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If you follow us on Twitter – @Peppertweets – you’ll already know we’re social media lovers and keep our followers up-to-date with musings about life at a creative and PR agency with daily tweets.

We’re passionate about the benefits of social media and one of the first things we do when talking to a company about their PR campaign is highlight the importance of investing in a social media strategy, and the real and measurable benefits that this can bring.

Over the past few years social media has changed the way our entire society functions. There’s no denying that search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) campaigns play a key role in the success of a company’s online profile, but they are no substitute for communicating directly with the public via social media platforms.

Many companies currently delegate such tasks to social media savvy employees, but to really make an impression across the likes of Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus and YouTube, as well as Twitter, they need to invest in a well-planned and targeted strategy. Helping with everything from lead generation to customer support and product research, here’s why social media is so important:

  • Improved social signals.  Much like an SEO campaign, footprints on social media platforms help your ranking on sites such as Google and Bing. These search engines use data from the likes of Facebook and Twitter to determine where your website should be ranked. The more comments, likes, pins and views you receive, the higher your site will place.
  • Improved brand awareness and company branding. Maintaining a presence across a range of social media sites helps to increase your brand awareness by building a direct relationship with consumers.  Making sure you use the right tone for your company will reinforce your company’s personality and will help you reach an appropriate and engaged audience.
  • Access to a greater audience. According to a 2013 report from eMarketer, nearly one in four people across the world use some form of social media, with this number set to increase to 2.55 billion users by 2017. Having access to this number of consumers is unmatchable by any other activity in terms of time and cost, so making use of it is a must for anyone looking to build their business. Making sure you include links to your website on social media sites will also help drive clicks and conversions from this huge audience.
  • Word-of-mouth advertising. There’s no better way for someone to know how great your company is than by reading a testimony from another consumer. Having somewhere for these comments to be published, read and retweeted reduces the need for you to have a large advertising budget, as a lot of it is done for you.
  • Crisis management. Similarly to word-of-mouth advertising, social media is a great crisis management tool. By keeping on top of your profiles, social media helps you to quickly inform and help customers who may have encountered problems with your product or service – enabling you to keep on top of rumours and complaints.

If you don’t feel like you’re ready to invest in a social media strategy just yet, here are a few pointers for how you can get started on your own:

  • Who are you following on Twitter? Make sure you’re following the key decision makers in your sector, as well as relevant journalists and news platforms. This will make sure you’re kept abreast of important news, as it breaks, on the most reactive platform.
  • Is your social media presence consistent? If you have profiles across a range of social media platforms, it’s really important to make sure they’re consistent. Picking an easily recognisable username, profile picture and bio will consolidate your company branding, and make you easily traceable for consumers and journalists alike.
  • Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? With over 238 million users, LinkedIn is one of the largest sites for content creation and curation for professionals. Making sure your employees’ profiles are accurate and informative will help journalists and bloggers to find and connect with your business quickly.
  • Do you review your social media accounts regularly? Make sure your social media platform is a resource for both consumers and journalists. By checking your accounts on a regular basis you can quickly respond to requests and queries, helping to improve customer loyalty and making sure you’re responding to any journalist requests as quickly as possible – you wouldn’t want to miss a career defining opportunity!
  • Is your content platform specific? One thing your followers will hate to see is regurgitated content spread over numerous social media platforms. If you have a profile on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, make sure your content is site specific, ignoring the temptation to automatically link the content. Consider your target audience and make the most out of each following.

From LinkedIn updates, Twitter planners, Facebook posts and YouTube videos, we provide a full mix of social media guidance for a range of our B2B and B2C clients. Think a social media campaign might be the one thing you’re missing? Let’s chat and we’ll see how we can shake it up for you!