Every company you see today will be quick to advertise their Facebook page or their new hashtag. It is often perceived as ‘cheap’ or ‘tacky’ but the truth of the matter is that these tactics work and work well. Don’t be afraid to jump into the fray and talk to your customers and then watch them talk about you.

This article is dedicated to describing why social media plays such a huge role in business today and why you can’t afford to miss out. The world is more connected than ever, with the vast majority of us having a smartphone or laptop to hand, checking their various streams of data. It’s time for you to be a part of it, so grab a machine from Lenovo and let’s help you get a foothold on one of the biggest and most profitable parts of the Internet.

First of all, the outreach you can potentially achieve is incredible. Twitter and Facebook both have a member count in the hundreds of millions from all over the globe. Moreover, with some planning and effort, you can use members to spread your own message: likes, shares and retweets further your message without any effort on your part – something that traditional forms of advertising cannot do. All of this happens instantly; as soon as you make a post people are guaranteed to see it and you are immediately informed when that message is passed on. What’s more, all this is happening for free. Some sites may offer subscription offers but it’s entirely possible to run a successful social media campaign without spending a single penny.

Social media also allows you to get personal with your customers. These sites give you an unprecedented line of contact that can become invaluable to any business. Is someone complaining about your product online? Send them a tweet and explain how to fix their problem. Being able to connect to individuals as a business is hugely important, especially in a world where customers can easily believe themselves to be nonexistent to larger companies. Aside from responding, viewing customers reacting to your product is another advantage. These sites allow you to gather massive amounts of information about you customer base and the people your product is attracting. Social media can answer the crucial question of “who” for your business.

What’s more, whilst Twitter and Facebook have been mentioned, there are many different social media sites to use, each with different dominant media types, styles and most importantly, demographics. Are you looking to focus on pictures and not text? Then maybe Instagram or Tumblr might be your preferred platform. Though it might seem easy to just use every site you can, often concentrating on a smaller number will be more practical and give a similar payoff – quality, not quantity. Don’t forget to check the user base of each site before selecting one – it’s okay to try and sell art supplies on Facebook but you’re missing the two biggest art communities in Tumblr and Pinterest. Take your time, choose carefully and remember to keep that channel of communication open.