If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve already considered using social media marketing to help get the word out about your business.

The world is changing. As society continues towards a progressively more digital landscape, social media is becoming an invaluable tool to stay fresh, interesting, and most importantly, relevant. Social media marketing continues to offer creative new ways to integrate marketing strategies that reflect current trends. Social media platforms allow for flexibility and the ability to make quick changes including full pivots in real time, keeping pace with the environment we live in today.

An enormous tool you can use for online marketing and in different sales strategies for your business is Social Media. Generally speaking, most business websites use social media to boost their sales and to promote their business for their own good. But in your particular situation, how can you transform social media into your best sales opportunity?

Social media is, simply put, one small piece of the larger marketing pie.  Social media should be integrated into your online marketing and branding campaign.  It can also generate some great results and lead to new customers if managed and marketed correctly.  Understanding social media and its implications for your business are keys to your overall marketing and branding success.

In fact, 82 percent of small business owners are using sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to help grow their businesses. And if you are still standing on the social sidelines, there’s never been a better time to get started.

1. Social media helps get the word out & Increase Brand Recognition

First and foremost — social media does, in fact, help get the word out about your business. Did you know that nearly 81% of Americans have active social media accounts?1 That means failing to engage in social media gravely limits your business’ exposure. Social media is a great place to gain brand recognition, continue to promote your brand and build brand affinity. Social media is an excellent place to build a loyal customer base.

But even more important than the exposure, it provides you with the opportunity to grow relationships with your target audience. Your fans, followers, and connections are people who know your organization, have likely done business with you in the past and will be most likely to tell their friends about you.

2. Increasing Search Engine Visibility

Did you know that social media helps with SEO? SEO or search engine optimization focuses on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. Many different factors influence your websites search engine rank. The higher you rank, the better your visibility. Upwards of 95% of all search traffic ends on page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPs). Some important search engine ranking factors include web content, page load speed, mobile optimization, linking relationships, and social media.

The latter, linking relationships and social media play to a search engine algorithm’s assigning higher authority to those websites that are peer endorsed. Social media helps promote your website and bring inactive links and visitors. Therefore, maintaining a strong social media presence by sharing great content that appeals to your audience will not only generate more linking relationships (a significant ranking factor) but have a positive impact on your organic search results. Therefore, if you want higher visibility, social media shouldn’t be ignored.

3.  Social media reaches all ages and demographics

Social media defies age barriers. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that 65 percent of US adults are using social networks.

Between 2005 and 2015, usage among ages 30-49 has increased by 69 points from 8 percent to 77 percent. So, no matter how young or old your target audience may be, chances are most of them are already logging on and waiting for you to get started.

4. Gain Valuable Consumer Insight

No matter what your industry, knowing your audience is always important. You must first know your audience before you can determine what types of content shared through social media will resonate with them. However, research through surveys and the use of focus groups can be expensive and time-consuming.

Luckily, social media marketing is about interaction. Social media is a two-way street which promotes a mutual exchange and sharing of information. Just as much as your audience can tap your social media to learn more about you, you can also learn more about your audience through social media. Hence, used properly, social media is a cost-effective means to gain valuable insights about your audience that you can leverage to your business advantage.

5. Social media can make a big difference for your email marketing

Social media has completely changed the game when it comes to how small businesses think of email marketing. Sharing your email newsletter across your social networks can open your content up to a whole new audience and generate the type of buzz you’ve been looking for.

Not only that, but you can also use sites like Facebook to attract more readers by including a Join My Mailing List link right on your Page.

Together, these two powerful tools have reshaped the marketing landscape and have really leveled the playing field for small businesses trying to better connect with current customers and reach new audiences for their business.

6. Driving Web Traffic

Think of social media as an added gateway to your website and an important means for your customers to find you online. Every engagement on social media potentially builds a new pathway that leads your audience back to your website. The more interactive you are on social media, the greater your reach and the more responsive your audience.

Use social media to bolster curiosity then help your audience find out more about you. Social media is about return on engagement (ROE). Although social media as a marketing activity sits much higher on the conversion funnel, this also means that you have more opportunities to shape and build your customers perception of you. The possibilities are truly endless.

Sources: onstantcontact.com, trinetsolutions.com, dogulindigital.com.au