This is a story about how I came to love the cloud and small business technology…and you can, too!
Recently I had an epiphany. Technology is the 21st Century’s equivalent of root canal. You need it. It’s good for you in the long run, but it sure does hurt! Case in point. I recently decided to embrace the cloud. My motivation was, I got tired of constantly updating my files and re-saving changes to EVERY document on my PC, storage devices, laptop, then carry them around with me everywhere I went on flash drives so I could work on them when I needed to. It was a logistical nightmare to keep track of the latest versions. Know the feeling? I needed a more simple way of operating.
Enter the cloud. In the cloud, you just log on and access your files. you update them when you need to, and email them to anyone no matter where you are. Sounds pretty good, right? I uploaded all of my critical documents to Google Docs and activated a Gmail email account. Why Google? They HAVE to be great. You name it, Google does it. Don’t believe me? Check out: “Google is all about the cloud. Going Google.” That is, unless you’re an Apple iCloud or Microsoft SkyDrivefan. Wouldn’t it be great if you could manage all your information in a SINGLE place, to get it from anywhere at any time? Sounds good to me! I just signed up for a paid client relationship management software service through the cloud called Highrise.
Now I can supposedly manage all of my prospects and clients from ONE place. I say supposedly because I just signed up for the service. so theoretically I don’t need to store all those contact email addresses on Excel spreadsheets, in Outlook, in my email, on my cellphone, and those scraps of paper lying all around the computer. I also exported all my emails from Yahoo into an Excel file. Did that! but I still wasn’t done. I have @ 1,500 email addresses in my Constant Contact email account, so I had to also export those so I could upload them to my CRM. I had an ulterior motive for making all these vendor changes.
I have a blog that is created in Google Blogger. Since WordPress is the new sexy blog platform AND the hottest new web site development platform, I took a Word Press class to figure out how to blog with it. I wanted to use WordPress instead of Blogger and connect my blog to my website. No can do! At the time, WordPress couldn’t run on Yahoo’s platform. How’s this for irony…I log into my Blogger account with a Yahoo email. When I tried to change my account settings in (GOOGLE) Blogger recently to use my (Google) Gmail account, Blogger wouldn’t let me. HUH???
Just when you think you have this technology thing figured out, they move your cheese. The rate of technological change is happening at such a fast pace it seems virtually impossible to keep up with things. Social media is a perfect example. You create a Twitter account, and start banging out those 140-character brain farts. Follow people, get them to follow you, use hash tags (###) to build connections between you, your organization and specific terms…voila! Instant online branding nirvana, right? But that’s not good enough. You need your LinkedIn page, your personal business Facebook Fan pages to be in harmony with each other. Then you have to get invited to relevant MeetUp groups.
But now there’s Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest. Then, experts used to say you should be active in online user forums. Now we’re told online forums aren’t relevant anymore. It’s getting virtually impossible to keep on top of all the changing technologies, tools and best practices. One person I can always rely on for the best updates and keen insights is Ramon Ray, Chief Technology Evangelist at SmallBizTechnology.
Whenever there’s online content that you want to subscribe to, you can get a feed of that blog, news, author, etc. sent directly to you. It’s called really simple syndication (RSS.) But once you start signing up to receive feeds from a few sources, it seems like the data starts flowing in constantly. While you’re doing all this online marketing activity, it’s also crucial that you measure your brand online. It helps to see how your efforts are leading to increased clout (brand equity) you’ve built. To measure your relevance in the online world, there are a ton of resources you can select from such as HubSpot, Klout, Google+, etc. But wait, there’s MUCH more. Now Quick Response (QR) codes are hot. QR codes let you zap contact information, and capture special promotions almost anywhere.
Don’t forget cell phones. 3G is out. Long live 4G (for now) Which model? iPhone? Android? Droid? Galaxy? Razr? Lumia? Phones have cameras…and Playstation. Sprint, AT&T, Verizon? Tablets now show 3-D video. Is that TV or Internet you’re watching? Don’t get me started on that! And there’s an APP for almost anything. It never, EVER ends! Even technerds are scrambling to keep pace. So much to learn, so much technology changing at warp speed. I have a headache. I think I’m going to lie down and take a nap, or play with my dog. Wait! Maybe I can download an app for that…from the cloud.