Top 10 Reasons to Use Social Media for Business

It's no secret that the use of social media is growing, expanding and changing not only the way we communicate, but also how we do business. In recent studies, research has shown that almost 70 percent of small and medium-sized businesses actively use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote their companies. But simply posting what your CEO had for lunch isn't going to do much to help move your business forward. Smart companies are tactically using social media tools to increase their exposure.

We've compiled ten of the most compelling reasons that you should consider using social media tools to promote your business.

1- Brand Recognition: Using social media allows your company to reach the highest number of potential customers possible. Getting your name out there is incredibly important - studies have suggested that customers need to hear a company's name at least seven times before they will gain the trust and respect needed to become a customer.

2- Brand Monitoring: Having a social media presence allows you to better understand what current and potential customers are saying about your product or services. Through active social media monitoring, you have the opportunity to address negative comments and correct false or inaccurate information about your brand.

3- Be Forward-Thinking: Your target audience is becoming savvier when it comes to using social media sites in their daily lives. If you want to appear relevant and in-step with the latest advances in technology, your potential customers will want to see you on these sites as well. A great strategy is to give free information to your customers to build value and authority.

4- Find New Customers Through Friends: You shouldn't neglect your personal social media accounts as potential avenues to promote the activities of your business. Posting regular updates relating to your business and activities can remind your friends of what your company does and either use your services or refer their friends.

5- Find New Customers Through a Company Profile: Your company profile is a great opportunity for you to post regular updates on your activities, but also about important news and trends in your industry. This will catch the attention of new customers interested in your industry and increase your reputation as an expert in the field. It's critical to post regularly if you want to increase your followers or fans and convert them to potential leads.

6- Generate Site Traffic: By updating regularly on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with posts that link back to your site, you can create additional traffic to your site. Social media bookmarking tools like Digg, Stumbleupon and Slashdot can also generate additional traffic to your site if you create frequent articles and blog posts.

7- Links for SEO: Many social media and bookmarking sites use NOFOLLOW tags that limit the outbound link value of posts made on their sites. There are many leading social media and bookmarking sites that allow DOFOLLOW tags including Gather.com, Slashdot, Naymz, Digg, Furl, Mixx and FriendFeed. However, you can see benefits from posting to social media bookmarking sites that use NOFOLLOW tags as well if people read your posts and link back to your Website.

8- Increased Search Engine Rankings: Social media profiles frequently rank highly with major search engines. Using brand names and keywords in your profiles can help you to generate traffic for your social media sites and company homepage.

9- Integrated Social Media Results in Search Engines: Search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing are increasingly interested in indexing and ranking posts and other information from social media sites. Videos from popular Internet sites like YouTube can also be optimized for indexing by the major search engines.

10- Niche Marketing: Social media allows you to reach very specific subsets of individuals based on their personal preferences and interests. You can create social media strategies based on reaching individual interests or even create unique social media profiles to target these audiences.