Kiwi businesses sharpen social media tools

More than two thirds of New Zealand businesses believe social media is a key tool to increase customer engagement and loyalty, according to a Communication Agencies Association of New Zealand (CAANZ) survey.

The CAANZ Digital Leadership Group (DLG) survey also found that 70 percent of respondents believed social media allowed businesses to develop more meaningful one on one relationships with customers, which in turn allows agencies and marketers to gain a greater insight into customer thinking.

DLG chair Tony Gardner says the survey, which was conducted online by Nielsen in December 2009 with an overall sample of 166 New Zealand marketing professionals, provides a very useful snapshot of where New Zealand businesses across a wide range of industries sit regarding the use of social media.

“What was perhaps most telling was that 84 percent of businesses surveyed planned to allocate less than five percent of the organisation’s marketing budget on social media activities in 2010, at a time when social media is becoming the communication channel of choice for an increasing number of consumers,” he says. “You only have to look at the significant growth in internet engagement compared with other media. According to Nielsen Media Research on channel usage, the percentage of time spent on the internet is now 20.5 percent compared with radio 31.6 percent and television 47.8 percent.”

Limited organisational understanding of social media and a shortage of qualified staff were the main barriers to the increased use of social media for marketing purposes. And it confirmed the DLG’s view that social media will normalise in 2010 and become a fundamental part of the marketing communication mix.

The survey results confirmed the need for a greater focus on social media. The CAANZ DLG is holding a forum on Social Media in Business in Auckland on March 11 and the conference will feature local and international speakers sharing their insights on harnessing the commercial power of social media.

Further details can be found at www.caanz.co.nz.

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