If the past ten years were all about transforming communication into a mobile platform — via text messaging, instant messages, and video calling — this decade is all about communicating via social media.

Social media services are aiding a generational shift in the way people view each other, and in the way they view their favorite brands and websites.

For this reason, it is essential to embrace social media as an essential tool for the promotional and brand-building process.

There are five distinct reasons that both blogs and businesses should embrace social media platforms.

1. Social Media is an Advertising Platform

Social media is often thought of as a way that people waste time at work, bide their time at home on the sofa, or communicate with long lost classmates.

That might all be true, but it also functions as one of the most lucrative advertising opportunities online. Facebook’s social advertising platform, combined with Twitter’s “featured tweets” and built-in advertisements, offers businesses and blogs a way to pinpoint future customers that they’ve never before enjoyed.

These services can display ads only to the people most likely to click them — far better than Google’s “relevant keyword” AdWords system — and ensure a much better return on investment than prior, non-social platforms ever did.

is Social Media Essential

2. Direct Communication with Customers Humanizes Business

Before social media platforms revolutionized business, corporations of all sizes were largely viewed as far-off monoliths. Their employees and executives were off-limits, and customers had very little say — if any — about where the company was headed or what products it should unveil next.

That is no longer the case. Social media allows companies to interact directly with their customers, and this actually helps to develop a more solid and stable relationship between the corporation and the consumer.

When consumers view a company through a social media lens, their view changes and their harsh opinions soften. That, overall, is good for business.

3. Marketing is Consistent and Automatic

Believe it or not, social media platforms allow companies to schedule their status updates to be posted in the future.

That means companies can plan their status updates as far in advance as they plan their marketing campaigns, and ensure that customers are treated to a consistent brand message and promotional approach across all of their various communication and entertainment platforms.

It gives the company a pre-scheduled soap box, and customers subscribed to the company’s updates are more than willing to listen.

4. Social Media Helps to Grow a Business

It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners; it took Facebook just nine months to increase its subscribed users by that much.

Social media is growing exponentially, and it is growing worldwide. A company or blog who wishes to tap a vast number of new readers or buyers is only a Facebook account away from delivering their marketing message and product line to hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is an unparalleled force in growth, and it can work with a business’ existing marketing strategy.

5. It’s Simple — for Both Sides

Social networks are easy to use, whether it’s a business customer posting marketing messages or an everyday user reading the updates of their favorite friend, celebrity, or brand.

Websites of various companies offer vary in usability and utility, but social networking unifies them all under the website’s interface and usability umbrella. This makes it easier for customers to access a company’s message — and easier for a company to share that message with them.

Social Media is Here to Stay

Once viewed as a passing fad, social media seems poised to become as permanent in the human communications realm as radio, television, text messaging, and snail mail.

This industry of exponential growth is a treasure trove for businesses to get their message out, reach consumers, and become a more personable enterprise on all fronts.