When Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village,” it was clear that the former Canadian English professor was on to something. The term refers to the idea that the Internet is just a big community that spreads throughout the world.

In a matter of seconds, anyone with Internet access can connect with someone anywhere in the world without issue. Even 15 years ago, people could only use a slow computer with a poor connection to talk to people over the Internet. Now, it’s possible to do it on many different devices anywhere on the go.

The Internet brings unlikely groups together, to create plans, to raise money and, especially, build your business. People have always made efforts to connect with other humans all over the world. In the early days, the Internet was used to help build a community and now people are messaging each other about going to Taco Bell for dinner. But these days, if you’re not on social media, you’re still living in the dark ages from centuries ago.

Ten years ago, very few companies used Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace effectively to help promote their brand. Usually, it was reserved more for college students and other young adults. But now, if you don’t have social media, you’re missing out on millions of potential leads.

Instead of just spending a portion of an advertising budget targeting certain areas, you can post something on Twitter and spread all over the Internet in a matter of seconds. PR firms are great for press releases and such, but those messages only hit a certain amount of people. If the media don’t spread your message, or people don’t check out your website, that’s a lot of missed traffic. With social media, your followers are your best ambassadors: if they like your content, they’ll share it.

According to Regina Luttrell in her book Social Media, if Facebook were its own country, “it would be the third most populated in the world based on the size of its user base.” This colossal base gives the network tremendous power and empowers people who would not have a reach before. There are many people who have their posts go viral on Facebook, reaching mass audiences quickly to get a message across as far as possible. If your brand has any sort of following, that can translate into success in the market extremely quickly, especially if you keep up with all the trends.

In reality, many customer service departments scare the average person. In many cases, they may not get the answers they want and leave unsatisfied, so they prefer not to call or wait for an email. That’s why a lot people find comfort in the idea of tweeting the official Twitter account or messaging a Facebook page for help instead. This is another effective method to keep customers in the know as quick as possible. With the number of pages that people follow on the internet, they won’t be checking for answers to questions and news updates on your website everyday. By posting on social media, your potential customers can see updates at any point they wish without having to actively search for the info.

If they have questions, they can just message the page and if the company handles social media properly, they’ll get a response promptly and be satisfied. That can be very useful to not only the person who received the answer, but to anyone else who may see what the result is and avoid asking the same question again in the future.

Being able to interact with your audience directly at any point often results in more support. People are much more receptive to a company with a voice and that produces relatable social media content. This can help your reputation skyrocket and you can gain real customer insights without having to conduct a study or wait for results over time.

Putting you in touch with the consumer in real time is a marketing technique that many large companies understand and use to their advantage in growing their brand online. Keeping up to date with everything on the Internet is extremely vital to successful growth.

Buying a small ad in a newspaper will no longer have the same impact as it once did. Now, you need to take your talents to the Internet and activate accounts on every single social media platform possible. The mass population has migrated online and if you want your company to thrive, it’s time to take advantage of it, no matter who you are or the size of your company.