Facebook is still a lucrative network for small business owners and merchants, even though organic growth is nearly non-existent. Earlier this year Facebook informed that 40 million SMBs have active Facebook Pages. That’s up from the 30 million Facebook said it had last June.
Later Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also assured that Facebook is still the best way to reach out to customers.
India, second largest market after US has more than 1.5 million small businesses in India already using Facebook Pages. According to a latest announcement India is going to see a boost of investments for small businesses in the country with the first of many Facebook Small Business Boost events.
“India is a priority market for Facebook and this program is just part of our continued investment in Indian small businesses, developers and 125 million Indians who use Facebook. We already contribute USD 4 billion and 335,000 jobs to India through our marketing, platform and connectivity efforts (2015 Deloitte report). These events will help provide small businesses with the technology and resources required to connect with new customers and generate sales in a measurable way,” Ritesh Mehta, Head of Economic Growth Initiatives for Facebook India said.
Helping to advance the government’s Digital India and Skills India vision, Facebook’s Small Business Boost program has been designed to arm Indian businesses with the knowledge, skills and technology required to stay innovative and connect with customers at home and abroad, a company statement said.
At these events, attendees will engage with a broad selection of small business peers and Facebook experts to learn and share their experiences of growing an online business in today’s global economy. Hands-on training sessions will include how to effectively use mobile to reach international audiences and boost the brand online, the statement added.
In support of Facebook’s Small Business Boost program, Telangana’s IT Minister K T Rama Rao will co-host and kick-off the first event. Rama Rao said there are more than 36 million SMEs in the country providing employment to 80 million people and form the backbone of the Indian economy.”Facebook’s Small Business Boost events will serve as a tremendous resource for these businesses as experts and small business themselves offer training on best practices for growing a small business online,” the minister said.
This isn’t the first time Facebook is targeting the SMEs of the country. Back in 2012, Facebook and Federation Of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) had joined hands to boost the country’s local business sector or Small and Medium business enterprises. The initiative was drawn to provide educational resources, tutorials on how to build and engage via Facebook brand page and free advertising credit on the Facebook platform.
If you compare the 2012 announcement with the latest one, the offerings are more or less same. This time also the program has been designed to arm Indian businesses with the knowledge, skills and technology required to stay innovative and connect with customers.
Additionally, to earn confidence, Facebook will get some of the popular SMEs that has benefited from the network after investment. It is being said that the small business panel will feature companies like Pelli Poola Jada, The Chocolate Heaven and Doctor C.
In other words Facebook will not only educate but also push its ad products and other commercial offerings to the SMEs. Not that it’s bad but it won’t be easy to push its offerings since organic reach on Facebook is dead. Reaching out to fans or any other activity on Facebook now requires a handsome budget.
But Facebook numbers in India (125 million monthly active user base) and the global popularity will be enough to tempt the SMEs.