Social media has provided a convenient low-cost marketing platform for many small businesses in recent years, and has quickly become one of the top forms of internet marketing. Unfortunately, for many businesses, social feels like more of a burden than a boon.

Businesses today need to maintain a social presence to be seen as active, “real” businesses. This can be a problem if their social campaigns aren’t converting new leads, which is increasingly common for businesses that don’t want to participate in the various new pay-to-play advertising models used by these platforms.

The reason social is so mandatory is that people expect to be able to find all the information they need about any business easily on the internet. This same expectation, however, is also what redeems social accounts that aren’t visibly generating leads, because they serves your business in a number of other ways.

It’s How Your Business Meets People

Businesses today operate in a digital age, and that means they need to be ready to make their first impression digitally. Social is the most accessible interface available for businesses to make contact with laypeople on the internet. SEO, traditional content marketing, PPC, and other advertising methods are designed to target people who are already looking for your product.

Educating laypeople about your industry, and exposing them to your product or service for the first time, is something that’s much easier to do over social media. A sponsored Facebook post can target people very high up in your marketing funnel, and bring them one step closer, even if they don’t convert right then.

It Amplifies Your Site Content & Grows Traffic

While your social accounts won’t necessarily generate many sales (depending on your industry), a well-run account will inevitably attract relevant followers. Those followers aren’t always customers, but they’re an important part of your well-integrated digital strategy.

They are the ones who will read and share your blog updates, and show interest in your work. They are the core of the traffic and social shares that will indicate to search engines that your content is relevant, and should rank well in the SERPs.

It Protects Your Reputation

No matter what kind of business you run, you’ll have to deal with your share of unsatisfied customers. An employee might have had an off day, there could have been an honest mistake, or the customer could just be in a bad mood.

Regardless, a dissatisfied customer has a few choices about where they can voice their displeasure on the internet. They could get on Yelp, Ripoffreport, or another review site, or they could complain to the business directly on Twitter or Facebook.

The primary audience on a social account is the owner of the account, while Yelp and other review sites primarily target other potential customers. Keeping a maintained social presence is important to help businesses attract as many of those complaints there as possible. This way it’s easier to address and resolve them directly and reduce the amount of negative attention you have to deal with on those third party review sites.