Consider these facts. It took radio 38 years and TV 13 years to reach 50 million users. The Internet took four years to reach 50 million users and the ipod three years. ipod application downloads hit 1 billion in nine months. If Facebook were a country it would be the 4th largest in the world. The 4th LARGEST!

Why is social media important to you? Have you ever really thought about how much social media affects and benefits our daily lives? If you are already blogging or reading this blog, then chances are you have a Facebook account, you have an ipod, you may tweet, and perhaps I could find your business if I searched for it on LinkedIn.

Everyone from your average college student, parents and businesses use social media to connect and network. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have become especially useful tools in helping individuals and businesses market and reach out to large numbers of Facebook users and Tweeters. Through posting or tweeting updates and adding photos or videos, people and businesses can allow friends and other users to stay informed of their activities. It is crazy how many people are on Facebook and Twitter today. Just this morning I saw a commercial for a mattress company that asked viewers to friend and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. If you can even find a mattress company on these social media sites, then it is likely you can find almost anyone.

Small local businesses love these websites too. Twitterlocal, for example, helps users target certain demographics by searching a certain city for tweeters in that city. Have you played foursquare yet? Not the schoolyard game, but the genius social networking site. Foursquare was created only about nine months ago and already has nearly 1.3 million users. This website has helped companies create brand awareness by allowing users to “check-in” at different locations, and by earning points and “badges” for the number of times you check-in somewhere, users stay motivated to check out new venues. If a user checks in to a location more than anyone else, he can even become the mayor of that place. With 65 million registered users, LinkedIn is a fantastic professional networking site for businesses to reach out to people they know and trust, keep lists of contacts, or “connections,” research companies and upload resumes.

Every day new people join social networks. You do not need to be in PR or marketing to join and use social networks to benefit your business, in fact, every department of a business should be learning to use social networks. If you are not currently “linked in” or tweeting or connected through Facebook, it is not too late, and it may be the key you need to reach out to communicate and expand your business.