I TEACH SOCIAL MEDIA for business and part of the module involves a time-motion analysis of how to manage media flow for best effect. Inevitably, discussion ensues about the apps on your home screens.
I've snapped a shot of from the first screen of my iPad, as much for student discussion as for peer review. I'll explain what's on the first screen and that might offer a clue about how I try to balance content creation and product shipping.
I reckon it takes a person two years of working with an app before that app is safeguarded from the delete pile. In my world, some of those years of use also involve integrating the app's functionality with other operating systems because when used effectively to deliver business results with social media, a good app needs to facilitate collaboration. I've listed first screen apps that I use on a daily basis.
Calendar. It's not much more than a view of the calendar items that fly in from various handsets and collaboative sources. I've seen friends with more intelligent calendar apps on their devices but I want to encourage using a bog-standard calendar to set real deadlines, actual shipment dates and time slots for meaningful discussion so I stick with the default Calendar on my iPad.
News. You have to dip into the mainstream and see what others are doing. You have to see if your product or service might newsjack a related event. You should read newsfeeds by subscription. I've set up Google Reader inside Feedly and Flipboard. I've bundled several other news apps into a news cluster along with a warning that it's very easy to lose an hour of time reading the news generated by others. That's certainly the case in the News cluster on my first screen because YouTube lies inside the News collection.
Evernote. I use Evernote to get things done. I push course notes for students into a shared Evernote folder that can be seen in the Evernote app or in a browser. I've a to-do list inside Evernote and I move items from the to-do list to the done list so I can be certain that I'm making things that will be finished, will be shipped and will be tracked. Used ruthlessly, Evernote reinforces sound business practises. There are also other apps that tie into Evernote but it normally costs a fee to use those services.
Facebook. The world's largest social network features in our Social Media for Business module. I use the Facebook Messenger while on the iPad, iTouch and Windows Phone. For cash-strapped students, the Messenger is like a free texting service.
Tweetbot. Twitter is one of Ireland's watering holes. Tweetbot provides a fun interface to see and follow streams of tweets when configured with lists and search strings.
Analytics App HD. I track several sites using Google Analytics while inside Analytics App. I harvest key terms from the app for considerating when writing content for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and mailshots.
Google Plus. I have leveraged connections inside G+ for real results faster and more efficiently than with other social networks. However, my experience might be valid on account of the demographic I'm targeting--educational technology. The pundits say the biggest swarm of easy consumer action lies in other social networks. Those other networks do not have the generous amount of Google Juice I get with G+ nor do they have Hangouts. I couldn't imagine trying to run a business without those two features (placement and easy communications).
Audioboo. There is a strong case to be made for the audio dimension of business. Audioboo makes easy work of making chatty thoughts into iTunes content. In some cases where business people upskill through our social media for business module, they produce audio content using the free Audioboo app that later becomes segments on local radio. Audioboo helps bridge from a casual conversational thought to a mainstream media interview.
Over. I use Over to annotate images snapped by my cameras, saved in Dropbox and later uploaded to other websites. A good image with a few lines of text can tell a story. When blogged with a title and an ALT tag, the image can earn respectable placement on Google.
Flickr. It's a legacy photo service but one with a residual community spirit that can generate business for people who upload and share engaging pictures. The trick is often in educating people in what to upload and that's often a challenge in photo composition. Flickr's stats and Flickr's integration to all social networks makes it a credible app for connecting people, business and imagery.
Typepad. If not Typepad, then a WordPress or Squarespace app.
Instagram. A few interesting images shared on Instagram will help cultivate a brand identity for a small company stepping into social networking space. Instagram has become a legitimate newsfeed.
LinkedIn. The app is like a business magazine. If your content is inside the app, people with discretionary income will read about you as they flick through stories and updates.
Pocket Casts. I believe a viable business needs to listen to experts. I use Pocket Casts to automatically download business, marketing and technology podcasts. Then I need to listen to those downloads in order to do my job better.
Dropbox. We train students in ways to share and produce content they create. This means we share folders in Dropbox with photos, text files, audio snippets and video clips. Dropbox works across every smartphone in every bag or pocket on our college campus.
Skype. You need more than a single node to contact people. Besides a simple phone, you need Skype and Google Hangouts. If you don't have a failover communications system, you will experience a drop in voice comms some day soon. I've landlines, mobile phones and Skype details in my Skype address book. The app works on every handset, tablet and laptop in our inventory.
Utlity Apps. I put the App Store, Settings, Google for search, Mail, Music and Photos on the first screen as well.
If you've read this far, I welcome your comments. I'm always looking for ways to improve my work flow, starting with the first screen that I use every day.
Bernie Goldbach teaches social media for business inside the Honours Degree in Creative Multimedia at the Limerick School of Art and Design in Clonmel, Ireland.