A Social Approach to BusinessWed, 02/21/2018 - 12:50
Q: What motivated Facebook to establish the Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth initiative in Mexico?
A: The initiative was launched in Brazil about three or four years ago, after Facebook identified a need among SMEs and entrepreneurs. The idea is to offer educational programs that teach them how to boost their business using the tools available on Facebook and Instagram. The initiative was launched in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean two years ago. In Mexico, in particular, we decided to implement the program due to the country’s size and the importance of SMEs to Mexico’s economic growth. Ninety-nine percent of companies in Mexico are SMEs, accounting for almost half of the country’s GDP.
Q: How can Facebook contribute to the development of local entrepreneurs?
A: The Facebook platform can help SMEs reach their clients. There are 78 million people in Mexico with an active Facebook account. Ninety percent of the population that has internet access has a Facebook account. Today, there are at least 1.5 million SMEs with a business profile on Facebook Mexico and 77 percent of Mexicans who have an account follow a local SME. People are not only on Facebook to connect with family and friends, but also to get to know local businesses.
Q: What benefits does Facebook offer as a marketing platform?
A: In addition to the different tools available to promote a business, Facebook offers more opportunities than mass media. When we conduct our training programs, we always suggest that the customer answer these three questions: What goal do you hope to achieve with this website? Who is your audience? What is the relevant message you want to convey? Entrepreneurs do not have too much time and want to be precise with their actions. Facebook can take them directly to their goal. When entrepreneurs decide they are ready to advertise, they have control of their campaign and can start and end whenever they want.
Q: What are Facebook’s main programs in Mexico?
A: Boost your Business with Facebook is a public workshop where we train entrepreneurs on how to use Facebook and Instagram to grow their business; it is a space where they can learn about success stories. In each workshop, we cover topics such as creating a profile, creative content, how to make basic and advanced advertisements and how to use messenger for business. We also teach internationalization strategies to those who are ready to export and we talk about Instagram for business. There are 750 million Instagram accounts in the world and in early 2017, we launched business profiles. It is important that entrepreneurs know this tool is available. We also have a program called Facebook for Business, through which we offer our workshop at other events.
Q: What success stories do you believe stand out?
A: We are especially proud of the case of Moños Charros El Appaloosa, a business created by a 27-year-old man from a town near Zacatecas. He is a veterinarian and his family history is related to the business of charrería, a sport similar to rodeo. He commercializes charros bows and produces and shares very good content on Facebook. He exports his bows and has quadrupled his sales using Facebook.
Entrepreneurs should always keep in mind that on Facebook they compete against other companies, so the most attractive content is what will be visible.
Q: What strategies are you implementing to raise awareness about the benefits of these programs?
A: We publish all the information about our events and workshops at Facebook.com/business and we also have a blog in which we talk about the training sessions and success stories. The Facebook for Business program, which is about the tools available for entrepreneurs, is also in Spanish. To reach those communities that are not yet digitally active, we joined CREA, an NGO that provides courses to women in vulnerable situations, to offer our workshop Ella Aprende, Ella Emprende (She Learns, She Does).