Not only am I building author platforms (mine included), I also manage platforms for small businesses and other websites. Digital marketing is a fun job, but it’s also a challenge. Organization is paramount, but having the right software is equally important.
Here are my six crucial apps for increasing efficiency so I have free time to stumble after my dream – writing fiction!
I manage dozens of email accounts, websites, Facebook fan pages, Twitter profiles. It would be a ridiculous waste of time, not to mention an impossibility, to keep track of all the usernames and passwords of each and every account. Furthermore, for the security of my accounts and those of my client’s, passwords must be changed every 3-6 months. LastPass stores all of my usernames and passwords. Within the app, I can organize all log-ins in folders for each of my clients and also for personal accounts and extras like shopping and charities.
Much like your browser, LastPass will populate the log-in form when you visit a particular URL. The reason I prefer it to my Chrome browser’s password storage is that each time I need to create a new account, LastPass will auto-generate a super-strong password and save it for me in the folder of my choosing. It also notifies me if there are security threats or if my passwords are due for a changing. All you have to remember is your one master password to turn on the Last Pass.
Then you can log-out so that other people may use your browser without having access to all your passwords. The best part is the free version is more than enough for the average user.
There are several great social media dashboards, but I started with Hootsuite and I’m sticking with it.
From Hootsuite I can manage Twitter, Facebook, Google+ pages, and more from one page. I can shorten URLs, schedule posts, bulk upload tweets, and route RSS feeds through my accounts. Hootsuite generates detailed statistic reports that help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You can also get the Hootlet (I just love that cute name) so that you can grab and schedule posts from any page you happen to be on. The Pro version is worth far more than what I’m paying. I cannot live without Hootsuite!
After the fall of Tweet Adder, I thought my Twitter life would change forever, but luckily there are a few alternatives.
I chose Unfollowers.com because it had the filtering and targeting power I needed and also has automated direct messaging. It’s super expensive as far as SaaS (subscription-based software) goes, but it’s worth it. It ensures that I follow the right people, unfollow the duds, and don’t accidentally re-follow users I’ve unfollowed before.
The filters are not as effective as Tweet Adder’s were, but the interface is much prettier and it’s web-based, so I don’t have to leave my computer on to run it.
When I got rid of my PC and switched to Mac, that also meant I had to say bye-bye to my Photoshop. I couldn’t afford to buy the Mac version and was lost as to what to use for photo editing. Than I came across PicMonkey. It’s fun, cheap, and easy to use.
There are some frustrating limitations because it’s web-based. You can save a working copy to finish editing later. All work must be done on the website before being saved to your computer. You don’t have a lot of flexibility as far as making adjustments or undoing mistakes, but it’s great for making images for websites and social media. There’s a large choice of fonts and effects, themes, textures, and fun overlays. It’s only $9 a year for the paid version, so you really can’t go wrong.
PicMonkey is no Photoshop, but you don’t need much more to design a quick image for a Facebook cover or blog post. Simpler means faster. I designed the book cover for SICK on PicMonkey in about ten minutes.
I can’t tell you how much I love my Dropbox. I used to use Google Drive, Sky Drive, and iCloud. They are all essentially the same, but Dropbox is so streamlined and easy and fast! I have it installed on my desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. No matter which device I turn on, my work is there right where I left off. The pictures I took on my phone are already in my desktop when I get home.
Some people are nervous about “The Cloud.” I’m sorry, but the pros outweigh the cons by a ton. If you have more than one device, Dropbox is a must have! I have the free version, and even with my heavy usage I still have gigs upon gigs of space.
Okay, this may not be considered absolutely crucial, but I need it. I really do.
Music helps to summon the muses, eliminate noise distractions, and just to enjoy my day a little bit more.
Spotify has all the music I ever had in my old CD collection and all the music I ever wanted. It also has great tools for finding new music according to your tastes, which is necessary for me. I get sick of music quickly, so it’s not really worth me buying albums. With Spotify I never run out of old or new music to listen to and I can sync my playlists across all devices.
So those are my top six apps I can’t live without. I use them everyday without fail, and I can’t imagine what a stressed-out, wild-haired banshee I’d be without them. There is no way I could work a full-time job and market my books without their help.
Note: I’m not getting paid to endorse these brands. They save my life everyday and I just genuinely love them.
Do you use any of these apps?
Which are the apps you can’t live without?
Do you need help building your author platform? Contact me at christawojo at gmail.com.