Social media platforms are a great way to keep abreast of all that is going on in the lives of our friends, families and acquaintances. Perhaps, the areas of interest also include those folks whom we do not necessarily want to talk to but would sure like to know what they have been up to. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp or even YouTube, one can wile away hours on social media sites. And while doing so, it is rather difficult to give advertisements a miss. In fact, it often feels as though YouTube is holding you to ransom and you have to watch that Amazon Big Sale announcement before you can resume what you were viewing.
However, much as social media platforms lend themselves to entertainment or news, they also offer the ability for users to advertise a business. In fact, there are now dedicated tools for small and medium enterprises (SME) to establish an online presence.
SMEs actually form the majority
It is commonly acknowledged that SMEs make the world go round and even in an advanced economy such as Singapore, over 90 percent of all businesses are SMEs. This segment contributes to 48 percent of Singapore’s GDP and employs 66 percent of its workforce. What is interesting to note is the bulk of SMEs even in Singapore do not actually have an online presence yet. They have been relying mostly on their existing clientele who visit their physical locations.
The recent past has witnessed a growing interest in building an online business presence – because it is increasingly evident that normalcy is still a distant possibility. Meanwhile, revenues must be generated for businesses to sustain themselves and the livelihoods that are supported by these organisations. It is almost five months now that most of the world is under various forms of lockdowns and ‘circuit-breaker’ measures, and cash flow crunches are becoming all too common. Consequently, businesses with only ‘brick and mortar’ locations have incurred huge losses in revenue, with unemployment figures registering all time highs.
Begin with a Facebook page
Amid the prevailing chaos, however, online businesses have made significant gains; behemoths like Amazon have added several billion to their market caps, while Facebook made a US$5.7 billion investment in India based Jio Platforms in an all-cash deal. Jio Mart–a part of Jio Platforms–is enabling neighbourhood grocers build an online sales channel. When there are an estimated 11 million such stores in India, the enormity of this space was a sure attraction for Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The message is simple –an online presence is invaluable and this is perhaps the right time to consider an investment in building virtual real estate.
The easiest way for a small business to get started is to launch a Facebook page. It entails no more than 10 steps and it can be done from the convenience of a smartphone. The features are mostly intuitive and for an SME owner, a Facebook page can also serve as an elementary data analysis gateway. As a user, one will find information such as each post’s reach, viewer engagement, viewer location and so forth. This is all relevant information towards gauging how effectively one’s posts are faring and to also better understand what tweaks may be necessary to achieve wider reach. A basic Facebook page can be maintained at no monetary cost; it only requires a business owner’s investment of time and creativity.
Social media marketing is now a recognised form of advertising and there are professionals dedicated to assisting SME owners in establishing an online presence. It is commendable that you already have a large clientele visiting your physical location but would it hurt to actually leverage on social media to add another revenue channel for your business?