In Search of a Kiwi ~ HootSuite Plans for New Zealand

By Marianne Beilmann | 3 years ago | 11 Comments

HootSuite launches New Zealand presence
image via

Reminiscent of HootSuite’s mission of voicing the stories of international owl communities, we’re excited to do the same in New Zealand. Through the launch of @HootSuite_NZ account and engagement with our fellow Kiwis working towards the growth of social media in Aotearoa, the owl is landing in New Zealand!

Can Owls and Kiwis be Friends?

While being known worldwide for their innovation, in social media they’re a bit slower to the party.

Additionally, isolation also creates disadvantages in industry and technology adoption. Coffee shops with free WiFi are few and far between and New Zealand’s traditional views on marketing make the possibility of a digital revolution more difficult than its neighbours.

Exploring this growing and exciting space is something us Owls at HootSuite couldn’t pass up, especially since resident pseudo Kiwi is a New Zealand super fan.

Social Media in Aotearoa

Despite its youth, social media in New Zealand is an interesting story. Usage differs across industries and social media networks. According to one study conducted through Catalyst90, almost half of the four million New Zealanders are active on Facebook, while we have noted only 200 thousand Twitter users.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn usage by New Zealanders is very high with 600 thousand LinkedIn users at more than 12% of its population, while Australia lists only 7% of its population as LinkedIn users. The professional use of social media shows a focus on its large and small business marketing abilities.

Kiwi icons such as the All Blacks and 100% Pure New Zealand have built vast Facebook followings through updates, images, videos and community engagement. Twitter usage for New Zealand brands lags behind – The All Blacks have almost two million ‘likes’ on Facebook while only 181 thousand followers on Twitter.

Additionally, for some Kiwi businesses, committing to multiple social media platforms seems far too time consuming… an issue which we aim to help solve with HootSuite’s New Zealand campaign!


Christchurch ~ Rebirth of the Garden City

New Zealand’s captivating social media story contains a chapter yet to be written: the rebuilding and rebirth of Christchurch. After the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011, social media became the communication tool for many Canterburians affected by the earthquakes.

Interestingly, as The Press published earlier this year, social media in Christchurch became the only available source of news as most places of refuge were inhospitable or flattened by the events. Twitter hashtags were created and popularized to sustain threads of communication after both earthquakes, after which most participants stepped away from Twitter.

This points to another aspect of social media in New Zealand – it’s used as an emergency news and communications source during disasters.  

Now, more than a year after the last earthquake, Christchurch is in a state of transition. It is the only city in the western world with the ability to recreate itself according to the needs of a 21st century culture and society. Plans for the city include sectors for the arts, business and residence. WiFi will be readily available and free for the public, as well as an Innovation Precinct, housing and fostering technology based businesses and research.

With regards to social media growth, this is a huge step in opening up the space for more New Zealanders. The rebuilding of Christchurch has also forced businesses, city councils and politicians to step up their game on the community building front. Social media has and will continue to become the avenue for this to occur.

In Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel series highlighting the top 10 cities to visit, Christchurch was mentioned due to its unique innovation fuelled transitional state. From shopping malls built out of shipping containers to contests for the best outdoor washroom when running water was still a luxury, Kiwis have shown the imagination, positiveness and dedication for which this country is famous – a personality seen often in social media campaigns such as Air New Zealand’s #AirNZHobbit and Steinlager’s “Keep it Pure.”

Owly poses in a New Zealand AllBlacks jersey
Owly poses in a New Zealand AllBlacks jersey

Through @HootSuite_NZ and and with the help of Social Media New Zealand, we aim to continue sharing the New Zealand social media story and learn from our fellow Kiwis. Stay tuned for a Google+ Hangout this Wednesday, a Look Hoo’s Hooting New Zealand blog post and a New Zealand guide to small businesses and social media.

Tweet us your thoughts @Hootsuite_NZ and  send us your information to join our Google+ Hangout, or leave a comment below to connect!

Pete 5pts

Hi Marianne,

Welcome you & Hooty to NZ!

Clearly from reading the above comments on your post, you've picked up that we're a passionate and resilient bunch as well as being innovative... I think you could describe us as being a bit like Scrappy-Doo (small, but feisty - "Just let us at em"...

One big thing that I've found about NZ's SM industry compared to other countries is that due to our smaller size, generally speaking we all know (of) each other. You're right, NZ companies do have small social media teams, so we tend to reach out across industry and organisation to others in similar jobs far more than in other countries. Regularly information and experiences are shared, and regardless of industry, there are learnings to be had for all - particularly about the tools and platforms we use. There's been a bit of chat about the role of 3rd party apps like yourselves, so hopefully it can be passed through to you for feedback/future updates.

It's really great to have you with a focus on NZ. The Google+ hangout was a good idea today (despite technology issues for me) and I think there's many that would welcome these to continue if you can.



Marianne Beilmann
Marianne Beilmann 5pts

Thanks for the great comment Pete, and it was awesome to meet you yesterday. Really enjoyed hearing about your vast experiences and especially about the little intel you gave us from The Hobbit premiere!

We're thinking of putting together weekly twitter chats where we can learn from each other about different strategies, tools, and platforms. Hopefully this interests you as well!

Anna Connell
Anna Connell 5pts

Hey there Marianne. Nice to see you here. We use Hootsuite too. Got to agree with Nalinesh - bit quick with the slow call. I work for a bank and we've been using social for two years. When I compare the type of service we, the other kiwi banks, some the telcos and a heap of other businesses deliver compared to what I've seen overseas, we're definitely on par. I think it's important to remember we're a country where one or two people might do the jobs of the ten people elsewhere so rather then calling us a bit slow, perhaps get to know us and our business/brand landscape first? Look forward to seeing more from Hootsuite in NZ. - Anna

Marianne Beilmann
Marianne Beilmann 5pts

Hi Anna,

Thanks very much for your comment. And I agree with your statement that two people in New Zealand do the work of ten. Having lived in NZ on a 600 cattle dairy farm, I've learned first hand the Kiwi work ethic, and frankly, this Canadian barely made it through :)!

As this was a soft launch and an introductory post, I had to rely on my own perceptions and due to word count issues I couldn't include all the achievements of New Zealanders, especially those seen through due to their resourcefulness and innovation. Please do forgive me for this mishap, and next time I will be sure to let my NZ superfan-ness shine through! Also, this has become a kind of adventure, experiment launch so far, so it has been great to have so much feedback from you!

Thanks again Anna, hope to stay in communication with you!

Donna Robertson
Donna Robertson 5pts

Kia ora Marianne and Hootsuite

Good to hear you're going to be immersing yourself into the New Zealand social media community.

Our libraries in Christchurch have free wifi and computing resource, and many others in NZ do too. The Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa has been bringing both free wifi and computing resources to all sorts of places around the country.

We enjoy using Hootsuite to keep our keen social media customers connected with lots of good local information.

Nāku noa


Marianne Beilmann
Marianne Beilmann 5pts

Hi Donna,

Thanks very much for your great input. I will look at the link that you've provided for more information as well.

When I was living in NZ I used the libraries often to use WiFi, and it was a great resource. I was a bit surprised to see how expensive and rare it was in cafes but with this information I now see the extensive effort that NZ is making towards making it more readily available.

Thanks again for all the information and all you're doing! If you're with Christchurch Library you'll be mentioned in our blog next week! :)

Donna Robertson
Donna Robertson 5pts

Hi Marianne,

Yes I'm the editor of Christchurch City Libraries so will be interested to see next week's post.

Nāku noa


Mark Lincoln
Mark Lincoln 5pts

Hi HootSuite, and welcome to New Zealand!

It's great to see you're building your presence here and helping to promote Social Media use for New Zealand businesses.

This is a top blog post to introduce yourselves but I disagree with a couple of paragraphs!

"In a country as diverse and isolated as New Zealand, innovations and achievements arrive a tad slower than the rest of the western world."

Ok yup true in many areas but New Zealand also has a great reputation for innovation itself. Did you know the first jet boat was invented in New Zealand in 1954? Also, many people swear blind that New Zealand was host to the world's first powered flight - Richard Pearse, Waithoi, March 31, 1902 - before the Wright brothers in 1903, just not as well documented internationally ;)

"Additionally, isolation also creates disadvantages in industry and technology adoption. Coffee shops with free WiFi are few and far between and New Zealand’s traditional views on marketing make the possibility of a digital revolution more difficult its neighbours."

Actually I think our biggest limitation at present is broadband - I believe our broadband is effectively imported from overseas and this is limited by cables. We're looking at boosting that a fair bit in the not too distant future though.

As for WiFi in cafes etc., I wouldn't really agree with you there - most cafes I visit, even in post-quake Christchurch - have free WiFi access. In fact, I'm sitting in the Miles Toyota dealership right now and they, as well as many other dealers, offer free WiFi for their customers while they wait. Telecom and a number of other businesses provide free WiFi access to large areas such as entire shopping malls and Trade Me have provided free WiFi access to a whole waterfront in Wellington! One town in the South Island, Lawrence, actually offers free WiFi to the whole town!,_New_Zealand

Plus right now I'm using a Swiftpoint mouse - designed by a New Zealand company. New Zealand also developed the YikeBike - "the world's first super-light folding electric bike".

So all in all, we're actually pretty onto it already. But it is great to have you guys here and there are plenty of New Zealand companies that really would benefit from your services.

I really do look forward to seeing more from you guys in the future - I've used HootSuite myself and find it to be fantastic- as well as more and more NZ businesses taking on the world through social media and in every other field.


Marianne Beilmann
Marianne Beilmann 5pts

Hi Mark, thanks for the in depth comment. It was our mistake to generalize and not include all the great achievements by New Zealanders over history. Being the first to give women the vote and climb Mount Everest are only a few of many great achievements!

We've noticed that the use of social media outside of the business realm is not as deep as other areas, as the Twitter statistics show... we should have worded that more clearly!

Again, thanks very much and look forward to communicating with you!

Nalinesh Arun
Nalinesh Arun 5pts

Hi Owly

If you are trying to win over Kiwis, try not to mention this: "In a country as diverse and isolated as New Zealand, innovations and achievements arrive a tad slower than the rest of the western world." We Kiwis may be be a bit behind but let's not rub it in :) Maybe a more positive spin on what you are bringing to the mix, etc.

Marianne Beilmann
Marianne Beilmann 5pts

Thanks for your thoughts Nalinesh! I was too definitive and took social media to include just about everything. Will fix this and take your advice to next post!