Small business in
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment , 97% of business in New Zealand are Small-to-Medium Enterprises. Furthermore, an article by Stuff in 2014 notes that one in three employees are employed in these businesses. 2015 statistics note that there are over 500,000 ‘enterprises’. Despite the discrepancies in the date in these results, they all show evidence pointing towards our country’s reliance to these small businesses for employment and ‘service’.
In comparison, MYOB had noted in their 2012 report on their survey of 1000 businesses, only 20% were using social media. Conversely, there was an increase in online payments and email communications to customers including direct communications and ‘marketing’.
Social Media Marketing
Why are we not using it?
Consumer desires have a huge part in what businesses are available and the decisions they make and New Zealand is no exception. An important consideration made by Biznology is the fact that ‘hits’ and ‘followers’ on your chosen social media platforms does not necessarily constitute success. Social media is about collaboration and businesses may not have the tools needed to make a more personalised approach and are not worth the effort put in as a consequence. Evidence for this assertion is provided by Thompson with his statement that businesses need to “do it well or not do it at all”.
A huge part of the marketing mix is creating the greatest amount of value for the least amount of resources. In the 2014 Small Business Sector Report done by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, over 300,000 businesses have a size of 0 employees. Small businesses simply may not have the ‘manpower’ available to have someone dedicate enough time to build a quality fanbase on social media and to watch for opportunities for growth.
A further consideration is the fact that it is hard to quantify a value for social media activities, so businesses may feel there is little need for considerable online presence. Nordqvist had announced in her article that 70% of New Zealand businesses in 2011 had no plans to establish a business website with 9% of these businesses selling their products or services online.
Social media is specifically about communicating to an audience through the Internet. The demand to remain flexible to the almost immediate demands of a consumer can be daunting to small businesses, who may not be available to be ‘on-call’ on social media.
Although it may benefit consumers to have the ability to communicate with these businesses, are more ‘comfortable’ with processes they already know. The average age of a business owner is 47 years of age, thus, we can assume that email marketing and its typically asynchronous communication platform are more convenient for them.
What makes social media desirable for an SME’s Marketing Mix?
New Zealand Innovation Council director Andy Blackburn said many small-business owners needed to find the desire to grow the business and improve customer service.
Innovation has always been part of New Zealand’s identity as people who thrive on ingenuity and a ‘can-do’ attitude. The Internet is simply another means to create another tool for the business.
Instead of expecting people to come to you, social media can be used by businesses to ‘listen’ to the needs of potential customers and be the solution. Absorptive Capacity (SOCIAL NETWORKS, SOCIAL MEDIA AND ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY IN REGIONAL…) is the ability to “acquire, adopt and distribute” external knowledge for the benefit of remaining innovative and competitive. Even if a business is still brick-and-mortar, having a social media account can help businesses explore potential opportunities by what is being said on the Internet.
Businesses must keep up with the hugely saturated market and this can be done by social media to gain visibility. Firstly, like any component of the marketing mix, a business needs to find platforms that are suitable for a business and its customers. Instead of trying to spread itself thin over as many as possible, a business selects only a few platforms and try to ‘invoke’ emotions in clientele which relates back to Week One’s post about values.
The main danger I believe is involved is when protection of intellectual property is involved whether you do so intentionally or not or your ideas are taken . An instance where I personally followed was when Turner Barr, creator of Around the World in 80 Jobs, found that not only was his idea taken by Adecco, they created a fictional blogger with his likeness in his promotional video. With the blogging community backing Turner, they had commented extensively on Adecco’s Facebook page and twitter account until they had relented reluctantly to the community’s request. This also highlights the risk that consumers may place negative comments after a ‘mistake’ on social media.
Bringing Social Media to Small Business: A Role for Employees and Students iterates that when businesses have genuine interactions with customers. Multiple articles have shared the same sentiment, that as long as ‘people’ are genuine in their communication, people should respond positively. Another consideration is that businesses can have direct and immediate communication which may initially be daunting but it can also be beneficial to the business.Problems can be fixed as soon as possible, out of hours communication is possible (as long as employees are online).
Having ‘lower-level people’ who may typically have grown up with the Internet such as ‘teenaged’ sons and daughters, who may be more technologically savvy and may be more ‘reactive’ to the way a customer presents themselves online. On the downside, it can be assumed that people who act as ‘ambassadors’ to your business could lead to misinterpretations. Also, well-intentioned social media campaigns could lead to unintentional complications. The latest viral controversy relates to Gap kids ad where one of the photos was implicated in racism. Locally, Massey University’s magazine Massive has been lambasted for its choice of magazine cover which related to student sex work. An appreciation for the greater context is needed including societal issues and what your business wants to stand for.