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January 15, 2013

40% of businesses now officially using social media for PR boost.

Jeffbullas.com articleWith the growth of social media, it seems that companies, not just individuals, are using sites such as Foursquare, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook in order to interact with the world.

A recent study by Investis has found that the number of UK companies with a social media presence has increased three-fold over the last year. Whereas last year, only 14% of FTSE listed corporations used social media, today this figure is up to 40%, and this is a trend which has been mirrored all over Europe. With companies now beginning to interact with the public in the right way, it allows greater interaction and therefore helps the companies to build and preserve their reputations with their customers. This follows the news published by Gartner that companies intend to increase their levels of digital marketing this year in order to help business.

It’s good to see more and more companies taking their digital reputations seriously, the days of the brochure website are now over.

The use of social media sites also allows the public to have a louder voice, which helps these corporations to adjust to the wants and needs of the person in the street. It also allows the companies to promote themselves, let others know about important news and also increase their target audience, which is a big PR boost to them. Hiscox has discussed the way that companies use social media and say that the main aim is to increase brand awareness, but the advantages are much more than this. Social media can also help sales drives, improve customer service and help search engine optimisation. As they now begin to realise that social media is a powerful PR tool, brands are taking advantage of this and improving themselves.

However, there are negatives to go along with the positives.

If misused, companies can easily damage their reputations by using social media. Sprout Social has discussed some of the mistakes that many well known brands have made, such as ignoring conversations, posting inappropriate material and swearing at other users, which can only be described as PR disasters.

Also, as previously discussed on our blog, the message being portrayed needs to be a powerful and persuasive one. A simple tweet or post will not necessarily influence readers.

Corporations using social media enables them to grow and this can only be a good thing for the economy. They can interact with everyone on social media sites and improve their relations with the public, which is a major positive. Whereas previously it may not have been so easy to achieve, now this can be done at the touch of a button, which highlights the benefits that websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have brought to businesses of all sizes.

I think the most suprising element of this research is that only 40% are now using social channels. We would have expected the percentage to be far higher. Do you think it will reach 60% next year or do you think we have reached the tipping point on companies using social media? Let me know in the comments.

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