Once upon a time calling long distance wasn’t feasible for the average Joe, dinosaurs roamed the earth, women couldn’t vote and there was no Internet. It’s hard to believe there was a time before Google, but indeed there was.

It seems like only yesterday that business owners were being encouraged to get a website, which was a pretty hard sell for most since the Internet was so new and because a website cost tens of thousands of dollars way back when…in the early 90s.

Today, though, all that’s different. You can get a website designed for practically nothing, but it won’t do a lick of good if all you do is give it a home in cyberspace and call it your online marketing strategy. Nope. Having a website just isn’t enough. Today, every small business owner needs a social media strategy. It’s non-negotiable. Here are five reasons why:

1. You’re competing with the whole world. In 2009, you don’t just have to worry about local competitors. You’re competing with the entire world – location really doesn’t matter anymore. (If you don’t get that, then you really, really need to be on those social media sites.) The only way you can compete in this global marketplace is with a full-fledged social media strategy. One that will drive traffic to your website and to allow you to make meaningful business connections with those interested in your product or service – before they make friends with your competitors.

2. Everyone else jumped off the bridge already. Remember when you were a kid and you really wanted to go to the party everyone else was going to and your parents asked you if everyone else jumped off the bridge if you would too…and you said yes? Well, kids, everyone else has jumped off this bridge, so to speak. Your biggest competitors are active in social media. That’s what makes them your biggest competitors. Get it?

3. Zero cost marketing. A free, effective marketing technique aimed at your ideal customers. You define who you want to connect with and then you connect with them. Um, do we need to give you any more reasons here?

4. Social Media is 100% Targeted. If you have a certain market in mind that you want to connect with, then you connect with that market on social media sites. It’s easiest to compare this to the traditional postcard or direct mail methods of marketing. Remember that? You picked a street or city and sent out postcards. Who knows how many homes you targeted had your ideal customer inside? With social media, you can handpick your connections, or “friends”. Handpicked prospects. That’s going to give you a much better chance of hitting the proverbial bulls eye, dontcha think?

5. Your customers want you to. Unless your target market is made up of a group of people who hate computers (in which case I have to question why you’re reading this article), your customers want to be interacting with you online. To tell you the truth, people are talking about your business right now. Really, they are. Somewhere, someone wants you to respond. They want you to address their concerns or reward them for praising you. Your customers want to see the real face behind your business. And don’t you want to give your customers, past, present and future, what they want?

Author's Bio: 

If you’re an entrepreneur who knows you should be active in social media but have no idea where to start, there’s a new social media training program for you. Project Social Media was developed by Social Media Specialist, Rebecca Zwar, and it can help any entrepreneur establish an impressive online presence and powerful social media strategy even if you have only five minutes a day to commit.