Digital Productivity: Which Tools are Best?

If you work in marketing, you probably feel bombarded by all the digital tools promising to make you more productive. And who hasn’t fallen for the charms of those promises? Sometimes, there’s nothing as attractive as the possibility of being more organized, on schedule and on top of details.

But how do you know what’s right for you and your business? We’ve been asking ourselves and our clients that question. And the answer comes down to what you need your digital productivity tools to do. For instance, let’s say you need to…

Manage Projects

If you have to keep an eye on multiple projects at a time, you can probably benefit from a project management tool (e.g., Teamwork, Asana, Slack and Trello). We use Teamwork at Relish because it encourages collaboration, enables asset sharing, helps us allocate time and resources across projects, integrates with our email and billing system, and maps well to our workflow processes. Rochelle Valsaint, Brand and Communications Manager at the Lenbrook senior living community, relies on Asana for similar reasons. Regardless of the project management tool you chose, make sure it includes a calendar, a way of tracking changes between multiple collaborators, and the ability to integrate with your mission-critical applications and work processes.

Create and distribute social content

Like email and the web before it, social media has gone from novelty to an essential component of the overall communications landscape – and it must be part of any marketing strategy. Karen Wilcox, Interim Marketing Director at Taylor English, affirms, “Reporters follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter – and often, that’s how they want to connect. And, the talent we represent in our entertainment area is on Instagram and Facebook.” She adds that social media is equally important for her firm’s employer branding. “Millennials are the next generation of legal associates. And if we want them to come on board, we’ve got to be on social media.” With so many different messages and audiences, Hootsuite helps Wilcox’s marketing team pre-load and schedule social posts, and better manage their time, content and cadence for posting.

You might think that the over-75 demographic isn’t on social media, but Valsaint says, “Seniors want the same things that younger generations do – to stay connected and informed, to see what their families and friends are doing, or to share adventures, like the trip to Africa one of our residents just took. There would be no way to keep our posts organized and on target if we didn’t plan ahead.” She and her team rely on Buffer to organize, schedule and post social content.

Connect with People on Your Mailing List

As prevalent as social media has become, newsletters, blogs and email are far from obsolete. Here at Relish, we use Sharpspring to help us manage and track our activity on those channels. At the same time, we’ve developed expertise in other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems ranging from Hubspot and Constant Contact to MailChimp and Salesforce because our clients use them. We’ve learned that all of these systems have different advantages. For instance, HubSpot and Salesforce are designed for large organizations with dedicated “power users” who manage List segmentation, reporting, tracking, and sophisticated content from multiple areas of the company. Other tools are simpler, allowing smaller businesses or teams to start for free (e.g., MailChimp), or pay-by-use (e.g., Constant Contact) as they learn the system’s capabilities.

Consolidate, Integrate and Keep Learning

Our Account Supervisor (and resident productivity junkie) Mia Johnson tells us, “Integration and consolidation enable automation. Consolidate tasks and content. Then integrate that with your communications, scheduling, resource management, billing, and other tools that matter to your business. The more you integrate, the more likely they are to be helpful.”

All of these tools are continually updated and improved – enabling some less expensive options to deliver powerful capabilities previously unique to the larger apps. Follow the companies whose systems interest you on social media – and consider joining one of their online user groups to stay on top of improvements that might make sense for your business.

Still not sure what digital systems make the most sense for you and your organization? Consider starting with sharable spreadsheets and documents (e.g., GoogleDrive or Microsoft OneDrive) which can offer a gateway to shared content and processes. Once you’re up and running with those, you will be able to gain a better sense of what deeper services and capabilities will make the greatest difference in your productivity.


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