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Developing New Zealand’s primary industries social capital.

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Executive Summary

This report and associated research asks the question:

‘How could NZ Inc use Social Media to support the Primary Industries?’

Social Media can no longer be ignored as a tool for your brand strategy. In a recent Dominion Post article, (Ranekleiv 2015) said ‘Online retailers are seeing rapid increases in the number of competitors. To remain competitive, they’re being forced to expand their offerings of products and services. Marketers need to engage with online customers and integrate the brand’s social media platforms into the overall experience. Consumers shopping online will also be referencing the brand in either positive or negative ways on social media. Brand owners can use social media to be part of those conversations to build their brands, and important tools are evolving to support this process’ (Winter C, 2015.)

The three areas of research completed for this paper support Ranekleiv’s statement. These research methods are:

  1. A literature review, used to establish the uptake and value of social media nationally and globally;
  2. An online survey promoted across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn targeted at rural social media users to understand their use of different platforms
  3. Case Study interviews, which were held face-to-face, via phone and email to understand how they use Social Media as part of their strategy.

A key finding highlighted that the sector lacked resource; capability and knowledge of social media so generally hadn’t invested time or money into developing a Social Media strategy. This has meant a slow uptake in the use of the tool, so organisations are missing the opportunity to engage online influencers with their brand.

By having our industry’s brands on Social Media, we can collectively tell our NZ Inc story. We do a poor job of promoting ‘our brand’ currently and my recommendations look to influence change:

– Develop a national social media seminar series to educate Primary Industry organisations on Social Media

– Form a ‘collective’ to tell our NZ Inc story through industry collaboration

– Build on existing campaigns such as #AgChatNZ and #NZFarmerday

When used well, Social Media can drive business, build brand awareness and allows communication to be had at a deeper level with customers. By ignoring the opportunities this tool presents, businesses are missing the chance to influence a growing online audience. Online consumers demand transparency and it’s important for long-term growth that businesses build a social media strategy into their broader brand strategy to position them for this growth.

Developing New Zealand’s Primary Industries Social Capital – Chelsea Millar