THE BLOG

Social Media Marketing: 7 Tools for Businesses and Brands

04/11/2013 04:10 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2013

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, LinkedIn -- the list of leading social networks businesses and brands must suddenly pay attention to goes on and on. Needless to say, it can be a daunting task to keep track of the social media marketing world when it comes to your business. Before you get overwhelmed, know that there are a number of handy online tools, software programs and apps out there that can not only help you save time, but also simplify your social presence. While many great options exist to choose from, to save time, we've narrowed the list down to seven of our favorite tools that any corporate enterprise should be using.

1. TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application that helps you manage Twitter and Facebook accounts all in one place. If you are big on interaction (shares, retweets, etc.) this is a great way to scroll across and see what's going on, find out where your business was mentioned in conversation, and respond to several accounts at once. TweetDeck is ideal for people who manage multiple social media accounts, however no in-depth analytics are currently provided with this service.

2. HootSuite is a social media management system that also allows the user to manage multiple networks at once. It currently supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi and even MySpace. HootSuite has a great scheduling system that allows you to pre-program an infinite amount of posts for future sharing, a huge time saver. Users can also look at the scheduler page to see what posts they've scheduled for the future, and HootSuite also keeps track of all-important analytics.

3. AddThis is a social bookmarking service that can be integrated into a website with the use of a widget. Once this widget is added, website visitors can then bookmark an item using Facebook, Google Bookmarks, Pinterest and Twitter. Capable of boosting shares and user pass-along, it's a handy way to promote specific pieces of content, sites or initiatives.

4. Instagram is a free photo sharing platform that allows users to take featured photos and apply visual filters that can transform the look and feel of the image. Easy sharing support makes it simple to post these photos on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, which provides professional with a unique way to personalize social media content. Popular with the technorati, it's a surprisingly practical and handy way to add a little sparkle to any snapshot.

5. PinReach is a Pinterest tool that helps you view activity, measure impact and gauge success on your Pinterest pages. This analytics tool is the leading Pinterest solution for small businesses, according to MoneyandRisk.com. Its two main purposes are to assess Pinterest marketing engagement and to identify new marketing and sales leads. Consider it a handy go-to for those who are frequent users of the popular image-based social network.

6. Storify is a social media service that combines multiple parts of a story into one cohesive whole. Or, in plain English, if you have a topic that is trending or being discussed across different social media accounts, you can curate pieces from each account and compile them all in one spot, creating a more easily read and followed narrative timeline. Users can reorder the pieces, add text and massage previous posts to create one larger piece. This can be used as a marketing tool for current customers or to woo new clients.

7. YouTube's Audience Rentention Report. SocialMediaExaminer.com lists this as the single most important social media marketing tool to come around in a long time. Noting that many videos are carefully tailored to maximize search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, time watched by viewers, and prompt specific reactions, this solution helps you see which audience your clips are reaching, monitor audience habits, and strategize accordingly. Video production and distribution cost companies countless millions every year: Using such targeting tools, you can more effectively aim your marketing muscle where it counts.