« IBM SmartCamp's 5 presenting startups and details on event | Main | Technology Business Incubator in Boca expands »

Free tools that help mange your social networks

Today's guest post is by Miami Herald contributing columnist Tasha Cunningham, who writes the BizBytes 101 column for Business Monday twice a month.

By Tasha Cunningham

TashaAs a small business, where do you find your customers? According to a report released by Experian that tracked online activity of adults in the U.S. during 2011, small businesses need look no further than the Internet and social networks to find potential customers. The Social Media Consumer Trend and Benchmark Report, approximately 129 million adults have a presence on social networks.

Notably more so than their non-Hispanic counterparts, Hispanic users of social sites use properties like Facebook, Twitter and others as a way to connect with their favorite brands and learn about other products and services. Experian reports that “nearly a third of Hispanic consumers who use social media today (30%) say they follow their favorite brands and companies on social sharing sites. By comparison, 18% of non-Hispanic users of social media say they follow brands. Moreover, 19% of Hispanic adult users of social sharing sites say they are more likely to buy products advertised on social sharing sites compared with 8% of non-Hispanics who say the same.”

In short, if you’re a small businesses looking for customers in the general adult and Hispanic adult market demographic, you need a presence on social networks. But managing multiple social networks can sometimes be a challenge for small business owners.

To help, take advantage of several free online tools that will help you get your social networks under control.

  1. Ping.fm – this is a free tool that allows you to manage your content on over 30 major social networks in one place. You can schedule updates and post content on multiple social networks simultaneously. Get it here – www.ping.fm
  2. TweetDeck – this is a free tool that gives you the power to manage your social networks in one app. You can also keep all of your contacts and profiles from each social network accessible across multiple platforms. Get it here – www.tweetdeck.com
  3. Shareaholic – this tool is a customizable browser add-on that allows you to share content on over 60 social networks. You can instantly post your content on each network through the add-on. Get it here – www.shareaholic.com

For more tips on how to manage your social networks, check out the BizBytes 101 blog at www.bizbytes101.com.

Tasha comes up with five free online, must-have marketing tools in today's Business Monday column. The first one is Rafflecopter, which helps you put together great giveaways and promotions for your fans. Read about this free tool and four others here.