Facebook encourages MSMEs to build brand online

By: Gresheen Gift M. Libby October 18,2019 - 07:50 AM

John Rubio, country director of Facebook Philippines, says micro, small and medium enterprises can grow their businesses if they use online trends to their advantage. CDND PHOTO / Gresheen Gift Libby

CEBU CITY — It’s high time for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to start making their presence known online.

For Cebu, where the entrepreneurial culture is strong and growing, this is a call that the Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas (DTI-7) has advocated for several years now in order to help MSMEs elevate their businesses to the next level.

This is also the push of Facebook Philippines as they launched the country’s Facebook Community Boost, a global initiative that aims to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and skills to keep up with the mobile-first market.

The initiative, which is rolled out in partnership with DTI-7 and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), was first launched  last September 11 in Cebu City.

It will be rolled out in three other target cities namely Dumaguete, Manila and Davao.

John Rubio, country director of Facebook Philippines, said that 90 million businesses around the world are using both free and paid tools in order to grow.

He said MSMEs can make great impacts by adapting to various trends seen online. These trends include the shift to mobile, customer engagement through conversations as well as sharing of stories.

Top online trends include the customer’s love for conversation.

Rubio said MSME can take advantage of this trend as an opportunity to connect to stakeholder and to the communities. This can be a way to generate new customers or expand one’s network.

Rubio said the trend to share stories, which is evident in Facebook’s My Day and Instagram stories, is fueled by the Filipino’s love to share small moments.

MSMEs in the Philippines have the potential to grow given that the Philippines is the first number one country in the world where people spend the most amount of time using their mobile phones, according to a study by We Are Social and Hootsuite released in January 2019.

Brazil follows on second place and Thailand on the third spot.

During the launching, Cebu homegrown enterprise Anthill Fabric Gallery joined the discussion with co-founder and designer Anya Lim sharing how their business grow with the use of social media.

Anthill stands Alternative Nest and Trading/ Training Hub for Indigenous/ Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers, a social enterprise that preserves and promotes Philippine hand-loomed fabrics by engaging partner communities all over the country.

These fabrics are made into apparel and fashion accessories that are sold in their physical and online stores.

Lim said that several businesses are still in the brick-and-mortar mindset, which means that they look at the success of a business as having a physical store.

She said this is challenge to Cebuano MSMEs.

“There’s a lot of creative entrepeneurs in the city. Education on how to market their products on social media is a way to overcome this mindset,” said Lim.

DTI-7 regional director Maria Elena “Nanette” Arbon was also present during the launching to assure MSMEs of the agency’s continued support for their growth. / celr

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