Besides for recreational purposes, social media can offer you so many benefits to your career and help you prospect for new clients. Here’s why:

1. Establishes your brand. Use Twitter for more than just finding out the latest gossip. Provide valuable information to your followers, such as insider financial tips. When done in 140 characters or less, your followers are likely pass along these tips to their followers, which means greater awareness of your company.

2. Everyone is doing it. People want to check credibility and quickly connect with their advisors. Having your own Facebook fan page as a business allows interested clients to read your posts, ask you questions and receive a quick response. This type of one-on-one interaction is one of the easiest ways to secure new client relationships in a fraction of the time as traditional networking.

3. Creates a level playing field. The Internet is the great equalizer, which means small businesses have just as much of a chance at success as big companies. It’s all about the way you network, advertise and reach out to people. If you work independently, interacting with clients online gives you as much impact as your larger competition without having to spend the big advertising dollars.

4. Synergize your social media profiles with your website. If you have a blog and a website, which you absolutely should, these can be linked to all of your online profiles, and you can also have buttons on your website and blog for visitors to follow you on Twitter and Facebook. Also, every blog post can be updated on Facebook and Twitter, generating maximum exposure for your business on all of your social media profiles.

5. You become the expert. Anyone and everyone today can have their own social media profile, so you must set yourself apart. Establish yourself as an expert in your industry by joining groups on LinkedIn, participating in forum discussions, and answering client questions on Facebook and Twitter. When people see you know the industry, they are be more likely to refer you, repost and retweet your information to their friends and followers.

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Bethany Ramos is an expert in social media and Internet marketing, which she uses daily for her own business at The Coffee Bump. Check out her website today at http://www.thecoffeebump.com.