Whenever we turn on our PC, just several minutes of surfing or everyday conversation can quickly lead us to the words Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook (probably the only 'book' many of us seem to read these days). Social media sites offer a viral way of networking via the clever use of online tools and are used by almost everyone from the ages of 13 to 65. They provide a technological approach to worldwide human interaction and create myriads of online communities.

We either love them or loath them but when we look back at the old fashioned way of marketing a business or interacting with clients by email, it is easy to see why these sites have expanded so rapidly in just a short space of time.

They offer the flexibility of being able to post up to date content in a jiffy - not only that, e-mail marketing has pretty much had its day and has been swamped by an overwhelming influx of spam which makes people dread checking their mail. However, people rarely hesitate to log onto Twitter or Facebook. These sites are the way forward as they offer a subtle form of marketing where businesses can promote their goods and services with pictures or by drawing in the attention with new and upcoming promotions or events. Now has never been a better time for businesses to jump on the social media bandwagon and reap the massive benefits that they offer.

A great example of the way these sites can be exploited was found when Burger King launched an advertising scheme on Facebook titled 'Sacrifice Ten Friends'. The application asked members to delete ten friends from their Facebook account in return for a free Whopper. How many did the dastardly deed? Over 20,000 people pressed the delete button on their friends which clawed in a massive surge of customers for Burger King and topped them some huge publicity. Facebook may not have fared so well but the point being is that social media sites can open a doorway to success which can be achieved by anyone who is able to come up with innovative ideas and are prepared to promote them.

Another advantage to these sites is that they offer unlimited free promotional exposure. No more having to put your ideas on the backburner whilst you persuade the bank manager for an advertising loan. Perfect for companies who are looking for savings in these tough economic times. Plainly put, if you want to advertise and reach millions upon millions of prospective clients from all walks of life then social media sites are the way to go. In days gone by, people relied upon word of mouth for good recommendations, today this still applies in the form of social media sites. In fact today it is even better because people can post links on their Facebook accounts which often get repeated and repeated endlessly, ad infinitum.

In today's world of business, interactivity is of vital importance. Social media sites bridge the gap between the businessman and customer so as clients can write on the walls of businesses or learn about up and coming sales. Vice versa, businesses can converse with these clients on a more personal level and find out what their customers like or dislike about their company or products. Twitter is particularly good in this arena as quick one liner questions such as "Did you all enjoy last week's sale?" or, "Any suggestions on how we can improve our company?" promote the kind of responses that can be acted upon to make businesses strengthen and grow.

If the idea of social networking has started the inspirational wheels turning in your mind, why not delve into it further. These sites are quick and easy to set up but they do require a great deal of time and effort. Your site will need to be constantly maintained and updated which will involve continuous posts and replying to comments with speed and accuracy etc. To make your business successful you need to have a constant flow of customer interaction. It is not enough just to have an online presence; people need to know that you are out there and that you really do mean business.