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If a business has interesting content to share, my recommendation would be to use Facebook and sponsored posts in order to target different interests and demographic segments to test which is most effective.

“The primary benefits of social media for small businesses depends on the nature of the business, and who the target audience for the product or service is,” says Helen McMurdo, vice president of marketing at Australian startup inkl.

Inkl is a mobile platform that curates content from major news outlets and provides it all in one place – a service that has been described as ‘Spotify for journalism’.

Research reveals 68% of Australians now use social media, and Facebook continues to dominate the online landscape – 93% of social media users are on the platform and many spend more than 8.5 hours per week on the site, according to the Sensis Social Media Report 2015.

Identify what users want and don’t disappoint

Social media continues to present SMEs with a substantial opportunity to connect with potential consumers, but it can be difficult to decide on the best platform.  

As a news site inkl found Facebook to be the most effective channel, benefiting the brand in three ways: providing a means of attracting new customers and readers to the site; engaging and driving behaviour of current customers; and as a way of getting feedback and pulse-checks from current customers.

“Facebook users tend to consume plenty of content when they’re on the network,” says McMurdo. “Also, Facebook’s targeting mechanics for sponsoring posts is really strong – particularly the ability to target by interest.”

Growing in popularity across all social media platforms and many curated content sites, native adverts can have a range of benefits for small businesses: distributing your message to the right audience; delivering your message on every device; and getting the most impact out of your budget.

Testing their sponsored content across all of the major social media networks, the team found Facebook’s cost-per-click was a fraction of the cost of even the next-cheapest network, says McMurdo.

“By contrast, our experience is that it’s very difficult to get Twitter users to click out of [the site], even if it’s just to read an interesting article. It’s more of a conversational hub to exchange banter and ideas, and for high-profile users to announce news and create drama than a place that users search for articles, blog posts or videos.”  

Targeted content results in more clicks

McMurdo says that with a little testing, marketers can quickly hone-in on the areas they should be targeting and the kind of content they should be creating. This is a marketing area that is continually evolving, for example the recent introduction of Google’s new smartphone ad format allows customers to call directly by tapping a button, so it’s worth keeping on top of the latest developments.

“If a business has interesting content to share, my recommendation would be to use Facebook and sponsored posts in order to target different interests and demographic segments to test which is most effective.

“Once a user has clicked on this piece of content, you can re-target them within Facebook with more content, or with a more traditional advertisement that asks them to sign up or take action. Plus, if the business has a mobile app, then Facebook’s app install network is regarded widely as one of the most cost-effective targeted advertising platforms for app installs.”

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