For local businesses who are attempting to avoid social media, or think its not necessary to keep up with the competition, they should definitely think again. In the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report release earlier this month, 83% of the companies/marketers surveyed indicate that social media is important for their business. So if you're not currently using social media to generate leads, boost online visibility, and boost search engine rankings, just know that your competition is, which means they're getting the business you're missing out on by not utilizing the power of social media.

To ensure you're getting the most out of social media, whether you're a newbie or you're an experienced social media marketer, its always helpful to have a useful list of resources to refer to and pull from to generate ideas and keep up with trends in the marketplace. With that being said, we've compiled 10 must-have resources below to help with marketing local business.

Social Media is in and About Your Business: This post provided by Small Business Trends provides several useful links to resources and tips to support local businesses in effectively using social media.

Social Media Examiner: This site has a very useful blog that covers tips and resources for a variety of social media platforms, from Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn and then some. They also sponsor the annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report that's also a separate must-have resource provided next in this post.

2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report: This is a very useful resource that provides a lot of data around how companies currently use social media, as well as results and ROI. It also provides projections for future use.

HubSpot: HubSpot offers a ton of free resources and information that focuses on social media reporting, analytics and use. I recommend all local business owners sign up for their free newsletter to receive frequent free reports and info on webinars and videos.

90+ Social Media Resources: Just as the name implies, this is a useful post to identify a variety of social media resources that can be helpful for marketing local business.

Defining Hashtags for Local Business: We find that many local business owners don't quite understand what a hashtag is, which means they're not clear on how to use them. This post helps to define the mysterious hashtag, as well as provide useful tips on how to make them work for your business.

Facebook Help Center: This is common sense to many, but its amazing how many forget to check out the Facebook Help Center to identify tools, tips, resources and other valuable information on how to make Facebook work for a business of any type.

Twitter Help Center: Similar to the Facebook Help Center, Twitter offers a lot of helpful information to optimize Twitter for the best results.

MarketingProfs: Marketing Professionals isn't solely focused on social media, but much of their content and marketing surveys and webinars are. They can be a great resource for current analytics and research.

LinksAlpha: This blogging platform allows you to simultaneously blog to a number of blogging platforms, including WordPress, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and many more. Depending on the goal of your strategy, it can help streamline your blogging process to reach more people at once.

Jump on the social media bandwagon if you haven't already, and keep these resources in your back pocket to help guide you along the way. Do you have additional resources to share? Wed love to read about them below!