September 19, 2012 by marceladevivo
As your business grows, keeping everything running smoothly and efficiently can be a challenge. Larger teams mean more variables to keep track of and more people to keep informed. Centralized tools like calendaring software can be a big help in keeping everyone on the same page.
Whether you’re planning meetings or managing a big project, a good calendar and scheduling tools can save your business time and money. Colleagues can keep track of meetings and use web services to coordinate plans.
Here are four tools to help make collaboration and scheduling a breeze for you and your team.
1. Google Calendar
This one is a no-brainer. Google’s popular web-based calendar solution is an example of the company at its best. When using Google Calendar, all of your data lives in the cloud, so no syncing is required. When you add something in one place, it’s everywhere — automatically. Google Calendar makes it easy to share appointments or whole calendars with your friends, co-workers and family. The service offers sophisticated levels of access and privacy as well, so you can share your availability while maintaining secrecy.
Perhaps Google Calendar’s greatest strength is its seamless integration with other Google services such as Gmail. This integration makes it easy to set up appointments and send invites without interrupting your workflow. When combined with Google Apps for Business, Google Calendar can be a great tool for your team, whether you’re in the same office or spread across the globe.
Basecamp, a web-based project management tool from 37signals, can be a powerful collaboration tool for teams of any size, anywhere. The service acts as a home base where any team member can quickly see how a project is going, what remains to be done, and start a conversation about the progress. In recent years, the software has become the de-facto standard for distributed editorial teams, including our own at Sprout Insights.
Central to Basecamp’s usefulness is its calendar functionality. Basecamp’s calendar can be used to manage schedules, set milestones, or track employee time-off — keeping your whole team on the same page.
3. Sprout Social
While not a conventional calendar, Sprout Social’s Queue feature makes managing your business’s social media posts easier and more efficient than ever. Posts can be manually scheduled or queued up for optimized times as determined by the system’s algorithms of your social data.
Another important post scheduling feature from Sprout Social is its ability to import RSS feeds for sharing. This allows your team to use bookmarking services like Pinboard or Delicious to queue up content. The system will then automatically distribute these posts at desired intervals set by you.
Lastly, Sprout’s Smart Inbox can prevent redundancy by allowing team members to see what has been handled, by who, and when. When combined with other tools and a good team strategy, Sprout Social can make social media collaboration seamless.
4. Apple’s Calendar Apps
Often overlooked due to their simple appearances and built-in nature, Apple’s Calendar apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad are no slackers. With a little configuration, Apple’s Calendar can bring together the information from your company’s Basecamp calendars, Google Calendar, Facebook events, and even Microsoft Exchange Server.
This gives you one central location to see everything at a glance and to interact with all your different services. Apple’s Calendar can send and manage invitations, and whole calendars can be shared with both “read only” or “read and write” access available. Advanced users can configure these tools to show the availability of locations and items as well.
Have other recommendations for a great social media calendar or collaboration tool? Let us know in the comments!
This article discusses Sprout Social, our social media management tool for businesses. To learn about our editorial ethics and our commitment to objective coverage of the social media space, visit our About page.
[Image credits: Jim Capaldi]