Zesty approach to social media bears fruit for firm
GOOD-news stories are hard to come by in the media world these days, but the evolution of social media start-up Simply Zesty shows that there's still life in at least part of the market.
Created last May, Simply Zesty came to the market claiming to be Ireland's first "dedicated social media agency".
Less than a year on, the original team of two has grown to five and 10 clients with pedigrees like Vodafone and Universal Pictures have been signed up. Co-founders Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher -- who themselves met through micro-blogging site Twitter -- are targeting a turnover of €500,000 for their first year, and expect to be hiring again soon.
Rather than hindering their venture, the duo say the recession has actually driven clients to their door. "A desire to get away from more costly advertising or marketing avenues is a common reason for people coming to us," says Ms Fisher.
The fact that Simply Zesty expects to bill close to half a million euro, however, shows that while social media is cheaper than traditional avenues, companies can't expect to master the whole spectrum for free.
The "biggest problem" Simply Zesty encounters is clients who think something like Twitter or Facebook "will form their entire social media plan", says Mr Harbison.
"[It's not all about Twitter or Facebook], it's about finding the services that complement what you're trying to do," he adds, pointing to less well-known vehicles like boards.ie, which notches up millions of viewers every month.
The duo freely admit that there isn't a "right" social media fit for everyone -- "it will work fantastically for a lot of companies and not fit others at all, we're not scared to tell people when it won't work for them," says mr Harbison.
In its relatively short life-span, Simply Zesty has already seen a shift in its clients' expectations.
Rather than just doing it because "everyone else is doing it", companies are demanding and securing a "real financial return" on their investments, according to Mr Harbison.
The start-up is also facing increasing competition from PR firms and other marketing companies that have developed social media arms, but Ms Fisher and Mr Harbison remain upbeat.
"Our clients know that social media is all that we do, and they can see the results of going with a company that doesn't just tack another service to a list on their website," says Mr Harbison.