Tablets and smartphones have definitely changed the way that we work both in the workforce, in our businesses and at home. The consumption of content is mainly via portable devices, and such habits won’t be going away any time soon.

A survey conducted by Salesforce into Mobile Behaviour (2014) found that 85% of respondents commented that mobile devices were a central part of their lives. Sometimes, it is easier to read, peruse social media and surf the Internet from a tablet device rather than a smaller screen of a smart phone. Portable devices can also help streamline your day-to-day workflow, fitting into the cracks of your life and increasing your efficiency.

Here are four ways that tablets can improve your workflow.

Access and Cost

One of the annoyances I find in using a laptop in a meeting is the length of time to get the device started and get into the application I need. Since the iPad came out in 2010, our family rarely uses a laptop for browsing the Internet unless we are already on the computer and using it for research.

Accessibility has also been improved for all different learning styles with the introduction of tablets. If you require bigger text for reading, voice-over to read instructions and accessibility shortcuts tablets are able to deliver these options without costing thousands of dollars.

Collaboration

In the age of changing ‘digital work habits’ being able to improve collaboration is a key part to our daily work lives. Ever tried to collaborate while sitting around a laptop and struggle to see the screen?

A laptop is very much a personal tool, handing over access to someone’s laptop is very different to a tablet where it seems to be a more shareable device.

Sharing Information

With many tablets you can quickly share information either through Bluetooth technology or via AirDrop (iOS), Chromecast (Android), Play To (Windows Phone) and other manufacturer-specific features. For example it is much easier to hold up a tablet and share photos, videos and ideas rather than hold up a laptop (you need to be sitting down or have the screen projected via a VGA projector or TV).

Some examples include someone in the property sector showing digital portfolios of their properties, and then accessing Google maps to share with clients. This not only saves paper and gives clients better access to information, but also demonstrates professionalism in today’s digital world.

A world of apps

Currently the Google Play Store (Android devices), Apple iTunes Store (iOS) and Windows Phone Store (Windows devices) have over 1.8 million apps for purchase (either free or at a cost). More software companies are realising that the future is definitely mobile and apps are being developed for both tablets and smartphones. Whatever you use a computer for, you can normally find an app for your tablet that can do the same thing.
When searching for apps to help you with your work, work on these five key ideas:

1. Can you export the information, i.e. as a PDF or an image?
2. Can you bring information into the app? Or is it very one sided?
3. Can you share the information to other platforms, i.e. via email, cloud storage such as Dropbox, Box, iCloud, Google Drive and Evernote?
4. Does it do more than one thing? Try and find an app that fulfils a few different functions, unless you are looking to complete a very specific task.
5. How many in-app purchases do you need to buy in order to have the app at full capacity? Some apps are free, but then require you to spend twenty dollars in order to access all features.

Tablets sound great, but how do I choose one?

Three key things to look at when purchasing a tablet for either personal or business use:
1. Cost – There are some reasonable tablets to buy depending on exactly what you want the table to be able to do. Also take into account what features you would like to use on the tablet.
2. Operating system: If you struggle sometimes with new technology, stay with the same platform as your smartphone.
3. Accessories – what can you use with the device? Are there many external keyboards that pair with these tablets? Styluses? Or even cases that fit the tablet?

Running my business from my iPad for a month back in 2013 proved just how many tasks I could get completed. Not all things will be suitable for a tablet device, but it will make a positive difference to your workflow.

If you want to improve your workflow, Leaders in Heels is currently running a competition to win a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet and Nokia Power Keyboard valued at AU$1080 (see featured image)! The competition is open worldwide and entries close 28th February, 2015 (Sydney, Australia EST) so get in FAST! Click here for your chance to win.


As smartphones, tablets and touchscreens become more entrenched in business,  our customers, clients and associates want interaction and freedom to explore the information being presented. Increasingly, it’s becoming important to show the heart in a business or organisation. Sharing information, not just advertising, is necessary to remain relevant.

We’ve all suffered death by Powerpoint, being forced to sit through uninspiring and dull presentations

This is where the buzz phrase ‘digital storytelling’ enters. This rapidly evolving culture encompasses elements of traditional presentations and combines multimedia and often touchscreen capabilities to enhance the overall information delivery experience. Through images, video, sound, touch we have a greater chance of evoking emotions and eliciting a response from our audiences.

Enter the new players – giving us choice, flexibility and above all else, new scope for creativity. Predominantly web-based, these new platforms are not only bringing exciting new features to the field but also allowing you access anywhere, anytime regardless of your device.

Flowboard

Free, Available for Apple iOS

Designed to be used on iPad, this app can set you free from your desk and unleash a whole new way to explore the way we present information.

This is where the fun and creativity begin. With its incredibly simple navigation – drag, drop and link content from your iPad, Google, Facebook or Instagram, to create your interactive display or Flowboard as it’s known. The creative at Flowboard have provided some templates to work with or you can create your own. An interactive magazine style publication can be created in just a few minutes.

But here’s where Flowboard truly shines. Not only is your presentation stored on the cloud accessible anywhere, once you publish your Flowboard you can share your content on Twitter, Facebook or as a URL direct link. No more having to attach a presentation to an email or saving to thumb drives. You could even include the link in your email and newsletters.

What’s also special is although you have created it on an iPad it is compatible on any other platform – meaning no boundaries or worries about who can view it.

If you’re looking for a large scale high-end publishing platform Flowboard would not fit the bill. But if you’re looking for a simple way to create some fun, interactive content for a business presentation, seminar or product pitch then this app is highly recommended.

Tips:

  • The better the quality of your images and the more engaging your content, the better the overall look will be.
  • Take a look at the Gallery to see what other Flowboarders are creating if you need some inspiration.

Cost:

  • Create up to 200MB of content for free
  • Premium plans are only $4.99/month and offer up to 1 Gigabyte of storage.

Prezi

Free, iOS, Web-based/Browser-based

Zoom in for this one. Using the notion of presenting ideas with passion and the unmistakable zoom feature, Prezi definitely has wow factor visually, but may require a little more initial thought to make a truly awe inspiring presentation. The potential is definitely worth the investment. Available to use online, offline, desktop or as an iOS iPad app, the range of options is there for the taking.

Take your audience on a journey literally as you move around the single canvas zooming in and out to create emphasis and fit small pieces of information into a bigger picture. Think info graphics with movement, music and videos. Very impressive.

It’s truly amazing how the simple addition of motion really can lift your presentation to a much higher level.

Tips:

  • Take the time to learn how to navigate and familiarise yourself with it, watching the video tutorials provided will make life a whole lot easier when starting out.
  • Import existing Powerpoint slides to embellish, alter and improve. Prezi is flexible enough to allow you to utilise existing work.
  • Once you’ve finished, share your Prezi via Facebook or download it as a PDF/portable version.

Cost: 

  • Free
  • ‘Enjoy’ member for $4.92 per month with extra options e.g. private presentations, extra storage space
  • ‘Pro’ user for $13.25 per month
  • Business options for larger scale.

Creative force, visual excellence and dynamic, entertaining presentations are not the domain of big business with unlimited budgets. They are accessible, affordable and easily achieved. So get creative!

Featured Image Credit: Judith Klein

Emma Wallace

Emma Wallace plays her magic flute and has computer mice following her. Not really – but she has acquired lots of tech-knowledge and business skills co-running regional based IT consultancy, CloneSurfing Technology for over 7 years. She has a passion and flair for shaking things up and loves meeting inspiring folk.

A.K.A @digisquirrel this graphic/web designer, digital artist, digital publisher and  former radio presenter with gift wrapping skills is a little bit different – but what’s wrong with that?


Social Media can help you generate more leads, sales and clients, it can also suck your time if you let it.  In order to keep your social media effective but productive, use some of these tools, resources and apps to make your life easier.  Here are five of my favourites:

1. Inbuilt Facebook Post Scheduler

An awesome feature of Facebook which not many people know about is their inbuilt post scheduler.  This allows you to create all your content, upload it on Facebook and have it distributed at the time and date which suits you.  I use this weekly to schedule all my content for the week, which means I’m consistently showing up each day. Create your content as you normally would, then instead of clicking on the bottom right corner to post, click on the clock located in the bottom left corner.  Then select the year, month, day and time you want your post to be published.  You can schedule up to six months in advance.

2. iPhone (or Smartphone) Camera

Stock photos can be expensive! But photos increase engagement and grab people’s attention online so they are necessary.  Instead of purchasing stock photos, I like to take my own images using my iPhone. The quality is perfect for online usage and it’s super easy to use. Start taking photos of things which grab your attention, as you never know when you might use them. When out and about take photos and remember you can also use items in your own office.  In one of my training sessions, I talk about tracking your sales leads using a pen and paper via the phone – so of course – I took an image of my Kikki K Notepad and Pen – easy and only took me 5 seconds.

picmonkey

3. Pic Monkey

If you want to create your own image for social media or add something special to your iPhone images, check out Pic Monkey. This free online tool is very easy to use – just click and drag.  It allows you to add boards, text and so much more.  Plus they have some templates already set up for the most common images such as your Facebook Cover Image.  View all the features at Pic Monkey

4. Flipboard

If you like to stay current with what your friends are doing and news stories, you will love Flipboard. It allows you to import your Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed into their handy iPad app.  You can then view all this content like you would be reading a magazine; lots of white space, bigger images and full news articles.  I like to use this to find ideas for content creation for my Facebook page and blog posts.  You can download it for free here.

5. Hootsuite

If you are finding it hard to stick to a small amount of time on social sites each day (just for business stuff) then Hootsuite might be the answer.  It’s a social media dashboard which allows you to see all your social accounts on one screen.  You can see your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts all on one screen, meaning there are less distractions.  It also allows you to post new content and reply to others’ comments right there in the application. It’s web and app based and they have a free account option.  Find out more here.

Are you using any of these, or can you offer suggestions for a better one?  I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Featured Image Credit: Johan Larsson

Natalie Alaimo

Natalie Alaimo is a social media marketing expert who teaches business owners how to build their brand via online marketing to create an avalanche of clients ready to buy from you. She helps clients via custom workshops, the Ask Natalie Academy and private coaching.  Natalie is the creator of The Social Media Blueprint – Managing Your Social Media in 10 Minutes per Day.

An Australian Gold Coast local she enjoys, tap dancing, painting and spending time with her family.

Natalie is an international speaker and blogger who has been involved with companies such as; Telstra, Ray White, BNI, BWI, WNA, Keune, Babor, Self Storage Association and Starshot Photography.


I have recently asked four experts in social media what their top favourite tools and apps were to manage social media communities in the most time-effective manner. There are lots of apps to manage social networks so it is easy to get lost. Here are their top recommendations:

4 Apps to manage social networks

Sprout Social

“Sprout Social centralizes multiple social media accounts into a single application which provides you the ability to grow your network, share updates and get full stats reporting across all social platforms. The Sprout Social dashboard allows you to see all key statistics and the increase or decrease they’ve achieved over the last few months.

Further to that you can add secondary members to help you manage your social networks as well. “

Devices it is applicable to: Web Based, iPhone, Android
Cost: 30 Day Free Trial Then Payment Based On Size (from $39/user/month)
More info at: www.sproutsocial.com

Recommended by: Samuel Junghenn, Managing Director of Think Big Online. Samuel manages communities of multiple clients including their own with 100,000+ Facebook  fans and twitter followers (across all clients).

Hootsuite

“Hootsuite is a complete social media dashboard. I can import all of my own social media profiles and those of my clients into one place where I can then update, track and monitor more efficiently. Because it is available as an app on your smartphone, you can quickly check on what’s going on and respond where necessary. Hootsuite also allows you to schedule status updates in advance across all platforms and include web links and multimedia. You also receive regular emails which give you basic statistics on how your profiles are performing and more details statistics can be viewed through Hootsuite.”

Devices it is applicable to: Web Based, Android, iPhone

Cost: there are 2 packages (1) Free for up to 5 social media profiles (2) Professional package for around $6 per month for unlimited packages

More info at: www.hootsuite.com

Recommended by: Paula O’Sullivan, Business Owner and Licensee / Social Media Consultant at Social Media Business Boosters. Paula manages a number of social media profiles for her clients.

Argyle Social

“It’s a web based app, that can schedule posts, monitor customer engagement, and measure all of the specific social media metrics. You can manage all content from one dashboard across various social media platforms. Very helpful when dealing with time zones, and measuring successful posts. Argyle Social gives me the most accurate idea as to our campaign performances, with simple graphs ways to actually work with all of the social media platforms in one spot. “

Devices it is applicable to: Web Based only (as of  now)
Cost: $300/mo

More info at: http://argylesocial.com/what-is-argyle/features/social-media-publishing-tools

Recommended by: Sara Wiedenhaefer, Marketing Manager of Shoeboxed Australia. Sara manages communities of  5500+ Facebook fans and 8500+ Twitter followers of American and Australian ShoeBoxed

Buffer

Buffer has revolutionised the way I tweet! Once registered, add the Buffer button to your browser then when you find something you want to share, simply click the button to add it to your schedule. You can set a different schedule for each day of the week – ideal if you cover multiple time zones – and, best of all, the analytics feature allows you to easily see how many clicks your content received as well as who retweeted or replied to your tweet – and you can thank people from within Buffer itself. It can also be used with Facebook and LinkedIn.”

Devices it is applicable to: Web Based, iPhone, Android

Cost: Free or upgrade to the paid version to access post scheduling and adding multiple social accounts (US$8.50 per month).

More info at: http://bufferapp.com/

Recommended by: Bridie Jenner, Business owner of Bridie’s Typing Services. Bridie manages community of 1,300 Twitter followers.

What are yours favourite applications to manage social media? If you checked out more than one tell us your rating and why…