5 Pieces Of Technology You Should Be Using To Succeed
We’re moving past the era of file cabinets and memos. It can be a hard transition, especially when a team’s workflows have to change to fit the new technologies.
For larger businesses and organizations, the task of creating, implementing and managing the most efficient digital tools usually falls on the shoulders of an internal tech professional. But smaller organizations typically call on digital strategists, who find themselves working with clients who need to supplement their systems for specific projects or – more often than not – have no strategic digital tools in place within their organization.
Outlined below are five fundamental business needs along with a suggested tool that has proven success in businesses worldwide. These solutions are designed to be easy to set up by a non-techie, or with minimal help from a webmaster or digital marketing professional. The tools work really well together, or are great solutions used on their own.
Need: Archiving & Storage
Solution: The Cloud
“The Cloud” is storage and back-up space on a remote server that a user can access from somewhere else. All the files in “the cloud” are backed up to other remote servers. In other words, the files are always safe.
Options: Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Amazon
Pros: Peace of mind knowing files are safe and accessible
Cons: Can get expensive if the user has large, complex files or a lot of high-resolution images
Need: Industry Research & Marketing
Solution: Social Media
More than a way to get the word out about your business, keep customers updated, and to see what others are saying about your goods or services, it’s also a great way to learn about the competition – to see how other businesses are using social media well. Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube (all free).
Social media platforms are not, however, a place to advertise. They are a place to socialize. Think about being at a social gathering, representing your business: How would you act? You likely wouldn’t hand out flyers with your specials and ignore everything people are saying.
Options: Professional account management and/or account management software, and in-platform advertising
– Professional account management: otherwise known as a digital marketing pro
Pros:allows you to continue doing what you do best instead of trying to learn a new marketing system.
Cons: Great service can get expensive (ranging range from $150/month to $1,500)
– Account management software: Hootsuite, Postling, Buffer, Crowdbooster.
Some of these are free to a certain point (# of users, # of accounts) and after have monthly rates ranging from $10-$150.
Pros: Great way to track improvement and success if you like analyzing the performance numbers
Cons: Hard for social marketing beginner to operate effectively
– In-platform advertising: A user can set budget and parameters; for example, ads will be presented to 18-25 year-old females in northern Michigan. Pricing is whatever the business is comfortable with: $50/month, and up as high at $20K/month (or more).
Pros: Great way to build a specific audience
Cons: The attention of the people acquired through advertisement is often in less than genuine and doesn’t sustain for long
Need: Tracking and Evaluating Digital Initiatives
Solution: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an account that allows you to generate a code snippet that gets placed in your website. As visitors look at your site, it tracks them. Find out how they enter your site, on which pages they leave, how many visitors, kinds of browsers and devices being used, etc.
Options: The regular Google Analytics account is free and sufficient for most users. A premium version tours tag management, remarketing, and data-driven attribution
Pros: Free version is a great asset. When it’s time to grow web presence, you have a concrete starting point
Cons: Can be complicated to set up and likely will want a webmaster to help. Also, a little complicated to read and process the information it is collecting
Need: Sharing Files
Solution: Google Drive
Google Drive acts as your hard drive attached to a Gmail account. There is an in-app word processor, spreadsheet creator, presentation creator, website maker, a robust calendar and more. Sharing files is easy and you can also manage people’s permissions to be able to edit things, or only read them. Everything is backed up automatically while you’re working and Drive can be from any device.
Options: Google Drive is free. If you have a Google Apps for Business account (this means your work email is gmail on the inside, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, instead of email@example.com), you pay a minimal monthly or year’s fee for each account.
Pros: An alternative Microsoft Office, all files created are also easy to export as Microsoft file versions.
Cons: Google Drive is integrated into Google’s email client, so it’s less seamless to use with alternative email platforms.
Need: Team Projects
Asana is cloud-based project management software designed for teams of people to work on projects together without email. As the team works, tasks can be marked “completed” and users can leave comments for teammates. It significantly reduces the madness of multiple email threads with attachments and responses.
Options: Basic Asana (free). premium version for larger teams (pricing ranging from $21/mo. for five people to $750/mo. for 100 people.
Pros: No emails bogging the team down. It’s scalable and the in-app tools can be used for various types of projects in any industry.
Cons: While Asana’s interface is relatively simple, team members do need brief training in how to use this software
Lisa Newhouse is a digital marketing professional and the owner of The Ancillary, a digital marketing firm based in Traverse City.