Social Media, to the untrained eye, is seen as something that distracts workers from their jobs, makes teenagers stay in and fuels useless gossip. This doesn’t sound like something you want in and around your company! However, social media is a platform to reach millions of potential customers, every social network has a niche market, in this article I will go through how each networking site can benefit your company, raising brand awareness and increasing sales! Facebook Facebook, the main player, is actively used by over 500 million people across the world. That figure alone speaks volumes, by reaching just 1% of this amount you have got your brand name seen by 5 million people! Facebook, primarily is used for friend interaction, However they have given businesses and brands then opportunity to reach their mass market by creating fan pages. These are pages that people can ‘like’, the more ‘likes’ your fan page has the more people it is seen by. Every time you post a status update with a link to your website, product or just brand information it will appear of all of their live streams. The process of gaining fans can, sometimes, take time. Facebook doesn’t take kindly to spammers so invest your time, make sure you are updating your Facebook at least once a day, make it fun, light hearted and personal. Let the customer know what’s going on in your office, post pictures not only of products but of you! The more of a ‘person’ you can be the less of a ‘faceless company’ you will seem! Twitter Twitter was created with the aim to inform, time and time again Twitter spokesmen have made a point of saying they are an information network and not a social network. Here is where the businesses can really shine, using the same concept as Facebook (making sure you are a person and not just a company) Twitter can be an excellent platform for communicating with other companies, creating relationships and gaining potential customers. Twitter works on the basis that you follow and be followed, the more followers you have the more newsfeeds you will appear on. Twitter, like Facebook, allows you to post links to your websites, other social media sites, to anything you want to really! It does have the ability to post pictures but this diverts the user to a different site such as tweetpic. Unlike Facebook you can’t create photo albums, which for a company is not a huge issue, but as mentioned you can post pictures every now and then. This is a great way to put faces to the company names even if it’s a picture of some new office equipment, showing you are ‘real’ makes the potential customer more receptive. LinkedIn LinkedIn is a networking site purely for professionals, I would suggest everyone in your company get a LinkedIn account! It takes a matter of minutes but will greatly benefit the company’s reputation. By simply adding your name, job title, place of work and description of your company it will create awareness of your business to millions (75 million to exact) of other companies across the globe. LinkedIn is a way to communicate with other businesses, make contacts and discuss ideas, essentially if you can chat and develop a relationship with a business on LinkedIn what’s stopping you ringing or going into that company and making a pitch! It is a fantastic way to get a foot in the door! Flickr Flickr prides itself on being the best photo sharing platform on the web. Though not filled with text the site ranks highly with Yahoo and Google. For business use it is great to upload client logos, general images, your logos, screen shots, and any other company related images. It is so easy to use and will appear in the Google rankings! Simple, easy but definitely worth having! Google Buzz If you and you clients have a gmail account then Google Buzz is a great way for you to communicate, similar to msn chat, Google created Google Buzz to encourage users to chat, interact, share photos and information. Originally created to compete with the likes of Facebook Google Buzz hasn’t quite got there, however in the long run the more social networks your company is on the more places you can be found! MouthShut.com This ‘user generated content and consumer review site’ is a great researching tool for companies who would like to know what products are being received well by the general public. By going on there as a user you can interact with other members, discussing how to make products better, what is the overall opinion on products etc, with a vast range of products on the site it is an ideal way to gain that all important customer feedback. There are many more Social Networking sites that are useful for companies, to find out more about Social Media contact Jessica Husband on firstname.lastname@example.org .