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There’s nothing small about the business of social media marketing. It’s a must-have for businesses whether you’re a small, family-owned furniture shop or a multi-million dollar agency of some kind.

But that is where the similarities end. Because the industry of social media marketing is huge. While the key players like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ reign, there are hundreds of social media apps that promise to change the way you do business.

In one article on Buffer, the author researched and tested more than 100 apps and came up with 61 of the best of the best. And, while that information is valuable, 61 apps is still a lot more than the average small business owner has time to try.

And that’s okay.

The most important place to start is having a social media marketing plan, and then finding apps that most efficiently put that plan into place. In many cases, it will be better to pick one platform at a time to expand, be it Facebook first, then Twitter or LinkedIn, or whatever works best for your business.

Ultimately, that’s what matters. As insightful as they can be, all the listicles in the world are missing one key element: you. You know what’s best for your business. You know what plans are in place to improve your social media marketing. Your business starts and ends with you.

With that in mind, here are a few of the best social media marketing apps for small businesses:

1)   MailChimp is considered a gold-standard in e-mail marketing apps, with a reputation that demonstrates why. With more than 15 million users of all shapes and sizes, MailChimp is the world’s leading email-marketing platform. It offers user-friendly templates, professional looking emails and personalized insight on best practices and tips that can help your business. The platform is particularly useful for auto-responders, newsletters, announcements and website and blog subscriptions.

2)   Hootsuite is another big fish in the social media marketing realm. By bringing all of your social media into one place, Hootsuite allows users to connect with customers faster, smarter and safer. It saves you time because everything is in once place, and allows you to measure your return on investment while also improving and protecting your brand on social media. All of that being said, it is important to note that continuing upgrades to various social media platforms, such as Facebook, do have an impact on who sees posts that are generated through a third-party program, such as Hootsuite. There is a chance that if you’re only using pre-scheduled content, it may reach fewer of your followers than if you’re organically or manually posting on a regular basis.

3)   Google Analytics is an amazing, comprehensive and free way to learn more than you’ll probably ever need to know about how people are finding your business online. The supporting documentation is robust, so it’s important to understand from the start what you’re hoping to gain from a closer look at the numbers. By gaining insight about your web traffic, you can tailor your posts and content accordingly.

4)   Geckoboard is a lesser-known platform that displays company metrics in real time. It enables you to monitor social networks, sales, and your website traffic using a variety of metrics and reports. It’s live-action feel helps you capitalize on positive situations and nip anything negative in the bud as it’s happening. Best of all, it’s built to keep your team – no matter the size – all on the same page.

5)   Feedly is a resource that will help you diversify content across platforms. One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make on social media is focusing entirely on their message. That may not sound like a bad thing, but it’s equally as important to find ways to add value and engage with your followers. A Facebook page that does nothing aside from sharing links to your weekly blog isn’t going to perform as well as one that integrates helpful resources and engages with customers in meaningful conversations. Feedly is a way to not only stay current with what’s happening in your industry but to easily share that information with your followers across social media platforms.

When it comes to social media marketing, the best thing you can do is keep an open mind. The realm of social media marketing is a large one to navigate. Add to that the nature of technology to constantly expand and evolve, and it can be exhausting trying to keep up.

Remember there are resources out there like what we offer at Cloud Friday to help you as well. It’s okay if you’d rather stay focused on what you do best while we take care of the rest.

Because it’s true that social media marketing is a big deal, especially for small business. It’s a train you don’t want to miss.

But between all the helpful apps and resources like what we offer at Cloud Friday, there’s no reason you can’t spend your time focusing on what you do best.