The internet is so full of tyre kickers that small New Zealand businesses need to be wary of spending massive amounts of time and money in social media dealings with such non-buyers.
“Twitter’s a waste of time unless you’re really big and can afford to have someone monitoring its incessant chat,” says Mobilizemail director Marc Krisjanous.
Other social media such as Facebook and Linkedin can be useful for small business, if managed correctly, but finding the warm prospects among the thousands of people who have grown to expect everything internet to be free, is key to successfully using the web to make sales he says.
Krisjanous has used some of his own web presence entities, such as free small business hosting site BusinessBlogs.co.nz, and PropertyTalk.com to carry out a research project over the past year ascertaining how businesses can cut through the internet noise to create and cultivate customers.
One member of his team, including wife and business partner Donna Richardson, spent at least half a day watching, participating, monitoring and building up knowledge of how social media actually works and delivers.
New Zealand companies’ use of social media and blogging can be extremely wasteful since “unless you get your presence right, you’re just going to be a silo, that no one knows or cares about,” Krisjanous says.
The use of such tools, which he feels is better thought of as social networking, is to ultimately obtain an email address.
If someone provides this, it means they are at least ‘listening’ and much more likely to purchase a product or service, “provided they trust the person sending the email,” Krisjanous says.
As well as obtaining an address, managing the email process and engagement is also crucial, especially since in any year 30% of email addresses become redundant he says.
Part of the research project involved building the BusinessBlogs platform as a test ground for attracting prospects to their business using a blog.
“By studying the most popular blog sites in the world we applied features and strategies that work,” he says.
The BusinessBlogs platform is available to New Zealand businesses looking to use initially use social media or blogs to drive sales as a “dip-your-toes-in” approach and understanding as to its complex intricacies.
Once such newbie businesses see how these pieces fit together, and use the platform’s networks to develop their own networks, they can set out on their own paths Krisjanous says.