In today's business world, social media is everything. A business seeking to increase customers and make the best of free marketing will need to develop an online presence. Make sure your business is maximizing its social media efforts with the following software offerings.
Viralheat offers customers one of the very few free social media marketing tools out there. The personal account is great for the small business. You can manage up to seven social media accounts using this program. In addition, they allow for:
- A unified stream
- Scheduled publishing of your contacts
- An analytics dashboard that lets you track how much reach your social media efforts are making
If you have more than seven social media accounts, the company offers paid plans as well.
Sprout Social is another social media management tool that provides analytics along with the ability to manage multiple accounts from one dashboard. This software works in conjunction with Google Analytics to provide you a powerful way to track your company's marketing efforts.
If you are a social media marketer, this software will allow you to monitor and post to all of your client's accounts including your own. There is a monthly fee after the free trial, but it's more than reasonable and worth it, especially if you don't have a lot of time to maintain your social media presence on your own.
Hoot Suite is a free program that allows users to post to Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, and Linked in. This software is limited as far as reporting your analytics unless you pay extra for it, but provides a nice dashboard for posting to your social media accounts and interacting with your followers.
Whether you are creating a presentation for investors, or to explain a new product to consumers, small businesses often need to present information. The key is to do so in an innovative and engaging way so the information motivates listeners to do whatever it is the presentation is geared to make them do.
A presentation with weak or scratchy sound is no presentation at all. Audacity is audio software that ensures your message comes across loud and clear. If your company publishes MP3's, this software will likely be quite useful.
Jing allows you to create screencasts and to take screenshots. The software is free, and is limited to five minute recording intervals. However, if you are interested in sharing information with your customers in short bursts, this software is a great way for you to get your message across.
Prezi is a great way to create completely interactive presentations, complete with video, audio, and PowerPoint imports. This is the software a number of TED presenters use, and the flexibility is more than worth the small yearly fee to access options not available in their free version.
Keeping track of deadlines, who is assigned to what task, and progression of projects can be overwhelming considering all of the other demands on the small business owner. Getting project management software that keeps everything on track is a necessity to ensure that each moment of your day is being spent wisely.
This software integrates with Google Chrome and allows groups to share workspaces. The dynamics of the software allows you to drag and drop tasks and displays two weeks of your to-do's in a seamless, easy-to-view manner.
The software allows users to create or define roles along with designating tasks as urgent or important. In addition, the Week Plan offers users a daily journal for expression of thoughts or new ideas. Week Plan is based on the 7 habits of Highly Effective People, so it's worth a try.
This company has been around for a while, and although if offers a free version, the paid version is what makes it worth it. You can manage your projects including:
- Inter-project chats between users
- Manage company contacts and resources
FMYI is socially conscious-based and has a section devoted totally to reminding you to keep your business sustainable for the benefit of all.
There is software to handle almost any aspect of your business. If you are selling goods you need the ability to track your inventory and for businesses that are more on the service end of the spectrum, the ability to present, educate, and interact with customers or investors is key. Here are a couple more software ideas for the small business owner.
Fishbowl is a comprehensive online inventory program that offers businesses a variety of inventory and accounting options including:
- Inventory control
- Manage your orders
- Track your manufacturing process
- Management of wholesale and distribution
The program can work in unison with QuickBooks. Business owner can test drive the software for 14 days for free.
ABC Inventory Software is a free inventory control program. ABC is full of features that make its non-existent price tag almost unbelievable. This includes:
- Creation of work/purchase orders
- Warehouse appointment tracker
- Supplier/customer/carrier database
- Sales quotes
- Mailing labels
- Reporting options
- Receiving and delivery of inventory
- Financial matters
Online Webinar/Meeting Software
GotoMeeting is one of the most widely used presentation meeting software programs for small to medium sized businesses, if you are looking for top notch HD options and easy-to-use features on both the presenter/participant side.
Yet if price is an issue, there are a number of free versions that work just as well. One of them is AnyMeeting. This program includes features like:
- Six way video conferencing
- Screen sharing
- Video and audio options
Additional Software Considerations
Select accounting software carefully. The best choice is a package that allows a small business owner to handle all financial management including invoicing, tracking receipts, bank statements, check writing and reconciliation, and compilation of company reports.
It's a good idea to try out the free trial of software before actually purchasing a complete version. This will allow you to decide which software works best for the needs of your business.