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10 ways you can make an ROI with social media

My Business

Social media has been a game changer for marketing a small business, but if it’s not matched in with a particular customer’s needs it won’t get you anywhere. Here, Cheyanne Ainsworth looks at companies who have got it right.

Rather than a business spending a significant amount of time and money on finding customers, social media provides a way to access a large number of leads and customers quickly and cost effectively. This leaves the majority of time and money to be spent on converting leads to sales, and, of course, retention.


The problem is that social media is not a straight forward, one size fits all marketing method. In fact, many companies have lost significant money by employing marketing strategies that didn’t work. This has led to many small business owners asking – will I actually be able to make a return on investment through social media?facebook_logoLG

The answer to the question can be both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. ‘Yes’, a business will get a return on investment if they use social media in the right way; and ‘no’ if a business gets their strategy wrong. The best way forward for a small business is to learn from examples of other businesses that have done well with social media. Here are 10 of the most effective examples:

  • Old Spice: Not the most glamorous brand on the market, and generally no one under the age of about 60 – or who hasn’t fought on the front line of a war – would consider using their products. However, via a personalised social media campaign sales increased by 107 per cent. Old Spice sent personalised messages to social media fans and even celebrities. The end result is that Old Spice is now the number one body wash for men.
  • Subway: Subway’s Slim Down Challenge was a multi-faceted marketing strategy that encouraged people to lose weight by eating Subway. One of the marketing methods was Facebook. Results from Say It Social showed that 71 per cent of registrations for the Challenge came from Facebook. What’s even more impressive is that the percentage was a lot higher than television.
  • Infusionsoft: Infusionsoft was one of the first companies to use social media for customer service. This has helped the company save on staff costs, as less staff are required to deal with customers via social media. Equally as impressive, an increase in the rate of customer satisfaction by 10 per cent was also achieved. A win-win scenario.
  • Vamplets: This niche marketing company sells baby vampire dolls (yes Twilight has had an influence on our society!). The company spends only $250 a month on Facebook ads, but this leads to revenue of $1,000 per month. An impressive ROI and proof that niche markets work well on Facebook.
  • The Crème Brulee Man: This is a food van company. They use Twitter to provide real time details on their location. This has significantly helped to keep them in business as customers know where and when the food van will arrive.
  • Houlihans: This restaurant chain utilised a private social network by providing discounts and promotions. There are now an estimated 10,000 members on the network. Exclusivity for people and word of mouth really do sell.
  • Cisco: Cisco saved an estimated $100,000 by undertaking a product launch via social media. The launch was one-sixth the price of a normal launch and allowed the company to reach a wider audience.
  • Ignite Social Media: A review of sweepstakes held by the company showed that traffic coming from social media sites was more effective than those from banner ads in terms of total amount spent. 6.5 times more effective, to be precise.
  • Careone: By using social media for reaching current and future consumers, Careone were able to significantly increase their rate of return. Social media yielded a 179 per cent higher rate of consultation form being field out. The completion of a first payment yielded an amazing 732 per cent higher rate of payment.
  • Cars.com: Through social media and by displaying both negative and positive reviews, cars.com was able to increase their rate of conversion by 16 per cent. The negative reviews helped to reduce the number of customers who were not interested – in other words, it created more qualified leads.

Social media can offer a good rate of return for small businesses. However, it needs to be done in a way that matches in with the particular customer’s needs. The 10 examples above show different ways that other businesses have used social media effectively. These can be used as a base for other small business to learn and grow from.

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10 ways you can make an ROI with social media
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