In the world of internet marketing, social media has become a huge trend. It's not surprising either because social media is exceptionally valuable for business. Never before has communication been so open between brands and consumers. If you have a customer service complaint, you can reach out to your favorite brand pretty easily. If you like something or want to see more of a product, you can send a tweet in about three seconds. So, it's pretty obvious that the value of social media transcends marketing, revenue, and other big business objectives. Most importantly, social media bridges the gap between consumers and businesses.

In today's social media space, brands are creating building blocks for new marketing directions. They have all kinds of incentives for you to follow them on Twitter or "like" them on Facebook. Here are six reasons why you should listen:

1. You get to voice your opinion.
Calling a phone number, writing a letter, taking a survey, and filling out forms is extremely time consuming. There are always long lines, and ultimately, as a consumer, you're never sure about whether a real human being will see your feedback. In contrast, tweets and Facebook comments only take a few seconds, and they are usually part of your everyday routine. Best of all, there's a face and voice behind every Facebook page or Twitter feed. Somebody's actually listening.

2. Social media streamlines confusion.
Communication is always tricky. As a brand, it's tough to write a message in a way that appeals to a wide group of people, and inevitably, people will be confused. If you find yourself confused about a deal, discount, or promotion, you can ask for clarification via Facebook or Twitter. This will save you from time-consuming Internet research. Even better, you won't have to spend your morning on the phone and on-hold with customer service. You can multitask.

3. You'll find out about promotions and deals with very little effort.
The deals will come to you through a newsfeed that you already read, and ultimately, you control who does and who doesn't populate your network. It's a great way to find out about the promotions, offers, and deals that you actually want, especially if you're a busy person. (Twitter and Facebook can actually help your wallet. Check out Social Networking Your Way To More Money.)

4. You'll know about giveaways and contests.
Brands have discovered that giveaways and contests are great ways to create buzz. Better yet, with so many giveaways, basic principles of math tell us that there's a realistic probably of winning. Invest as little and as much time as you'd like.

5. You learn something new about how to make the most out of a new product.
Good products are important to consumers, and as a consumer, you want to make the most out of what you have. Typically, brands provide tips in their social media feeds to help you learn how to use a product. You might even learn to rethink that product in a new way. (Can tweeting help your stock picks? Find out more in Twitter: The Newest Stock Market Indicator.)

6. You won't have to deal with email spam.
Over time, as you give more brands your email address, your email inbox will become increasingly cluttered. Who in the world has time to deal with this? Instead of feeling bombarded, set yourself up on social media to receive casual updates.

The Bottom Line
Social media is valuable for business, but it's even more important for consumers. Listen to the buzz, and extract all the value that you can find. Find a way to benefit from following your favorite brands because ultimately, that's what's most important.

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