Four reasons to add social media to your marketing plan

The use of social media in businesses has rocketed over the last few years as it is a great way to communicate with a wide audience. If you're not an active user you could be missing out on vital chances to communicate with your clients.

1. The easy way to reach a wide audience

Signing up for social media accounts is free and simple to set up. All you need is an email address and ideas on what to post. With a constantly expanding audience (38 million in the UK) and the average time spent on social media increasing (2 hours 13 minutes per day), embracing this marketing channel will allow you to stand next to bigger businesses and share news and knowledge from your company.

2. Be recognised as an expert in your field

Posting to your social media channels allows you to create an online personality and establish a first impression for your brand. For businesses, this can be very beneficial as developing a knowledgeable voice can aid your reputation as a trusted company and source of information. An example of how to do this is to post technical content and links to news articles. This shows that you are up to date on the latest developments in your industry and would not refer to out of date information when dealing with clients. When you read articles online, there's often an option to share to your social media profile - this is an easy way to share content with your followers.

Don't forget, your online presence is like meeting someone for the first time, but in an online environment. What do you want your contacts to think about your company? If you are approachable and outgoing on social media, they will be more at ease and more likely to return to you in the future.

3. Customer service tool

In business, nothing matters more than your reputation. Social media allows you to connect with your clients and contacts outside your office while, most importantly, giving them a comfortable choice in how to communicate with you. Whether commenting on a news article you have tweeted, retweeting a useful fact or giving your firm some feedback, it is engagement your company may not have received previously. Complaints are always an upsetting occurrence, but using social media to respond in a timely and useful manner will often be the detail that is remembered when the incident is reflected upon.

4. Improved website traffic

Your website is the place that thoroughly reflects your company's brand and offering, so why not encourage more people to visit? If your website contains helpful resources and product information, you should communicate this to your audience to enable them to use your website as a hub of information. While they are on your website, they can find out more information about other elements of your business and may contact you.

Linking to your website can also help improve your search engine optimisation, to aid you in climbing towards the top of search engines such as Google and Bing. Search engines are constantly developing to make sure the best and most relevant results are being found, and social media is now being used to find quality content that users are engaging with. Creating and sharing content and links to your website on these platforms will send a signal to search engines that people like what you are saying and this is a reason your site should be ranked higher than competitors.