5 Business Tools to Lighten Your Social Media Marketing Load
Ironically, the modern world, with its myriad of breakthrough technologies that are supposed to make people more productive, time-efficient, better connected and less stressed, has created a new breed that's constantly running short on time. There, of course, are valid reasons that point to that – the Internet being a major source of distraction just one of them.
As a social media professional, aside from, well, social media, your contacts and relationships, you have a business to run. Running a business without the right tools can be pretty difficult to pull off, especially considering the time factor, or lack thereof, into the equation.
If you’ve been in this business for a while now, you may already have some business apps in place, but if you’re in the market for more options, consider the following:
Free for small businesses comprised of 12 people or less, Bitrix24 is a social enterprise software that comes packed with a host of functionalities – calendar, CRM for transactions, task and project management to effectively deal with freelancers and co-workers, among others.
The premium version offers extra features, some of which are extranet to communicate with clients, online document storage, easier file exchange via Bitrix24.Disk, free video calls, IP blocking, and records, time and reports management.
Depending on your business needs, Bitrix24 can be self-hosted or deployed in the cloud. For more than 12 team members, Bitrix Cloud starts at $99 a month, with no additional fees for additional users.
2. Quote Roller
To snag that dream project, crafting a winning business proposal is a requisite. 1995 has come and gone, and project and quote proposals are no longer text documents that you fax to a potential client. With Quote Roller, you create purpose-driven sales quotes that are polished and professional within minutes.
You can create your own templates, customize existing ones, or use generic templates from Quote Roller’s templates library. You can also add videos and picture galleries to make your content more appealing and informative.
Quote Roller can be integrated with third-party business applications like Salesforce, Zoho, FreshBooks, Podio, Basecamp, Google Apps, even PayPal. Pricing starts at $9.99 per user per month.
3. Wave Apps
As a business owner, it is important that your financials are in proper order. Wave Apps is a cloud-based accounting software that offers free and select paid services. Wave covers accounting, billing and invoicing, payroll, payments, receipt management, and more. It also comes with a free personal finance application that you can use for budgeting and tracking where your money goes.
Wave Payroll starts at $9 per month, with a declining fee per employee. Wave Payments accepts all major credit cards, with a flat fee of 2.9% plus $0.30, and without early termination or setup fees to worry about.
4. Nimble CRM
Overtime, your social account can get so huge that staying on top of your connections can become a juggling act.
Nimble CRM is an intuitive social CRM that organizes your contacts into a single dashboard so you can engage them across any channel, be it LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, phone or email. With Nimble, you can set and receive reminders, schedule events and coordinate calendars, find and engage targeted leads and set outreach reminders regularly.
The free version, Nimble Personal, offers 1 GB of storage, can accommodate up to 3,000 contacts and stores communication history for up to 90 days. The premium account, the Business Plan, has added features and functionality – multiple users, unlimited network connections, unlimited communications history, unlimited third-party integrations, among other things – and is priced at $15 per user per month.
Rapportive is a nifty browser extension that can help your business in several different ways. Discovering shared interests with your Gmail contacts is now easier. Instead of the usual contextual ad on the right-hand panel of the screen, when reading a message, you're introduced to the various social media profiles of your contact, including where they're based and what they do.
You can also use your favorite apps inside Rapportive – MailChimp, Crunchbase, for example.
And if you need to track down someone's email address, Rapportive may help shorten the trial-and-error phase. If that sounded a bit iffy to you, be aware that Rapportive only uses publicly available data.
Rapportive is free and works with Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Mailplane.
What other business tools have worked well for you?
Image courtesy of Rob Welsh, Flickr.
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By Maricel Rivera
Maricel Rivera is a financial researcher by day, freelance writer and blogger by night. Aside from writing web content, she does online marketing for small to mid-sized businesses through guest posting.