Take Control of Social Media in 2014- A Little Red Investigation


{image courtesy of bryandigital.wordpress.com}

After spending 2013 on all the big wig social media platforms {and truth be told, enjoying Pinterest and Facebook the most}, I’ve come across some trends that I hope will prevail this year {oh dear God it’s a new year already and I was only just getting used to writing 2-0-1-3……}

Social Storytelling is booming. We’ve all read the “I can check in on Foursquare, Post a Photo of it on Instragram, post an update on Facebook, Tweet my details” etc posts floating around in Google. We can share EVERYTHING we do ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. How cool is that?!

We all know how huge Facebook is. We spend the most time on it. We connect with friends more there than we do text and call friends in Australia {are text messages almost as obsolete as the old ICQ chat thing? I never used it but it must’ve been quite intriguing}. Mobile-friendly Facebook is quite awesome. It’s not much more difficult to navigate than Desktop Facebook, probably because all the top developers know that wherever we go, we want Facebook to be right there with us. We want to tell our friends and consumers {if you are a business owner and Facebook-savvy} what we’re up to, where we are checking in and so forth. In other words, read our online diary to our friends and followers.

Tailored content and mobile/video ads {of which YouTube are already the masters} have made website browsing, searching and shopping all the more simplified through the likes {pardon the pun?} of Facebook advertising. Your business is instantly mobile friendly with the short ads that are now, well practically everywhere. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve clicked on a sponsored ad {if you don’t happen to spot the “SPONSORED” sign on some posts}. Also, search high and low through iTunes and PlayStore this year for business-related apps. Every year is the Year of the App, but with most sites being mobile-friendly, how better to pair a mobile site with a few handy apps to get your business motor running this New Year.

My advice to small business owners and community page owners this year re: Facebook? Stop spamming people’s walls and connect. Make new contacts that you’ll actually engage with. I’m over the “like for like” experience. Most of the people i “like” won’t come back to visit my page. And frankly, I don’t want to be spammed with another “try this miracle body wrap and lose 2000 inches of your childbearing hips” page {whinge over}.


Are you already onboard the S.S #facebookhashtag? Wondering how much it will grow in 2014. All my friends hash-tag and to be honest, I find it entertaining and thought-provoking. Especially to think that you have to come up with some very poignant, individual words for some otherwise mindless pics or updates. But to me, they always work and the random conversations where every word is hashtagged always makes me giggle {is hashtagged a word in the dictionary yet?}

For those who went to Kindergarten and for those who remember it, we all used to participate in Show And Tell- where we’d share an important fact, object, detail of our life. This can now be loosely translated into how we see social media now. So much more of our content this year should be visual and image based. We want to like what we see, we want to focus on detail and we don’t always want to read thousands of words strung together. B-O-R-ing.

Marketing will go full circle and come back to basics this year. 91% of marketing gurus in Australia {roughly} used social media platforms in 2013. Small businesses are all about social media. Social media has become a solid investment and is no longer about communication only. Factor in networking/collaborating, planning, processing and researching and there you have it my friends, your focus for 2014 {SOCIAL MEDIA, in case you missed it}.

Google+. SEO’s best friend. Now here lies an interesting social media network. Have you noticed that to access good old YouTube, you now need a Google+ account? Sneaky hey?! Thumbs up Google, well played. Join a Google+ Hangout, TV for social media and comment and share information in real-time. I’ve tried it and I love it. In the past two years, I’ve been led to believe that Google+ has jumped above Twitter in the number-of-users game. But the big question is- will it jump above Facebook? We’ll know soon enough. Jump on Google+ in 2014 and network like crazy. It’s good fun and well worth your time. 

Instagram- the online photo album. #hash #tag #crazy. Take a photo of anything in good taste/good spirit and it’s out there for the Instagramers to “heart”. #idontliketalkinginhashtagsbecauseibelieveingoodgrammarandpunctuation but I do like seeing what celebrities are posting, it’s like a free version of NW Magazine. I expect that Instagram will only get bigger this year, especially with the new ads and “Flipagram”-style videos you can post. It was found to be the fastest growing social network in the world for 2013. {you probably should follow me on Instagram, really}. A friend told me on New Years Eve that over 70% of the top brands in the world now use Instagram. Now there goes the old catalogues in the mail that I used to read whilst having a hot cuppa. Everything goes out of style!

No matter which platform you’re on, you’ll always find those viral posts somehow. You know, the ones with a kazillion shares of that picture of a monkey riding greyhound in a cowboy suit or the “my girlfriend will marry me if this post gets a trillion likes”. Keep sharing them or even better still, use 2014 to create one of your own. You never know what will go viral! In my case, I always look at funny posts that will make me cry in hysterics. You’ll have my vote if you can make me laugh that hard.

My second favourite platform {well, favourite in my personal domain rather than professional} is Pinterest. Oh my Lord, the ideas that have come from this network are unbelievable. As a crafty person myself, Pinterest is like Heaven. Pinterest now has analytics and place and rich pins. Can’t go wrong this year with Pinterest, it’s as simple as pinning a pin.

Twitter is a digitally enhanced land I used to visit quite often but with my desperate need for human contact, I found it a little cold and uninviting in 2013. With tailored audiences, promoted accounts showing up in timelines and keyword targeting to hit the big{ger} time in 2014, don’t ignore Twitter any longer. Do what you can to get the hang of it. My business tip? You need to post a lot otherwise you won’t be seen. Simple.

If you want to network more and find more leads in 2014, head across to LinkedIn. It may not look as pretty as Facebook and as covered in beautifully filtered pics as Instagram but it’s worth it.

Social media advertising will become more complicated than ever in 2014. Just because I think there are so many outlets and new audiences to reach. Status updates can be “promoted”, you can DIY advertising packages now and it’s becoming easier for anyone to share their work and thoughts. I’d stay away from the “give me $5 and I’ll give your page 1000 new fans” packages this year. Let all those pages fizzle out. I’m sorry but if I pay more money, like $1000, and you’ll give me 100,000 new fans, do you actually have 100,000+ fans yourself and do you know these people? Are their pages reputable? Will they engage with me and my business? Nope. So no thank you, if you want to like my page in 2014, you need to be interested in what I do and who I am. Another Little Red tip: stop tricking your consumers this year, your SEO needs to be a brilliant display of online marketing.

2014 is all about pizzazz, personality. Guts and glory. Digital marketing is losing steam and people want to connect with real people. Not updates on autopilot. Recommendations from others drives up sales. I know I buy many things after being recommended them by friends and family. We want to know the truth from people we can trust and this is how we should want our consumers to see us and our products. They want to know about us and what we do. Not who we think we want to be and what we think we should be telling them to drive up our analytics figures {despite our society’s focus driven by performance}.


This year, stop thinking about how Facebook and Twitter ads will earn you money. Question whether it is worth it and then think about how you can improve your social media profiles to offer more insight to your consumers. People want advice and information. People always seek out help. You need to know how to show people they need you without selling til the cows come home.


Privacy and censorship has taken a back seat to the proliferation of social media in years of late. Do we care less? Why don’t we feel the need to restrict what strangers can and can’t do with our information? Because the more we share, the greater the reaction we get from people. We love being recognised and we love creating original and unique content. It’s free and we get a kick out of it.

My final thoughts? Pinterest will be amazingly helpful to personal and professional account holders {did you know you can have a business account on Pinterest now?} and survive huge growth spurts this year. Foursquare and Tumblr will be on the up but Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are where it’s at {again} this year.

Arm yourself with knowledge in 2014. It’s your greatest weapon and ally. Only 39% of Aussie have some type of social media strategy in place when it comes to small and online business operations. In a time where B2B connections are more important than ever, get yourself with a top-knotch diary, some longlasting pens and get writing. Plan the heck out of 2014 and you’ll see the light.



Lauren @LittleRed


Good morning, would you like a new app to go with that small business?



Here is my list of new apps to try, if you haven’t already. {Hopefully} you find more than one handy helper in here that will allow you to work more effectively.


  1. Co Tweet {for those larger businesses}
  2. Tweepie
  3. Sendible
  4. Timely
  5. Klout Web Service
  6. Check It!
  7. Dragon Dictation
  8. HomeBase
  9. PingFM
  10. Abukai
  11. AirSharing
  12. Adobe Reader
  13. FormMobi
  14. Bump
  15. Spout
  16. Vignature
  17. SignEasy
  18. Triberr
  19. FreshBooks
  20. KoolSpan TrustCall
  21. CardMunch Business Card Reader
  22. Highlight
  23. EasyNote & To Do
  24. Kindle
  25. MeetUp
  26. Odometer
  27. UberSocial
  28. WifiFinder
  29. Air Sharing
  30. Mozy
  31. ZenDesk
  32. Shopify
  33. DocuSign Ink
  34. Pinpointe
  35. FlipBoard
  36. DocsToGo
  37. (e)xcel Contacts Lite
  38. Apple Analytics App
  39. DropBox
  40. HomeBase
  41. Peak Meetings
  42. Simple Note


Which ones of these have you tried? Which would come with your highest {or lowest} recommendations?

There are KAZILLIONS of apps on the move out there for Apple, Android and Windows. Please help me extend my list!

Anything that helps a small business owner save time and increase efficiency is handy in my book.

Lauren @LittleRed

10 Google Apps Tried and Tested- a Little Red Review (Part Two)


(Image courtesy of digitaltrends.com)

So here we are- finishing off my review of the latest Google Apps I’ve checked out and applied to my own business planning.

With five left to review, first up is Trello, an ideal App for project managers who love “work in progress” boards and lists.

Trello- An App which prides itself on bringing business teams together, Trello is a tool for the not-so-organized. You can arrange story boards and lists specific to projects and under headings such as “Needs Work”, “Approved” etc. To me, the App is easy to navigate and simple to use. Not only can you use Trello for business projects, but I’ve also recommend the App to two friends who need a wedding and public fundraiser planning tool! It’s an App you can use daily in your personal and business lives. Issues? Switching between boards can get a little tricky (try the App here and see for yourself). I’d suggest this App to: project managers, event planners, Busy Parents, any small business owner!

    • Little Red’s Rating: 4/5

Read Later Fast- One of my favourite Google Apps to date. I’m always flicking through papers online and hard copies of article that I really should push from the “read this week” pile to the “MUST READ TONIGHT!” pile. Read Later Fast (watch a Fan Review here) is another perfect organizational tool for small business owners and students and is designed to de-clutter your bookmark folders in your browsers. I have so many bookmark folders, I may as well start again from scratch because it’s like a big black hole where my articles and great must-reads go to die. The App can be synced with diigo.com, an innovative App (with its own website) that provides sticky notes and highlighting of your documents. Read Later Fast and Diigo allow you create a RLF (Read Later Fast, if you didn’t guess) bookmark on your browser and then you save your documents to this bookmark, which is purposefully connected to the App. Great for Android and iPad, as well as the iPhone (better with 4S and 5) in an offline mode, this tool is convenient for those who read online A LOT. Issues? There is little info available on how to use Read Later Fast on a Mac, the App’s Help pages need their own help (very weak in the support department if you get stuck or lose links), it’s not great to use on multiple computers (i.e. the one account on multiple computers), some of my articles have been saved as the URL and then have gone missing. Big Sad Face here. I’d suggest this App to- students, small business owners (especially those in marketing, medical services, writing, SEO specialists)

    • Little Red’s Rating: 3/5

Task Timer- As the name suggests, this App is a timer for every task you need to complete within a given time. Suitable for time-orientated tasks, I have used the App for quoting and invoicing purposes, for thesis writing and for typing and transcription tasks. Very simple to use and Task Timer lets you pause and delete tasks with the press of a button. Issues? I’d say it needs work to use in medium-sized businesses and corporations. The creator/developer needs to add so many more features for it to be a stand-out above the other timer Apps available, such as Cloud Timer, which has more features than Task Timer, yet performs more poorly in Google’s Fan Ratings. I’d suggest this App to- any small business owner who charges by the hour (writers, accountants, bookkeepers, business developers), students

    • Little Red’s Rating: 3.5/5

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(image courtesy of learning-mind.com)

Cognifit- Now for some fun and a smidge of humiliation if you think you are a gun in the Brain Games department. This App provides personal Training sessions for your brain. Apparently all sections in the App are scientifically tested. You start with an initial assessment, then head straight into training from there. Worst thing I ever did was open this App for the first time at midnight one night and wonder why my coordination and spatial recognition skills were slightly zombified and helter skelter. But it’s great fun and a cool way to chill and sneakily compete against friends and family. Not sure if this is a good thing for those fiercely competitive families out there, some rifts may be widened! You can create an account with a valid email or via Facebook/Twitter. The website is easy to access and is a breath of fresh air in the design department, especially when all you’ve done all day is read RSS feeds. Issues? So you think you’re smarter than a fifth grader? Take a deep breath before attempting some of these challenges late at night. You probably should add Google Connect to use this App, makes it far quicker to load. It’s addictive! I’d suggest this App to- anyone who enjoys a romp into tricky mind testing, anyone who loves to combine game play with brain training

    • Little Red’s Rating: 4.5/5

And last, but not least…..

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(Image courtesy of verydemotivational.com)

Dictanote- For use with Chrome, this rich text editor and speech recognition App has been described as “MS Word Junior”. It’s an in-browser tool which can help you create paragraphs through connecting with the Voice Chrome extension. Simple! Issues? I still am a fan of Dragon Naturally Speaking so am finding it hard to jump on board this little-known App. The last few times I used it, it stopped recording unexpectedly a couple of times. I’d suggest this App to- university lecturers, postgraduate students, writers

    • Little Red’s Rating: 4/5

So there you have it! Little Red’s Google Apps, sitting there waiting for you to try. What Google Apps do you treasure? Which ones deserve a thumbs up and which ones could you do without?

10 Google Apps Tried and Tested- a Little Red Review (Part One)

So my latest research adventure had taken me to the deepest, darkest depths of the Google App Macrocosm. I have been looking for some inventive, inspiring and slightly left-field apps which could help make my time spent staring into my screen and into my notebooks just that extra tad enjoyable and productive. Some of the Apps may be known to you, the others you may just have to check out for yourself here at the Chrome Store.


(Image courtesy of lerablog.com)

In no particular order, but all rated, tried and tested by me (Little Red), these are the Apps I’ve been playing around with over the last two weeks.

Mention– By giving this app keywords, I’ve been able to keep an eye on my brand, popular keywords specific to my interests and my industry passions. I’ve been able to find out who is talking copy writing or small business on Twitter and Pinterest via real-time alerts. I’ve received these alerts via email and have checked daily. I’ve found some using useful tools, articles and general web users who I’d like to follow using Mention. You can add most social media accounts to these app and watch the keyword alerts pile up big-time. Issues? Most of my alerts have come from Twitter- I want a wider search. I’d suggest this app to: writers, marketing gurus, customer service specialists, SEO managers

    • Little Red Rating: 4/5

MindMeister– Who doesn’t love a good brainstorming session? I’ve been able to create and edit mind maps through this app and share the content I’ve created. You can export your files to Adobe (for PDF generation), Word and PowerPoint. If you share a mind mapping session with a team of signed-up users, you can chat with those members live. The best thing about this App is that I’ve been able to sit in bed and use it on my iPad. Handy! This app can be synced with your Google Drive. Issues? You need a Google Login (obviously) and it interacts with some of your other Google Apps, which you may not want. I’d suggest this App to: Event Planners, Account Managers, Project Managers and those who adore lists and note-taking as much as I seem to

    • Little Red Rating: 4.5/5

SocialSav- If you’re like me and some days, don’t have as much time to follow social media trends. this App may be a useful one to check out. It’s a free weekly report that outlines social media trends, a basic performance analysis of your brand (you can add up to three with the free account) and a bonus is that, for those competitive small business owners, you can add up to two competitor brands to compare how you are travelling (social-media) growth wise. There are a variety of platforms you can monitor your brand’s performance from and you can compare things like Fan Expansion and Fan Engagement. For those who use Tweet Deck or HootSuite, you can view updates of these monitoring tools via SocialSav updates too. Issues? It appears to be quite a new-ish App so there are no other easily accessible reviews I can compare this “critical analysis” to. I’d suggest this App to: medium-size business owners, business owners who use multiple social media platforms and monitoring tools, sticky beaks and those who want to engage in a bit of social media rivalry

    • Little Red Rating: 3/5

Google Docs- Given that Chrome Store users have rated this App a 4.5/5 Star App, I had to check it out. It’s one of those great “hunter and gatherer” tools I like to stumble across- it prides itself in keeping all your documents together, in the one place. Your Google mates can see changes to your documents (Please refer to the Issues? I’m about to address). It’s yet another mobile-friendly App (which I’ve only used on the trusty iPad so far) which means I can use the App at any point in my day (or night, depending on how long my tiniest Goblin is awake for). I’ve been able to open and edit files on a laptop that doesn’t have the Office software installed- best feature, other than the grand idea of it being an online brief case. Issues? If you value your privacy when it comes to your documents, consider wisely how much you add to Google Docs– it is a sharing-is-caring App, after all. I’d suggest this App to: well, everyone really.

    • Little Red Rating: 4.95/5 (nothing’s that perfect right?)

Remember The Milk– The catchy name caught me from the beginning. It was love at first site. I love the fact that over 100,000 Google Chrome Users are remembering the milk at present! It’s another mobile-friendly app (which has thankfully kept both Android and Apple users happy). The App syncs with Outlook. Excited! The App connects with Twitter and Google Calendar. Yesss! Easily set due dates for tasks ahead of time (loving this, as I can’t live without my diary and my hundred million hard-copy lists on a daily basis). Be reminded of your lists and tasks via email or text. Awesome! Best feature? The App in itself. It’s quick, stable (haven’t noticed any significant crashes since I became a user) and the Hippies and Greenies of the World will love you for becoming a supporter of this App- forget your notepads and paper reams and save the trees peoples! Issues? Not for lactose-intolerant desktop users- apparently the Desktop Offline feature has not been rolled out to users yet. Le Sigh! I’d suggest this app to: any parent, grandparent, aunty, cousin, teacher, nurse, well anyone busy and anyone with internet access. You totally get my drift. 

    • Little Red Rating: 5/5 (I think it’s pretty near perfect!)
Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)