Social media has proven to be an effective tool for marketing and communicating with consumers all over the world. Consumers in New Zealand are following the trend as significant numbers of potential customers are turning to social media. The problem is that the number of businesses in New Zealand which use social media has decreased. So what New Zealand businesses are effectively telling their customers is that they don’t want their money.
At least that’s how it appears, because of the massive opportunity that is going to waste. Statistics show that 2.8 million New Zealanders visited social media sites in October 2012, with Facebook drawing the majority of users. In fact, with 80% of internet users in the country making use of Facebook, New Zealand has a higher proportion of its online population on the site then Australia, USA or the UK (scoop.co.nz).
Furthermore, 47% of the population use social media specifically for the purpose of finding out about products and brands, and 42% use it to interact with fellow consumers, so they can hear about their experiences.
That’s 47% of the population that many New Zealand businesses are not catering to, and 42% that don’t know that these businesses exist. An MYOB survey of 1000 small to medium enterprises revealed that only 16% had a Facebook or Google+ page, only 4% were on Twitter and only 10% had a company blog (nzherald.co.nz).
Not only that, but the number of New Zealand businesses making use of social media in 2012 was a 4% drop from what it was the year before, suggesting that some organizations actually started to make an effort, but then gave up, perhaps after failing to reap the expected benefits. This begs the question: if businesses actually do make the attempt but fail anyway, how can the New Zealand business sector be persuaded to increase its social media participation?
Simplicity is key
In truth, harnessing the potential of social media requires more than simply starting a Facebook or Twitter page and hoping for the best. It may be low-cost, but it still requires a strategy, and a mix of business and tech savvy. The issue is that many organizations are struggling to survive in the current economy, and they feel they can’t spare the resources or time to grapple with the perceived complexities of social media.
Having experienced similar issues with the Australian market, enterprise software supplier MYOB feel that similar measures are required to reinvigorate social media use in New Zealand. These measures include simplifying the process so that businesses can spend more time applying actual business strategy to social media, and less time scratching their heads as they attempt to figure out the system.
MYOB’s EXO CRM product went some way towards accomplishing this by integrating social media services into to the same applications used to conduct the usual business processes. This means that businesses can interact on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube through a familiar interface.
Through measures such as this, it’s hoped that businesses in New Zealand will become as aware of the benefits of social media as their potential customers.