Time is of the essence. In today’s fast-paced world, information is shared at an astounding rate. New apps and blogs pop up across the Internet so fast that we can’t possibly keep up. Everyone needs a little help and I’d like to share my tools for what, for lack of a better term, I call my Simplified Online Strategy (S.O.S).
The key to keeping things simple is to find the resources that work for you. This becomes more significant as you create and build your online presence. There are online tools for banking, note-taking and note-sharing, data tracking, web traffic, and brand management (business and personal). We need these tools because what people discover online about us now is how we will be perceived in the future. People no longer need to meet you in person before formulating their initial impression of you. Your online brand is the new first impression.
So, how do you keep things simple while managing your online experience? Here are a few tools that I use to keep myself organized.
Documentation and note-taking: For this, I use a free online tool called Evernote, which allows you to log into your account, type notes and save emails and Web pages. Evernote also has an application and is compatible with virtually every computer, mobile device and phone on the market. The tool syncs automatically, so you can pull your information from wherever you are (assuming you have Internet access or cell phone reception). As part of your free account, you receive 2GB of free space with the option to purchase more as needed. I use this tool for the following purposes:
- Documenting notes from training events
- Note-taking during phone calls
- Saving important emails and webpages that I want to reference quickly
Tracking web traffic: Google Analytics is one of the best resources for tracking website traffic and data. If you are not tracking your website, you are missing a significant opportunity to understand what works and doesn’t work for your business. Without tracking, it’s very difficult to develop an effective content strategy.
Shortening and tracking URLs: Whenever you share something on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, it’s helpful to be able to track data regarding the link. For example, you may want to see who is sharing and talking about your link, how many clicks it got, which countries readers are coming from, and which platforms they are using. To do this, I use Bitly, a website that allows you to do all of the above.
Social media tracking and brand management: There are many, many tools out there; however here are some that I have grown accustomed to using.
- HootSuite: This is a social aggregation tool that I use to manage my activity for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare all under one platform. There is also a reporting function and timing function that allows you to schedule tweets and status updates, and track results. The good news is that Hootsuite allows you to integrate your Google Analytics account for a more centralized hub supporting your online activity. To do this, simply upgrade your free account to the Pro Plan.
- SocialBro: I use this exclusively for analyzing my Twitter activity. It provides in-depth metrics on your followers and the people you’re following. Not to mention, it’s free!
- Klout: You can monitor your level of influence in the realm of social media via Klout, which analyzes how influential you are across a range of topics.
Keeping things simple
The key is to not overwhelm yourself and take on more than you are able to manage within the time you allot yourself. Each time you learn a platform and apply it to your business, another one is popping up around the corner. It’s important to find the tools that fit your style and comfort level; then, master them in a way that helps drive your business forward and doesn’t distract you from your goals.
Build a plan for your activities, select the tools to accomplish the plan and, most of all, have fun doing it! If you come across tools that you like better or feel are more efficient, leave your notes in the comments so that others may learn from your experiences as well. After all, social media is focused on collaboration, engagement and building relationships!