unsplash.com Brand awareness is the biggest buzzword in advertising. This is not a recent trend since brands have always existed. But, social media has added new challenges. What about telling your story? A personal story is always interesting. It provides credibility and creates loyalty for brands. One of the best ways to tell your story is social media. Over the past few years, social channels have become an important part of our lives, and this is one of the most powerful promotional tools for businesses(but who I am to explain you the things you already knew). Just think of it, every day, about 100 thousand people around the world use social networking sites for their own purposes. For businesses, this is great news, especially for those who plan to use social media as part of their marketing strategy. According to Statista, social networking is so powerful that the number of worldwide active users is expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020 or around a third of the Earth’s entire population. This sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Based on Sherpa Marketing research, more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities. On Instagram, 80 % of people follow at least one business or company.According to this data, the number of active social media users worldwide is 2.78 billion. Another driver of social media presence is video production. This segment is booming right now. More and more new brands are being turned to it. And its no surprise, as it is a good channel for gaining your product million of views.That’s why no surprise experts recommended businesses of almost all industries pay a great deal of attention to their social presence and start using it right now.Why does it matter? Brand ReputationUsing social channels, you as a business owner are able to see industry developments, respond to them and become the influence or expert in your specific field. This helps build relationships with your audience.Increase the trust of the brandA UK study from Trinity Mirror Solutions shows more than half of social users don't trust a brand until they see the brand is able to keep its promises.Social media help show the human side of your brand: your values, what you know about your customers and employees and how your product really works.Cost reductionSocial channels can be much cheaper than traditional promotional activities. The budget for social media presence is minimal. If you want to invest in paid advertising, you are able to spend as much or as little as your budget allows. Event the content side, at times you don't even need to hire a designer or social media marketing pro as there are services like Publbox that provide users with loads of ready-made visuals and text for posts, option to create a content strategy and many more. Website trafficYour content on social media can boost traffic to your website. Participating in different social chats or polls can increase online conversions and sales.Statistic There are plenty of special tools and services where you can easily determine and set up special tracking to see how much website traffic you receive from social media or by paid advertising. For instance, the Hootsuite service offers a special analytics system to analyze posts performance, which is very handy.What about the dark sides?Despite the positive points, social media has dark sides for businesses. Most companies that want to use social media may be unprepared. When they launch their social media presence without a proper strategy, they waste valuable time and money. This leads to bad results and mistakes. For example: - Bad social media strategy. Without a clear plan, you won't be able to achieve the desired results. Since you don't have a schedule of posts, you won’t learn anything about your audience, and social users may not be interested in your brand story. - Lack of video content. Digital video advertising and the content will dominate the next decade, so it's important to start incorporating it into your social media strategy. Here's what an expert and AdCel, CTO Denys Kravchenko has to say about it, "Here’s the thing: Social media networks are benefiting most from this continued growth, quickly becoming some of the biggest marketing gold mines out there. All the astonishing statistics of social media marketing I've found a point to the industry moving toward video at an increasing pace. People recall six times the amount of information from a video than from text. Video gets three times as many shares as text and images combined. Platforms that offer this type of advertising seem to be set to thrive in the future. Many brands enter paid social without one and get frustrated when they don’t get immediate returns because they’re unaware of how competitive it actually is versus a couple of years ago."- Additional resources. Most likely, you need to have additional resources to manage your social media presence, for content creation and to respond to feedback, if you want to see real benefits from the work. - Risks. An online presence can attract potential risks like negative feedback, information leaks and hacking.Of course, these mistakes can be avoided if you are ready, have a clear plan and use the right tool. But sometimes, companies forget about these and put their reputations at risk. There are a lot of companies which provide special applications, programs, and services for social networks and can help create an online presence in a few steps. Social media is a two-way street. As with any relationship, if you want to get great results, you should give more than you take.