Social Media Crucial in Maintaining a Business Presence after Christchurch Earthquake

by Kelly on March 7, 2011

After the huge earthquake that rocked Christchurch on the 22nd February 2011, businesses are starting to become more aware, of just how crucial communication via Social Media is becoming as a part of their marketing mix.

In the aftermath of this quake, everybody wanted to know if their loved ones were OK, phones were overloaded, their building lay in ruins – how could they connect?… Facebook and Twitter of course… thousands upon thousands of messages immediately after the quake can be found on peoples Facebook and Twitter pages – “I’m OK, are you alright?” These tools were vitally important and the only way so many people could connect with their friends and family to find out if they were in fact, OK.

“Chief Operating Officer of BNZ – Stephen Mockett said Twitter was an energy efficient means of communicating, when some cell-sites were down and many people could not charge their phones, and had enabled it to reach vast numbers of people easy” (HREF 1). Helpful and important information was tweeted and posted on Facebook to their customers, such as which ATMs were working and which branches were actually operating.

New Zealand’s population is currently 4,315,800 (World Bank, World Development Indicators) and according to Facebook, Facebook is currently reaching over 42% of New Zealand’s population.

“Facebook is currently reaching over 42% of New Zealand’s population.”

Overall, Facebook has more than 500 million active users and at least 50% of these active users log onto Facebook in any given day. Latest statistics show that the fastest growing demographic are people 35 years and older. But don’t discount it for the younger market either, as it still has 143 million active users. Facebook receives the 2nd highest percent of visits in New Zealand after Google and before TradeMe (HREF 2).

ASB have logged onto Facebook with their virtual branch application. This social media application allows customers to have a secure and private chat with ASB staff. It has been very successful with 99% of customers who’ve used it said that they would recommend it to their friends and family. ASB now has a growing captive audience with over 14,000 followers on Facebook and 2,400 followers on Twitter over.

In order to just keep up with your competition you need to get your brand out there, both online and offline. To build recognition for a market that will pay attention and gain an edge on your competition you will need to “think outside the box”, like ASB has done with their virtual branch application, this type of thinking will set yourself apart from other brands.

Think of yourself as today’s customer… why stand in a cue, or wait on the phone listening to that horribly annoying music when you can engage in a real-time basis right now via Twitter or Facebook? For further information on Social Media Marketing in your business please contact us.


HREF 1: Banking on social media after the Christchurch earthquake, Claire Rogers,

HREF 2: Facebook driving the Industry growth (NZ), Alann Long,

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