The important of social media marketing is only expanding, and you’ll need certain tools to start and grow your social media campaign. According to a study by Network Solutions, LLC and the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, about one in five small business owners use social media for marketing. Professional services businesses, real estate businesses, and the entertainment, food, and lodging industry use more email marketing, and the social services and education sector use more social media and direct mail marketing.

Whichever category your business falls into, though, social media marketing is likely to become more and more important to your business in the future. Here are just a few of the best tools that can help you grow your social
media marketing campaign.

If you’re already using Twitter as a way to market through social media, you need to know what other Twitter users have to say about your business – and your competition! Monitter is a real-time service that checks in on Twitter mentions. You can set it up to find information on mentions of just about anything, like your business and your business’s competitors. Monitter will then set up a multi-column display that allows you to see what people are saying about you. It’s a must-have tool to track what’s being said about your business and the competition, and it can also help you come up with ideas for further Twitter marketing in the future.

Facebook Insight
Automatically a part of your Facebook analytics, Insight lets you track trends and see how your fans are using your Facebook page. With Insight, you can get a section of demographics about your fans, which includes a list of who most often refers others to your page. You’ll also get analytics about the interactions fans have made with the updates on your page. This lets you see what type of content works best to get a buzz going on your Facebook page, who your fans are, and how you can more specifically market to your target audience.
This is an easy URL shortening tool that gives you automatic analytics on all your social media. A account gives you an analytics suite that will show you historical data, top referrers, and other vital information about where your links are ending up and who is following them through.

YouTube videos are easy to create, and they can be a vital part of a great social media marketing plan. If you’re using every form of social media except for YouTube right now, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Upload videos of employees giving presentations. Make walk throughs of how to use your products or troubleshoot common problems with them. Give DIY tips that link with your service industry. Many social media users are more likely to watch a video on a topic that interests them than they are to read a blog post, and once you’ve uploaded videos to YouTube, it’s easy to link them with your Twitter feed, blog, Facebook page, and whatever else.

Email isn’t dead quite yet, and in many industries, the email mailing list is still going strong. Whether you already have a mailing list or want to get one started, MailChimp is a great option for you. You can manage a list of up to 500 subscribers for free, and you can integrate your MailChimp with Twitter, Salesforce, and WordPress. Lots of major companies, including Intel and Fujitsu use MailChimp for their email list management!

While many of these tools are free, some require a subscription or yearly fee, especially if you want to get the most out of the service. If you don’t have it in your business budget to upgrade your MailChimp list, for instance, you have a couple of options.

Guest Blog post submitted by Ashyia Hill. Ashyia Hill from CreditDonkey says you may want to take out a small business loan, or you can look at small business credit cards if you need a quicker option that offers a bit more flexibility. Either way, getting credit to finance your social media growth can be a smart move that may pay of tenfold in the long run.

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