Social media has had a pervasive affect on society. From keeping in touch with family and friends to hosting countless ‘selfies’, no doubt you’ve engaged in one form or another with this well-known medium for connecting. What business owners may not know is that social media is an invaluable tool when it comes to marketing and professional networking. The question becomes whether or not a business, whatever size it may be, can survive in a contemporary marketing environment where social media is slowly establishing a monopoly across the board.

The foremost concern for businesses today is that the traditional marketing tools, such as television and radio, are declining in effectiveness. Their ability to convey a message about your company, while once unrivalled, is now up against the Herculean force of social media. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn reap numbers in excess of 1 billion daily, while the audiences of television and radio are dwindling in comparison to the numbers at large a decade ago.

Social media has the ability not only to communicate your products and services to the market, but also provides potential for existing and potential customers to interact and communicate directly with you. This not only provides a greater degree of familiarity between you and your customer, but provides for enhanced opportunity to gain significant insight into the expectations of the average customer. Social media acts as a mouthpiece for customers to voice their questions and comments, thereby providing you with a ‘one-up’ when it comes to marketing and manufacturing.

Arguably one of the most compelling motivations for utilising social media is the cost-effectiveness of this marketing tool. While traditional marketing efforts have no doubt proved to be an exercise in budget-draining, social media is relatively low-cost, providing opportunity for greater exposure and interaction across the board. For small businesses and large businesses alike, this medium for marketing is sure to result in mammoth cost savings in the field of advertising.

And last but not least, social media is the epitome of lead generation. While not many business owners are aware of this particular feature of social media, it does exist! The paid platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn enable business owners to track down consumers who have purchased items from your direct and indirect competitors through features such as Graph Search and targeted ads. Again, this provides ample and enhanced opportunity for business owners to be one-step ahead of the competition at all times.

While the traditional mediums for marketing may still possess significant merit, business owners should acknowledge the growing importance of social media as a platform for connecting with customers, and remain aware of the activity currently taking place within their respective markets. This medium for marketing should not be discounted, and must be embraced as the way forward for businesses across the board.