Social-Media Tools Of The Trade

Working in social media is a dream of many, but only achieved by some. You’ve created and distributed content using certain social-media tools, and engaged with people online. Now you’re ready to put your expertise to use for an organization. Unless you work for one of the most recognized names in business, chances are you won’t have the tools and resources that they have.

Depending on the size and resources of the organization, you could be a social-media manager with a creative team or a one-person marketing communication team. In this series of posts, we are going to look at the physical tools and hardware needed for the job. Before we help you get started, prep yourself for a hectic schedule as a social-media manager. Have realistic expectations for yourself based on your tools and organization’s capabilities.

Now, let’s cover the hardware tools you need:

1. Computer

Computer as a social media tool

Running a full-blown social media effort without a computer can hinder your productivity. Whether you have a desktop or a laptop, it is important to have a computer that functions well for your needs.

Features to look out for in a computer:

  • Operating system: Windows 10 and Mac OS 10.10 (Yosemite) are the latest versions. Make sure your computer can handle the load of these high-end systems.
  • Storage space/memory: Most modern operating systems need a lot of internal memory (at least 8GB). You’ll also want a sizable hard drive to store your programs (at least 500GB).
  • Processing speed: Consider the Intel i5 processor or its equivalent as a good startingpoint.
  • Software compatibility: Some software (such as Microsoft Access) is platform-specific. Make sure your computer can run the software you desire.

Whether you’re using a Mac or PC, consider your social-media content strategy process. Which computer fits your flow more effectively?

2. Smartphone

Smartphones as social media tools

Smartphones are vital for social-media managers. The phone’s multimedia capabilities make it easy for you to do your job on-the-go.

Some managers use their own phones, while others have work phones specifically for their duties.

Two of the most social media-friendly phones are the iPhone and Android phones. In an ideal world, it would be nice to have both so that you can see how your content is displayed on each device. If you are at an organization looking to obtain a smartphone for social-media use, look at your visitor stats before making a decision.

Things to consider when using a smartphone for social media:

  • Camera (megapixels, image stabilization)
  • Video recording function
  • Audio recording function
  • Storage space
  • Downloadable and functioning social media apps
  • Battery life
  • Connectivity (WiFi, data, 3G/4G LTE)
  • Processing speed

Don’t fret if your phone does not possess these capabilities. There are ways to be resourceful with the tools you have. Plus, you have the option of purchasing add-on or separate devices for certain features such as audio and video recording.

3. Camera

Camera as a social media tool

Using high-quality images helps to boost your organization’s credibility. Digital cameras nowadays are good enough for taking high-quality images, but may lack in video recording capabilities. For a long-term investment, a DSLR camera from a top brand such as Nikon or Canon would probably be a better choice.

Features to consider:

  • Size and weight
  • Camera, image and video quality
  • Controls and modes
  • Audio recording capability
  • Compatibility with external tools such as microphones
  • Add-ons and other equipment
  • Price

Here’s a good list on the pros and cons of a DSLR camera.

4. Chargers and battery pack

Running out of battery life is frustrating, especially if you’re out covering a live event or shooting photos and videos. What’s worse is not being able to find a power outlet to charge your devices.

Stay prepared with the following before your battery revolts:

  • Extra phone-charger cables and adapters
  • Extra camera battery packs
  • External cellphone battery packs

Find the packs that are compatible with your devices and charge them up before an important live or outdoor event.

5. External storage devices

Storage devices provide you with additional space to keep files such as images, artwork, videos, audio files, and documents.

Storage devices as social media tools

The common types of external storage devices are:

  • External hard drives
  • USB flash drives
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Memory cards
  • Cloud
  • Floppy Disks

Things to keep in mind when purchasing external storage devices (adapted from CNET):

  • Storage space and capacity
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Compatibility with operating system

These devices serve as a great tool for backup. It helps you avoid that sinking feeling of data loss when you sync your files. Backup your files regularly, and prevent loss of files in case of hardware and software failure.

Tip: Always remember that no matter what type of hardware you’re looking for, make sure to always compare products and prices, and check reviews.