Social media mobile image credit: Jason A. Howie via Flickr.

Social media mobile image credit: Jason A. Howie via Flickr.

Social media has moved on from being a novel form of marketing to very much a part of everyday business duties to perform each day.

It is so important to the the success of business these days that your company would be at a major disadvantage if you don’t include social media marketing in your promotional campaigns.

One term you will notice a lot when reading up on how to use it properly is ‘engagement’. This term is truly at the centre of all social communication, and if you fail to make this your focus, much of your effort would be wasted.

Engagement levels will vary across different platforms, and simply means when someone interacts with your post by clicking through your link, shares your content with others, likes your post, or leaves you a comment.

By encouraging a follower to interact with you by completing any of these actions, you are building a relationship with them, and they will be more likely to share your content with their own friends and followers, many of which will have similar interests and tastes, and may be more inclined to find out more about you.

The bottom line is, if you are not posting engaging and useful content, you are wasting your precious time, and it is valuable time that could be better spent learning how to craft better content.

However, there are hundreds of social media tools and platforms out there to choose from, and juggling too many can be time consuming and frustrating. If you take on too much, you can very easily end up spreading yourself too thin, and missing out on opportunities to respond to people who have engaged with you.

When you approach social media, you don’t need to sign up to absolutely every site out there, or spend a fortune buying into business versions of many platforms. It is better to take is slowly, use the free options available, and work out which ones are going to be useful to you and suit your style of business.

To help you out, here are some free tools that you can make use of to make keeping on top of your social media commitments much easier, and as an added bonus – they are FREE!

In-house analytics: Most small business owners will know that Facebook and Twitter have ruled the roost for a good while now, and it is even easier to keep a track of your impact from campaigns and which posts have attracted the most attention. Check out Facebook insights and, and see what sort of content is engaging with your followers.

Tweetdeck still remains a free and useful tool for researching your market, scheduling your tweets, and following what is currently trending that may be of interest to you.

A great way to track where your website links are being shared is through Buzzsumo. You can use this tool for free on a trial basis, and it can show you which of your regular website links is shared the most, as well as how many social shares a link receives from your posts on social media.

You can even pinpoint which Twitter users actually shared your links, so that you can go back to those people and target them again with further updates, or conclusions. is a very useful site to produce social media graphics even with a limited knowledge of Photoshop. This could be useful for visual aids, performance reports, and for business plans when applying for funding etc.