According to a recent study by Flurry, consumers spent 81 minutes per day using mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes of web surfing. Here's where it gets even more interesting. Social networking is one of two categories that dominate mobile app usage with 32% and games are responsible for 47%.
In Search of Apps
As a social media marketer, you'll likely want to find apps that will help you keep up with social networking and stay productive while on the go. Many of us hear about apps from friends and colleagues, from articles we read, from searching around on Apple's App Store to see what's new and through dedicated search engines such as Chomp.
If the app is free or relatively inexpensive, then chances are we may be willing to give it a whirl. But with 500,000 apps on the App Store in numerous categories and apps literally being released every day, it's hard to stay on top of them.
While Apple's campaign “There's an app for that” makes many of us now associate the topic of mobile apps with Apple, the reality is that companies such as Android, Nokia, Blackberry, and Palm all sell apps, too.
In this article, I'm going to focus on apps that are compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (iOS) because those are the devices I'm most familiar with and could access for the purpose of testing.
Useful Apps List
The apps listed below were recommended by a number of businesspeople through a query I posted on HARO, others that people had been talking about in blog posts, on Quora and social networking sites. The apps range in price; many are free and the most expensive one listed is $9.99.
Because new apps are literally released on a daily basis, it's nearly impossible for this to be a conclusive list. But hopefully it'll give you ideas about some apps you'd like to try. I hope you'll take a few moments at the end to share a few of your favorites, too.
Here's the list in alphabetical order:
#1: Analytics App
Analytics App consists of 55 reports, showing data up to 110 rows. You can check your analytics on the go. Never be away from your data again!
#2: Battery Pro
Battery Pro monitors what your battery level is over a period of time and calculates the time remaining to empty or full.
#3: Check It!
Driven by checklists? Check It! claims to be “The simplest checklist ever!” It'll help you get some control over all the to-do's in your life.
Chomp is a search engine that finds the iPhone (and Android) apps you want. Its proprietary algorithm learns the functions and topics of apps, so you can search based on what apps do.
#5: Documents to Go
DocsToGo lets you edit, create and view Word and Excel files (including Office 2007/2008/2010); view PowerPoint, PDF, iWork and other files; send and receive attachments using the device's built-in mail app (iPad/iPhone 4/iOS 4); and includes a desktop app (Win and Mac) with two-way file sync (WIFI required to sync).
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#6: Dragon Dictation
Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice transcription application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows you to easily speak and instantly converts your voice to text messages.
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs and videos anywhere. After you install on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad, and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.
Evernote turns the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad into an extension of your brain, helping you remember anything and everything that happens in your life. From notes to ideas to snapshots to recordings, put it all into Evernote and watch as it instantly synchronizes from your iPhone to your Mac or Windows desktop.
Facebook for iPhone makes it easy to stay connected and share information with friends. Use your iPhone to start a conversation with Facebook Chat, check your friends' latest photos, status updates, look up a phone number or upload your own mobile photos to Facebook while on the go.
Share your photos. Watch the world. Flickr® for the iPhone enables photo sharing on the go—from your phone to the world.
Flipboard is a fast, beautiful way to flip through the news, photos, videos and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Flickr and Instagram. See your social media in a magazine layout that's easy to scan and fun to read.
Catch up on the latest stories, videos and posts from popular publications and people such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Wired, Rolling Stone, Oprah, Forbes, Robert Scoble, and Brain Pickings' Maria Popova. Share articles and photos, comment on posts and like or favorite anything. Customize your Flipboard with sections created from your favorite news, people, blogs and topics.
#12: Google Search
Get the most advanced Google search experience for your iPhone, now with Google Goggles, Voice Search and My Location.
HomeBase is your social media “megaphone.” You can blast your announcements and even add links and pictures to your messages, to all your social media outlets. It brings social media marketing to a whole new level.
#14: HootSuite for Twitter
Compose and converse on the go. HootSuite for iOS is the perfect social media tool for Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. Join the conversation from anywhere with HootSuite for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Simple, elegant and powerful, HootSuite allows you to send and schedule Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare updates, track click stats and set up tracking columns to monitor keywords, #hashtags and lists.
With Instagram you can pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects or tilt-shift blur to breathe a new life into your mobile photos. Transform everyday moments into works of art you'll want to share with friends and family.
With Instapaper you can save web pages for later offline reading, optimized for readability on your iPhone or iPod Touch's screen. Great for long articles and blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read, but don't have the time when you find them. Save with Instapaper and then read later when you're commuting, in a meeting or waiting in line.
The Kindle app gives users the ability to read Kindle books on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You'll have access to over 950,000 books in the Kindle Store, including bestsellers and new releases. Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes and highlights across devices (including Kindle), so you can pick up where you left off on another device.
LastPass Tab Browser combines a full-featured tab browser for the iPad with LastPass integration allowing you to use your existing accounts or create new ones with ease. LastPass is the last password you'll have to remember. It provides a safe and convenient method of storing your passwords while ensuring you can access them on any device anywhere. A form filler is also provided that allows you to easily shop directly from your iPad!
LinkedIn for iPhone puts your professional network just a touch away. Walk into any interview or client meeting with the ability to look up the details and connect with over 100 million professionals worldwide. Get the latest updates and messages from your network and keep them up-to-date with your status in real time.
LiveProfile helps you stay connected with friends in real time. LiveProfile is the crazy fast, completely free, cross-platform messenger for iPhone, Blackberry and Android smartphones. Send messages, photos, videos, post status updates, customize your profile, set your profile picture and much more!
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The official Mashable iPhone/iPod Touch application delivers the latest coverage from Mashable.com. Mashable is the world's largest blog focused exclusively on web 2.0 and social media news.
NetNewsWire is an RSS reader for iPhone—you can read news from the millions of blogs and sites that publish RSS feeds. You can star items or send them to Instapaper to save them for later. You can email articles or post links to Twitter to share with friends.
#23: Pandora Radio
Pandora Radio is your own free personalized radio now available to stream background music on your iPhone or iPad. Just start with the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a “station” that plays their music and more music like it.
Make good meetings great—or bad meetings suck less—with this powerful tool for capturing and organizing your thinking, and making meetings more efficient and effective. Peak Meetings™ is simple to use, and perfect for grabbing your thoughts in those moments when ideas hit you. With 7 different meeting types to choose from, you can focus your thoughts and plans to exactly what you're trying to achieve.
PhotoRocket simplifies the task of sharing lots of photos simultaneously to people and sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Even though it's simple, it also offers extra options such as captions and automatic online backup.
Pitch™ is the official mobile app of PitchEngine, a social platform that enables businesses and organizations to get the word out.
Posterous is the easiest way to share stories, photos and videos with the people you care about most. You can either post content to your public website or selectively share to a private group.
#28: Q & A: Quora
Social Questions will let you access and browse the Quora mobile website with cool shortcuts and fast navigation (faster than Safari mobile).
#29: Quick Voice Recorder
QuickVoice is a full-featured iPhone/iPad voice recorder. Record ideas, voice memos, voice email, dictation, lists, meetings, classes or entire lectures! For professional, educational and personal use.
Call, video call and instant message anyone else on Skype for free with Skype for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Use this app while shopping in a store to quickly find more information, compare prices, buy the product or to remember to look at the product later. Snap a picture of the cover of any book, DVD, CD or video game and within seconds get a rating, description and links to Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, IMDb, Barnes & Noble and more.
#SocialMedia hosts a weekly Twitter event on Tuesdays that brings together social media professionals from around the world. Each week a new moderator hosts the event and drives a unique discussion that aims to further the advancement of social media in business. The hashtagsocialmedia.com iPhone app allows people to follow the filtered discussion from anywhere.
Instead of spending hours scouring the web, simply “turn on the Spout,” sit back and enjoy a steady stream of information specifically meant for you! Relax as a veritable flood of news, messages, tweets and comments pour forth from your Facebook, Twitter or Google Reader (RSS) feeds.
Words spill onto your device, swirling, twisting and scrolling across your screen, pooling in the center momentarily, like a leaf on a pond, before being whisked away as new social messages pour in.
Toodledo is a powerful task and note manager for the iPhone and iPad. It will help organize your to-do list and notes and make you more productive. You can use Toodledo as a stand-alone application, or you can have it seamlessly synchronize your lists with Toodledo.com, one of the most popular online task managers.
With Tumblr you can post anything: share photos, video, audio, quotes, links and text. Multiple blogs: seamlessly manage all of your blogs. Advanced controls: save drafts, queue posts, customize tweets and more! Address book: find people to follow from your iPhone's address book. Messages: view and reply to messages.
TweetDeck allows you to monitor, manage and engage in your social world by bringing together your Twitter and Facebook feeds in a powerful and flexible column-based dashboard.
Follow your interests: instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities and what's happening around the world. Get short bursts of timely information on the official Twitter app for iPhone.
#38: Twitterrific for Twitter
Now a universal app for both iPad and iPhone, Twitterrific is the friendly, award-winning Twitter client that's beautiful to look at, easy to use and full of elegant features. Effortlessly read and compose tweets, search Twitter.com, filter message types and much more.
Vignature allows you to sign a PDF document online, anywhere, anytime. It's fast, easy and secure.
#40: Wired PR Works
Wired PR Works is your always-on PR and social media marketing mobile app. Access tips, ideas and strategies to grow business, build brands, increase influence and connect with communities with social media, marketing and PR. Listed on Alltop and AdAge Power 150. Stay updated with conference coverage, digital public relations guides and new media marketing tactics for entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits.
It's easy to manage your WordPress blog or site from your iOS device. With WordPress for iOS, you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, and add images or videos with ease. All you need is a WordPress.com blog or a self-hosted WordPress.org site running 2.9.2 or higher.
The only app in the App Store to allow you to check/watch/share the current top videos by countries in 16 categories. Explore what the world is watching right now.
View bookmarks and open tabs from your favorite browser right on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Simply download the Xmarks client from xmarks.com to your desktop or laptop computer. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari for Mac are supported.
Once your bookmarks (and optional open tabs) are synchronized to Xmarks, you can use Xmarks for iPhone to view them while on the go!
#44: Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader
With this app, you can choose from digital magazines, subscribe or purchase single issues.
What apps do you recommend? What would you add to the list? Leave your comments in the box below.
Special thanks to the following people for providing their app recommendations for this post: Megan Colyer, Stage of Life; Amanda Goodhue, Excelamktg; Danielle Lerner, Publicist; Tanya Mahr, Revolution Public Relations; Jessica Nunez, Jessica Nunez PR Group; Matt Spradley, Vignature, Inc.; Mike Stelzner, Social Media Examiner; Elgin Subwaysurfer Boiling, Creative Caricature Marketing Consultant; Marian Thier, Expanding Thought, Inc.; Robin Tilotta, Chomp; and Shrey Verma, Buzzvalve.
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