Looking to ramp up your social media marketing efforts? Then I’ve got good news for you. There’s a new online resource to help your small business get started with social media marketing—or improve your success on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media tools.

And wait … it gets better. These resources are absolutely free—and they come from a reputable source. Constant Contact is serving up what it has dubbed the Social Media Quickstarter, a step-by-step guide that offers small businesses a series of short tutorials to get up and running on the most popular social media networks. The guide offers actionable tips, best practices and case studies to inspire you and give you new ideas.

"While more and more small businesses are experimenting with social media, many are just getting started or are still sitting on the sidelines,” says Mark Schmulen, general manager of social media at Constant Contact. “Most small businesses don't need to be convinced to use social media, but they do need help in getting started, understanding the landscape, building their presence and putting best practices into action.”

Schmulen says the content in the Quickstarter is designed to be self-paced, with time-starved small business owners in mind. Users can choose what and how they want to learn, whether they have 10 minutes or an hour to spend.

Of course, Constant Contact didn’t just invest its time and money into creating the guide on a gut feeling—or because social media is popular. The company conducted a small business survey that proved the demand. Among those respondents not currently using social media marketing to promote their business, three of the top barriers to adoption cited were "I don't have the resources to devote to it," "I don't know how to use social media," and "I don't know how to get started."

The Social Media Quickstarter can be used in two ways. Small businesses new to social media can start from the beginning of the 70-plus educational chapters, while more savvy social media users can pick and choose what they want to learn about from the section headers.

"Social media can level the playing field for small businesses,” Schmulen says. “It's not a tactic only reserved for mega-resourced big businesses. In many ways, small businesses have an advantage over larger companies—they are already masters at providing an excellent customer experience and naturally building lasting relationships.”