If you’re anything like me, you love a good gadget, app, tip or trick to help make life a little bit easier. I confess that when the new iOS 7 came out, my favorite feature was the ability to add even more apps into folders. I’m an organized nerd 😉
Because I not only participate in a lot of online community, I also manage lot of online community, I need some quick and easy tools at my fingertips to make it all happen. I’ll skip over the obvious apps, like Facebook and Twitter, because I really think most people probably already have those anyway.
My favorite community apps/tips/tools:
Instagram: I know this one might not immediately seem like a tool you could use to build community, but I’m part of a new HelloMornings group this session that checks in on IG, and it is awesome! It’s such a fun way to get a little glimpse into the mornings of the other sweet ladies in my group, and we have more freedom to comment than Twitter (more than 140 characters! yay!). I also use IG in some of my VA work to help build community for conferences, both before the conference, connecting attendees, and during as everyone tags their photos and shares their experiences.
Voxer: Oh I love me some Voxer. If you aren’t already familiar with it, Voxer is basically a walkie-talkie app that lets you send voice or text messages to friends. That might not sound very interesting, but I’m in a couple Voxer “group” chats that make it really fun to check in with an accountability group, or in the case of (in)couragers, our leadership team. You leave one voice message, everyone receives it, and can respond. And if you leave the app open you can actually use it like a walkie-talkie – I use it like this with my husband, especially if he’s at the grocery store & needs to check in to see what he forgot on the list at home 😉
Google Docs: I work on a lot of remote teams and do a lot of work that needs to be shared easily, regardless of type of operating system or device. Google Docs has been a lifesaver and a huge organizational tool for me, especially when we’re in the middle of (in)courager community group planning chaos. Create a doc or spreadsheet, share it with the people who need to work on it, and everyone has access. All changes are saved in one place and you never worry about which version is most recent. It’s also my favorite tool for forms and surveys right now, because it’s just so easy to use!
Spreecast/Google Hangouts: Sometimes you just need to see your virtual community face-to-face. If it’s a small group, I love Google Hangouts. Easy to use, fun features, and a great app that lets you connect to the chat even when you’re away from your computer. The downside is the limit of 9(ish?) live participants. Which is why I also love Spreecast. If you need to do a live video chat on a larger scale, Spreecast offers some really fun options, like the ability to add and remove people on screen, a great live chat and the option to set the meeting as “unlisted” so no one can stumble into it without first knowing the link. After the chat is over Spreecast automatically gives you access to a recorded version (you can edit out the awkward part at the beginning where you’re trying to figure out how to make it work. Which happens to me every time).
Trello: This is something I use for my VA work and I love it. Kat Lee introduced me to Trello when we were trying to find the best workflow/to do list app for our projects. The thing I love most about this – and yes, I consider my VA clients one of my communities! – is that Kat can assign tasks to me at the beginning of the week, I hop in and check them, mark them as complete, update my time, and she knows when to add more to the list without sending a million emails. It’s important for me to be there for my clients, to be responsive and attentive and able to respond to their needs, and this is one way that I do that.
I have a ton of other apps that I use on a daily basis, but I’d love to know what you love to use to connect with your communities. How do you stay connected? What are your tips & tricks for making life easier as you juggle online community?