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.

As society becomes more and more reliant on the digital landscape to connect and stay informed, social media becomes an increasingly necessary tool for businesses. That said, social media marketing isn’t only imperative for staying relevant. Social media platforms offer a versatile, new way to reach potential buyers. You can get more creative, experiment with new approaches, stay on top of current trends and conversations, and immediately course correct on any efforts that aren’t working.    

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. More specifically, 82 percent of small business owners are already tapping into social media grow their brands. But in your particular situation, how can you transform social media into your best sales opportunity?

The most important thing to realize is that social media marketing does not stand alone. As with any public platform your business uses, your brand’s presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn should be deliberately designed to integrate with a larger digital marketing strategy. That’s why it’s especially important to fully grasp all the implications of social media marketing. Take a moment to understand the specific strengths of social media outreach and how this approach fits in with your overall marketing strategy.

Social media isn’t going anywhere. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to jump in, that time is now.

1. Social Media Helps Get the Word Out & Increase Brand Recognition

Do you know anyone with a social media account? Ridiculous question, right? Currently, around 81% of Americans have active social media accounts. From a marketing perspective, that’s an opportunity for a level of exposure no business can afford to pass up. If your business still isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on an exceptional opportunity to gain brand recognition and build brand affinity. You can promote your business and take significant steps toward building a loyal customer base.

Not to mention, the very nature of social media allows you to create actual relationships with your buyers. Every platform offers you a way to engage with your target audience directly, respond to their questions, concerns, and enthusiasm, and keep your brand front and center even when they’re not looking to make a purchase. Your presence on social media also makes it easier for fans and followers to share and promote your business.

2. Increasing Search Engine Visibility

Let’s talk about SEO. The goal of search engine optimization is to boost your business’s visibility in organic search engine results. Most likely, SEO already plays a role in your current marketing plan. After all, more than 95% of search traffic ends with the first page of search engine results…meaning if you’re not on the first page, 95% of buyers looking for your product will never find it. They’ll find your competitor instead.

What you may not realize is that social media is a noteworthy factor in search engine rankings. Search engines assign greater authority to peer-endorsed websites. To put it another way, if other sites talk about and link to your website, the search engine algorithm assumes your site is high-authority, high-quality, and should therefore be high-ranking.

This is where social media comes in. It isn’t just that your presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram help your search engine rankings. The more great content you share on social media, the more linking relationships are generated as your audience shares and engages with your posts. That can mean a huge boost for your business in organic search results. To put it another way, you can’t afford to neglect social media for SEO reasons alone.

3. Social Media Reaches All Ages and Demographics

Sure, there was a time when social media was only for the young and hip. Those days are gone.

Through a study performed in 2015, Pew Research Center found that 65% of adults in the United States use social networks. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, social media use increased from 8% to 77% percent among adults ages 30-49. That’s a bump of 69 points. Clearly, social media isn’t going anywhere, and the longer it sticks around, the more diverse its user base becomes. No matter who you’re trying to reach, you’ll find your target audience on social media.

4. Gain Valuable Consumer Insight

For every business in every industry, the ultimate goal is knowing your customer as well as you know your own product. When you know your target audience—from age to income to personal values—you can tailor a truly effective marketing strategy. However, sometimes buyers seem unknowable and unpredictable, and research efforts like focus groups take considerable time and money out of your budget.

Social media, however, is a tool designed specifically for the purpose of sharing personal information. By interacting with your buyers online, you have direct access to their opinions, thoughts, and priorities. You learn what they hate, what they love, what they aspire to, and even how they make purchasing decisions. Through social media, you gain valuable insights into your audience, and you gain these insights easily and at no real expense.

5. Social Media Can Optimize Your Email Marketing

Email is the old standby in digital marketing, largely because it remains the marketing channel with the biggest ROI. With social media, you can extend the reach of your email marketing even further, which means increasing your return on investment.   

Every email newsletter can now be shared on social media platforms. You no longer have to have email addresses to share your news, content, and announcements. You can reach anyone at any time. Even better, sharing your newsletter on social media makes it easy for modern buyers to pass the news along, create buzz, or engage with your business directly.

Sites like Facebook even include an option to create a “Join My Mailing List” link on your Page. And because your Page will already feature the kind of content that resonates with audiences, that link will hold a little more value to prospective customers. They already know that the information you share is information they care about.

6. Driving Web Traffic

Social media is essentially another gateway to your website. The more you use social media, the more opportunities there are for customers to find you online. Every engagement and every interaction creates another avenue guiding new visitors to your site. That’s why it’s especially important to not just establish a social media presence but to maintain it. The more you participate, the greater your ROE—return on engagement.

So much of social media marketing is about building awareness and bolstering curiosity. In digital marketing terms, we would say most social media marketing tends to sit higher on the marketing funnel. However, just because our ultimate goal is revenue, don’t make the grave mistake of underestimating what a game-changer social media can be. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook represent your opportunity to shape buyers’ perception of your brand from day one. It’s an opportunity to engage, inspire, motivate, and establish your business as a quality resource at the very beginning.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see buyers charge through that marketing funnel faster than they ever have before.