence and you need to squeeze a long URL or link into something more compact. This is in most cases when you are posting on Twitter or other social media platforms. Well, a link shortener like bit.ly is the solution. Simply paste the URL in the box at the top of the page, and a bit.ly short link will automatically be created. You can then copy and paste the link. To share the link, simply click on the copy button and paste it in your message or wherever you need to. Otherwise you can click on the arrow at the right to share to the various social networks.
A URL shortener also helps in tracking clicks to your content.
I’ve said it time and time again: Social media is hard work, both in time and work invested. To help make it a bit more manageable you can use a social media management tool. Hootsuite helps users to schedule posts and manage multiple accounts on various platforms from one dashboard. They offer a free service where you can manage up to three accounts, or the paid service that gives you several more. Though it may take a while to get around, it’s worth it and will save you lots of time in the long run.
There’s one catch with using management tools: Sometimes some sites like Facebook reduce the reach of posts shared through a third party tool (in this case, Hootsuite), so be sure to balance regular native posting through the site, as well as scheduling posts.
Gone are the days when the only way to create beautiful graphics was by being knowledgeable in Photoshop (which could be pretty complicated – not to mention expensive!). Since then there have been quite a few online graphic and photo editing programs that have come on the scene.
One I often use is PicMonkey – a user-friendly graphic design service that allows users to edit photos and create graphics to create flyers, documents or for use on social media. You can add interesting effects, touch up photos, and create your own flyers and posters. There are several design templates and fonts to choose from as well as many creative options. You can even add your logo to your designs!
You then have the option of saving at various qualities, depending on whether your design was intended for online use or offline printing.
PicMonkey is fairly easy and straightforward, and is great for those who may not have the resources to pay for a professional graphic designer. There is a free service and a paid service.
For this next application, though I’m an avid user, I still couldn’t quite define it on my own.
According to Wikipedia, “ Evernote is a cross-platform, freemium app designed for note taking, organising, and archiving.”
Evernote is simply my everything tool. I use Evernote to make notes and save them.
Though initially the app may seem a bit daunting, once you get an understanding of the basic features, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it! I use Evernote to make notes of everything, write lists and web pages. In the paid version, you can even turn your notes into a Power Point presentation.
Flickr is a photo-sharing and storage application that has been around for quite some time. Linked to your Yahoo account, it was initially a place for photographers to store and share their beautiful photos taken from all over the world. However, though I do use it to share photos, Flickr has proven even more helpful to me for photo storage and as a photo backup.
Flickr was what saved my life when my laptop was stolen in September 2015. Thanks to the auto-upload feature on Flickr, every photo that I had ever put on my computer was automatically being updated to my Flickr account each time I was online. Therefore, when I went online a week later, the 29,000 photos spanning 8 years of amateur, family and travel photography was safely in my Flickr account! Talk about joy and relief!
Compared to other dedicated data storage services such as Dropbox or even Google Docs, which only gives about 15 GB of free storage space, Flickr offers 1 TB free – that’s 1000 GB of storage. Hence it’s a great option if you have lots of images and don’t want to have to think about space. When set, it automatically uploads photos from your computer or phone whenever you are connected to Wi-Fi.
The downside of it, however, is that Flickr stores only photo and media files. This means that no documents can be uploaded. You’ll have to stick to Google Docs or Dropbox for that.
6. GOOGLE KEEP
Google Keep is a recent discovery shared with me by my brother, who is a project management professional. He recommended Google Keep as a simpler, totally free alternative to Evernote. Google Keep is a simple-to-use list creation and organisation app. It allows you to create all kinds of lists in an organised, clear and easy-to-read layout. The interface looks similar to Post-Its on the screen. You can change the colours of the lists, mark as important, add labels, draw or write on a note, add links and even collaborators. It is very simple and intuitive. The possibilities are endless!
It is available both online, offline and as an app for your phone.
The list above is by no means exhaustive, but presents those apps that help to speed up my work, and make it more manageable or more organised. The applications available today are endless; you can find one to help with almost any task to be done in your business or personal life. Until you find your favourites, I hope these six apps can prove helpful to you. If you have a few of your own, don’t hesitate to share them.
Hanniffa Patterson is
Bi-lingual Communications Specialist, Social Media Strategist / Writer/ Educator
C.E.O/Founder Oui Social Media