Is bewilderment your first reaction when you read this blog post title?  What does social have to do with business outreach?  The answer: In today’s online world – everything.

In some ways social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have taken us back to a much slower-paced time.  A time when people gathered in local places and exchanged information about businesses they liked – and disliked.  And often these people already knew the business owners whose business was being recommended.

This is what social media can do for business owners today – whether your business is local, national or international.  It can connect you with your prospective clients or customers in a way that static websites – and blogs that do not allow comments – cannot.

Let’s take an imaginary example:

When you are considering hiring a publicity firm to promote a special event for your business, you can check out each firm’s website to read the static copy.  But what if only one of the three firms you are considering has an active presence on Twitter?  You follow that firm, tweet a question or two, and get back tweeted replies that offer a more personal connection with the publicity firm.

And to take our example a step further, that publicity firm on Twitter also shares links to interesting publicity-related articles written by other people.   You read those articles, learn some things, and are also impressed that the publicity firm on Twitter is collaborative enough to share information from others.

These interactive connections to this one publicity firm give you a much better feel for who you would be working with than the static websites of the other two firms.  In other words, the social aspect of social media has given you a better opportunity to evaluate the business expertise of one of the three publicity firms you are considering.

Is it any wonder that this is the publicity firm most likely to be chosen by you?

Now we’ve been talking about your process in choosing a business to use for yourself.  But the same process can work for you when you are, for example, one of three fashion design companies being scouted by reps from a nationwide store chain.  The more social connections you can forge with these reps the better your odds probably are of being the company chosen for the large order.  And this means that social media can be very beneficial for your business outreach.

The next time you think that social media isn’t for business, think again.  Effectively participating on social media may just be the ticket for your attracting more clients or customers to your business.

Author: Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) and her business partner Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC on Twitter) are committed to taking the mystery out of social media so that individuals and companies can utilize the power of social media to attract more business. Read about their new program Quick Start Social Media Track.