I can't tell you how many hours and days I've spent researching the kit, tools and systems I've got in place to run my businesses effectively. It's a good job it's something I love doing. I thought it was time to share a list of the tools, apps and gear that I use on a daily basis to help with running Seriously Social as well as promoting, marketing, engaging and more!
Although this is a list of my digital toolbox, I do have to start with some physical items. We do live in the real world after all! Here is a list of my computers, smartphones, gadgets, coffee and other stuff.
Note, I've now got the latest MacBook Pro. I'll be continuing to use PCs and Windows, as well as my Mac, but I'll be adding a list of Mac apps in due course!
- MacBook Pro 15" (late 2016 edition) - 2.9GHz Quad Core i7 processor, 16Gb RAM memory, Radeon Pro 460 Graphics with 4GB VRAM, 1Tb Flash storage
- Dell Studio 1749 Laptop (17") with Windows 10. Getting a bit old now (nearly 6 years) but it has served me well. My Macbook pro is my main computer, but if you are looking for a decent PC, I'd definitely recommend Dells.
- Google Nexus 6P smartphone (128Gb) with Speck Candyshell grip case
- Crumpler Chester Stallion laptop bag (discontinued now, but I highly recommend Crumpler bags)
- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 Camera
- Logictech C920 Webcam - An excellent, highly rated and good value for money webcam
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone (a really nice quality mic for the money)
- Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Keyboard (a wonderful keyboard to type on despite technically being a gaming keyboard)
- Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones, Panasonic earphones & splitter (I use the earphones when I'm on video, otherwise I use my headphones)
- EasyAcc 20,000mAh USB battery pack (My phone has a decent battery, but I can charge multiple devices on the go with this)
- Samsung M3 Portable External Hard Drive (1Tb) (because backing up is vital!)
- Doxie Go portable scanner
- ScotteVest RFID Travel Vest - Pockets for all your gadgets, very comfortable, RFID pocket for your passport and cards. Great for going through Airport security.
- Field Notes (Expedition Edition) - Great little notebooks that are very durable (waterproof, flame-resistant and tear proof). Great for jotting down ideas on the move.
- Pact Coffee (UK only) - Freshly roasted coffee beans for your preferred brewing method. Pact sends you freshly roasted coffee beans (or ground if you prefer) for your brewing method (French press, cafetiere or Aeropress)
- AeroPress - For a smooth coffee experience
Although I'm a Windows user, most of the following are available for Mac users too.
- Adobe Creative Cloud (Mainly for Photoshop. I use Dreamweaver a little if I have to and Acrobat)
- OBS Studio (for Facebook Live streaming from my laptop)
- Wirecast (for Facebook and Youtube Live streaming)
- mimoLive (Mac only)
- Camtasia (Great to record professional screencasts)
- PHP Storm (only just started using it- very poweful)
- Sublime Text
- Ninite (keeps most of your apps up to date)
- f.lux (give your eyes a rest and sleep better with this night time filter)
- Spinrite Disk Maintenance
- Microsoft Office
- Brain.fm (I'm not usually into listening to music while I work as I find it too distracting, but brain.fm really works for me. You can choose different soundtracks for relaxed and focussed work)
- SimplyNoise - If I am working in a noisy coffee shop, then white or brown noise is great at blocking out all the noise and not as distracting as music.
- RescueTime - tracks your productivity on your computer, browser and smartphone. Gives you a weekly report.
I'm an Android user, but most of these apps are available for iOS or at least there are alternatives. Do let me know if you have found an alternative for iOS in the comments and I'll add them here.
- Standard Social Networking Apps: Twitter, Facebook (inc Groups, Messenger, Page Manager, Adverts), Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat
- Social Management: Buffer & Agorapulse
- Questions & Answers: Quora & Jelly
- Twitter apps: Vine, Periscope
- Apps for Instagram: Boomarang, Repost, Latergramme, Layout
- Listening: Pocket Casts, Audible
- Watching: YouTube, Netflix, Unified Remote, Google Play Movies & Chromecast
- Reading: Feedly, Amazon Kindle, Evernote, Bible
- Note Taking: Cogi, Google Keep, Evernote
- Security: LastPass, Google Authenticator, Private Internet Access VPN
- Project Management: Basecamp, Trello & Harvest time tracking software
- Phone & Voicemail: MightyText & HulloMail
- Chat: Skype, Appear.in, Slack
- Synching & Back up: Dropbox, Google Drive
- Web Management: Google Analytics, Pingdom, WHMApp
- Productivity: TellMeTheTime, ClearFocus, SimplyNoise
- Cool Stuff: IFTTT, Tasker, Trigger
- Life: Sleep as Android, Google Fit, HabitBull, RunKeeper, Twilight
- Video: Microsoft Hyperlapse
Social Media Management Tools
Social Media Management Tools try and help you with all aspects of managing social media accounts - not just publishing/scheduling, but help with engagement, reporting and analytics. I've included TweetDeck in this list mainly because it allows me to manage multiple Twitter accounts. I do use TweetChat occasionally to help with Twitter Chats.
Publishing & Scheduling
Although social media management tools should have a very robust publishing platform, I prefer to use separate apps in my system for publishing and scheduling.
Follower Management & Community
Growing your audience and followers takes time and effort. I don't believe in buying followers! I use the following tools to help me segment my followers or find new targeted people who are likely to engage with me.
Reporting & Analytics
How do you optimise your content or give some feedback or reports on how successful you've been with your social media and content marketing? I use these tools to help me with that!
- Native social analytics: Twitter, Facebook Insights & Pinterest Analytics
Alerts & Monitoring
Sometimes you want to be alerted when someone links to you or mentions you or there is a potential issue you need to deal with. Perhaps it is a new opportunity. I use the following tools to help with this.
Attracting new leads, helping with managing my list and sending newsletters out, creating surveys, free videos and lead generation tools are all important in my marketing process. I use the following tools as part of this:
These are magic tools that automate a lot of potentially repetitive tasks. I don't believe in automating engagement, but these tools can do some amazing things to turbo boost your productivity
To help manage projects for our clients or with the booking process or with a mastermind group I am in I use the following tools.
Research, Content Marketing & Amplification
The world of social media, marketing and technology is very fast moving and it's very difficult to keep up. Using tools to help to find and contain the latest articles is so useful. I also use tools to help with my blogging process, taking notes, doing research and to help with amplification of my blog posts.
SEO & Web Analytics
How often do you check your website's analytics? Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool. However there are other tools that can help you get the most out of understanding your analytics as well as with SEO. These are the tools I use.
Images & Design
Images and design have always been important, but with visual networks such as Pinterest and Instagram becoming ever more popular, good design is vital.
Using strong passwords as well as managing them effectively and storing them securely is vital. I also use a Virtual Private Network service if I ever find myself having to use a public WiFi hotspot- so that my connection and data is secure.
Where would we be without browser extensions. The following are for Google Chrome, but most are also available for Firefox.
- Awesome Screenshot - The best screenshot extension I've found. You can take a screenshot of the visible browser screen or the entire page. You can also take a shot of a selectable area and take a delayed screenshot. Once taken, you can add text, arrows and other callouts.
- Grammarly - state of the art spelling and grammar checker.
- Video Speed Controller (although you can speed up YouTube videos, you can't normally speed up videos on Wistia, Vimeo and other videos. This extension allows you to speed up any HTML5 video so that you can get through more content)
- Measureit - measure the dimension of certain elements on webpages.
- ColorPick Eyedropper - get the hexcode of colours on the screen.
- What Font - like a font on a web page? This extension shows you which font was used on elements on a web page.
- uBlock Origin - I'm a great believer in supporting content providers. Unfortunately ads can get out of hand, and I've seen some malicious ads try and infect my machine. uBlock Origin is an Ad Block on steroids and can speed up your browsing significantly.
- The Great Suspender - I love the Chrome browser, but it can get very slow, especially if you have a lot of tabs open. This extension suspens tabs after a period of time. You can reload tabs easily and even add certain websites to a whitelist so they never get suspended.
- Klout - Adds Klout scores to Twitter usernames.
- gorgias - smart email templates for GMail. GMail does have canned responses, but gorgias allows you to organise into a library. It can paste in first names and other smart data and you can use keyboard shortcuts.
- Web App Extensions: Buzzsumo, MightyText, Buffer, Edgar & LastPass
Podcasting & Video
I love video and I love podcasts. Whenever I am creating video, in a group chat or being a guest on a podcast, I use some of the following websites.
I run a small web agency, Select Performers, where we manage and host customers websites.
Security & Speed
WordPress Development & Management
- Beaver Builder
- Resizer (Displaying & testing your responsive website across desktops, tablets and smartphones)
Here are some of the main plugins I use on my site as well as many of my customer's websites.
- Social Warfare
- iThemes Security Pro
- Yoast SEO Premium
- Thirsty Affiliates
- WP Migrate DB Pro
- WP Total Cache - I now use WP Rocket
- EWWW Image Opimizer
- Gravity Forms
- Video User Manuals
- White Label CMS
I have used and would recommend the following themes:
Backup & Cloud Storage
How often do you back up your data?
Hacks & Scripts
- My own scripts
I'm always on the look out for new tools and gear. Here are ones I'm currently testing. I don't necessarily recommend them, but they look cool!
What's in your Toolbox?
What tools and gear could you not do without? I'd love to know! Share away in the comments below.
Work in Progress...
As I mentioned above, I've just got the latest MacBook Pro and am investigating a range of Mac apps. I'll update this article in due course, but here are the apps I am currently enjoying. The ones in bold I am definitely going to continue to use.
- Parallels (With Windows 10, Windows 7 and Ubuntu as virtual machines)
- Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype
- WhiteNoise Free
- Giphy Capture
- Grammarly for Mac
- Hemingway Editor
- Tweetbot for Mac
- Memory Clean 2
- Ethernet Status
- Be Focused
- Gemini 2
- The Unarchiver