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Currently, it is estimated that 1.3 billion people are online, with 50,000 new internet users coming online each day. Social media, in the more popular forms of Twitter and Facebook, has become a vital and necessary marketing tool that cannot be ignored by businesses. More and more businesses are realizing this and are utilizing social media to increase sales and revenue.  A recent study, sponsored by Social Media Success Summit 2009, shows that 88% of the respondents use social media and 81% of them reported gaining business exposure as the result. The majority of the respondents invest a minimum of 5 hours to more than 20 hours a week in social media marketing. These numbers suggest a profitable return or reward for the time invested.

There are several great benefits of using social media as a marketing tool. The largest perceived benefit of social media marketing is business exposure, which is also the ultimate goal of marketing. The medium of social media allows words to travel extremely rapid, gaining exposure exponentially in a short amount of time. Social media increases traffic to company website and ultimately, subscribers. According to the recent 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry report, 72% of survey respondents found an increase of traffic to their website and increased subscription rate as the result of utilizing social media. Major internet search engines, such as Google, factor in data from social network sites when returning results. 62% reported of improved search ranking with social media. Social networks provide a convenient means for communication with other businesses. 56% reported of gaining new partnerships as the result. Social media can also generate leads for businesses. Social media marketing reduces overall marketing costs by cutting back on other methods. Ultimately, social media improves sales due to increased exposure and leads.

The 2011 social media report also shows that small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing. Therefore, it is quite evident that businesses that are not utilizing social media are missing out on these great benefits. Conducing businesses in today’s society requires business owners to utilizing different marketing tools to generate maximum returns. Social media has embedded itself into the fabric of today’s society and to ignore it is to place one’s business at a considerable disadvantage in the competition for business.

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