You might often wonder if social media is really the place to advertise your business. The one nice thing about social networking is that when you advertise on any of the network sites, it can immediately identify both your markets, and your demographics. With the tools provided on so many websites, you can track your progress or lack thereof, and identify where you need to muster up your social networking.

If you are new to the franchise business and wonder how social media & networking, will affect your business, here are some stats to show you just how many potential customers/consumers you have at your fingertips.

• 1+ billion tweets per month on Twitter. Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging platform

• 400+ million active users on Facebook. It is the most widely used social network leveraging your social media

• 55 million registered users on LinkedIn presence is the largest professional networking platform on the web franchises to engage with a much broader audience

• 5+ billion video streams every month on YouTube is where many of the small business franchises gather the most. YouTube is the most expansive video sharing social media portal.

While these numbers will of course continue to change and impact both small and large businesses, it also puts the playing field on the same platform for both high volume and small retailers. When you go to the grocery store and see a comparison-shopping cart outlining the prices at the competitors stores, it may influence where you will shop next.

The internet and networking provides the opportunity to comparison shop in many ways. Social Media, Research, Many different websites; online shopping outlets, eBay, amazon, and the list goes on and on, in some way or another carries your information. The opportunities are endless. In addition, you have other “shoppers” telling you where the deals are, not just the owner of the businesses or the marketing guru’s.

In the franchise business, it is even easier to get your resources from social networking, and hundreds of other outlets for comparison-shopping.

For instance, if you go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, just to name a few, you can see what other people think about the brand. Cruise Planners/American Express is just such an example. You will see their logo all over the place with the hundreds of awards they receive year after year. You will see the impact that spreads from that by looking at the travel pages or agents who are also social networking. Then there are the travel agencies who are on all the social media sites…you will see Cruise Planners/American Express come up over and over again as you search the social networks.

The research is easy. The questions are right in front of you. The social media networking sites all over the place and do not forget that websites can provide you the information that you need instead of spending thousands of dollars in commercial advertising.