Tag Archives: twitter

My top 5 apps for business

screen shot of appsLast week I presented my top app recommendation for business at Java Meet Up (612), a networking group for marketing, PR, social media and tech pros in the Twin Cities. I’ll share it with you here, too, along with four other apps I’ve found helpful to increase productivity.

Evernote – an app that works across all platforms and devices (yes, even the Blackberry). Enter and save your notes, pics, screen shots and even audio clips using this program, then access later from any of your devices (smart phone, tablet or laptop/desktop). The data synchs beautifully. The more I use this program, the more I can’t live without it. I love being able to quickly “jot down” ideas on my cell and access them later from my computer, and vice versa. Meeting notes, blog topic ideas, pictures I’d like to connect with certain topics — so far it’s been easy and quite brilliant to use. You can also tag your posts by topic or category and search easily.

LinkedIn – Just released last week for Android (following last month’s iPhone launch), the LinkedIn app is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you use the traditional web site regularly and appreciate how it helps you stay connected with colleagues and access info on other professionals, you’ll like the app as well.  Although they are still working out some of the kinks, I like how the profiles are easy to read, you can send and manage invites, read and post status updates, and e-mail your network contacts all from your phone.

CamCard - This impressive app allows you to take a picture of an old-fashioned business card and import the contact information into your phone contacts. So far I’m happy with the Lite version, which is free in the Android Market. You can also keep images of the original cards in a virtual Rolodex of sorts. So far I’m loving this, but not sure I want every person I meet in my cell phone contacts… working out how to manage that piece and would love to hear tips from others who use this app.

TweetDeck - Twitter can be a great business tool, if you leverage your interests and use it to build your professional network. I’ve tried a few third-party mobile apps for twitter and keep coming back to Tweet Deck. If you use the software on your PC, you’ll find the mobile version similar in features and design. On your phone, you use your thumb to swipe from column to column. It’s very easy to manage multiple twitter accounts (work and personal, for example). I especially like how it gives me a screen to have easy access to my top 12 Twitter friends, and tips me off if someone is following me or not.

Google Maps – The map app from Google saves me quite a bit of time. Just a few months ago, I was looking up addresses from my PC and either printing the directions or e-mailing them to myself to access from my phone.  Now I find my way to new places by heading to my google search screen on my phone and typing in the name of a business, restaurant, etc. In the search results, Google Places typically provides an address and “get directions” button. Once I click on that button, it gives me a choice of getting directions via the internet or my Google Maps app. The app functions similar to a GPS tool, such as a Garmin. It calculates directions and navigation based on your location (via your cell phone GPS locator). You can then use the navigate function which has a voice (such as, “Turn right in approximately 200 feet.”) This app saves me a lot of time, as I no longer need to pre-plan my routes before leaving the house or office.

To hear more of the apps recommended at the Java Meet Up (612) event, check out this short video from the group.

Do you use any of the apps featured above? What are some of your favorite apps for business or productivity?

Shouting from your social media rooftop

The beauty of social media is sharing our experiences with others. Each day I learn new things about you and the things you care about. Inevitably I end up more educated on a wide range of topics and find new things I care about, too. I love learning from you!

When interacting with others and sharing our thoughts online, we all have a voice. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 followers or 5,000, people are listening.

Technology is a game-changer.

Back in the day (you know, like three years ago) customer service trainings would warn companies that customers will share positive experiences with 2-3 people, but an “upset  customer” will share with 9-15 people.

I’m sure anyone who spends time in social media will agree there’s been a significant change in the last few years in terms of the customer experience. This stems from advances in technology giving us both immediacy and amplification.

Immediacy: Our friends are only a hyper-moment away. Smart phones have brought real-time sharing of customer experiences. We commonly share where we are, what we are doing and how it’s going. Foursquare and Twitter encourage this moment-by-moment publishing of our lives.

When we are angry and feel like we are being treated poorly, we may choose to immediately vent our frustration and anger with friends… in the heat of the moment.

Amplification: I’d argue the ratio of people complaining five times as often as they give compliments is still valid. The difference now is our networks are dramatically bigger.

The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Twitter numbers are harder to nail down because the majority of users abandon their account within a month or so. The average users, at my best estimate, have between 200 to 2,000 followers.

When you complain, people listen.

There was a lot of chatter a few weeks ago when Bob Harper (pseudo-celeb from The Biggest Loser) tweeted out a complaint when he couldn’t get a table at a hot restaurant:

“OMG!! The manager at Bar Lagrasa in Minneapolis was SO RUDE to me. I wanted to have dinner there. Why are people so mean sometimes?”

Dramatic, right? I watched it unfold. Of his 130k Twitter followers, many retweeted it (shared it with their followers). A lot of people publicly supported him and vowed never to eat at Bar La Grassa. According to the manager, 15 people called in Bob’s defense. A week or so later, a behind-the-scenes account of the story was printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that told the real story – exposing Bob the trainer as nothing short of a whining egomaniac.

I see people in my network acting like Bob – every day. Some are general comments about companies. Some are more specific and call out employee names in specific departments of a store. In fact, I’ve even seen people call out their ex-lovers on Twitter and Facebook – with the goal of publicly humiliating them.

There are two sides to every story. In Bob’s case, the restaurant admitted they wouldn’t give Bob a table – because they were packed. However, they also offered his American Express concierge (the person actually making the call) other options. But he didn’t give the full story in his tweets.

Shouting from your social media rooftop.

That brings me to the question… do we have a responsibility to use our voices carefully online? If you complain online frequently, especially in the heat of the moment, I challenge you to take a step back and think about the impression it gives to everyone around you.

Not because I’m out to protect the brand of every company that provides bad service. Of course there are positive things that can happen from complaining online. Many would argue it gives companies an opportunity to repair a relationship. That said, I believe there are often more constructive ways to be heard than shouting loudly from your social media rooftop.

Bottom line: There comes a point when your complaints reflect more poorly on you than the company you are complaining about.

As you can tell, I’ve been chewing on this topic for awhile now and discussing it with others as I’ve been grappling with the tension of how much complaining online is healthy for our commerce v. how much is simply whining.

I’m careful with my words online, but that doesn’t mean that all complaints are off-limits either. In my next post, I’ll cover my personal policy on complaining in social media. Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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