Your Hub


Forgot password?

Register for ANZ Biz Hub

You'll get easy registration for workshops offered in your area.

Find out more

Find out more

Social media in action: NZ businesses doing it their way print Print

  • 3.9 out of 5 stars
  • from 17 ratings

Find out how Kiwi businesses are using social media to connect with customers and drive sales.

Looking for the inside scoop on how Kiwi SMEs are using social media? ANZ caught up with Miles Clifford, Managing Director of UBfree Limited, Julia Crownshaw, co-founder of Dollop Puddings, and Ciaran McKeever, co-founder of Sal’s Pizza, to find out a little bit about their social media strategy and lessons for business.

Social Media

How has social media benefited your business in real terms?

Miles Clifford (UBfree): Facebook is an invaluable marketing tool for almost any business. Its reach surpasses traditional marketing methods and it’s incredibly cost-effective.

We’ve had success boosting interaction on Facebook using online coupons and other sales initiatives that encourage users to connect with us in return for a discount. This isn’t as intrusive as it might sound – it’s a popular option that is being used by all kinds of business. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not all about Facebook “likes” – you need to build meaningful connections. It’s these connections that spur on referrals and grow your business.

We’ve been able to generate an incredible amount of business from our Facebook presence. It opens doors for business connection worldwide – our distribution channels have benefited from relationships we’ve fostered with key contacts through social media.

Julia Crownshaw (Dollop Puddings): Social media platforms such as Facebook don’t require a huge amount of cash – which is a big benefit over traditional forms of marketing. Facebook gives you the ability to market your brand in your own personal voice, so it’s much easier to make real connections with your audience.

With Facebook you can create an audience and start sharing with them literally overnight. It’s a platform that you can build upon and develop over time and it becomes an asset for your business.

Unlike traditional marketing, there are no layers between you and your customers – it’s one-on-one dialogue with your target audience.

Ciaran McKeever (Sal’s Pizza): For us at this point, we view social media as more of an art than science and don't look for fully quantifiable results in terms of dollars and cents, but reminding your fans you are there for their benefit works for us. 

We don't aggressively market anything via social media (or anywhere else for that matter), which I think is the key to our 'success' there. We offer friendly reminders to customers via benefit driven posts that they can get something from, rather than begging for likes and check ins, which I see a lot of others do. We keep most of our posts specific to our product or brand, including photos, as that's why they liked our page in the first place. 

How much time and expertise is required to use social media effectively in your business?

Miles (UBfree): We have an employee working full-time managing and updating our social media channels. Social media is a huge part of our marketing strategy. We get together and take a look at the stats each month and analyse our social media content – we look at levels of engagement and find out who is responding to our messages and types of content that were most effective.

We work hard to think of creative ways to engage our audience – we want to know what they are passionate about and what makes them tick. To do this we focus on organic content that drops the sales pitch.

Julia (Dollop Puddings): We strive to make sincere, meaningful connections with our audience – it’s about listening and sharing more than selling product. I think that the authenticity of social media can be lost when businesses start devising complex strategies and allocating set times to monitor social media. It’s up to you to make your connections real and genuine.

We read everything that is posted to our Facebook page, even over weekends. Your audience doesn’t go away outside of work hours.

Ciaran (Sal’s Pizza): I would say there are a few things we have learnt along the way, but most of it is common sense. If your social media presence reeks of trying to make profit you will fail, as everyone will see right through you. If you go out of your way to provide cool things and information for your customers’ benefit then you'll be fine. In our case we hope they will keep coming back to share a pizza with their friends – faith in humanity really.

One of our directors monitors everything on a daily basis and we do promote the odd Facebook post, but our total spend on social media is less than one hundred dollars per month.

How do you measure your return on investment?

Miles (UBfree): Measuring your return on investment is actually easier than it might seem – it’s as easy as measuring engagement. Facebook Insights helps by giving you a breakdown of the effectiveness of your posts, and an analysis of your reach across followers.

People have recently started endorsing and writing testimonials on our pages – this is invaluable for our brand.

Julia (Dollop Puddings): We use Facebook Insights to get an idea of how many people are interacting with us and what kinds of messages they are responding too. We don’t measure success on how many “likes” we get – it’s about engagement rather than sheer volume of followers. For that reason, Facebook is really a long-term investment for us.

Ciaran (Sal’s Pizza): We use some of Google's basic analytics, but mostly anecdotally at this point. Generally by looking at the number of people who are talking about our page, we can make certain assumptions about the in-store results for a given week. 

Social media allows your customers to talk about your business in a very public space – how do you protect your brand online? How would you respond to criticism?

Miles (UBfree): We make a big effort to reply to every post on our page and respond to each private message. That’s not always easy, but we don’t like the idea of a post sitting on our page unanswered.  We also make an effort to keep tabs on our social media after hours and over the weekend.

It doesn’t need to take hours – often it’s just a quick check in to see how things are going.

We carefully think through our response to customer feedback – it’s really important that our response is appropriate and genuinely addresses any concerns they have. It’s not about sweeping issues under the carpet.

Julia (Dollop Puddings): To use social media effectively and really build credibility you need to realise that you can’t turn away from your audience if things don’t go your way – fronting up is always the best course of action. It is a very public space, which can present issues, but it’s also an opportunity to publicly showcase your dedication to your brand. If someone complains about your products or services by posting a message on your Facebook page, you have a unique opportunity to rectify the situation and build trust with your audience.

Ciaran (Sal’s Pizza): You can't really totally protect your brand online these days, as people will do what they want (within reason). We remain focused on our in-store experience and trust that most people will reciprocate their positive in-store experience. On our Facebook page we respond to legitimate customer issues very quickly and thoroughly.

What advice do you have for businesses new to social media?

Miles (UBfree): We’ve worked hard at getting “likes”, but keep in mind that likes aren’t everything.

Think creatively about how you can locate and engage your audience – make social media work for your business.

Review your strategic goals and make social media serve your objectives.

If you don’t quite understand how to use social media to your advantage, do your research and find someone that can point you in the right direction. 

Julia (Dollop Puddings): Don’t over think it – at the end of the day it’s about authenticity. Be honest and authentic and your brand will shine.

Our social media goal is simple: grow our brand awareness without the ‘hard sell’. We want to drive engagement and brand awareness and social media has been invaluable to our success so far.

Ciaran (Sal’s Pizza): Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and write posts from what you'd want to know or receive as a customer or fan of your own page.

Be honest and don’t be scared to speak your opinion or take a stance on something you believe in (of course within reason), even if it might put some customers off.

Business breakdown: UBfree Limited

Product: Wine preservative neutraliser

Bio: The journey began in 2011 when one of the UBfree co-founders suffered nasal congestion, heart palpitations and over-heating after drinking wine.

Being a person who appreciates wine, she was disheartened at the thought of no longer being able to drink wine due to the nasty side-effects of added sulphites. Her partner, a business analyst began researching sulphites and the role they play in our bodies. Through his connections in the scientific and wine industry the first UBfree prototype formula was created.  The results were astonishing.

Over an 18 month period the UBfree formula was vigorously tested and refined at the world-class New Zealand Cawthron Institute. Added ingredients were found to protect the liver and reduce blood sugars while consuming alcohol. The research continued with UBfree appointing an award winning food scientist to oversee the development.

Connect with UBfree on Facebook.

Business breakdown: Dollop Puddings

Products: Gourmet handmade puddings made using the finest ingredients.

Bio: Take one passionate foodie, one fanatical marketer, a good dollop of Kiwi spirit and a sprinkling of lunacy and you have Dollop Puddings.

After meeting at university and completing London 'OEs', Dollop founders Julia Crownshaw and Christie McCarthy came home to a disappointing display of good quality dessert products on the market. They took up the cause, crashed the dinner parties of friends and family and found that their associates agreed. Tired of mass manufacturing and global product standardisation, they wanted a return to the real thing – real ingredients, real recipes and real flavour.

Dollop puddings are handmade in New Zealand and adhere as closely as possible to traditional baking methods.

Connect with Dollop on Facebook.

Business breakdown: Sal’s Pizza

Products: Authentic, handmade New York Pizza

Bio: Sal's Pizza in New Zealand was started by two long-time friends – Nick from Auckland and Ciaran from Queens, New York.

Sal’s Pizza opened 2009 – a small takeaway joint – to modest fanfare and fewer customers. But things started to heat up quickly – the earliest customers (many of them local musicians) fervently spreading the word. By October 2009 things began to fall into place with Sal's catering to some of the biggest performers/touring shows – from Lady Gaga to Cirque de Soleil to AC/DC.

Over the next three years, Sal’s Pizza opened three more shops.

Connect with Sal’s Pizza on Facebook.

Rate this article:

  • 12345 Click on the stars to rate

Share this: