Over the past decade, I've spent an insane number of hours and days researching the best tools and gear for my business!I can't tell you how many hours and days I've spent researching the kit. It's a good job it's something I love doing!
I thought it was time to share all of these with you! Here is a list of the tools,
Here is a list of the tools, apps and gear which I use on a daily basis to help with running Seriously Social!
You can do so much within the web browser these days, but you can't beat a dedicated desktop app for certain tasks. Here are some of the main desktop apps I use.
Adobe Creative Cloud (Windows and Mac)
I use Photoshop, Audition (for podcast editing), Dreamweaver (for some code editing and FTP) & Acrobat (for creating and editing PDFs.
Ninite (keeps most of your apps up to date)
f.lux (give your eyes a rest and sleep better with this nighttime filter)
Parallels Desktop (for running Windows on my Mac)
Spinrite (Currently PC only) Disk Maintenance
Hemingway Editor - An amazing writing tool with a spelling/grammar checker and help to make your content easier to read.
Social Media Planning Tools
You can plan your social media content using Excel Spreadsheets or Google Sheets. Or you could use a Social Media Content Planning Tool.
I use ContentCal for planning content. It's a Social Media Content Planning Tool and is really powerful if you work in a team - although it's still really useful as an individual. You can pin ideas to your pinboard - either individually or part of your team.
Once you're happy with your ideas, you can then move it on to your calendar and schedule it out to your social media channels.
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. They are kind of the "One Tool to Rule Them All".
But no social media management tool is perfect, and you may need to supplement it with a few other tools tool
The social media management tool I've used for years is Agorapulse. It integrates with Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and helps with publishing, social engagement (via the social inbox for comments, messages and mentions), reporting, listening and community management.
As well as Agorapulse, I also use Tailwind. This is a powerful social media management tool for Pinterest and Instagram. I use Agorapulse for all other platforms and use Tailwind for Pinterest. Tailwind is amazing at curating content, amplification (through Tailwind Tribes) and for posting/scheduling content together with the powerful SmartLoop feature.
Twitter Management Tools
And from time to time, I still use TweetDeck for managing Twitter lists. Agorapulse doesn't yet integrate with Twitter Lists and ManageFlitter doesn't offer this feature anymore.
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.
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.
SaneBox - Helps make you really productive in GMail by moving the less important email to a SaneLater folder, leaving only important email in your inbox. You will get a daily digest of your SaneLater email sent to your inbox. These can also be sent to your VA for management. There are other automatic folders such as ones for mailing lists and reminders.
Nimble - A social customer relationship management tool. Integrates with Gmail, G Suite, Office 365 and more.
I'm now mainly an iPhone user, but I still love Android. As well as my iPhone 7 Plus, I still use my Google Nexus 6P.
Most of these apps are available for iOS and Android.
Questions & Answers: Quora
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!
Alerts & Monitoring
Content Research & 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 & 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 and design have always been important, but with visual networks such as Pinterest and Instagram becoming ever more popular, good design is vital.
There's a great list of free stock image sites here by Bryan Innes.
Security & Passwords
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)
- Page Ruler - measure the dimension of certain elements on web pages.
- ColorPick Eyedropper - get the hex code 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 suspends tabs after a period of time. You can reload tabs easily and even add certain websites to a whitelist so they never get suspended.
- Web App Extensions: Buzzsumo, MightyText, Buffer, Edgar & LastPass
- TubeBuddy (for YouTube)
- Ecamm Live (Mac Only, from $12/mth)
My top pick for Mac users
- Streamyard (Browser-based, free & from $25/mth)
My top pick web app. This runs in your browser and so works for both Mac and PC users. Really easy to use and integrates with Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and more. (web app, free and from $25/mth)
- SwitcherStudio (iPhones & iPads only from $29/mth)
Use your iPhones and iPads to create a mobile video studio. Really powerful yet easy to use solution.
- OBS Studio (Macs, PCs, Linux - Free)
This is what I cover in this article. My top pick for a free app that works for both PCs and Macs. A bit difficult to use, but extremely powerful and flexible.
- Wirecast (Macs & PCs, from $249)
Taking things to the next level - for Macs and PCs. More powerful but also more difficult to use. Gives you the ability to stream to more than one destination at the same time.
- BeLive (Browser-based, free & from $24/mth)
Podcasting & Video
Website Speed & Security Optimization
WordPress Website Development & Management
Backup & Cloud Storage
Hacks & Scripts
Although this is a list of my digital toolbox, I do have to include 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.
MacBook Pro 15" (late 2018 edition)
Specs: 2.9GHz Quad Core i9 processor, 16Gb RAM memory, Radeon Pro 480 Graphics with 4GB VRAM, 1Tb Flash storage
I've been a happy PC and Windows users for over 20 years and never been a big Mac fan. But in 2016 I decided to buy a Mac for the first time for a number of reasons. Most people in my industry have Macs. Also, I needed to provide training and support to Mac users. Despite its high price, I've really happy with it. I still think Windows is a great operating system, but now I can use both on one computer!
I really like the computer, but I have had quite a few issues with it - the display has had to be replaced twice and the keyboard once. Thankfully Apple has replaced it with a 2018 model and I expect this to be much better!
I love having access to my Android phone as well as an iPhones. Both of their pros and cons. With my iPhone I tend to have access to my top apps first and it has a better battery life and camera. However, I love the power and flexibility of Android.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 Camera
A lovely camera for high quality still images and video. The big downside for me is the lack of an HDMI output to use as a camera for live video.
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!)
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.
AeroPress - For a smooth coffee experience
Tools for 2019
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.
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.
You'll notice that some of the links above have asterisks after them - these are affiliate links and generate a little income for the site. If you end up signing up for the service and paying it may result in a small proportion going towards the upkeep of this site. You shouldn’t notice any difference in the sign-up process. The editorial line is NEVER impacted by these links. I will only ever recommend a product or service if I think it is worth recommending! If a product or service does not have an affiliate scheme, then I will still include it in the same way.