Social media allows you to speak with your customers directly

There certainly are a lot of social media critics, but those naysayers are missing out on something amazing that is happening online today – consumers and brands are finally communicating person-to-person. In the past, when a customer wanted to reach out to a business, he or she often struggled to get in contact with someone who actually cared what they had to say. Now, with social media an active component in lead generating marketing, the feedback people give online through websites like Facebook and Twitter is increasingly more important to brands.

What's more, social media marketing allows businesses another opportunity to promote what makes them different from the competition. Instead of unveiling numerous new traditional marketing campaigns, cluttering the airwaves and bombarding people with regular direct mailings, social media speaks to buyers who want to engage with the company. After all, these people chose to follow the companies that they do online, and they want to be kept abreast of the latest deals, offerings and current events in select niche markets.

As a business owner, you have an opportunity to use social media to your advantage. However, you shouldn't join Facebook just because you feel like you need to be present on the social platform. In fact, an inactive profile can be more damaging than not having one at all.

When you set out to create a social presence online, make sure you have an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to interacting with your customers. Using social media for brand awareness requires you to respond to comments, concerns, feedback and praise – even if its negative. Taking an active approach to social media and showing your customers that you're really listening, may help you develop a loyal customer following. Discover how effective social media can be in lead generation today, and begin promoting your best qualities to your customers tomorrow.