Advertising can be expensive, especially for a small business that is just finding its feet. A social media campaign however, will prove extremely cost-effective.

There are many platforms of social media, many of which are free and could prove vital for small to medium businesses and a good PR Company could help you to build your social media strategy plan.

It also means that your business does not need a website to be a name on the Internet. Social media sites are more attractive to the general public as they are extremely user-friendly. This optimises posts and makes it easier for people to take them in.

Social media can reach a worldwide audience and even eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings, saving both time and money.

The most renowned, effective and free networks are Facebook and Twitter. They are both global and commonplace amongst the human race.

Using such media allows the company to interact with potential clients and already established users on a personal and friendly level.  Not only do the profiles represent the company but give them credibility.

Social media is an excellent way to promote services, ideas and products instantly. It is also an opportunity to convey your brands personality.

If a business does have some kind of monetary budget then they may want to consider purchasing targeted advertising to build up an audience.

An inexpensive way to attract more Likes to a Facebook page is to host contests and giveaways, which people have to first Like the page before entering.

Businesses are able to receive feedback via comments quickly and efficiently, which is a huge advantage as it allows them to constantly improve.

The ‘hard-sell’ is not advisable as this method can come across as rigid, uncaring and sometimes even rude, which could damage the reputation of the business.

It is important that any profiles are updated regularly as infrequent posts make viewers question the reliability of the company.

When responding to user comments, it is important to remain professional and level-headed, whether they are positive or negative.

Replying to those who are willing to interact will reflect customer care and will encourage them to help your organisation in the future, especially when conducting research and spreading the word.

Being on Twitter does not automatically mean that you are expected to tweet 24/7. Companies can set up ‘Twitter Chats’ by inviting their connections to participate in conversation using tweets with a certain #hashtag to gain feedback.

Sharing articles and information that are relevant to the sector shows that companies are not just a faceless corporation and have a firm grasp and understanding of the world around them.

Liking, linking and sharing other pages can be advantageous. Offering to share someone else’s updates in return for the same can attract more people to view what you have to sell and also helps you build relationships.

Blogging can also cost nothing on sites such as Blogger/ Blogspot and WordPress. Writing about things that have been raised shows that the company cares. Basic SEO can draw people to the blog and adding a comments section encourages them to participate in discussions.

Offering an option to subscribe to monthly to an email marketing newsletter can also increase morale. It costs nothing but good English skills and the ability to follow instructions. MailChimp is an excellent site for setting up free email newsletters.

Another channel, which is not used as much by companies, is YouTube. This is suitable for videos such as a product being demonstrated and is the perfect place to showcase any advertising, case studies or testimonials. It can be easily linked to other networks.

Other social networks include LinkedIn and Google+, both of which are more suitable for direct business contacts.

Social networking presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses and, if managed correctly, can provide a major boost for their sales and reputation.

The effects are not to be under-estimated.