START-UPS, small businesses and multi-nationals: appreciate social media and your business will appreciate in return.

Regardless of the industry or business stage you are in, that’s the evidence-based advice from Chris Garrett (pictured), director of Brisbane-based firm KND Digital.

KND Digital specialise in digital marketing solutions for a current client base of more than 150 businesses, ranging from government, to car loan specialists and retail chains including Wendy’s Ice Cream.

The small team took Wendy’s Ice Cream from 3,000 to 9,000 Facebook likes within 12 weeks, with this figure now standing at 100,000.

Like many, KND Digital is putting its money on social media in delivering the biggest bang for a business advertising buck. However, Garrett says a little goes a long way when it comes to social – significantly more than it would in traditional advertising.

“Social media marketing means laser-sharp customer targeting, so each cent spent goes to potential customers who are interested in the brand, without any wastage or big bill production costs,” says Garrett.

“It’s the network effect that traditional advertising is without – social media allows businesses to reach the critical mass due to the average person having a reach of about 150 people.”

“$500 in traditional advertising could buy a small print advertisement or perhaps a few radio advertisements with limited ways to track your return.

“In social media, the same amount could be effective for up to 14 weeks and will result in an engaged audience where the return on investment can be tracked in real time.”

While Garrett says social media marketing is a ‘one size fits all’ tool, he recommends different strategies depending on the life cycle stage the business is in.

He says pay-per-click advertising works better for businesses with existing brand awareness, whereas social media marketing tools such as Facebook advertising are advised to give smaller players a helping hand.  

“Competing head-to-head with pay-per-click advertising at up to $18 per click with less than one per cent of clickers converting to a sale is not viable for small businesses,” says Garrett.

“It’s important for all businesses to start small and build up from there.”

Garrett notes the “endless potential” wrapped up in social media advertising, but warns this makes it easier for businesses to spend haphazardly.

With the ability to track almost everything, social media companies are becoming smarter, and increasing advertising rates as a result.

“The fees keep mounting, which means businesses should be more careful when assigning a daily limit.

“Social media companies will always help spend this amount, sometimes by showing advertisements to people who aren’t the most useful demographic which many businesses aren’t aware of.”

Garrett says Facebook has long been the social media marketing leader, but competitors such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are quickly creeping up.

“Facebook is heavily saturated and increasingly hiking up its advertising rates, which is making it less appealing.

“Also, young people seem to be moving away from Facebook as consumers and clients as its take-up by the older demographic increases.

“The effectiveness of a social campaign depends on correctly identifying where the target market is online, testing and measuring the results.”

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