One of the most important forms of Internet marketing available to businesses today happens to be one of the most cost efficient, as well. Social media is used by diverse demographics for a variety of purposes. It is a huge contributor to the 24-hour news cycle, a forum for conversation about any topic, a platform for organization and a place for businesses to connect with clients.

The average person uses social media to connect with others in their networks and to discover new things about the world. Content posted on social media feeds an inherent desire people have to know about things outside of their direct experiences. People can discover what is happening in their friends’ lives, their communities, their countries and the world by making connections with people and organizations that interest them. Social media is a networking tool, above all, and it is imperative that businesses in today’s digital age tap into this market.

By creating profiles across one or multiple social media platforms, businesses can connect with and gain recognition from target audiences, connect with clientele and build relationships with other businesses and professional contacts. There is a plethora of social media sites available for businesses to use, with Facebook being the most popular in terms of consumer use. Each platform has its own benefits, so it is important to optimize content for the specific site you are using.

Generally, one of the goals behind setting up social media profiles should be to obtain the attention of consumers who were not previously aware of your business. This is not an overly complicated task, but there is a science to being seen. Content posted should be relevant to your business, but it should not be dripping in sales pitches. If the average consumer can relate to your content, he or she is more likely to share it or comment on it. By posting content to bridge the gap between business and consumer, you can generate conversation and humanize your business, creating a sense of community. Also, most interaction your followers have with your business is viewable to followers of your followers. In this way, you can extend your reach and visibility.

Considering the fact that there are niche communities across social media platforms for most topics, it is highly important to connect your business with its niche. Social media allows you to monitor the activity of your competition, allowing you a better chance of surpassing them. It also allows you to make and keep connections with professional contacts that may benefit your business in the future.

Approach social media as a way for your business to connect with clients, but maintain your business’ profiles as marketing tools. Be smart about what you post, when you post it and who you are posting for. Speak to clients in their own language, and remain interactive with clients. If you set out to truly form relationships between your business and your clients, you will gain a loyal following and an excellent reputation. Once you have established this, posting promotions and ads for your business, within reason, will be better received. You can also use your profiles to post content from your website or blog.

Without a social media presence, your business may be unrecognized by consumers or surpassed by competition. Keep your clients close and your competition closer. Utilize social media to its full potential, and the results will far outweigh the small effort monitoring profiles takes.