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Social Media Article – The Tools of the Trade

The Tools of the Trade 
The thing about social media is it’s still new. And so are the tools, strategies and tactics being used to engage audiences on any given network.
Having doubts?
While it’s true that Facebook has been around since 2005 (or 2003, depending on who you ask) and Twitter since 2006, I listen skeptically to anyone who claims to have mastered either one. Some will say that social media is a science, others an art. I believe it’s a blend of the two, and that it requires the right skills, tools and vision to really plan a successful campaign.
We have the skills and we have the vision, but the tools we have to find elsewhere. And there are lots to choose from. From social media monitoring, like this brand new tool that just entered public beta, to publishing software, page managers, app and tab extensions, custom form builders, site managers, landing page optimizers, SEO ranking, monitoring and reporting software, all the way to social media analysis, it’s important that we’re using the right tools for the right clients. Part of that involves taking a lot of time and devoting it to research.
The more popular social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube, are complex systems that are constantly evolving, and even beginning to offer their own tools. Facebook Offers – which is available to a few of our clients – and Twitter’s Promoted Products advertising platform – which we’re negotiating with reps to have access to – are two examples. I expect more changes to come from Facebook as they struggle to bounce back from their IPO flop, and Twitter as they continue to improve their platform for marketers and consumers alike.
New platforms, like Google+ and Pinterest are springing up faster than ever (as of May this year Pinterest reported 4377% year-over-year growth). Our job is to evaluate this industry and to find what works best for you, the client. For example, despite Pinterest’s overwhelming popularity, early estimates claim that between 80-97% of its users are female. While this presents an opportunity for some clients, it may not be worth the investment for others.
To understand all the different social networks, their advantages and disadvantages, and the ecologies unique to each one, it takes a lot of time. But having the right background helps, too. If you’re interested in learning more about each network, and which ones are right for you, you can email me any time.
At IMP, our mission is to utilize these networks for you and your business, and using our toolbox to help you reach your goals online. Knowing whether the time is right to run a custom app or contest, to launch a Facebook advertising campaign, or to use promoted and sponsored stories online is our trade.
It’s important in any trade to know the strengths and weaknesses of what’s inside the toolbox – it’s more important to know when and what to use. 
-Darren Thompson
social media marketing manager