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The average American spends 37 minutes per day on social media. That amounts to 217 hours or 9 days — almost a week and a half — over the course of a year.

That alone is enough reason for any business to jump on the social media marketing train; however, it’s important to consider that investing yourself in social media is extremely time consuming. Living the busy life of a small business owner, dedicating the time and resources necessary to successfully advertise your business on social media can be costly.

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid social media marketing for your small business altogether. Doing so would set you back in the digital age and you would be missing out on an entirely new audience.

Still not sold? Consider these four reasons why you should be using social media marketing for you small business:

  1. Develop a diverse set of connections

Social media is unique in the sense that it allows individuals to create connections with people of various backgrounds from one central hub. This is no different for businesses. Since I began developing and implementing social media marketing campaigns, I have helped small businesses create key connections with influential people, businesses, and past, present and potential. These connections go a long way in making your business more recognizable and can generate increased sales in the long-term.

  1. Your competitors are probably investing in social media

According to this article, 8 out of 10 small businesses use social media to drive growth while 3 of 5 small businesses have gained customers through social media. Given the popularity of social media among small businesses and the likelihood of someone buying from a brand they follow, you will want to make sure you’re not lacking your competitors online. Even if your competitors have yet to embrace social media marketing, this is the time for you to kill your silence — get ahead of them while you can.

  1. Cater to multiple generations

89 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 82 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds use social media. This creates an ideal opportunity for any business looking to market itself towards students, young adults, families and other demographics, including those with expendable income. Looking to focus your marketing efforts on older generations? No need to worry, as the same research discovered that 65 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 49 percent of individuals aged 65+ are also using social media.

  1. Create more promotional opportunities

Many small businesses run contests through social media that would not work with any other type of advertising. This can be especially important in smaller communities, where shopping local can be extremely important to small businesses. Social media promotions also encourage your business’ customers to engage directly with the brand, creating a lasting impression.

Regardless of how you choose to approach social media as a small business owner, remember why you are using it, what you are using it for and how you will achieve your goals.