Peter Thomson Brings NZ Style of Social Media to the UK

Published: Mon 26 Aug 2013 12:13 PM
Peter Thomson Brings NZ Style of Social Media to the UK
Tickle: Digital marketing for tech companies by Kiwi author Peter Thomson hit the bestseller list on Amazon UK this week. The newly published business book was the fastest seller in the High-Tech Business & Finance category on on 22 August.
The book is about how companies can use social media to create communities and build online customer relationships. It also includes a controversial chapter on how companies are using social media to target high-value customers with personal attention. These new social media techniques are being used by companies who want to win over a particularly big fish such as a CEO or decision maker.
The title of the book is a reference to the art of 'tickling' a trout. Which is illegal in New Zealand rivers but involves a fisherman gently sliding their hands underneath a fish to pluck it from the water. Companies are doing the same online by identifying particular decision makers and going to extraordinary lengths to engage with them. For example, writing whole blog posts to suit their personal interests and even buying online advertising to target a single person.
The New Zealand style of doing business online:
New Zealand is a natural testing ground for new ideas in social media because so many Kiwi businesses live or die by their reputation and word-of-mouth. New Zealand is leading the world in new types of online marketing because the Kiwi business culture is so relationship focused. Peter Thomson cited New Zealand inspirations for his social media thinking such as Brian Richards (BRR), Ben Young (Young & Shand) and Vaughn Davis (TEDx Auckland). Said Thomson, "Kiwis are generally honest and open in business and this comes through online."
But some New Zealand companies are getting left behind. For example, Fonterra was too slow to embrace social media and has suffered several online attacks from Greenpeace. Likewise, Hell Pizza and Waiwera Water have all suffered Facebook attacks over the years. To Peter, these incidents aren't reasons to avoid social media. In fact, they're the reason that companies need to be on social media in force.
Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit in the UK:
Peter Thomson is part of a new wave of New Zealanders doing well in the digital, media and technology scene in London. Said Thomson from his base at the Innovation Warehouse in trendy Clerkenwell, London: "The startup and tech scene here in London is filled with Kiwis. New Zealanders make very good entrepreneurs because of our practical number eight wire mentality and the fact that Kiwis get things done."
The book included input from several successful New Zealanders living in London including Jonathan Horner (advertising), Klaus Bravenboer (startups) and Tim McCready (biotechnology). Peter Thomson also credited the entrepreneurial startup culture in New Zealand as an inspiration. "I've been inspired by people like Andy Hamilton (Icehouse), Lance Wiggs (Punakaiki Fund), Jeremy Moon (Icebreaker) and obviously Sam Morgan."
Peter Thomson grew up in New Plymouth and Auckland before moving to London three years ago to pursue a career in social media and digital innovation. His previous roles in New Zealand included the Icehouse Accelerator, law firm Russell McVeagh, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and design firm BRR.
Updates on the book and articles about social media in business can be found at Tickle: Digital marketing for tech companies (ISBN: 1492179450) is out now and is available in New Zealand as a paperback and digital download through Amazon.
Sidebar - Five tips to tickle your customers:
1. Fish where the fish are: If your customers are on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter then you need to be there as well.
2. Flock together: Your loyal customers will be there for you when things go wrong. But only if you spend the time to get to know them and make them feel valued.
3. Chase the big fish: Too many New Zealand companies try to be everything to everyone. Instead, focus on winning in a specific niche market.
4. Always keep moving: Innovation and creativity are vital to keep adapting to new competitive challenges. Social media moves fast.
5. Start small. Even small changes like starting a blog and opening a company Twitter account can build momentum over time. A small tickle can make a big difference to the right customer.

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