These days, businesses of all sizes can benefit greatly from having an online social media presence. Not only is social media free or very cheap for a business to utilize, it is a wonderful and effective way of reaching a large audience of clients and potential customers. Of course, business owners are not always confident when it comes to using social media for company purposes, which is why there are still many businesses out there that are failing to utilize it to their advantage. Fortunately, there are some tips that any business owner can use to build a social media presence. 1. Realize the Commitment For starters, it is important for any business owner to understand the amount of time and effort needed to run a company social media page. These people should be ready to invest many hours each week updating and maintaining the social media page. Failure to do so can lead to people believing the company has shut down based on the social media page's inactivity. Users will expect to see constant updates in order to consider the page relevant. For this reason, many business owners end up hiring their own social media specialists to take on this important role within the company. 2. Get Started with an Account For smaller businesses, however, hiring a consultant to focus on the company's social media may not yet be an option. In such situations, it is a good idea for the business owner to take on the project in its initial stages. This includes starting the social media accounts for the business itself. These days, there are many social media outlets businesses can take advantage of, but Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular and effective. Therefore, creating business accounts on these websites by using the name of the company to register is important. The registration processes with both websites are very similar, but the interface of the sites themselves can vary greatly. For this reason, it is wise to browse the "FAQ" on each site and learn how to use it in general terms before moving on. 3. Build a Profile One of the most important aspects of a business using social media is building a great profile. A good profile will tell the user almost everything he or she wants to know about the company. This includes who they are, what they do, what their values are and where they are located. In order for a user to identify with a company, they must feel as though they know both the company and the employees personally. Therefore, upon building a solid profile, begin to post statuses and updates about what is going on within the business. 4. Promote, Promote, Promote Both Facebook and Twitter offer options for promoting one's posts to reach a greater audience. This can be done for pennies or dollars per day, depending on the specific target that a particular company wishes to reach. This is a great way to share your updates with a greater audience, and you’ll have a better chance of people sharing the page, "liking" the page or retweeting an update. From there, the cycle perpetuates as friends of friends see these pages and word spreads. Holding special contests and promotions exclusively for social media followers and friends is also a great way to promote one's business at a very little cost. As you can see, there are a number of ways you can use social media to your business' advantage. Be sure to give some or all of these a try today.