Small businesses are scrambling to get in on the social media act with figures showing twice as many using sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the past 12 months.
A survey of 725 SMEs found 50 per cent are now using social media, compared with 29 per cent a year ago. The poll was conducted by Domainz, the internet NZ-owned company which administers Kiwi web addresses.
It showed reasons for not adopting social media remain the same. Forty per cent of enterprises still need to be convinced of the benefits, and 32 per cent said they didn't have time to use it.
Domainz executive general manager Damon Fieldgate said the internet was becoming the primary route to market and businesses which ignored social media were missing an opportunity to engage with potential customers.
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Results suggested SMEs were using social media as a supplement to their business models to help them to broaden their scope, customer base and revenue opportunities, he said.
Co-owners of I Love Pies Jessie Stanley and Maree Glading have 2333 likes on their company's Facebook page. An offer of free pies helped to clock up the numbers.
After an initial flurry Stanley noticed numbers dropping off and became cautious about making frivolous posts.
"We first saw it as a great advertising medium but realised people may have liked us because they liked pies and didn't think we were a business. We noticed other companies bombarding people with information and didn't want to be like them so ended up using it carefully."
The duo add updates once a fortnight letting customers know they've got a new flavour of pie or that they're fundraising at a farmers' market. An appearance on TVNZ's morning business show was the perfect opportunity to add a video link.
Stanley said the key was to have an honest voice that people could relate to. She recommended small businesses look at what others were doing.
"It's a place to connect to customers quickly and a way to communicate events."