If you have a new or existing business and have not yet started to formulate your social media marketing strategy, then the first question you must answer is ‘Why not?’.

It may be that you have not yet realised all the ways that social media can help expand your business and therefore do not see the need to use it. This leaves you at a huge disadvantage, especially when it is more than likely that competitors in your niche are using social media to gain customers that might otherwise have been yours.

To give you an insight into benefits of social media, here are two of the ways it can help you build and expand your business.

The first benefit is that it is very cost effective in comparison to traditional marketing methods. For many businesses advertising is one of their highest costs, so it is understandable that there may be some reluctance to start paying for social media marketing. The crucial point here is that initially, social media marketing need not cost you much at all. Creating your profiles, and building your following can be done with a very small budget and the return on this small investment can be huge.

As your social media groups and following grow, and as you continue to work on this, you will start to see evidence of all this hard work paying off. Sales will start to come in, your brand will become more prominent, and best of all, one of your posts or social media messages may go viral. This happens when something catches the imagination of those who read a post and they sent to others. Soon it goes viral and instead of few hundred people reading your post, tens or even hundreds of thousands see it, giving you the opportunity to add them to your following.

The second benefit is the boost using social media can give to your SEO efforts and subsequently your ranking on Google and other search engines. To achieve this, you need to have a structured and logical approach to your social media marketing. This involves ensuring that whenever you make a post or an update on any of your social media profiles, you link it out to all your other social media accounts.

This linking strategy also applies when you are making comments on blog posts, forums and, if allowed, on other social media pages or groups you are following. You also want to be encouraging your own followers and subscribers to include your links whenever they share a post you have made.

The reason this is effective is that the search engines like social media and see most of the links that come from social media accounts as legitimate. These links are not going to suddenly shoot you up to the first page of Google, but if you work on links from social media sources consistently, in time it will have a positive effect on your ranking.