Want to know how to start your small business on Facebook? This detailed tutorial will really help.
There are many talented and creative people I know who can make amazing stuff. Some of these people, who have now become successful entrepreneurs, include Bimbo, the Nigerian woman who turned her bead jewelry hobby into a thriving business.
Another interesting example is Bethlehem Alemu, the Ethiopian lady who has built a global brand from the footwear she makes from locally sourced materials such as used car tyres and handmade fabrics.
Despite these successes, most people who have great products in Africa aren’t always lucky. The biggest problem for these entrepreneurs is that they are unable to find buyers for their products.
Whether you make your own products, buy from a manufacturer or import goods from abroad, this article reveals an effective and low-cost way to expose your products to potential customers by using the amazing power of social networks like Facebook.
Starting off can be tough for small businesses…
Starting a business is not always easy, especially when you’re starting small. That’s why it is commonly said that up to ninety percent of small businesses fail within their first year.
One of the reasons for this is that small businesses often cannot afford the exposure (publicity and advertisements) they need to find customers who will buy their products or services. As a result, many small businesses remain unknown to potential customers and after some time, they may starve and shut down.
However, all of this is changing. Smart entrepreneurs now use social networks like Facebook as a cheap and easy way to promote their small businesses and reach out to thousands of customers who would have been invisible and unavailable to them.
Social networking has changed the way business is done in today’s world. Through social media, anybody and everybody can influence behaviours across the world by sharing their interests and daily life activities.
Although there are now several social networking platforms across the world, Facebook leads the pack as the world’s largest social community with over 1.1 billion registered users worldwide (as at 30 September 2013). That’s more than 15 percent of the world’s total population.
In Africa, Facebook has proven to be popular with over 50 million regular Facebook users on the continent who primarily use it for entertainment and to keep in touch with friends. However, many of these users are unaware of the potentials of using Facebook to grow their small businesses.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can open your own online shop or store for free on Facebook.
Unlike a physical shop, Facebook provides you the opportunity to reach out to more people. It’s easy to start and much easier to maintain. Above all, an online shop (in this case, a Facebook Page), never closes for business like a real-life shop would; it’s availabele to people across the word 24/7!
In a follow up tutorial (Part 2), we will show you how to use Facebook as a cheap and easy way to advertise your online shop to more people.
The best way to learn from this article would be to use a classic example.
Janet is a young African who like many of us dreams of starting her own business. After reading an article on Smallstarter about how to find a lucrative business idea, Janet has decided to turn her bead making hobby into a business.
But there’s a problem. Janet cannot afford to rent a small shop where she can display and sell her beautiful bead jewelry to interested customers. She doesn’t even have the money to build a website to showcase her handiwork.
Even though Janet is incredibly talented at making very beautiful jewelry, she has no way of reaching out to people who would love to buy it.
Is there a way for Janet to open her bead jewelry business online or offline with no money?
Yes there is! It’s called a Facebook Page and we’ll teach you how to create one in a minute.
A Facebook Page is a webpage that allows you to display your products. It will contain beautiful displays of Janet’s hand-made jewelry and both interested and satisfied customers can comment on the products directly on the page or send private messages to Janet.
The best part is a Facebook Page is easy to create and manage. It’s also absolutely free!
How to Create a Facebook Page for Your Small Business
We will take you (and Janet) through the eight simple steps to create a new Facebook Page for your small business.
Step 1: Go to the Facebook home page at www.facebook.com. Remember to log out if you’re already logged in with a separate account.
Step 2: At the bottom of the home page, click on ‘Create Page’ to start the process.
Step 3: Choose the ‘Brand or Product’ option.
Step 4: Choose a Category for your product. There are over 25 different categories to choose from in the drop down menu. Just make sure that any category you choose best describes and suits your product. For Janet, she has chosen the Jewelry/Watches category.
After you have chosen a category, you have to provide the name of your product in the second space. Janet wants to call hers “Janet’s Jewels”. Cool name! After you have typed the name, tick the box to agree to Facebook’s Pages Terms (I guess we don’t have an option but to agree). After that’s done, click the Get Started button!
Step 5: This part is pretty straightforward. You are required to provide details about your product. This is where you enter a brief description of your product to help people know what you’re about and also to allow Facebook find and properly rank your page.
If you have a website (which Janet doesn’t), type in the url (example: www.yourwebsite.com). You are also required to choose a unique Facebook address. Janet has chosen ‘janetsjewels’
When you’re done, click the Save Info button to go to the next step.
Step 6: Next, you will be asked to upload a profile picture for your Facebook Page. If you already use Facebook, this should be a familiar and simple task for you. Since many of us usually have our pictures on our computer or mobile device, click the Upload From Computer link to find and select the picture you would like to use.
As you can see below, Janet has uploaded a picture that shows samples of her jewelry. When her Page is ready, this picture will be splashed across the top of her page and would look attractive to her visitors.
Don’t forget, a Facebook Page is an online version of a physical shop. You need to make it look attractive and professional!
After you have uploaded a picture, click the Next button at the bottom of the screen.
Step 7: The Add to Favorites and Reach More People tabs are optional and you can click the Skip button below to finish the process. In Part 2 of this tutorial, we shall focus on how you can use your page to reach out to more people.
Step 8: Your Facebook Page is almost ready. All that remains is to update your new page with a dashing cover photograph. Every shop should have a warm and welcoming face, and yours shouldn’t be an exception. So, Janet clicks the ‘Add a Cover’ button and uploads a beautiful photograph of hers to give her page a spark.
Yes! Finally, your Facebook Page is ready. You can now view your Page! Isn’t it simple and yet so lovely?!
Now you know how to start your small business on Facebook. What are you waiting for?
If you have been looking for a way to sell a great product, this article/tutorial has reduced the number of excuses you have. I can guess that you may already spend a lot of time on Facebook. Why don’t you spend a little less time chatting with your friends and devote some time to growing the reach of your business.
Once you have set up your page, share it with your friends and they’ll share it with their own friends. It’s cheap, fast and easy!
Social networking is the wave of the future. It has now become a super and advanced version of word-of-mouth advertising. You never know, somebody may buy one of Janet’s bead jewelry and love it.
People who love your product will share the ‘good news’ with their friends on popular social networking sites like Facebook. They’ll take pictures of themselves wearing or using your product and share the details about the things they like about it. This rich and raw information provides you with instant feedback to know the things you’re doing right (or wrong).
What kind of products can you promote with your Facebook Page? Anything; as long as it is something people will want to buy.
Any product that solves a common (or serious) problem in people’s lives, entertains or just makes life easier, more convenient and faster would sell well.
Creative products like artwork, jewelry and clothing are also a few product categories that could do well with a Facebook Page. If you can’t think of a product you can promote, think harder. Stretch your imagination a bit further and you would be amazed at the ideas you come up with.
In Part Two of this tutorial, you will learn how to publicize and expose your business a little more in order to attract more potential customers for your product.
To read Part Two, click HERE. If you have any ideas about this article/tutorial, please share. Don’t forget to ask your questions or leave a comment (if you have one) in the section below.
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To your success!