Marketing with social media is effective because it can help build or strengthen your connections with existing customers. Used properly, it can enhance your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) results and build a solid, loyal customer base.

There are plenty of reasons to improve your CRM, of course. The biggest is the cost factor. According to a study conducted by Market Metrics, it’s about six or seven times more cost effective to keep existing customers than to attract new ones. It’s also easier to convert them into sales.

Here are some ways your social media channels can help:

It helps you get to know your customers. Your web site is all business, but your social media pages can be more personal. It allows you to interact with customers—new and old alike—in a less formal way and learn things about them. These details can help you market to them more specifically and effectively and they also make for a better overall customer experience. Everyone wants to think they’re special when they come into your shop. It’s human nature.

Just don’t overdo it, and don’t ignore their interactions. You can also use sites like Clearbit to gather additional information on them for marketing purposes.

It helps you reach out or look them up on other social media channels. Visitors to your business web site are good, of course, but for the most part they are anonymous (unless they follow a link to sign up for your email list). When potential customers interact with you via Facebook or another channel, you can look them up and reach out to them on others, if you’re so inclined. You can even create a message that directs them to your other channels, depending on what they’re looking for. For example: “Thanks for reaching out to us on Facebook. If you’re looking for quite auto-repair tips, check out our video blog on YouTube.”

You can also use sites like Leadfeeder, which can help you track visitors by their business IP address. Just be careful not to be too invasive.

It makes you easier to find. The more options for customers to find you, the better. The key to this, however, is how active you are. You can’t just create a Facebook business page and let it sit, hoping it will turn up in a Facebook search or general Google search. Search engine algorithms prefer sites that are active, and that means you have to post regularly. Also, spring for a boosted post of Facebook ad every now and then. They’re relatively inexpensive and they can substantially expand—or target—your reach. Just make sure that it’s easy to get to your business site from your Facebook site.

Sites like Sproutsocial or Hootsuite will help you post to multiple channels at once, and keep track of your efforts.

It helps them, help you. Whether you’re paying attention or not, your customers are talking about you. More than 39% of U.S. adults have posted on social media about their experiences at a business—whether it’s good or bad. You’ll want to know both: if it’s bad, you need to address the issue publicly as quickly as you can. If it’s good, say thank you. A positive review on your Facebook page, Yelp or another online source is golden.

You should never give up on reaching new customers and converting them to new sales. But don’t overlook the stable of loyal supporters that have kept you afloat and brought others in through their good reviews. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!