by Megan Crowder, Marshall Communications Account Coordinator

Social media keywords on a blackboardIf it’s not already, social media should be top of mind when it comes to creating and implementing a successful marketing plan. With the advent of the internet and the growing number of users, once social media was introduced its use exploded. Social media encompasses everything from blog posts, forums, business networks, web gaming, photo sharing, apps, vlogs, video sharing applications and more, and it’s expanding daily.

According to, there are 2.34 billion active social network users worldwide, with 78 percent of the U.S. population having a social network profile. With the number of users populating these platforms daily, it is a disadvantage to your business if you aren’t leveraging at least one venue on social media. If the number of users isn’t enough to win you over to the necessity of adding social media to your marketing plan, here are a few benefits that may catch your attention.

It enhances your brand and drives traffic

Your business website should be up to date and populated frequently, however, updates shouldn’t be done daily. That’s why being active on social media platforms is helpful for keeping your followers and customers updated on what’s new and happening for your business. Sharing photos, videos and posts about daily updates, and new products, or simply testimonials and team stories, is a great way to show your brand personality and enhance your brand recognition. Posts can also include links back to your website to help generate traffic.

If you have a website, which hopefully you do, it’s not doing you much good if no one visits it. Having a solid and consistent social media presence, with links driving users to the pages you want them to visit, is key to generating traffic.

It’s a tool to help build relationships with key influencers

Social media lets you see what your target audience is talking about, liking, commenting on and sharing with their friends. Social media marketing is a two-way communication tool rather than a one-way communication tool that consists of selling to rather than talking with. On social, businesses have the capability to have a conversation with potential customers and build relationships that will gain customer trust.

By monitoring your social activity, you can see which posts get the most reaction from your target audience. Responding with a simple comment, like or question can start a conversation and bring recognition to your brand, and it also lead to you becoming known as a reputable source.

It helps maintain your brand image

Being active with responding on social media will help place your brand into the category of being known as a trusted company and a resource. Customers will know they can reach out to your brand via social media and get a quick response with an answer, a link to more information, or a referral to someone who can help.

By engaging and interacting, customers will become fans of your business. They will then make your work easier by sharing by word-of-mouth to their friends about your brand because of the positive experiences they’ve had. Also, it’s a great way to collect brand content such as photos and videos by encouraging fans to share their user-generated content with you, which in the long run will give you access to content that prospective customers love to see. On social, people love to see what other people have to say about your brand, not necessarily what you/your brand has to say.

It gives you a leg up on your competitors

Being known as an active brand that’s trustworthy and helpful on social before your competitors are is key to gaining the spotlight. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your competitors, to monitor what they’re doing and see how you can do it better. Being creative, clever and ever changing is a great way to stay ahead of the competition. Social media is constantly changing and being on top of the latest trends will give you a leg up on your competitors. Also, it’s always a good idea to monitor news within your industry to see where you can interject your brand name. If something is trending within your industry, social is an easy way to shine the spotlight on yourself by adding your brand into the mix to leverage that trend.

Three words: ROI

Budget plays a strong role in any marketing strategy and when something is free, it’s hard to pass up. That’s right, social media is free, at least in a monetary sense, and if you handle your own social media management. However, time is also costly in the business world. Your social media management can be done by hiring a PR agency—like Marshall Communications—if you’re willing to make the investment. There is also a cost to social when you run social media advertisements, which are very targeted, however, and a great return on investment. Because of the targeting tools for advertising on social, it’s well worth the investment, and you’re able to reach your target market more effectively.

With social media playing such a huge role in everyone’s lives today, it’s the go-to place as a source of information. That’s why it’s good to stay in front of your target market with your products so that potential customers will have your brand in their mind when they’re ready to purchase.

Social is also place to find customers you didn’t know existed. By monitoring and reaching out to people based on interest, you will find that making your brand known will lead you to customers who you may have never thought of before.

Make your brand known, it’s important!

Do you want your business to be a known brand? When a customer needs advice or a source, don’t you want to be there to provide them with the best answers? Brand representation is more difficult to do without being present on social. Making social media a priority in your marketing strategy is key because it will drive results and give your business access to the benefits listed above.