I previously mapped out how to be more effective with your social media efforts, but how can a business benefit from all of this effort? Social media is a direct offshoot of local search and is the modern equivalent to word-of-mouth advertising. Both users and search engines are taking notice making social media an increasingly vital element to any marketing strategy.

Growing Your Online Presence

With the addition of social media into your marketing strategies you create the opportunity to increase your visibility in the search engines. By generating branded accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like you ensure that your business is clearly visible to people who may be searching for your business online.

With the introduction of Google+ and Google Search Plus Your World there is an even great opportunity to get your content found and quickly indexed and it may even influence a followers search results. Though Search Plus Your World doesn't seem to be impacting local search currently, it's only a matter of time before the influence is felt in local search spaces. Early adopters who build authority now have the opportunity to come out ahead as Search Plus Your World impacts more queries.

Aiding In Your Local Search Efforts

Social signals, especially from Google+ and the +1 button are definitely being taken into consideration when it comes to ranking content in Google's search results. The addition of increased likes, retweets, and an engaged social presence could improve your local search efforts even further. Additional signals from social sites like Yelp also act as citations for your local business helping to solidify your physical location in the eyes of the search engines as well as increase reviews for your business, which are definitely a factor when it comes to online rankings.

Building Community

In addition to helping with your online presence from a search engine standpoint, social media can help increase the overall community surrounding your business. The social web creates a unique opportunity for friends to stumple upon the things their friends like and dislike, ultimately influencing their decisions on everything from where to shop to what Chinese food restaurant to eat at for dinner. A strong social presence can not only help foster lasting relationships with your existing customer base, but it creates a ripple effect that can generate new customers and fans of your business.

Social media also creates a unique opportunity for your business to interact and engage other businesses within your community. This helps not only to support local commerce, but can generate new partnerships, business relationship and oftentimes referral business.

It used to be that if a business didn't have a website they were behind the times, now it seems that if you aren't engaging on social networks you are behind the times. Though time consuming social media can provide a significant return not only in new business but in the form of improved SEO results.