While many of my friends in the social media world are fairly comfortable using technology, it does not mean they understand the full capability of their devices. I am always surprised at how often I hear, “I didn’t know it could do that!” Here are a few essentials to help you work smarter, not harder, with technology.

  • Apps are are essential

    Smartphone Apps

    Your devices have the ability to use some very powerful and helpful applications (apps) these days. App stores may be a little daunting to just jump into aimlessly and sometimes even searching for what you need is hard. Instead, look for the Store Recommendations, Essential Apps list, Best Apps for XXXX, etc. These lists are curated and are usually easy to find on the main page of the app stores. Care is taken to find apps that are really worthy of being included and that do what they say they will. Blogs that review apps are a great resource and be sure to ask your colleagues what apps they are using to make their work easier.

  • Syncing is essential

    sync

    It has become easier and easier to sync all your devices in some way or another. For most of us using a cloud service, like SkyDrive or Dropbox, is the easiest method. Just sign up for the service (free) and install the app on all your devices. Now when you save to one device, it is available on all of your devices. Ask for help from friends, colleagues, or at your wireless providers local store even.

  • Tutorials and Help Files are essential

    Use Tutorials and Help Files

    Long ago my grandfather was the one who said “read the manual” to me (I’ll share that store someday). His advice has served me ever since then. If the device or app you have offers a tutorial, take a few minutes to go through it all. If you are using the item and are not sure about something, check the help files or FAQ to see if the answer is there.

  • Power Users are essential

    Ask Rock Stars for Help

    If you know someone who is a standout in using a particular tool in your industry, look to them for suggestions. Check to see if they have a blog talking about what they do, have they written a book, or maybe they teach a class you could take. For instance in social media if you know someone who rocks Twitter try to find out what Twitter tools work for them, how they approach following, lists, conversation, DMs, etc. I have found so many people are not even aware of tools like HootSuite, Buffer, etc. that can make Twitter much easier than just going to Twitter.com

Do not be afraid to try new things to make your work easier. I am amazed at the new tools I find to use in my work all the time. Just because you do not know of an app that does what you want, that does not mean it does not exist – ask lots of people! Trying out new technology to see if it is the right fit for you is not as time consuming as you think. Give new tech your focused attention when trying it without snubbing it because you don’t understand. Remember, work harder, not smarter.