There’s a lot of discussion out there about social media. Some say it’s one of the worst things to happen to the 21st century while others praise it as one of the best marketing tools for business that our world has ever known. I really wholeheartedly agree with the latter.

Social media is extremely influential when utilized correctly and businesses who have already invested in it can attest to it. Social media is a huge necessity for businesses – it’s not a luxury, it’s not a ‘perhaps’, it’s a Yes..Definitely.

If social media has not yet resonated with you as a “must have” in your business flow, let me share a few reasons why you should come on board immediately.

  1. Because It’s Free… For The Most Part.

How can you argue with that?

Social media marketing is still the most inexpensive form of digital marketing that requires only minimal know-how and experience over time. If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets.

All you need to do is to link your business to specific interest/business groups to get noticed, because well, not all social platforms are suitable for all businesses and there’s definitely not a one size fits all solution. To make the cost of content low,there can be nothing better than to drive it yourself.

Tapping into the virtual world surrounding your business is an undisputable and very free, useful tool. (Even if all you do is spy on your competitors!)

  1. Promoting Brand Awareness

The more people that see your logo, business name and products, the more likely they will be to remember your business when they eventually need what you have to offer.

Social media is an extremely effective way of getting your brand in front of people’s faces; lots of potential customers, because more than ever before, people whether old or young, are using the Internet to find products and services.

By having a strong following on the main social media websites, such as Instagram or Facebook, you will be able to get your brand in front of hundreds or even thousands of people each day, which will make your brand presence stronger in your market over time.

  1. Social media helps you get to know your customers better.

Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interface you get to have with your customer base. You can read their tweets or view their photos and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result).

What products are they buying? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites? Sometimes, becoming ‘besties’ starts with a simple retweet.

With this approach, you can also win customer loyalty and friendship. This means you don’t remain a mere brand or corporate voice to them; you become just one of them.

  1. More Sales

Instagram, for instance, is great for business, because you can easily convert your followers to customers.

Though Twitter isn’t too far behind, Instagram seems to have taken the lead. Twitter has been struggling to keep up with Instagram’s growth since late last year and Instagram isn’t just taking over engagement from Twitter, it’s beating Facebook by a mile too.

In a recent study of 5,000 Instagram profiles, Quintly found the average Instagram post received 4.8 interactions(likes, comments, shares), compared with 0.72 for Facebook.

Instagram has been scaling new heights lately. So sharing your business on Instagram brings you closer to your market and enables you to make more sales. There are even apps like Have2Have and Soldsie that will allow you to close a deal directly through social media channels.

  1. Wider Reach

If you’re already familiar with Instagram or Twitter you will know that it’s easy to use Instagram to seek out a new audience. Searching for certain hashtags can help you find what people are saying in your business neighborhood or in general.

For example, if you run a bakery and search for hashtags about cakes, you can see what people in your area are excited about. You could then use this as an opportunity to engage with them and let them know what kinds you offer.

These exchanges are what make great content go viral, which can even spread more exponentially and reach even wider audiences as exchanges are made public through the newsfeeds, which can later be seen by friends-of-friends and even the general public.

As your content go viral, it can reach more and more people who may be genuinely interested about your brand, product or service, driving highly targeted traffic to your pages – and generate revenue.

  1. Your Competitors Are In Already!

Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform? This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early.

If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with more than 400 million active users. But unlike their engagement with Facebook and Twitter, some businesses just can’t quite grasp how to use Instagram as a marketing tool. Posting images are easy, but driving traffic back to a business’ website, which is especially dependent on likes, is a different ball game entirely.

Are you ready to fly ahead of your competitors and take the social media world by storm?