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5 Free (or Cheap) Social Enterprise Tools for Your Business

By Colin Ryan

Industry News, Guides & Tips

5 free and cheap social enterprise apps

Social: Not Just for Procrastination Anymore

Social media has changed the way we interact with friends and family, as well as the way we market our products and services to consumers. But it’s also created new possibilities for the internal workings of a business.

Social enterprise applications are challenging email as the primary tool for information sharing and collaboration, and while some of them are clearly priced for big corporate outfits, there are also plenty of no- and low-cost solutions out there for communicating and collaborating within your business.

Google Apps can simplify your internal communicationsGoogle Apps

Price: Free (through 2013)

What would this list be without the tech giant? Google already offers free voice and instant messaging, as well as free video calling with Google Hangouts. The company is folding these features into an integrated social enterprise tool, adding real time editing and private, intra-office messaging via its native social network, Google+. While not exactly “social,” Google Voice also brings tech to your voicemail box, transcribing messages and sending readouts to your email account.

One of the most successful social enterprise applicationsJive

Price: Free 30-day trial; $12 user/month afterward

One of the earlier players in the new social networking for business movement, Jive has also been among the most successful. While it’s the most expensive tool on this list, Jive boasts big-name clients like Cisco, Nike, and Intel and offers a number of features and tools ideal for small businesses: Twitter-like microblogging, YouTube video embedding, file sharing, groups, etc. Jive also supports integration with your web app or site.

asana is a task-based social enterprise toolAsana

Price: Free for teams of up to 30 people

Founded by Dustin Moskovitz of Facebook, Asana is a task-based tool for social enterprise. Users can create, assign, and, collaborate on tasks, communicating and updating progress via message threads within each entry. You can also create multiple workspaces for different branches of your business. Perhaps Asana’s main selling point is its simplicity and speed, boasting fewer mouse clicks, fewer page loads and a host of keyboard shortcuts.

A social enterprise application backed by MicrosoftYammer

Price: Free for Basic Network; $5 user/month for Business Network

While the paid version adds admin controls and customizability, eighty percent of Yammer’s users subscribe to the free package, which includes its microblogging tool, communities (secure, spin-off networks centered on a project or customer), file sharing, and desktop/mobile apps. Yammer has also added support for third-party apps like HootSuite, and recently offered chat functionality to compete with the likes of Google. Need another reason to consider? Yammer is backed by Microsoft, which purchased the company back in June for $1.2 billion.

Unison is perfect for small businessesUnison

Price: Free for teams of up to 20 people

A relative newcomer on the social enterprise scene, Unison is specifically geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses, with free functionality to teams of up to 20 members. Unison takes a unique approach to cutting down unnecessary noise by organizing different projects, departments, and teams into “rooms.” Users can switch between rooms freely and view communication streams in real time. So far, Unison’s main selling points have been its intuitive interface and quick, easy setup.

Don’t just stick with email because it’s what you’ve always done. Explore these tools today, and start using your social media savvy to streamline your business.

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