The internet is a vital tool in helping any start-up business to get off the ground, but simply having a basic website and a minimal social media presence  might not be sufficient enough.

Most successful companies make the most of what getting online has to offer, but how can your company emulate or even better them? Here are four online habits your business must follow when online:

1. Include social media in your marketing strategy, it’s almost a must!

Recently, it was revealed that 72.5% of people in the UK use social media. This shows that having a presence on Twitter, Facebook et al is imperative, especially if you need to market your products or services on the cheap.

Setting up a Twitter account or a page on Facebook, Google Plus or Instagram doesn’t cost a thing, plus the ability to talk to customers via these channels is priceless.

Do not just set up social accounts but maintain them, share information freely to educate and inform your customers. It’s also crucial to listen to comments and suggestions from your customers.

Measure your social presence on all the social platforms and focus on a few ones you can use to your advantage. If your customers are responding better on Twitter, you should give a lot attention to your Twitter account and share more. Take time to listen and respond as needed.

2. Consider who uses which channels

Some social media sites prove more popular with certain demographics. The ones you use more effectively should be tailored to your target audience. The more visually aesthetic sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are most popular with women, whereas the more functional and business-like social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are most popular with men.

3. Traditional media could still be relevant, depending on your business

The internet’s growth in popularity has been rapid. So much so in fact that most of us tend to head online to get in touch with those we love or need to talk to.

It also seems like most of us log on to an internet-enabled device to get our fix of the latest news – 86% of people get their news from online. Meanwhile, 47% of people claim that they access the web with another device while watching TV.

Checking how you use traditional media to push your products/services is imperative. While traditional media still has its purposes for advertising, consider how much it’s actually worth, and whether old or new offers the greater value for money.

Right now, it seems that new media is the most effective. Find out which new media platforms you can better leverage for your business and make the most of it.

4. Assess your communication with the wider world

Communication is at the heart of any successful business, but the proliferation of instant messaging sites and mobile apps, coupled with the rise of social media has made it easier than ever for customers and employees to get in touch with your company.

Instant messaging in particular has proved popular – in 2012, 19m messages a day were sent this way.

Twitter is useful for communicating with customers, as it’s quick and easy to use. It’s also great at helping to generate publicity for your fledgling business, as around 400m Tweets are published every day.