Some Helpful Mobile/Computer APPs to Stay Organized in 2013

[Image: Entrepreneur Blog Post] 
Can you believe that we are closing in on the end of another month of 2013? As such, I guess it’s time to look ahead to another successful month of learning, sharing, and taking advantage of all the latest technology (i.e. mobile applications/devices, social media, CRM, etc), huh? Speaking of have any of you discovered how easy apps (especially via our cell phones) have allowed us to do most of this learning and sharing, while allowing us to stay organized, track other things such as our finances, schedule appointments, prospect, buy, sell, etc? The best part about all this (so they say or as I have experienced) is that it frees up time for us to do other things, save money, and reduce stress… or do they?
It is no secret that mobile devices/computers are changing every day with the introduction of better, faster, and more accessible applications. Now enter marketing (YES, even mobile marketing), which believe it or not is also continuing to change just as fast, which in turn is slowly becoming a must have for any business or person that has access to a cell phone or internet connection and is looking to sell, purchase, or even just browse online (do people really still just browse?) Needless to say and according to eDigitalResearch these people (YES maybe even YOU) or roughly 54% of all cell phone users are now using their smart phones to access websites, while an additional 38% of these users actually BUYing with their respected phone. Crazy huh? In other words, that is… over half of smart phone users use their phones to browse, while another 4 out of 10 actually purchase via their phone, wow are you surprised? If not you shouldn’t be since most people don’t actually think about how often they actually use their devices for such purchasing activities, instead only think about how enjoyable it is to have such convenience now-a-days. However, this is a HUGE opportunity for almost any small business with a small budget to create a big impact if you truly want to grow your business, while providing consumers with a fast, effective, and transparent way of shopping online (i.e. this also goes for all you B2B sales professionals as well).  
Nonetheless I have talked about many of the social media sites and CRM programs in previous posts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Empire Avenue, FourSqaure, Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc). So, in this post I wanted to provide you with 3 additional applications (must haves this year) that I believe will not only help you but also marketers looking to expand business the opportunity to do so while staying organized. Yes, I did just say “organized,” as organization is a vital part of not only your personal success but also you businesses success. Agree?
1. On that note, the 1st application that you must have this year is EverNote, which allows you to capture anything, find things fast, while accessing your information from just about anywhere. Sounds good huh? What’s more is that you can do this for yourself or business from one spot, while saving links and reminders so you can access them anytime from anywhere on almost any device! What are you waiting for and if you’re not sold here is a screen shot with more since seeing is believing!
 [Image: EverNote Blog Post] 
               [Image: IFTTT Blog Post]
2. Next up is something that I have been using both personally and professionally for the last year plus and that is the online application that automates almost any task (mostly social media related) by a simple process (perhaps you may have heard this in school before)… If This Then That, hence IFTTT? Basically this application, which you can organize online “IFTTT” connects all your personal and/or business networks together and allows you to automate what tasks you want to relay or not. Example, I often use this application for tasks such as a check-in on FourSquare (one that I took a picture), which I want to rely to my Twitter followers. Make since? One thing with this wonderful app is that you do not want to over complicate things with too many if this, then that scenarios; otherwise, this may cause more headaches then enjoyment for you. However, if you strategically plan (personal or professional) connection scenarios then you will find that this app is well worth your investment time especially if you integrate all your networks and use it with others such as HootSuite or use the EverNote app as previously discussed.
[Image: WIRED Website] 
3. Lastly, if you have been a reader here for some time you may have heard me mention the many different location based services on social media platforms such as Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook? However, as for staying organized or especially marketing purposes new apps are becoming even more important to your long-term success online (especially small businesses). Since location based services allow you or your customers to share, I believe that they also have a place in staying organized (especially in the B2B or B2C world), as most of these programs rely on GPS data and user interaction. Since you are or maybe checking into places personally or on even on business purposes, while looking to target others with the “right message at the right time,” then ByteLight might just be the app that you are looking for to spend less while becoming more specific… organized, YES? ByteLight actually uses GPS (i.e. location based services) through a unique light bulb setting, which sends waves of unique patters only visible on a cell phone to actually determine where a consumer is in a particular store. If you are a business or part of a business that is looking for a unique way to stay organized, while targeting certain customers who reach certain parts of your store or other establishment, then you have to check out the site and/or watch the videoto see if this is something that might keep safe and/or more organized.
Obviously (and again if you have been here before) you know that these three applications are only the tip of the iceberg in my arsenal but awesome to say the least, hence why I had to share, Nonetheless, I highly recommend that you get involved NOW with these as I continue to put other lists together for you this New Year (e.g. don’t fall behind!) Additionally, I would also love to hear from others how you or your business is staying organized and/or what predictions you are excited about using next? Once again, thanks for stopping by and until next time… Keep SMILING! 

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.

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5 Tips to Ask in Order to Run a Successful Social Media Campaign with Increases in ROI and Sales? Yes!

As many of you know, finding an experienced professional to assist you with anything in life can be a daunting task. Also, as many of you probably know there are so many people out there that you speak with everyday that consider themselves “experts, connoisseurs, sales guru’s, geeks” of the trade(s), etc. Well as we both know, these so called experts or what have you, don’t actually have the experience that you may often find yourself needing… good advice, that actually works or saves you money? Yes?
Needless to say, we also continue to run across these same people in our line of work (especially social media), who claim to be experts but are nothing more than users who participate in things in a limited capacity or in social media words… in the basic sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. So, for this week’s discussion, we thought we would provide you with a few things (5 Tips) to consider or ask when you are considering putting together a social media campaign.
1)  The very first question you should ask someone that you are considering letting them help you with your online engagement is what sites do you operate personally or for your company and could you please provide me with the links to check them out?
·    Now that you have their attention, see if they provide you with more than just a Facebook or Twitter account. It is crazy to think about but many experts stake their claim on these sites and these sites alone. However, the truth is social media didn’t start with these sites nor are they the answer to everyone’s needs. Look for people/companies that give you links to blogs and old school forums, etc. Also, look at how long they have been ACTIVELY participating in online activities, since participating for 6 months or a year or two definitely doesn’t make you an expert. Just ask Melcolm Gladwell who wrote Outliersand 60 Minutesused to run a great piece on. Think 10,000 or 10 years (well maybe not that many) but at least look for 3,000 or 3 years of activity.
2)   The second question you should ask the so-called expert you are talking to is whether or not they are familiar with or know of any restrictions in online activities for your specific needs or industry segment.
·    Let’s face it much like people would like to tell you, in online or social media activities there is not one size that fits all approach… mush like Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services, etc. Sure you can participate get quotes for all the companies or operate on all the mediums but most people/businesses should stick with 3-5 networks. A good example is our consulting practice. We consult with clients on PEO, CRM, and Wireless Devices, so these are our ideal clients (companies who offer and those who also need these services), as we know the industry extremely well and any limitations that we must consider on their behalf. However, we don’t run social media campaigns for law, pharmaceutical, alcohol, etc, as we are not familiar with these segments. Sure we could figure it out but you really want a professional or business to help in your social networking that lives, breathes, and knows the industry and more importantly, where your customers hang out!
3)   The third question you should ask your so called expert is their overall opinion (personal opinion) of the industry and how thinks might change in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
·    This is a great question, as it usually lets you know where exactly the person or company started their online activities, why, and what they are trying to accomplish on a personal level. If they say they do it cause it’s their job… RUN! However, if they start out by telling you some of the reasons they started to participate in chat forums, started their own blog, or why they originally joined MySpace or sold stuff on EBay these are more than likely the people you want to deal with, as they have a personal not just a monetary investment in social networking. Also, this should clue you in, as to what other networks that they think will be the next Facebook, much like Pinterest, FourSquare, Scoop-it, etc are becoming. The true expert lives and breathes whatever they are an expert in, so they should/will always have options for you when things are not going as well as you think they should or how they are going.
4)   The forth question you should ask is who will help develop, manage, or engage your specific audience?
·    It still amazes us how many people and businesses think that social media begins and ends with a post or the creation of a Facebook page or Blog or better yet how many likes, followers, or friends you can acquire. Shoot that is the easy part about social networking… creating the sites and adding people, what is difficult part is keeping people interested, engaged, and coming back each week (CUSTOMER SERVICE). This is often the more expensive part of social media but a good investment, if you or your company is really serious about taking the next step online and something more people/businesses should be concerned about if you are looking for that so called Return on Investment (ROI). We cannot even tell you how often we see idle accounts out there that were set-up and abandoned, even some of our client accounts. Why? Cause most of the time just like in person, people and a lot of businesses do not know how to interact with others online or what they want to accomplish even if you tell them. What is the worst that can happen? Someone de-friends, un-follows, or leaves a negative response? Rejection and acceptance are both part of life, so in order to be successful online; you have to interact with others. You cannot just develop an account(s) but you must also manage and engage, so this is a very important question to ask your expert!
5)   Finally the last question, and perhaps the most important (ROI) you have to ask is how exactly social networking will improve a person or business and the measurement scale your expert will use to claim a SUCCESS!
·    This is probably one of our favorite questions to answer because more times than not, our answer doesn’t have anything to do with likes, followers, or friends. Instead we use tools that were created for measurement such as Kred, Klout, PeerIndex,EmpireAvenue, and Google Analytics.  Of course these tools do consider your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, ETC. accounts but remember that they also measure your level of interaction. Of course, these sites are not perfect but remember the more you interact with your friends, followers, and acquaintances, the higher your scores should go. If you are a business, these should also translate into more calls, sales, referrals, etc (ROI) plus the more you interact the more likely you are to create chatter that is positive even despite any negatives that others may have previously left.
Each week we try to take our daily personal/business conversations and translate them into the online world for others to view and use. This week is no different, as we hope that these five tips can help you decide on a person or company best suited for your online “social media” and other activities. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you need any other advice, please don’t be afraid to ask us or contact David Dandaneau directly, as we are here to help. Otherwise, we will see you back here again next week, with another tip brought to you… Well, by YOU! You know the story… Keep Smiling Kidzzz!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.