By Sacha Deshmukh
CEO, MHP Communications

A new breed of consumer is engaging with businesses both large and small on an unprecedented scale. An estimated 200 million people use Twitter, generating 65 million tweets a day. Every second, 24 hours of footage is uploaded onto YouTube. And at the last count, 600 million people were registered Facebook users.

What does this mean for your business, and why should you care?

The answer is a simple question of deduction. If so many millions of people, locally and globally, are out there, tweeting, uploading, posting, a proportion of them will constitute your customer base. And an even larger proportion will be made up of future, potential customers. This audience will be accompanied by an increasing number of key stakeholders and important current and future investors.

The importance of digital communications today cannot be overstated. Research by Cision recently found that journalists are glued to Google, with 81% using blogs to research stories, and 40% sourcing stories via Twitter. The ascent of social media to its position as a key source of information for journalists around the globe is a demonstration of its power to make or break reputations, influence key drivers of supply and demand, and change consumer habits.

Many organisations and businesses have already incorporated social media into the heart of their communications strategy, leveraging the innovative ways of connecting with their customers. Even the Royal Family has engaged with the latest trends – streaming the Royal Wedding live on YouTube to an estimated 2 billion viewers. We recently helped to create a strong social media profile for Kimberly-Clark’s Andrex brand – which included establishing a strong following for the Andrex Puppy’s Twitter feed.

The simple fact of the matter is that your organisation’s audience has gone global. At MHP, we see this new media landscape as an opportunity, rather than a threat. We passionately believe that the case for strong integrated communications across a variety of channels – be they digital, print or broadcast - has never been clearer. And the case for engagement with consumers, investors and stakeholders is a critical one that cannot be ignored.

Think of PR as both an outward and inward investment. In creating a compelling narrative for your business, by telling your story, the way you want it to be heard, to the audiences, stakeholders, and potential investors you want to target, you will be able to take ownership of the external direction your organisation is headed. A strong communications strategy will both protect and promote your assets and enable you to engage with consumers more effectively; communications have the power to create a strong employer branding profile, drawing the best industry talent to your company; and, in a broader, global sense, communications has the power to influence change.

And through harnessing the very real power that both off and online communications can offer your organisation, by placing strong communication at the heart of your business strategy, branding and identity, you will be best placed to engage with audiences when, if not before, they engage with you.

Sacha Deshmukh is a Board Director of Engine, the UK’s largest independent communications company and CEO of its PR and Public Affairs business, MHP Communications.

Find Sacha on Twitter - @sachadeshmukh

Watch the video below featuring Jemima Gibbons, of AAB Engage discussing ow social media can positively impact your business


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