The self-effacing beginnings of any business are scarcely forgettable and always inevitable. 10 years ago, small business owners were just starting to catch onto the Social Media obsession, but at that time, no one really understood the muscle of SM. Utilizing Social Media as a marketing tool, was just starting to present itself as an economical benefit to business owners wanting to develop a web presence.

Yet, here we are 2012 now living in a world where if you are not using Social Media to promote your business large or small, you will quickly be left in the dust of the expeditious techno-savvy rat race called Social Media Marketing.

Why did businesses undervalue Social Media?

In the initial stages, SM was a quasi-meeting place for single people looking to break into the social world through their fingertips. You could connect and interact with people from around the world, friends you haven’t seen in ages, people you just met, people you don’t know, people you want to meet. It was a way for people to connect to all types of people and/or friends.

Initially, the idea of SM or Social Networking wasn’t developed for the reputable business world. Employers didn’t know how to bring this to the forefront and use it for their day-to-day marketing structure they just looked at it as a dating venue. Partly, this was true, but soon, Social Media became a marketing tool for everything! And before long, as the demand for SM became more and more imperative, developing companies like Facebook went from creating a platform for people connecting to people to people connecting to everything! Sky’s the limit. Original SM sites like Friendster and Myspace soon became a distant memory. They didn’t hop on the Social Networking bandwagon quick enough to make a name for themselves other than “the” way for people to connect to people and music. Quickly, other SM sites started popping up, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, Linkedin, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, all bringing to the table a distinctive initiative with a common significance; socially connecting people, professionally and personally. In addition to that, businesses started to see the light. So to answer the question why businesses undervalued Social Media? It’s because the opinion was so strong that it was just a way for people to meet people, hence the value was not implicit, yet. Now, it is imperative to implement Social Media into your business/marketing plans and in most cases, hire someone to manage your social media marketing/SEO. I know it might seem excess, but in all actuality it is clearly the future, and let me tell you, the future looks bright!

The explosion of Social Media over the past 3 years, even though it’s been around for over a decade, has become overpoweringly evident that this is the fashion of the future. There has never been a way, since the Internet and because of the Internet, for people to connect to people, businesses, news feeds, groups, common causes, foundations and world news on a minute-by-minute basis. We are so connected by the fabric of Social Media, we have made ourselves one huge cyber linked family and for good reason.

Social Media has become necessity over fashion purely because it simplifies the brainchild of organic communication and marketing. Mass mailing marketing efforts has become a thing of the past. Even though we check our mailbox and we see those post cards for a coupon for 1/2 off at our favorite restaurant, the idea of checking our inbox/social media sites, gives us an undeviating and immediate daily connection to the outside and inside world. Now we can elect or not elect to see or interact with the things that are meaningful to us. We choose our level of interaction and this is why we have pushed the digital age of communication and marketing to an extreme measure; and this is why Social Media is so vital.

Now, businesses are taking in the concept of Social Media and embracing the importance of this massive marketing tool. Recently, I threw a PR event for a potential client – mind you this was a pro bono event trying to create business and exposure for their competitive market of the mobile food industry. Basically, we tested the waters to see how the impressive powers of Social Media would handle this event. I created the flyers and posted them on my Facebook and all Social Media sites personal and business pages; my business partner, girlfriend, the musician playing in the event, and the venue itself all did the same. Within hours we received a mass response of over 300 replies. The event itself was a success; we had close to 160 people attend. I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout that cost us very little to market and advertise. Thanks to Social Media we were able to sponsor the event and connect to a new client base and thank the existing one.

Bottom line is this, if you are not using Social Media to promote your business then you are missing out on the easiest and most profound way to connect with your consumers. It’s like missing the biggest networking cocktail party of the year, all year long, everyday! It is the universal way to promote your brand and/or business with your fingertips. The only thing that Social Media costs you literally, is your time. If you don’t have time to promote your business with Social Media, then find someone that can do it for you. But know this, in order for Social Media to be 100% effective you have to connect with your consumers on a regular daily basis. It pushes up your search opportunities on the Google web crawlers and gives you the search engine boost you’ve been looking for. Don’t underestimate the power of Social Media; think about it, there are over 1 Billion Facebook users, 465 million Twitter accounts, 30% of Twitter users have an income over $100,000 and 4 out of 5 internet users visit social networks and blogs, just to name a few of the powerful statistics of Social Media!