What social media tools are you considering adding to your social media toolbox for 2013? While there are hundreds of choices, here is a list of five tools that can be fun and may also help you grow your business.

1. Monitor your YouTube channel
If you haven’t created a YouTube video channel for your listings and your marketing videos, it would be smart to make this a priority in 2013. Once you’ve create your YouTube channel, the next question is how to track your results. This was difficult until YouTube released its new analytics program.

In the past, you could track the number of views your video received, but that was about it. What is much more valuable, however, is audience retention. The audience retention report allows you to track how well your videos hold the attention of your viewers and to compare your results with everyone else’s results. You can filter your results by topic, geography or date.

For example, if you want to know what your competitors are doing, you could filter by "real estate" and then a specific market area. The tool will show you who your competition is as well as how well you are doing against them. The report also allows you to identify who is visiting your site from other countries.

2. AgoraPulse
AgoraPulse is designed to serve the needs of agents and brokers who have a Facebook business page. Their statistics tool allows you to measure the performance of your Facebook page as well as comparing your pages to those of your competitors. One of the most interesting things about this tool is their fan management page. It rank-orders your top fans so you can concentrate on those fans who are the most valuable to your business. It also provides data on how your fan base compares to those of your competitors.

3. Pinterest users, take note: Reachli and Quozio
Pinterest users live for repins. Reachli does for Pinterest what HootSuite does for Facebook and Twitter. You can preschedule when your pins will post as well as obtain analytics about page views and other important metrics. Reachli also provides a campaign editor that can help you do a better job of spreading your visual campaigns across major social networks. This can be especially helpful when you have listed a house that has special features such as hand-carved doors from an old church in Spain.

Quozio solves a problem that many people who use Pinterest face. For example, assume that you found a quote in an image or a helpful blog post that you would like to pin. Unfortunately, the Pinterest bookmarklet is not allowing you to pin the image. Quozio allows you to create a pinnable image from the text. (Be sure to link back to the original source.)

Another service that Quozio provides is that it allows you to create your own graphics using your own quotations or those from other authors. They have 28 different templates from which to choose. Merely type in your quote and who said it, and choose the template in which you want the quote to appear. Click on the button and your quote is ready to be pinned on Pinterest, or posted to your blog or on one of your social media sites. Remember, keep your pins beautiful and relevant to your real estate business.

4. Instagram
Part of the big shift for 2013 is moving from using words to describe your listings to using visuals, whether it’s pictures or videos. Inman News Publisher Brad Inman cited an important aspect of this trend in his opening keynote at Real Estate Connect: No longer are pictures enough; design and beauty now matter as well.

Although Instagram has been around for a while, it has evolved as the photo-sharing site of choice for many Realtors. For example, if you want to tell a story about a property visually, Instagram is the perfect platform to achieve this goal.

5. SnapChat
SnapChat is all the rage with female teens. Many young people are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of privacy at Facebook. They are also aware that a Facebook post could cost them a job at some later point in their lives. SnapChat allows users to share a picture for five seconds. You hold your thumb down for five seconds and the image disappears. You can do up to 15 snaps per day.

This can be a great way to share stupid dog trick moments or other images that you probably wouldn’t want your regular real estate clients to see posted on your Facebook page. There’s one caveat, however: Apparently there is a workaround that makes these disappearing photos accessible, so be wary.

An important point to keep in mind when using social media is to choose the apps and tools that best suit you and your business. Have fun, connect, and watch your list of friends and followers grow.

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