What marketing tool allows you to bolster your list of contacts, expand your professional network, and browse for your ideal clients? The answer is Social Networking. The ability to market yourself and your services on a social network represents a key way to establish expertise in the field, attract new business, and connect with industry peers.

You may be scrambling to connect with enough prospects and customers to maintain your current level of business and expand it. With online networks, it’s possible to publish articles that display your industry knowledge and thought leadership. By doing this, you can establish a continual drip on your current clients and prospective customers in the pipeline, and the posts can help remind them of your presence.

A properly planned marketing activity calendar can make networking and client acquisition a much more efficient process. Although social media does require a time commitment in order for you to master the medium and create regular updates that keep you relevant, the technology allows you to do so from virtually anywhere. The investment of time may stay the same, but the results will improve and the legwork will decrease significantly.

Social networking platforms are fast becoming an essential tool in your marketing strategy. They offer a way to demonstrate expertise, nurture existing relationships, and develop new ones to drive new client acquisition and increased revenue. In addition, social networking profiles cut out some of the work, as your prospects have already offered information you need to know – work history, personal and professional interests and, more importantly, what circles they run in – empowering you to target the right people and achieve your business goals.

This major marketing tool may seem out of reach – either due to unfamiliarity with the channels, discomfort about what exactly to say or not knowing how to connect with prospects and COIs. However, there is no shortage of articles, case studies or presentations that will attest to the relevance of social media in today’s business environment. Ignoring business social media is no longer an option; marketing through digital channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter has become the norm.

In a recent article for the ABA Banking Journal, John Ginovsky cites KPMG research, which found that a large majority (70 percent) of businesses and organizations across the globe, including the BRIC markets, engage with clients and customers through social channels. Redefining performance is about seeking out new opportunities to build your business and expanding your network of clients and COIs. Developing an online presence should be part of your strategy. As you examine your five-, 10- or 15-year objectives for your organization and consider where the industry is headed, can your business afford to remain at a distance from social media?