Social media is more than just a fad. It is now part of our lives.

Everyone with a smartphone and tablet has free access to social media.

Based on the latest information for 2017, there are 2.8 billion social media users, and the three most popular platforms are Facebook (1.9 billion unique monthly users), YouTube (1 billion unique monthly users), and Instagram (600 million unique monthly users).

Social media has leveled the playing field and allowed small and big businesses alike to have the ability to potentially reach and gain the attention of all active users.

Social media has now become the most powerful tool to reach, influence, and engage your present and potential customers. This is why business owners should waste no time in taking advantage of it. After all, creating social media accounts are totally free. There is no payment required to create a business page on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

You are free to upload photos and videos of your products and services, and you can post updates anytime about the latest things your business is engaged in.

What makes social media an effective tool in reaching your target customers and in engaging them? Why has it replaced traditional media (print, radio, and television)?

Social media’s primary advantage over print, radio, and television ads is that it offers an avenue for a business owner to humanize and personalize his interactions with his customers. It gives the impression that there is a real person running the business and talking to the customers. This makes a business owner approachable.

Below are three winning ways that makes business owners approachable through social media.

1. It creates a direct link between the customer and the business owner.

With social media as a common ground, customers, consumers, and clients can now directly interact with business leaders and business owners. Feedback, opinions, and grievances can be aired, and these can be directly responded to.

There is no need for a middle man to field the questions between parties. Everyone gets a pure and direct answer regarding issues that concern both parties.

2. Social media allows you to display your expertise.

For CEOs and other business leaders, having an active Twitter account can have several advantages. Aside from being able to connect and engage with your customers, partners, employees, peers, and even your competitors, you can show your expertise about your particular industry and about leadership.

You can comment on current issues that are relevant to your field and explain and defend your position. It will also encourage other people to voice out their thoughts, giving way to a healthy exchange of opinion and an opportunity for you to display your professionalism, how you manage conflict, and how you react to opposition.

If you are a business owner who displays a particular skill, you can also show it off via social media. Demos and tutorials can now be easily done using the “live” and video features in the different platforms.

Live videos allow your followers to ask you questions in real-time, and you are given the opportunity to respond right away. These are golden opportunities to impress your target audience and at the same time give them the opportunity to acquire information and knowledge from you.

3. Social media allows you to personalize and specify interactions.

You can address your customers on a first-name basis, greet them on special occasions, answer directly their questions, and release advertisements targeted at a specific demographic, thanks to the information that you can get from social media.

Personalized greetings make your customers feel special and will consequently allow them to remember you and your business.

Targeted ads, meanwhile, are more effective since the content is designed to really attract a particular set of people who are most likely going to respond to it. You won’t be shooting information to just anyone and everyone. Targeted ads are more cost-efficient and have higher success rates.

How will social media work for your business?

You now know how social media closes the gap between the business owner and the customer. How do you make social media work for you?

Have a clear social media strategy for your company. Don’t spread yourself thin by creating accounts on all social media platforms possible. Instead choose only those that have the most number of active users in the demographic that you plan to attract.

Also choose which platform could better showcase information about your company’s products and services.  Take advantage of all features. The best ones that will guarantee you engagement and will convert to sales are not free, but this does not mean that you cannot get something out of the free features such as status updates and photo uploads.

The one thing that you will have to remember is to offer relevant content on social media and to have a consistent timetable on posting. Managing social media accounts that will boost your business is hard work. It is best to plan everything out.