Whether your business is a bootstrapping startup, an established enterprise or somewhere in between – there are leaps and bounds to be made when it comes to spreading the word about your business on today’s most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (to name a few). While most social media started out as ways to keep friends and family members connected, it’s now an indispensable way for business owners of all types and sizes to increase their exposure and conversion rates.

Traditional marketing has always been costly, and at times feels like a generous ROI rides on barely a hope and a prayer. Using social media in lieu of – or as a supplement to – your current marketing plan turns this method on its head, as most social media platforms are not only free, but offer easy tracking performance data so you can see in real time what works and what doesn’t. Here are important reasons why you should be taking advantage of the social media marketing wave today, if you haven’t done so already. If done in the right way, a well-planned social media strategy can help skyrocket your search rankings, provide better and more personalized service, create compelling online reputation, connect with new business partners and earn word-of-mouth marketing from your brand advocates.

  1. Engagement with Customer and Clients:Social media allows the business owner to control how they interact with their customer base in a way that can lead to the business’s enhanced image, as well as see what your customers are interested in and how they behave. By going through their tweets and status updates, you can get insights that could allow you to adjust your marketing strategies.Trust in a brand is of utmost importance, as indicated by the fact that customers will often stay with a business they have the most confidence in. It’s also important to keep in mind that people like doing business with other people (as opposed to “faceless” business entities) and these platforms allow brands to interact in a manner similar like other people do.

    If you’re active on any main social media, you have the opportunity to partake in the conversation and encourage that relationship on a personal level, whether you’re addressing a complaint or graciously accepting a compliment. By interacting with consumers directly and quickly, the resulting exposure can help contribute to the idea of a quality brand and/or strong digital reputation.

  1. Increased SEO and Inbound Traffic:Social media is often tightly woven into a business website’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and if you want your business to show up for a particular set of keywords, you’ll need a strong social media presence to greatly increase your search rankings. Because all strong brands almost always use social media, Google and other major search engines are known to appraise their rankings using these platforms as a strong factor, which puts the priority on quality, relevant content and a quality brand presence.Going without social media means that your exposure is limited to those who are already know about your brand, or individuals who type in the keywords you hope to rank for.Being active on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn acts as another pathway that leads back to your site, and every content piece you share on these and other social media is another opportunity for a fresh pair of eyes. And of course, the more you share and post on these platforms, the more traffic you’ll generate, which eventually will turn into customers and brand advocates.
  1. Free and Cost-Effective Marketing: It can be difficult to stay within budget, as we are taught that we have to spend money to make money – but one area that you can save in your business is by using social media marketing to trim down on your advertising and marketing costs.Social media, with its global audience and devoted users,  may be the most effective way to promote your brand or business online without having to front a lot of money. On top of being nearly free, your social media posts are available on the web on all hours of the day, all days of the week while offering unlimited reach. Apart from the time it takes you to do it, it doesn’t cost anything to pin one of your products on Pinterest, or post about a promotion or discount on your products or services via Facebook.

    The recent monetization of social media platforms is still a more cost-effective marketing and advertising solution, and may be a good option for those who fear that their social media postings might go unnoticed. For those who have the money and desire to invest, popular social media channels offer options that allow businesses to target consumer parameters based on specific demographics, keywords and interest-based groups.