It’s not optional. You must use the Internet to effectively communicate with your customers. That means implementing a communication strategy which has the potential to increase awareness, to drive customers to your website, and, ultimately, to build your business.  Below are five basic steps which will help you use Internet to improve your business’ communication.

1. Set clear communication goals.  What does your business need to communicate? Setting clear communication goals is key to using communications to your advantage. Without goals your communications will be unfocused and ineffective.

2. Understand communication methods. There are many methods of communication out there. Understanding what is right for you is an important step after setting your goals. Is social media right for you? What about distributing newsletters? Understanding methods of communication is the first step in connecting with your audience.

3. Blog. Blogging is one of the most basic forms of modern communication and allows you to connect with your community. While blogging is a part of social media, it is also an easy way to update your customers with news and essential information about your business.

4. Introduce social media training. Social media is not for everyone; however businesses need to be aware of social media options. From Twitter to Facebook to Linkedin, social media can be an indispensible tool, if used properly. It is important to understand what forms of communication your customers use before jumping into social media platforms. With that in mind, you can’t use something to your advantage if you or your employees don’t understand it. Set up a quick social media training session to introduce social media channels and how to use them properly.

5. Monitor your reputation and engage your customers. This is one of the simplest, yet undervalued tools to improving your communications. Chances are if you are a business, you are being talked about online. It’s important to monitor what’s being said about your business and just as important to be a part of the conversation. Let your customers know that you are proactive and part of the community by being involved online. Google Alerts is a quick and simple way to monitor your reputation online.