Social media and social media marketing seem to be the buzzwords since the past couple of years. We hear a lot about ways that companies can use to tap social media communities and the strategies involve in building a following on social media platforms. In this article, I will try my best to help you as a small business owner on why you should adopt social media marketing.Reason #1 Huge Audience on Social Media PlatformsIf you don’t know about it yet, Facebook, the largest social networking site on the Internet, is growing by 600,000 users per day, yes, per DAY! Twitter, the microblogging platform turned social interaction site, grew by 600% in just 2008 alone and currently house 6 million registered members. Imagine just 1% of the users of these platforms talking about your small business.Also, these sites allow you to choose your target audience as they compartmentalize their users using interest groups and conversation topics so that you can narrow down your marketing efforts. Users of a social networking site are very participative and if integrated properly, your message can spread from users to users rapidly and the results might even outshine the effect of an expensive TV advertising campaign which is now being seen as an interruption for most.Reason #2 Low Cost Marketing and PR for Your Small BusinessTV ads and full page ads are not as effective for big corporations as they used to but still, marketing executives are paying for it. As for small business owners, people nowadays skip newspaper classifieds and don’t pay attention to Yellow Pages anymore so stop spending thousands in advertising budget on these mediums. Today, people are so busy and bored with advertising as well as marketing messages that they develop a ‘disease’ called advertisement blind.Instead, you should get onto social media communities and start interacting with your target market. Apart from doing so, you should spend time brainstorming for content ideas that are potentially viral in order to get people talking about you. Give away free helpful content on the Internet to position yourself as an expert. Trust will slowly build up as you become an active participant on social media platforms. All these do not require a huge amount of money.Reason #3 Crowdsourcing and Understanding the MarketUnlike Fortune 500 companies, small business owners always face difficulties in carrying out an effective market research due to the limitations in their budget. With social media, small business owners can learn about reactions of the market towards new product announcements by companies within the same industry. All they need to do is to browse through conversations on social media platforms!Apart from that, they can also utilize the platforms to gather ideas and suggestions on how they should improve their current line of products and services. Often times, people don’t tell companies what they are expecting via a contact form or an email because it is troublesome to get to the company site, find out where the contact form is and fill out a form with multiple fields. A tweet with 140 characters of less via Twitter will be much easier.