Mumbai-based SuperBottoms is a brand offering sustainable diaper solutions for babies. When the pandemic struck, Pallavi Utagi, founder of SuperBottoms, realized that those who had become new parents during lockdown were not only worried about their safety, but also how they would care for their newborns in these uncertain times.
SuperBottoms has used Facebook extensively to organize several activities for its Facebook community, including counseling sessions and connecting new parents with other closest relatives for essential resources.
As a brand, they use Facebook twice as much during these times, explains Archana Vohra, Director, Global Business Group, Scaled & SMB India. She adds that the brand was able to return its sales to pre-COVID levels in three months.
In April of this year, SuperBottoms raised $ 2 million in Series A funding, testifying to their growth during the pandemic.
In today’s world, we practically eat, sleep and breathe around social media apps. These apps are the mainstream mode of communication and connection, but the pandemic has led to a massive increase in the time spent on social media not only for leisure, but also to seek business opportunities.
From small businesses to MSMEs and even businesses, all have gone digital to keep their businesses alive while the world was in lockdown. This created a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services on a screen that helped them reach all geographies and meet target customers.
Facebook and its family of apps like Instagram and WhatsApp have multiplied the opportunities for entrepreneurs, allowing them to expand existing markets and explore new markets.
In an exclusive interaction with SMBShistory On tips and tricks for small businesses and MSMEs to grow their businesses, Archana Vohra explains how Facebook has seen a huge increase in the number of SMEs associated with them over the past year and how Facebook and its family of apps support businesses with the financing, skills, and key resources they need during this critical time.
SMBShistory [SMBS]: How has Facebook helped micro and small businesses?
Archana Vohra [AV]: Facebook is deeply committed to the economic recovery of Indian small businesses by supporting them with the financing, skills and key resources they need during this critical time.
Our study with OECD and the world Bank found that Indian companies are facing serious financial difficulties, with almost a third of them expecting cash flow to be a challenge. Last year, we announced a $ 4.3 million (about Rs 32 crore) grant to five Indian cities for small businesses. We also know that small businesses in India felt the urgent need to move online, which inspired us to launch a SME Guide for India which is free and accessible to the public. We’ve proactively reached out to 15 million small businesses across the country to make sure the guide reaches those who need it most. It is available in Hindi except English to support a large number of businesses in separate geographies.
We have also placed emphasis on business skills and support. Our Managed Partner Program helps midsize businesses scale and grow through support in managing the accounts of our third-party partners. This is available free to clients, and we have enabled over 16x more businesses since March 2020. Another of our flagship programs, the Advertiser Bootcamp, offers in-depth learning support through masterclasses and personalized content in Hindi and English; it has reached 15 million customers on the platform. As part of the program, we help clients go online offline, or better understand how they can use the platform to gain new clients and generate better ROI.
Our venture capital brand incubator program, which works with venture capital funds to develop young invested brands, has just completed two years in which it partnered with nine venture capital funds and developed more than 200 early funded companies. As part of this, we’ve also launched a ‘Campaign Lab’ that helps direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses get support with creative solutions and kick off mobile-friendly designs and strategy. 72 hours.
SMBS: What are the important Facebook tips and tricks for entrepreneurs to help their business grow and grow now when business operations have resumed?
A V: The pandemic has been difficult for small businesses and the closures induced by the second wave have made the crisis worse for many. As businesses resume operations, here are some quick action steps they can take:
- Build / strengthen online presence: There is a huge opportunity to grow and reach potential customers not only across India but also across the world. Our studies also show that digital can help small businesses get through tough times. A study commissioned by Facebook by Deloitte showed that 76% of SMBs surveyed said Facebook apps were important in helping them adapt to the changing business environment.
- Invest in corporate training: Timely skills can help small businesses scale quickly, so now is a good time to invest in learning about business. Brands should use the resources and opportunities available for free online. For example, Facebook has brought all of its digital skills programs, which are free, online over the past year, and continues to rely on them to provide start-ups with timely support to grow their business.
- Connect directly with customers: Social media can deliver a strong customer experience and drive business results down the funnel. Chatbots, Messenger, and the WhatsApp Business app are great ways to connect with consumers and resolve their queries in real time.
- Test, learn and measure: It is imperative that companies test, learn, measure and analyze ROI for successful campaign execution. Brands should try test samples with minimal expense and identify what works for the business. Business disruption can be managed more transparently if small businesses focus on and measure truly incremental business results.
SMEs: How many SMEs use Facebook and its family of applications to promote their business?
A V: Facebook is expanding economic opportunities by enabling more than 200 million businesses, mostly small businesses, to use our platforms every month around the world to reach their customers. A significant portion of them are in India. For example, we support over 15 million users of the WhatsApp for Business app in India. We have more than 10 million active advertisers worldwide on our applications. This shows the large number of small businesses that use our platform for free every month.
We regularly conduct surveys and research to understand how small businesses use and benefit from our apps.
Indian cuts to our joint report with the World Bank and the OECD on small businesses found that by the end of 2020, nearly a third of small businesses on Facebook had increased their digital sales compared to before the pandemic. of COVID-19.
Another study commissioned by Facebook and carried out by Deloitte that surveyed small businesses in India found that 82% of SMEs surveyed said the Facebook family of apps was important to strengthening their business today and 76% said that the Facebook family of apps helped them stay. operational during the pandemic. The same study found that 80% of the SMEs surveyed said that Facebook apps were important for the company to be competitive in the market.
SMBS: What are the trends Facebook will be witnessing in digital / social media marketing over the next five years?
A V: The biggest trend to call is digital adoption by small businesses. As small businesses contribute 30% of India’s GDP, digital can help open up huge growth opportunities for them, fueling new business models outside of India. Here are some trends to highlight:
- We will witness a further acceleration of small businesses are moving from offline to online. Our study with the World Bank and the OECD of small businesses polled on Facebook found that they now make at least a quarter of their sales digitally. This is important when you consider that there are 63 million small businesses in India.
- Another big trend will be the increased role of discovery and how it will not only change our buying journeys, but also fuel e-commerce in India. New brands and ideas are constantly “discovered” on the net; and many of them were born successfully from digital. An online survey commissioned by Facebook by GFK showed that 96% of respondents said they discover brands and products online. Additionally, 83% of people who discover new brands or products online typically find out on a Facebook platform. All of this implies that the discovery trade will fuel the trading landscape for years to come.
- The latest reports clearly indicate that active internet users in rural areas are growing faster than in urban areas. We will see more digital businesses and unique business models emerge from small towns and rural areas in the years to come.
- We will also attend a new wave of home-based entrepreneurs and women-led businesses emerging thanks to the reach, ease and flexibility that digital offers. A Deloitte study commissioned by Facebook told us that women and young business leaders were more likely to start or increase the use of digital tools. These SMEs have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and digital tools are helping them adapt and overcome some of the challenges of the current environment.