Most businesses today, whether they have taken the leap yet or not, realize that social media marketing is important.  A active online presence is crucial, as nearly half of the world’s population are now active internet users.  Social media puts your business in front of current and potential customers in a way that your website cannot.  As of 2015, over 70 percent of the U.S. population had a social networking profile.  Here are several ways that social media marketing can help your business.

1. Create Brand Awareness

One of the primary benefits of using social media, no matter how large or small your business, is the ability to create brand awareness.  Relevanza recently reported that 78 percent of small businesses were using social media to attract new customers.  Americans today both learn about and research companies on social platforms, such as Facebook, so being active there can only benefit your business.

2. Engage Customers

One of the most valuable uses of social media for businesses is the ability to engage your audience. Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, there are ways to get your audience to participate so that you can build relationships.  By engaging with your audience, you also have the opportunity to learn more about their particular wants and needs.

3. Share Content

Speaking of engaging with your audience, the general rule on social media is to provide valuable content 80% of the time and discuss your business the other 20%.  People inherently understand that you are in business to make money, so constant pitches are unnecessary and counterproductive.  By providing valuable information about industry-related topics, you’ll be able to engage with current and potential customers, build your brand, and develop those relationships that will continue to pay dividends in the future.

4. Collect Feedback

There are several social media platforms, such as Facebook, that will allow you to collect testimonials and reviews from customers.  This is an excellent way to legitimize your brand, and you can take some of these positive reviews off of social media to include on your main business website.  There are also some polling apps that you can use to gauge customer opinion on various products and services.

5. Search Engine Ranking

You have likely created a website for your business before considering social media marketing.  Believe it or not, getting active on such sites as Facebook and Twitter will help your site to rank better in the search engines.  As people “share” and “retweet” websites posts that you share on social media, your search engine rankings will improve.  Also, if you have created a Facebook Page or Twitter Profile for your business, these will also eventually rank as search results for your business name.

Social media marketing is something that every business should take seriously.  If done properly, these online efforts can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.  While social media marketing requires a continuous and targeted effort, the benefits to businesses are difficult to dispute.  If you haven’t taken the leap yet or have been lagging with your efforts, it’s not too late to start making changes in your digital marketing program.