Oamaru businessman Lance Streeter is encouraging all Oamaru businesses to use social media after his experiences with Facebook, Twitter and online tools to form new, lucrative connections with customers.
The Streeter Concepts Signwriting and Design owner has been taking advantage of social media as a strategy for networking and increasing business since 2011.
"It just made sense to me, really," he said.
"Before I even had a Facebook page set up for work, it just seemed to work for what I was doing.
"I was putting photos on my personal Facebook and getting a positive response and getting sales from it."
As a result of social networking, a fair proportion of Mr Streeter's business now comes from clients outside of Oamaru.
"I'd say some months at least a third of it would be social media-driven," he said.
He also runs a free online QR code generating website
"I run a website called My QR code. That's a free service, but then from that we've got jobs from McCashins Brewery, Otago University, and this month, to date, even though it's a [New Zealand] website for generating QR codes, we've had more American website-generated QR codes than we've had New Zealanders, so that's been good," he said.
My QR Code clients have included Apple NZ, Skellerup NZ and Lady Gaga's Born this Way Foundation.
Although it is a free service, Mr Streeter said it gave him a huge pool of potential customers.
"I saw it as a potential revenue earning thing even though it's a free service, with the volumes going through we can have advertising, and track the QR codes so the companies can pay us to monitor them," he said.
He said social media had become a powerful tool for his business's advertising.
"I think every single Oamaru business should have a Facebook page.
"I know some businesses that are dead-set against having a Facebook page, but businesses should be using all forms of social media," he said.
"It allows you to keep the low overhead of being in a small town, but still being able to pick up and do these other jobs."
Facebook had enabled him to connect with customers in a different way.
"People can send you messages and enquire about stuff at any hour. It's so much easier than taking a bunch of phone calls," he said.
He also uses Twitter, with posts linked to Facebook, but he said he wants to work on making his social media presence bigger.
Mr Streeter said it was positive to see the Chamber of Commerce have such a huge response to a social media course they ran in Oamaru last year.
Run by Otago University lecturer Andrew Long, a second evening had to be organised after such a positive response.
"He did a really good course and had a really good response. Before that, there were a few people who had never used it before," he said.
For those interested, Mr Streeter said: "Don't be shy of it.
"If you see an online opportunity, grasp it. If you're bringing money from out of town here, it gets spent here and benefits the community."