Helping Kiwis get social

Like many of the consultancies that sprung up in the wake of the social media wave, Social Kiwi has been hands-on helping businesses with their social efforts. But it hopes to increasingly hand over the reins to companies with the launch of Facebook DIY, a tool designed for SMEs to build and manage their own Facebook apps for a small monthly fee.

To date, the Hawke's Bay company has been managing campaigns end-to-end for clients, from the brief through design, development and management.

Social Kiwi founder Joshua Woodham says many businesses are running competitions that breach Facebook guidelines and risk getting their page shut down, a problem Facebook DIY will address by creating promotions to be run "effectively and correctly". He also plans to expand into offering workshops and online tutorials to educate customers about the ins and outs of social media. 

Social Kiwi is just over a year old but has done work for district councils, Pak'nSave, New World, Gilmours and sub-brands of Weta Workshop. And last month it was named best Virtual Profiteer at the annual awards of Hawke’s Bay business magazine The Profit.

It also offers email marketing, blogging, and digital video services, the latter of which Woodham says is rapidly gaining momentum. Faster broadband is reducing buffering issues and video is an increasingly popular tool for the tourism industry, including accommodation providers, as the conversion rate is high.

"If you've got a website and there's a video at the top of the homepage 70 percent of visitors are going to watch it. If it's short and concise, 60-90 seconds, they'll watch the whole thing. There's a 30-40 percent chance they'll go on to a further enquiry or purchase." 

Pinterest, too, is a network that female-oriented businesses are getting into.

"An example is the Old Church restaurant in Hawke's Bay. They're big on weddings."

An accountant by trade, Woodham got the social media bug after a gig at Bebo in the UK.

"It was one of the bigger social networks at the time, when things were going really well. It had just sold to AOL for US$800 million. The people I was working with had made quite a bit of dough from the buyout and there were quite a few millionaires around. In an industry just taking off I thought, 'this is my game. This is what I want to do'," he says.

After returning to New Zealand, he set up Social Kiwi as a one-man show. Since then, another three have come on board "and we're still tapped out". Woodham says he's looking to hire more designers and more account managers and continue along a growth trajectory.