7 social media tools every business should use

Whether you need apps to make meetings run more smoothly or a way to access and send files on your phone, this list has it all.

There are some great social media tools out there for business professionals. Time is at a premium when it comes to social media within an organization, so I’ve put together a list of the top tools that can help you become more effective at corporate social networking.

There are many tools that could make the list such as Radian 6, Hootsuite and Google Docs, but I want to look at the tools you might not know about yet.

1. Idea Flight

LinkedIn announced a new iPad application developed by Condé Nast that facilitates content sharing between meeting/conference attendees, thus easily integrating the virtual world with the real world. Called Idea Flight, the app allows you to control meetings through an iPad by synching many iPads under one pilot device.

Lots of people like to bring iPads to meetings, but tablets don’t lend themselves to a great audience experience, as everyone has to crowd around one screen. All iPads are synched with the Idea Flight app, allowing attendees to stay engaged with your presentation on their own devices. Anyone who regularly sits through meetings would welcome something like this. Idea Flight adds a bit of excitement to the process, and is free.

Aside from the meeting process itself, there are some additional features for after the meeting, such as the ability to send downloadable meeting material and LinkedIn invitation requests.

2. Dropbox on your iPhone

Dropbox is a fantastic application for businesses, allowing you to easily store files “in the cloud,” within the Dropbox site. You can create folders within Dropbox, and sync them with your computer so that every time you save a document, it’s also saved in Dropbox. This allows you to access the document anywhere.

Features also include the ability to share entire folders with collaborators, eliminating the need to send zip files or use services such as YouSendIt, which can sometimes take too long or cause problems for the recipient. If you’re using Dropbox, you should also be using Dropbox for iPhone, which allows you to access your files wherever you are. You can also upload content via the iPhone app, including photos and videos which will then be accessible online or wherever your Dropbox account is synchronized.

3. Screenr

When you communicate something to your internal stakeholders, clients, prospects or colleagues, sometimes a screen cast is the best option. Screen casts present the content in an easy to follow format that keeps users engaged. For example, imagine writing out a PDF of how to access your company’s new intranet instead of sharing it with employees via a quick screen cast.

There are quite a few screen capture services out there, but Screenr is certainly one of the best. You can easily create screen casts with one click, and share them with other people via a link. Ease of use is the best thing about this site. There’s also no need to create an account.

4. Storify

While many companies are creating great content, how you choose to present your content to users is just as important. Storify is a great app that allows you to do this easily, and is essentially a new type of content management system that organizations can use internally or externally. With Storify, you can create online storyboards of your content with a simple click and drag system that allows you to add the links and content that’s of interest to you. You can embed the storyboards into pretty much any website.

Storify just came out of private beta and has already raised $2 million in funding. While Storify is designed for anyone to use, it’s a great opportunity for businesses who want to share important content between employees in a way that will keep them engaged and interested. Check out a demo of Storify below:

5. “Apply with LinkedIn” button

An excellent new widget will soon be available from LinkedIn: the “Apply with LinkedIn” button for sites with job listings. This is good news both for employers and job seekers, as it removes a lot of the hassle from the process of applying for a job—especially since a lot of the information the prospective employer needs is already on LinkedIn.

The button is called “Apply with LinkedIn,” and though it’s yet to roll out, we feel it deserves its place on this list as it presents such a good opportunity for organizations. The button allows people to submit their LinkedIn profile as their CV, with the option to edit it before sending. And let’s be honest, looking up a candidate on LinkedIn is usually the next step upon receiving a submission anyway, so this just makes it a little bit easier.

There are also planned features such as data sorting to ease the process of organizing data for the employer. The button is free to use for now, but I can see this becoming a paid feature with the pressure on LinkedIn to monetize after its recent IPO.

6. Yammer for mobile

Yammer is an excellent tool for encouraging communication between employees, but with the nature of remote working and the increase in doing work via mobile, organizations need flexible solutions.

Yammer is now available as an app across a range of services, including iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. The app syncs your desktop application with the mobile application, retaining key features such as polls, events, questions and ideas.

Introducing Yammer into the workplace is no small undertaking—particularly for larger organizations—but with the right education for employees it can radically change the way colleagues collaborate and share information. While some businesses might see this as just another distraction in the workplace, if you put effort into making Yammer for mobile work for you, it can help you become more efficient and connected.

7. NameChecklist

NameChecklist is an essential tool for established businesses as well as startups who might be deciding their new company name. NameChecklist allows you to search for available domains as well as social media sites to see if your desired brand or username is available.

This is a hugely important consideration for businesses in two respects. First, if you’re setting up profiles on social media sites, it’s important to keep the same names for consistency. You should be using this site even if you’re not active in all the networks to safeguard for the future.

Second, it’s a good way of spotting where your brand name isn’t available, meaning that someone got there before you. In this way, you could possibly discover spoof accounts, or accounts that are in breach of your business name. The site is free to use, with links next to each social network when you search, allowing you to easily create your account.

Lauren Fisher is the client services director and one of the founders of Simply Zesty, where this article originally ran.

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