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Philip Brookes

Director at

Member Since February 2016

Melbourne, VIC,

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Information Technology
Business Coaching
Business Consulting
Management Consultants
Marketing Services & Consultants

Philip Brookes answered this question

Is There A Rule In Using Google Images For Flyer Advertising?

Images found via a Google search or any other method are all subject to the same copyright laws. Some people will distribute their images with a Creative Commons license, of specific usage rights. If it's clear that their license terms permit you to use the image for the purpose you intend, then go ahead (you may need, for example, to include an acknowledgement of the source of the image). In some cases you may just need to email the owner and request permission. But commercial images need to be purchased - this involves finding how they're distributed and paying the required license fee. You'll find a lot of images on the web come from stock image libraries like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Getty Images, Dreamstime, etc... There are quite a few low cost options, so there's really no need to risk using someone's images without permission.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Robin Dickinson
Robin Dickinson, Owner at RAD International

Accounting

Is accounting software such as MYOB, Xero or Saasu an overkill?

Personally, I believe that great accounting software is worth it's weight in gold. Unless you have almost no revenue, the peace of mind and management insights it provides (not to mention legal compliance) is worth it's weight in gold. I love Xero because of the bank feeds - all my transactions are there automatically and I simply need to allocate them. Even if I were to use an external billing system (e.g. through some e-commerce system) I would still use Xero simply for the fact that it captures all your expenses, and you can summarise your revenues to complete the picture. If you need to account for GST I'll assume you're probably turning over more than $75k per year (otherwise it's dubious whether the benefits of registering for GST outweigh the responsibilities and headaches) - and if you've got that much revenue, definitely get an accounting package.
Xero is intuitive and, after struggling for years to keep up with paperwork and legal compliance, within a month of adopting Xero I was back in order. Fantastic. (Of course, it's also important to ask "what is an SME" - for me, an SME is still a serious business, and there's a good chance it's turning over a reasonable amount of money. If you're talking about a hobby business, part-time, micro enterprise, etc... then perhaps you could do everything in Excel. The reason I say that is that you tend to do things as a labour of love in that scenario and you're frequently not as pragmatic about profit and the value of your time.)

Philip Brookes answered this question

Has social media marketing really worked for anyone on here?

Hi Jeanette,Thanks for the great question.As someone who has an interest in a publishing business (including digital/online publishing) I can share with you our experiences since I got involved and started shifting the business from print to a digital-centric approach.The first thing we did was to completely rebuild one of our key websites, which had a lot of great content but poor social features. We combined this with preparing our social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.We then actively engaged with our contributors (writers of articles from our magazine, which are now published online) and invited their feedback and participation.It's important to understand that, for us, eyeballs on website and newsletter subscriptions translates to an audience that advertisers will pay to reach. Our magazines are for vertical markets (education and security) and we have something very specialised to offer those audiences.To put it in perspective, in the first month of launching the new website we have doubled the number of visitors to the site. This was achieved in large part by social media. We spent a bit on Facebook and Twitter advertising, but the lions share of the visitors have come from social media engagement.As one example of this, we posted a single article and the author of the article shared it amongst his networks. We had over 600 people read that single article in just the first 48 hours after publishing it. About 20% of the viewers came from our own direct sharing, and 80% came from other people sharing it on our behalf. The author's own networks were the largest part of that, and it was all free.If I were a small business trying to use social media to attract new clients, and I only measured success by the number of paying clients I attracted, it could be a much tougher proposition - not because social media doesn't work, but because we frequently don't engage enough with other influencers in the social networks, and we rarely have enough exciting things to share and talk about.Having worked in digital marketing for 10+ years, I know that social media is not an automatic winner - it requires a lot of effort, creativity, engagement with other people, and you need to find a real point of difference, something valuable and engaging to share. But when you master the art of doing this, social media can be amazing.Just to throw in one final example - I have a friend I met through professional networks who runs a Virtual Assistant business. She started off alone and now sub-contracts something in the order of 20+ additional people to do work on her behalf (casual, not full-time). She's making a good six-figure income out of it, and I recall her saying back in 2014 that she'd attracted over 200 clients directly through social media. However, she's running out of energy to continue being so proactive in social media and the nature of the beast is changing (particularly Twitter) - however, she's fortunate enough to have such a large client base now that she's always got repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals coming in and is no longer concerned about using social media to the same extent.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Has digital marketing taken over traditional marketing?

That's a far more complicated question than it sounds - mainly because it requires us to define "traditional marketing". I know that sounds picky, because we all know that "traditional marketing" is everything except digital marketing. But from my perspective, digital marketing is actually a subset of traditional marketing - it's just grown into huge prominence (with good reason). It's never going to 'replace' traditional marketing.Let me explain - traditional marketing has always been about establishing an optimal marketing mix. It's about reaching your target audience through the most appropriate channels - TV, radio, direct mail, print media, PR, etc... But in the past couple of decades we've added a huge swathe of additional potential channels - web sites, eDM, social media. And not just to push out advertising, but to truly engage with your audience.So in one sense traditional marketing has just been radically expanded.However, if I understand your question rightly, I suspect you're really asking if old marketing/advertising channels are becoming less and less relevant.Again, I would argue that "it depends". Horses for courses. When you take a look at the advertising that's on TV these days, most of the big brands are still there. For those with the budget and the appropriate audience, mass media can still be a valuable part of the marketing mix.But there's an increasing number of smaller businesses who are now able to compete against bigger players and reach an audience on much smaller budgets than was (is) required for mass media advertising. So we now have a much greater level of marketing activity across the entire spectrum of businesses.I certainly believe that digital marketing is an imperative for virtually every business these days, whereas older/mass media advertising formats are not as universally applicable. It's also much more accessible no matter how large or small your business is. In sheer numbers, there are a lot more marketing/advertising consultants/agencies/providers competing for your digital marketing business than there is for other forms of marketing/advertising.But I don't believe that most of the 'traditional' advertising channels are of any less relevance today (with the exception perhaps of advertising in niche market magazines - these are typically struggling to maintain circulation of their print editions and the audiences are largely moving online). Radio, TV, loyalty programs, PR, event marketing, etc... all continue to be an essential part of the marketing mix for numerous businesses IF they are targeting those audiences and have appropriate budgets. We just need to understand how much exposure each of these channels will actually get.

Philip Brookes answered this question

What do you love/not-love about your laptop... have you seen any awesome pre-fin-year sales on these laptops?

I use a 13" MacBook Air and I *love* it's battery life, light weight, and robust construction. I travel a lot, and when a carry-on bag is limited to 7kg every gram counts. When I'm at my desk, I have it hooked up to a 24" external screen, position it on a stand, and use a wireless Apple keyboard plus a wireless Logitech mouse to have essentially a dual-screen desktop configuration.Irrespective of which brand of notebook you purchase, I'd definitely recommend you invest in an SSD (Solid State Drive) - they're so ridiculously faster than a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) that it'll blow you away. You might think it's just one small part of the equation, but you'd be wrong - the specs of my Macbook Air are nothing special (1.8GHz i5 with 4GB RAM) but due to the blazing fast SSD this machine has handled everything I've thrown at it including Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Aperture, Microsoft Office suite, Dropbox, Google Drive, and scores of apps/windows active simultaneously - with a HDD you'd need to double all the other specs to make that possible. I can't recommend SSD highly enough.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Where do I start looking to obtain my web address?

Personally, it's been our experience that the *management* of your domain is frequently the biggest concern, not the basic registration. Many companies can offer domain registration, and while the domain is just parked there you don't experience any issues. You can, of course, point the domain to someone else's Name Servers and configure your domain through somebody else's domain services, but in our experience the smoothest and cleanest experience has been when we register and manage all our domains in the one spot, with a company that has a speedy and effective Zone Manager/Domain Management tool. NetRegistry (or their wholesale spin-off TPP Wholesale) have one of the best Domain packages on the market and it's competitively priced (though not as cheap as GoDaddy or some of the other 'discount' domain registrars). We've picked up a number of clients and transferred them across to our Reseller offering which we purchase from TPP Wholesale when they've come unstuck at the time they need to make changes to their domain configuration. And no matter who you use, you'll make you life a heck of a lot easier if you try to consolidate as many of them as possible to the one provider - there's nothing worse than numerous login credentials spread across multiple registrars and the owner can't remember how to log in to any of them.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How do I do business in the Philippines?

Hi Harry, I live the majority of the year in Philippines (my partner is Filipino and my son is half-Filipino), and we conduct business with Australian clients from offices in both Australia and Philippines. Given the way that we work and what we expect of our staff/contractors/team members, it's not an easy transition to start outsourcing to Philippines. However, it's certainly possible and, with the right management and perseverance, you can be on a winner. I don't have experience in contracting craftsmen, but I have explored the possibility before, and my view is that you need to spend some time in the Philippines visiting as many people as you can and seeing the quality of their work, getting to know them, and describing what you would expect from them. You need to emphasise repeatedly your expectations re: quality and timeliness, and you need to structure any deal with them that it is to their advantage to deliver the quality and timeliness you expect. If you pay on the basis of time, often they'll just stretch out the time and work slower. If you pay on a per piece basis, they could rush it and do a bad job. But if you can have a trusted partner in Philippines who inspects goods and accepts or rejects before full payment is made, you could potentially build up a great team.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How to know what's slowing down a Wordpress website?

I start with three key tools that help me isolate the cause of the slow activity:1. Google Pagespeed Test2. webpagetest.org3. P3 Plugin Performance ProfilerThe first two run tests on your site and show you how long each element of your site is taking to load. That's a great way to focus your attention, but it still may not help you identify which part of your Wordpress installation is responsible for the slow code.I love the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler because a frequent cause of a slow WordPress site is poorly written or inefficient plugins. The P3 Plugin Performance Profiler helps you see which plugin is responsible for the slow behaviour.Once you know what's causing the slow performance, you can start to consider various remedies:eliminate or replace the offending pluginadd caching to reduce processing times upon loading of the pageminify your Javascript and CSSoptimise image sizesreview custom codeimplement a CDN (Content Distribution Network) that shares the load across a network of faster server (but beware - some of the free CDNs aren't always as fast as you might expect - I've known a CDN to slow things down, so you always need to performance test the final configuration to confirm that it's improving things)

Philip Brookes answered this question

Which social media channels are most effective for my business?

The key with any form of marketing is to go to where your customers are. Depending on your industry, I may be able to provide some insights as to where that is. But it's safe to say that there's wide variety.For example, Twitter is extremely well known and you'd think it's a "must have" - however, there's a lot of dormant accounts on Twitter and it tends to be very polarising. It's big for journalism, activism, tech, marketing, travel, and celebrities to name the obvious. There's also a significant user base of millennials chattering with their friends. Conversely, you don't find a lot of senior level execs with enough time to hang around on Twitter throughout the day.While I'd recommend that most businesses should at least establish a Twitter account to reserve the handle and listen for any mention of their business (e.g. an unhappy customer?) it may not be pertinent to invest further resources into Twitter. But if I were a tech company I'd certainly be active there, or if I had an indoor trampoline centre I'd also try to connect with my target audience (including existing customers) with both free and promoted Tweets.This same philosophy/logic can be applied to every other social media channel - Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc...The only one I'd say almost certainly you should be on is Facebook - simply because so many people use it. Particularly if you're a retailer, it's almost certainly worth having a presence and a strategy to engage. And Facebook enables you to get in front of your target audience very accurately at reasonable cost even though you may not know who they are specifically and they have never heard of you before.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How much do you spend on social media marketing?

When you look at the question of how much you 'spend' on Social Media Marketing, you need to take into consideration direct advertising fees charged by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, as well as the cost of your own time or agency/consultant fees to strategise, manage, and maintain your social media marketing.

We work with a number of clients who all have different circumstances, and their budgets differ significantly. Generally speaking, we advise that paid social media advertising (particularly Facebook and Twitter) can be highly effective for various industries/products/services and their respective target audiences. However, a lot of small businesses have very tight budgets - the beauty of paid Facebook and Twitter ads (and also Google Adwords/Remarketing) is that you can test the waters even with a tiny budget and use that as a guide to determine whether you're likely to get the ROI you're hoping for. Once you've proven that it's delivering value, it's a straightforward matter to start ramping up the budget as your circumstances permit. A lot of our small business clients build up to spending about $500 per month because (plus our fee for managing it). Larger companies will spend many times more than that - as long as it's generating a high ROI.

As already stated by Brad Lyons, there are also numerous 'free' ways that you can promote yourself. In most cases, our clients consider a mix of both - the beauty of paid ads is that the results can begin virtually immediately, whereas many free channels take time to build momentum. There's also the question of how much time and resource (hidden cost) goes into a 'free' campaign. You will have to weigh up the relative priorities for yourself.

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Philip Brookes answered this question

Is There A Rule In Using Google Images For Flyer Advertising?

Images found via a Google search or any other method are all subject to the same copyright laws. Some people will distribute their images with a Creative Commons license, of specific usage rights. If it's clear that their license terms permit you to use the image for the purpose you intend, then go ahead (you may need, for example, to include an acknowledgement of the source of the image). In some cases you may just need to email the owner and request permission. But commercial images need to be purchased - this involves finding how they're distributed and paying the required license fee. You'll find a lot of images on the web come from stock image libraries like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Getty Images, Dreamstime, etc... There are quite a few low cost options, so there's really no need to risk using someone's images without permission.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Robin Dickinson
Robin Dickinson, Owner at RAD International

Accounting

Is accounting software such as MYOB, Xero or Saasu an overkill?

Personally, I believe that great accounting software is worth it's weight in gold. Unless you have almost no revenue, the peace of mind and management insights it provides (not to mention legal compliance) is worth it's weight in gold. I love Xero because of the bank feeds - all my transactions are there automatically and I simply need to allocate them. Even if I were to use an external billing system (e.g. through some e-commerce system) I would still use Xero simply for the fact that it captures all your expenses, and you can summarise your revenues to complete the picture. If you need to account for GST I'll assume you're probably turning over more than $75k per year (otherwise it's dubious whether the benefits of registering for GST outweigh the responsibilities and headaches) - and if you've got that much revenue, definitely get an accounting package.
Xero is intuitive and, after struggling for years to keep up with paperwork and legal compliance, within a month of adopting Xero I was back in order. Fantastic. (Of course, it's also important to ask "what is an SME" - for me, an SME is still a serious business, and there's a good chance it's turning over a reasonable amount of money. If you're talking about a hobby business, part-time, micro enterprise, etc... then perhaps you could do everything in Excel. The reason I say that is that you tend to do things as a labour of love in that scenario and you're frequently not as pragmatic about profit and the value of your time.)

Philip Brookes answered this question

Has social media marketing really worked for anyone on here?

Hi Jeanette,Thanks for the great question.As someone who has an interest in a publishing business (including digital/online publishing) I can share with you our experiences since I got involved and started shifting the business from print to a digital-centric approach.The first thing we did was to completely rebuild one of our key websites, which had a lot of great content but poor social features. We combined this with preparing our social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.We then actively engaged with our contributors (writers of articles from our magazine, which are now published online) and invited their feedback and participation.It's important to understand that, for us, eyeballs on website and newsletter subscriptions translates to an audience that advertisers will pay to reach. Our magazines are for vertical markets (education and security) and we have something very specialised to offer those audiences.To put it in perspective, in the first month of launching the new website we have doubled the number of visitors to the site. This was achieved in large part by social media. We spent a bit on Facebook and Twitter advertising, but the lions share of the visitors have come from social media engagement.As one example of this, we posted a single article and the author of the article shared it amongst his networks. We had over 600 people read that single article in just the first 48 hours after publishing it. About 20% of the viewers came from our own direct sharing, and 80% came from other people sharing it on our behalf. The author's own networks were the largest part of that, and it was all free.If I were a small business trying to use social media to attract new clients, and I only measured success by the number of paying clients I attracted, it could be a much tougher proposition - not because social media doesn't work, but because we frequently don't engage enough with other influencers in the social networks, and we rarely have enough exciting things to share and talk about.Having worked in digital marketing for 10+ years, I know that social media is not an automatic winner - it requires a lot of effort, creativity, engagement with other people, and you need to find a real point of difference, something valuable and engaging to share. But when you master the art of doing this, social media can be amazing.Just to throw in one final example - I have a friend I met through professional networks who runs a Virtual Assistant business. She started off alone and now sub-contracts something in the order of 20+ additional people to do work on her behalf (casual, not full-time). She's making a good six-figure income out of it, and I recall her saying back in 2014 that she'd attracted over 200 clients directly through social media. However, she's running out of energy to continue being so proactive in social media and the nature of the beast is changing (particularly Twitter) - however, she's fortunate enough to have such a large client base now that she's always got repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals coming in and is no longer concerned about using social media to the same extent.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Has digital marketing taken over traditional marketing?

That's a far more complicated question than it sounds - mainly because it requires us to define "traditional marketing". I know that sounds picky, because we all know that "traditional marketing" is everything except digital marketing. But from my perspective, digital marketing is actually a subset of traditional marketing - it's just grown into huge prominence (with good reason). It's never going to 'replace' traditional marketing.Let me explain - traditional marketing has always been about establishing an optimal marketing mix. It's about reaching your target audience through the most appropriate channels - TV, radio, direct mail, print media, PR, etc... But in the past couple of decades we've added a huge swathe of additional potential channels - web sites, eDM, social media. And not just to push out advertising, but to truly engage with your audience.So in one sense traditional marketing has just been radically expanded.However, if I understand your question rightly, I suspect you're really asking if old marketing/advertising channels are becoming less and less relevant.Again, I would argue that "it depends". Horses for courses. When you take a look at the advertising that's on TV these days, most of the big brands are still there. For those with the budget and the appropriate audience, mass media can still be a valuable part of the marketing mix.But there's an increasing number of smaller businesses who are now able to compete against bigger players and reach an audience on much smaller budgets than was (is) required for mass media advertising. So we now have a much greater level of marketing activity across the entire spectrum of businesses.I certainly believe that digital marketing is an imperative for virtually every business these days, whereas older/mass media advertising formats are not as universally applicable. It's also much more accessible no matter how large or small your business is. In sheer numbers, there are a lot more marketing/advertising consultants/agencies/providers competing for your digital marketing business than there is for other forms of marketing/advertising.But I don't believe that most of the 'traditional' advertising channels are of any less relevance today (with the exception perhaps of advertising in niche market magazines - these are typically struggling to maintain circulation of their print editions and the audiences are largely moving online). Radio, TV, loyalty programs, PR, event marketing, etc... all continue to be an essential part of the marketing mix for numerous businesses IF they are targeting those audiences and have appropriate budgets. We just need to understand how much exposure each of these channels will actually get.

Philip Brookes answered this question

What do you love/not-love about your laptop... have you seen any awesome pre-fin-year sales on these laptops?

I use a 13" MacBook Air and I *love* it's battery life, light weight, and robust construction. I travel a lot, and when a carry-on bag is limited to 7kg every gram counts. When I'm at my desk, I have it hooked up to a 24" external screen, position it on a stand, and use a wireless Apple keyboard plus a wireless Logitech mouse to have essentially a dual-screen desktop configuration.Irrespective of which brand of notebook you purchase, I'd definitely recommend you invest in an SSD (Solid State Drive) - they're so ridiculously faster than a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) that it'll blow you away. You might think it's just one small part of the equation, but you'd be wrong - the specs of my Macbook Air are nothing special (1.8GHz i5 with 4GB RAM) but due to the blazing fast SSD this machine has handled everything I've thrown at it including Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Aperture, Microsoft Office suite, Dropbox, Google Drive, and scores of apps/windows active simultaneously - with a HDD you'd need to double all the other specs to make that possible. I can't recommend SSD highly enough.

Philip Brookes answered this question

Where do I start looking to obtain my web address?

Personally, it's been our experience that the *management* of your domain is frequently the biggest concern, not the basic registration. Many companies can offer domain registration, and while the domain is just parked there you don't experience any issues. You can, of course, point the domain to someone else's Name Servers and configure your domain through somebody else's domain services, but in our experience the smoothest and cleanest experience has been when we register and manage all our domains in the one spot, with a company that has a speedy and effective Zone Manager/Domain Management tool. NetRegistry (or their wholesale spin-off TPP Wholesale) have one of the best Domain packages on the market and it's competitively priced (though not as cheap as GoDaddy or some of the other 'discount' domain registrars). We've picked up a number of clients and transferred them across to our Reseller offering which we purchase from TPP Wholesale when they've come unstuck at the time they need to make changes to their domain configuration. And no matter who you use, you'll make you life a heck of a lot easier if you try to consolidate as many of them as possible to the one provider - there's nothing worse than numerous login credentials spread across multiple registrars and the owner can't remember how to log in to any of them.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How do I do business in the Philippines?

Hi Harry, I live the majority of the year in Philippines (my partner is Filipino and my son is half-Filipino), and we conduct business with Australian clients from offices in both Australia and Philippines. Given the way that we work and what we expect of our staff/contractors/team members, it's not an easy transition to start outsourcing to Philippines. However, it's certainly possible and, with the right management and perseverance, you can be on a winner. I don't have experience in contracting craftsmen, but I have explored the possibility before, and my view is that you need to spend some time in the Philippines visiting as many people as you can and seeing the quality of their work, getting to know them, and describing what you would expect from them. You need to emphasise repeatedly your expectations re: quality and timeliness, and you need to structure any deal with them that it is to their advantage to deliver the quality and timeliness you expect. If you pay on the basis of time, often they'll just stretch out the time and work slower. If you pay on a per piece basis, they could rush it and do a bad job. But if you can have a trusted partner in Philippines who inspects goods and accepts or rejects before full payment is made, you could potentially build up a great team.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How to know what's slowing down a Wordpress website?

I start with three key tools that help me isolate the cause of the slow activity:1. Google Pagespeed Test2. webpagetest.org3. P3 Plugin Performance ProfilerThe first two run tests on your site and show you how long each element of your site is taking to load. That's a great way to focus your attention, but it still may not help you identify which part of your Wordpress installation is responsible for the slow code.I love the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler because a frequent cause of a slow WordPress site is poorly written or inefficient plugins. The P3 Plugin Performance Profiler helps you see which plugin is responsible for the slow behaviour.Once you know what's causing the slow performance, you can start to consider various remedies:eliminate or replace the offending pluginadd caching to reduce processing times upon loading of the pageminify your Javascript and CSSoptimise image sizesreview custom codeimplement a CDN (Content Distribution Network) that shares the load across a network of faster server (but beware - some of the free CDNs aren't always as fast as you might expect - I've known a CDN to slow things down, so you always need to performance test the final configuration to confirm that it's improving things)

Philip Brookes answered this question

Which social media channels are most effective for my business?

The key with any form of marketing is to go to where your customers are. Depending on your industry, I may be able to provide some insights as to where that is. But it's safe to say that there's wide variety.For example, Twitter is extremely well known and you'd think it's a "must have" - however, there's a lot of dormant accounts on Twitter and it tends to be very polarising. It's big for journalism, activism, tech, marketing, travel, and celebrities to name the obvious. There's also a significant user base of millennials chattering with their friends. Conversely, you don't find a lot of senior level execs with enough time to hang around on Twitter throughout the day.While I'd recommend that most businesses should at least establish a Twitter account to reserve the handle and listen for any mention of their business (e.g. an unhappy customer?) it may not be pertinent to invest further resources into Twitter. But if I were a tech company I'd certainly be active there, or if I had an indoor trampoline centre I'd also try to connect with my target audience (including existing customers) with both free and promoted Tweets.This same philosophy/logic can be applied to every other social media channel - Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc...The only one I'd say almost certainly you should be on is Facebook - simply because so many people use it. Particularly if you're a retailer, it's almost certainly worth having a presence and a strategy to engage. And Facebook enables you to get in front of your target audience very accurately at reasonable cost even though you may not know who they are specifically and they have never heard of you before.

Philip Brookes answered this question

How much do you spend on social media marketing?

When you look at the question of how much you 'spend' on Social Media Marketing, you need to take into consideration direct advertising fees charged by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, as well as the cost of your own time or agency/consultant fees to strategise, manage, and maintain your social media marketing.

We work with a number of clients who all have different circumstances, and their budgets differ significantly. Generally speaking, we advise that paid social media advertising (particularly Facebook and Twitter) can be highly effective for various industries/products/services and their respective target audiences. However, a lot of small businesses have very tight budgets - the beauty of paid Facebook and Twitter ads (and also Google Adwords/Remarketing) is that you can test the waters even with a tiny budget and use that as a guide to determine whether you're likely to get the ROI you're hoping for. Once you've proven that it's delivering value, it's a straightforward matter to start ramping up the budget as your circumstances permit. A lot of our small business clients build up to spending about $500 per month because (plus our fee for managing it). Larger companies will spend many times more than that - as long as it's generating a high ROI.

As already stated by Brad Lyons, there are also numerous 'free' ways that you can promote yourself. In most cases, our clients consider a mix of both - the beauty of paid ads is that the results can begin virtually immediately, whereas many free channels take time to build momentum. There's also the question of how much time and resource (hidden cost) goes into a 'free' campaign. You will have to weigh up the relative priorities for yourself.

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