Timely provides appointment scheduling software to service providers, including clinics, salons, therapists, and tradespeople.

The company's team of 10 is headed by CEO Ryan Baker, who answered our questions on social media along with support and community manager Andrew Long.

What's been your strategy when it comes to social media?

We take a really 'plugged in' approach to social media and we're passionate about being responsive and transparent on these channels. Our audience is small business owners who are keen to participate on our social media channels - principally Facebook and Twitter. We post frequent and diverse content to keep them informed, happy and connected to what we do. Whenever they interact with us, it is an indication that we are on the right track and they become advocates for us to tell their friends. There is no need to hard sell, which everybody hates.

What's been really effective for you in terms of social media driving tangible business results?

We are experiencing really healthy organic growth. That comes from providing an amazing user experience and having our users recommend us to friends and colleagues. One of the places these recommendations take place the most is via social channels like Facebook. Fortunately in the online world it's relatively easy to see this referral traffic converting into users of our software, so we can see that real results are coming from our social channels.

Conversely, what hasn't worked well?

We've learnt over the years that selling too hard doesn't work on social channels. It is jarring and goes against the grain. People are there to learn, engage, interact, be inspired and have fun.

What have been some of the challenges for Timely in terms of social?


One challenge is stagnation in terms of interesting content and frequency. Another is being responsive enough to questions and comments. We like to think we have managed these challenges successfully through good planning and team involvement.

What advice would you have for other small businesses looking to engage effectively via social media?

There are a lot of social media channels, so know where your customers are and focus on those. With social media, you can't force it. It only works well when the engagement comes naturally to you and the culture of your organisation. A quick rule of thumb would be: if you're not enjoying it, you're doing it wrong.

Coming up in Small Business: The natural beauty products sector is on a growth trajectory and plays to many of 'brand New Zealand's' strengths. If you've got a small business in this space and a good story to tell about establishing your brand, get in touch.