Group chats, live streams and polling stickers are among the free tools that small local entrepreneurs can use to expand their customer base and grow their businesses.
With proper training in the use of these tools, micro, small and medium enterprises can even make social impact and build communities besides boosting their sales.
“We want to arm you with the ways and means to grow your business through our platform,” said John Rubio, Facebook Philippines country director at an October 25 event.
Rubio said the tools for small businesses are also the same ones available to large advertisers like Unilever or Coca-Cola.
“The ability to create a page, for example, is free. Unlike before where you have to create a website and hire a website developer, you can create a ‘website’ in a few minutes,” Rubio said.
The latest survey of Global Web Index, a market research company, showed that the Philippines is still the top Facebook-using country out of 44 countries.
Filipinos spend an average of 4 hours and 5 minutes on the social networking site. The rest of the world, meanwhile, only spends an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day.
About 50 million of these users, Rubio said, are connected to MSMEs based in the Philippines.
Rubio mentioned common free features for MSME’s growth:
Messenger – is Facebook’s own instant messaging service that users can use to send messages, pictures, videos and even make surveys.
Messenger Day with polling stickers – is a tool built in its online chat program that allows users to share photos and videos and put creative stickers and effects on them.
Live stream – allows users to broadcast videos and engage with their chosen audience in any part of the world
Community and business pages – can be set up for free and can either be closed or open group depending on the members
These were discussed during the last day of Facebook’s three-day seminar on digital literacy called Facebook Community Boost in Taguig City from October 23 to 25.
Facebook partnered with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Tourism for this workshop.
What is Facebook Community Boost?
Community Boost is a global initiative with the goal to “equip entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and youth leaders, with tools and learning resources so they can develop critical skills they need to grow their businesses, promote their advocacies and causes, and reach the audiences that matter most to them.”
Small enterprise owners—Bayan Academy head Philip Felipe, Brownroots Founder Celia Alama Jacob and 2018 Digital Youth Summit winner Jalen Elarmo—were also invited at Facebook’s stop in the Philippines to share their insights.
Elarmo’s team Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan Development Communication Society or XU DevCom Society launched #OperationHeartAttack through #TheSMLProject, which was derived from the millennial term “so much love,” to encourage the youth, particularly victims of online bullying, to spread love online.
So far, it has more than 5,000 engagements online.
Felipe, meanwhile, sought to reach aspiring entrepreneurs from marginalized communities across the country.
So far, Bayan Academy was able to reach communities in Marawi and have been part of the war-torn province’s rehabilitation process.
Entrepreneur Celia Alamo Jacob focused her work on helping Filipinos who “wish to start over” or move on from their negative past experiences by venturing into entrepreneurship.
Jacob said she acquired her knowledge in digital literacy through training and collaboration with the Creative Women Collective.