Social media should take some role in your overall marketing strategy. Most business owners I talk to don’t want to talk too much about social media. They are thinking about the time and commitment it will take to learn new things and manage their accounts. I think this presents a competitive opportunity to small businesses who are willing to spend the time and make the commitment to create and maintain a proper social media presence.

Here are some of the reasons your business should be using social media.

Your customers are already using it

Social media marketshare

Facebook alone claims to have over 1.8 billion users and its user base includes 89% of all U.S. based Internet users. If you are doing the math, 1.8 billion is a large percentage of the entire human population. It is a challenge to think of another single company that has such tremendous ability to reach people all over the world.

If you include the other major social media outlets, estimates show that there are over 2.7 billion active social media users globally. Why would you not want to be a part of that?

It’s free

The best think about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp of most of the other major social media platforms for your business is it’s free. OK, nothing is truly free. Facebook and the other major social media outlets work on a play to play system. If you pay them, you will receive preferential treatment in the placement of your posts and mostly likely will see better results. But, creating a basic presence is for the most part free, and many businesses see tremendous results while spending nothing.

Check the image below for the difference between a boosted (paid for) post and a standard post. As you can see, other than a small piece of text at the top that says, “Suggest Post”, users have no idea that the company is paying to be there. The post looks like any other so it can be a non-threatening way to advertise or promote your business or event.

Social media boosted posts

It’s simple and fast

In the past, we communicated with our customers through advertising, newsletters, or email and these methods are still important today, but let’s just talk about Facebook for now. Your customers already expect you to have at least a Facebook page. The best thing about communicating through Facebook is that is it in real time.

How long does it take to get the word out that you are having a sale through print advertising? Think about it, you must develop the ad, meet with newspaper representatives, sign contracts, wait for them to print and deliver the newspapers, on and on. With Facebook, you can post a sale notice onto your page, from your phone even, and your customers receive that notice as a notification right on their mobile devices. They could be on their way to buying your product on the same day.

Communication goes two ways

Gone are the days where you print an ad in a magazine or newspaper and hope for the best. The most valuable aspect of the Internet in general; and social media specifically; is your ability to gauge customer response to your advertising in real time.

People love to hear themselves talk and love to give their opinions. One of the biggest challenges in business is to figure out what your customers want. Monitoring their social media interactions and reactions to your posts is a great way to get quick feedback. In the history of the human race, I don’t think there has been a more powerful tool for business owners.