As the economic recovery in the UK continues to gather pace, so too start-up activity is beginning to intensify nationwide. While this increase is at least partially due to the presence of a more stable economic back-drop, however, the falling cost of starting a business venture has also removed many of the traditional barriers to entry that face aspiring entrepreneurs.

According to the Daily Telegraph, 49% of all small businesses in the UK were able to launch with under £2,000 investment. Nearly one in ten start-ups required no investment at all, which means that the current business market is now increasingly accessible to entrepreneurial individuals with a great idea and an innate determination.

–Social media is here to stay!

Another key reason behind the success of low-cost start-ups is the changing nature of media, which has evolved far beyond traditional print publications and press releases. More specifically, social media has become the key driver of company communications in 2013, as resources such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide free access to a vast and global target audience.

This means that small and independent businesses can compete with more established firms, without being forced to invest heavily or spend outside of their means. So even if your business has a relatively small marketing and public relations budget, it is easier to make this go further through the use of social media.

While you can strive to engage your target audience in real time and across a multitude of mediums, there is still the opportunity to invest in well-crafted press releases and other innovative marketing strategies . This helps you to create an integrated marketing and public relations approach, which enables you to reach as wide a target audience as possible.

Social media can effectively be used for business communication and marketing and you can combine it with other equally effective marketing strategies to reach a wider audience. Email marketing, content marketing, contextual marketing, inbound marketing, visual marketing via infographics and images, search (engine) marketing, video marketing have all proven to still work when used at the right time for the right audience.

-Business Growth through Social Media

Your use of media is crucial in terms of long-term business growth, as it dictates the familiarity of your brand and how it is perceived by consumers. In this regard, social media is not only a potentially pivotal communications tool, but it is also one that has the capacity to ultimately make or break your businesses reputation.

A lot more businesses are now investing in social media tools to help track customer behavior and experience. Greater percentage of consumers now search and read reviews about products before they make a decision to buy. Most of them even share their product experiences on social sites with friends who depend on them for product recommendations.

You can leverage Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest by introducing incentives that will get your customers talking and sharing. Create a community for your fans and keep rewarding them with product discounts and updates. Measure what matters and keep doing what actually works.

It is therefore crucial that you learn how to use social media and all other communication channels effectively, as otherwise you can actually do more harm than good to your brand.  You could consider a Media Mentor for your media manager to learn how to make the most of new media to your advantage.

Don’t just create social accounts but connect with your audience, communicate with your network constantly and create consistent compelling content to educate and inform your customers.

Social communication is a two-way street. Get involved in real-time if you can, listen more, share often, comment on feedback, engages users. Get your followers and fans to submit questions or suggestions for new content, make it more about the fans and they will stay and subsequently make a purchase, subscribe or sign up.

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