One in four small to medium sized businesses in the UK are using social media to connect with customers, according to new research by Daryl Willcox Publishing.
The report showed that 27% of those questioned used social media platforms such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook and online forums as part of their marketing activity. 285 companies ranging from 1 to 250 employees took part in the research.
According to the survey, the respondents, who represent over 80 industries used external marketing services to increase their online presence. Over half had paid for services such as email marketing and search engine optimisation while nearly a fifth had invested in external PR services.
Over three quarters of businesses were confident when using the internet to interact with existing and potential customers, half were very confident, while 35% were fairly confident. 40% of respondents said they had advertised in trade magazines, where as direct mail was the most widely used medium with 60% of businesses using it to publicise services. 43% used press release distribution services, while 35% had taken out newspaper advertisements.
The survey found that a quarter of businesses regularly communicate with customers about offers and services every week. 23% of those surveyed contacted customers every month and a further quarter every few months. 57% agreed that informing their customer base of new products, services and changes was very important, with a fifth stating it was quite important.
Daryl Willcox, founder of Daryl Willcox Publishing, said: “This survey shows that small and medium businesses are showing real imagination when it comes to choosing marketing techniques. Many are embracing social media and combining this with more traditional marketing methods. Companies realise the importance of being visible online and are recognising the benefits of having an up-to-date digital presence.”