Setting up your Digital Office

Just like a physical office, your digital office needs to be set up to make your life easy. It should be equipped with the best tools to help you do your job. Here’s a list of practical tools that we recommend you use. They’ll save you time and increase your productivity. Best of all most are completely FREE!

Our clients are telling us they are saving 1-2 hours a day by using these tools well.

Links to get each are embedded in the name and throughout the description. Most of these tools are Free or have Free & Paid Versions.

Need help setting up your Digital Office?

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Setup you Digital Office with these Tools. Navigate across the 4 tabs below.

Getting Started

Choosing a name for your Organisation & Social Profiles

Consistency is the key here. These two tools are great for searching to see what’s available.

ASIC – Essential when setting up a business to ensure the name you want is vailable. Make sure you check the “All Names” button. Free.

NameCheck – Useful when choosing a name. Searches names across 100′s of different Social Media Tools to see if the one you want is available.

Gmail

Gmail – FREE – Biz Options$ More than just an email solution. By having a gmail account you get instant easy access to so many of the different tools that you need to setup your Digital office.

  • Set this up as a generic account for your organisation, not for personal use. It becomes a generic account that you can use for the organisations digital needs.
  • Great to use for establishing Social Media Accounts and to enable greater user functionality for other Google Tools.
  • You can connect up to 5 additional accounts from different ISP’s like Bigpond, iiNet etc.
  • Starts you off in Google+, with Google Drive, Google Reader, adding additional functionality to Chrome and more.
  • TOP TIP: Get the Rapportive Extension for Gmail.  It shows you a person’s latest social activity next to the email. It allows you to connect with them on their social networks on the spot without having to leave the screen and login to that network. Great for creating context and deeper understanding of the person you are connecting with. Remember to connect your social networks to Rapportive to get maximum value.

Where to Install: Available via any browser. Tablet & Smartphone: iOS and Android Apps. The ipad app is wicked.

Browsers

With the explosion of Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud based software having a speedy browser is critical. We’ll keep this page up to date with our current choice and a list of useful extensions (extra functionality you can add to get the most our of your browser).

Google Chrome – It’s slick and fast. Our browser of choice at the mo. Free.

Where to Install: As your default browser for laptop and desktop. Tablet & Smartphone: iOS and Android Apps. The ipad app is much better than Safari for ipad. Many ipad application automatically open webpages in Safari, you can setup a “bookmarklet” called send to Chrome in Safari for ipad to open the web page you are viewing in Safari with Chrome.

View instructions for adding the bookmarklet

Follow the instructions below. If you ever find yourself in Safari, but would rather be in Chrome, tap the bookmarklet and Chrome will open on the same page!

javascript:location.href=”googlechrome”+location.href.substring(4);

Install instructions:

  1. Open this page on your ipad using Safari
  2. Copy the bit of code above.
  3. Bookmark this page.
  4. Open the Safari bookmarks, click “edit”, and edit the new bookmark.
  5. Rename it to “Send to Chrome”.
  6. Delete the URL that’s there and paste in the above code.

Chrome Extensions & Apps

Feedly – FREE Replacing the soon to be retired Google Reader and the RSS subscription extension (1 July 2013).  Feedly is the best alternative we’ve found so far. In the settings you can enable a mini toolbar that will be displayed on the bottom right of each web page to allow you to subscribe to to any websites RSS feed quickly and easily using Feedly, it looks like this  Feedly Toolbar Button  or byclicking on this icon when you see it on any websiteFollow The Social Larder's RSS Feed. Don’t know what RSS is check out our page RSS Explained.  More about Feedly and using it can be found under the “Filtering & Capturing Info” tab.

NOTE: If you’re already using Google Reader, you can sign up to Feedly using your Google credentials and your Google Reader data will be automatically imported to Feedly.

bit.ly – Web address shortner with some analytics and ability to generate QR codes. Free. This is integrated into some other applications. Make sure you record the API key.

Utilities

Dashboards for Managing you Social Networks

HootsuiteFREE & Pro $ versions. Make Social Media manageable by using a dashboard to help you manage your Social Media sites.

  • View multiple sites at once, post to multiple sites with one click, allow multiple members to manage sites, aggregate you analytics, schedule future posts and more.
  • Make sure you get their mobile phone app and browser extension, Hootlet, to maximise use.
  • My preferred dashboard, with better separation of sites and more advanced functionality for business application.
  • Start with the Free version.

Where to Install: Access through your Browser, iOS, Android

Cloud Storage

Google Drive – 1st 15gb FREE Cloud storage including Google’s version of Microsoft Office. If you have a Gmail account you just need to install the necessary software.

  • 15gb is shared between Gmail, Google+ Images and Google Drive.
  • Great tool for virtual collaboration share files with your team, live edit them, allowing other viewers to see edits as they happen and who’s editing.
  • Doc’s and files can be shared with options including read only, editable and with administrative rights to re-share.
  • Install the software on your Mac or PC and a folder will be added to your computer allowing you to drag and drop or save any files you wish to access through. The files will remain on your computer and be synced to the cloud.

Where to Install: Desktop for PC & Mac, Browser, iOS, Android

Drop Box – 1st 2gb FREE Cloud storage. Note: By using this link when you sign-up we both get a little extra space for free, keeping your costs down and my costs of working with you down!

  • Same as Google Drive from a different provider. A folder will be added to your computer allowing you to drag and drop or save any files you wish to access through Drop Box. The files will remain on your computer and be synced to the cloud.
  • These files are automatically synced between the device your using and your Drop Box account.
  • There is a plug-in for self-hosted WordPress Sites that allows automated full site back-up to Drop Box adding additional redundancy.
  • TOP TIP: Many iPad app’s can back-up to Drop Box, but, not Google Drive.

Where to Install: Desktop for PC & Mac, Browser, iOS, Android

Filtering & Capturing Info

Content Capture

Evernote – FREE – Biz Options$ Capturing Meeting Notes, Information, Research and Teamwork

  • Get the Evernote Webclipper to allow you to capture info with a button on your browser.
  • The Webclipper integrates into Chrome so when you do a Google Search your Evernote Notebooks are searched too and results are returned.
  • Allows info to be captured from the web, taking pics, video, audio recordings, direct input.
  • Info can be added to notebooks and tagged to assist search.
  • If you take a picture of a whiteboard, it will even search that image for search terms.
  • Evernote is integrated into many content curation and other Apps like Zite and Pocket.
  • You can also email Evernote through the sharing function for Apps that do not integrate Evernote. You can use any email service to send notes to Evernote if you don’t have direct access for any reason.
  • You’ll find the email address under setting in the iPad App or Account Info for the Desktop version. Save this to your contacts and use it as the address to send a note to be saved in Evernote.
  • Evernote provides a great tutorial when you first email a note in giving you some solid how to tips.
  • Automatically syncs across all platforms.

Where to Install: Desktop for PC & Mac, Browser, iOS, Android

Filtering Information

NOTE: Google have announced it’s Reader will be retired on 1 July 2013. Check out this Lifehacker Article for details of how to backup your Google Reader subscriptions. In addition to Feedly, Twitter Lists are a great alternative allowing you to follow content from good sources via Twitter. If you have an Flipboard account and are accessing your Google Reader through it, Flipboard will keep your feeds after Google Reader is retired.

RSS Reader: Feedly – FREE There are plenty of free readers out there.  With the announcement that Google Reader is to be retired, we recommend Feedly. It has great tablet app’s for both iOS and Android, they allow you to view content in a magazine style format similar to Flipboard. You can connect Buffer (scheduled sharing to social channels), Pocket (read it later service) and Evernote (saving for later use) to Feedly to manage your content.

  • Don’t know what RSS is check out our page RSS Explained.
  • If you’re already using Google Reader, you can sign up to Feedly using your Google credentials and your Google Reader data will be automatically imported to Feedly.
  • In the settings you can enable a mini toolbar that will be displayed on the bottom right of each web page to allow you to subscribe to to any websites RSS feed quickly and easily using Feedly. It looks like this Feedly Toolbar Button.
  • You can also subscribe by clicking on this icon when you see it on any websiteFollow The Social Larder's RSS Feed.
  • TOP TIP:  Arrange feeds into folders and then use the ipad or Android app to view the content in a magazine format on your tablet.
  • Send your Google Alerts to your Reader.
  • Don’t forget to add your bit.ly API details under the preferences section in the Tablet version.

Google Alerts – FREE Google Alerts as a monitoring or news clipping service.

  • Once you have it setup, Google Alerts does the hard work for you and collects information based on the searches you wish to monitor.
  • It continually search the web and updates you of new results at a frequency you choose from instantly to weekly.
  • It’s your personal research tool that delivers results via email, via RSS Feed to a Reader or by logging in to your Google Alerts account. You should be able to access the RSS Feed in any Reader.
  • You can use it to monitor mentions of your organisation, your people, other people, organisations, causes you are interested, products, basically anything you can search.
  • Remember the smarter your search the better the results.  Need help check out Google Alerts Support

Read it later: Pocket – FREE. Read it later service. For when you’ve found some interesting content, but, don’t have time to read it. When you register it walks you through the setup process for everything below.

  • Allows you to save info sources in one spot to be read at a later date.
  • Integrates with 100’s of Apps including Flipboard, Zite, Twitter, Twitter clients like Tweetbot.
  • Get the extension for Chrome & Bookmarklet for Safari.
  • Download the app on iPad and it walks you through the process, step by step, of linking apps, setting up bookmarklet for iPad Safari, extensions for Chrome.
  • You can also email Pocket through the sharing function for apps that do not integrate pocket. Pocket sets this up during the app sign-up process.
  • Simply send an email to your personalised Pocket address and it will save the first link it sees in the email to your Pocket to read later.  An app for Google Chrome (desktop) is available allowing you to read your Pocket List in the browser.
  • Pocket can share directly to Evernote to make it easy for you to retain important info for later use.

Where to Install: Desktop for PC & Mac, Browser, iOS, Android

Personalised Magazine: Flipboard – FREE Curating “Specific” source information. To get the most out of Flipboard you need to put some effort into setting it up well, link it to information sources that you have filtered already like, folders of RSS feeds, Twitter lists, specific Google Circles.

  • iOS and Android App enabling user to select information sources and create their own personal “magazine”.
  • Information Sources include: Google Reader RSS Feeds, Social Media Profiles – Twitter, Twitter Lists, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and more.
  • Helps you get the information you want fast.
  • You can share direct with your community using a number of social channels.
  • You can email Evernote to capture info for later use.
  • Tablet based application for iPad and Android tablets. Like Flipboard the user interface is not as good on smaller smartphone screens.

Where to Install: iOS and Android Apps

Personalised Magazine: Zite – FREE Curating “General” source information

  • iOS and Android App enabling user to select subjects of interest and create their own personal “magazine”.
  • Helps you get the information you want fast.
  • You can share direct with your community using a number of social channels.
  • You can email Evernote to capture info for later use.
  • Tablet based application for iPad and Android tablets. Like Flipboard the user interface is not as good on smaller smartphone screens.
  • Allows multiple user profiles.

Where to Install: iOS and Android Apps

Want more? Check Out The Social Larder’s Finding & Filtering Information Skillshare

Social Networks

Start with Twitter, we’ll get to the rest soon.

Twitter  – FREE Go to the Twitter home page, sign up for an account. TOP TIP: Keep your Twitter handle as short as possible (I know ours aren’t that short, take advantage of our experience when you get started). You’ve only got 140 characters to play with.  Don’t use funky symbols or underscores, they are hard to see and type so people get it wrong or give up.

Follow the key people below to stay up to date and see Twitter in action.

Paul Kaan

The Social Larder

Now send a hello tweet to us by clicking this button. 

Wanna know how we made all of those bottons and added them to our WordPress Website? It’s easy check out Twitter’s Button Resources.

Want more? Check Out The Social Larder’s Twitter Workshop

Twitter Apps Click here to download a Twitter mobile app for your chosen device.

TweetBot Click here to download the TweetBot iPhone & iPad app (this is optional).