In its endeavor towards helping businesses grow locally and regionally across India and better connect with the people they care about, Facebook has announced the first SME India Council in Asia-Pacific with 12 small business owners. The new council is a group of small business from various industries and geographies in India.
The group will meet throughout the year to share feedback, discuss new ideas and work with Facebook to build better ads solutions from different geographies and with varied business objectives and goals. The council consists of the following members:
The New SME India Council
- Amruta Walvekar – Director, Wrapistry
- Anaka Narayanan – Director, Brass Tacks
- Anitha Nayak – Founder, Floured
- Gautam Ivatury – Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, MeraDoctor
- Hema Balakrishnan – Founder, Color D Earth
- Kalpana Rajesh – Director, Pelli Poola Jada
- Maya Chandrasekaran – Chief of Talent, Babajob.com
- Nivedha Charles – Founder, Pigtails and Ponys
- Nivedita Mummadi – Co-founder, Dirty Feet
- R Balakrishnan – Co-founder and Director, GIO Adventures
- Sarvesh Agrawal – Founder and CEO, Internshala
- Vivek Iyer – Co-founder, English Dost
Kirthiga Reddy, Managing Director of Facebook India, said, “Mobility is the future of India. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities it creates for people and businesses and are invested for the long-term. The SME India Council is an open forum for local businesses to share feedback with our teams, so that we can align and continue to develop impactful solutions to grow their business.”
The SME India Council is the first council in Asia Pacific, highlighting the growing importance of Indian businesses for Facebook. As per statistics released by the company, it had about 2 Mn small business pages on its portal from India as of October 2015. About 1.5 Mn small business pages were announced in August 2015. Globally, more than 45 Mn small businesses actively use Facebook Pages because of their ease of use and their immediate boost to the digital (and mobile) strategy of businesses.
Additionally, Facebook stated that 57% of people on Facebook in India are connected to at least one small business, with +1.99 Bn interactions generated between businesses and people in India. That is to say, of the 138 Mn people on Facebook in India (90% on mobile), more than half of them are connected to at least one small business in the country.
Small businesses are the backbone of India’s economy. From Kirana stores to restaurants and online clothing sites, these businesses drive economic growth, create new jobs and enrich the lives of people across the country. Some SMEs which have scripted their successful stories by leveraging Facebook include Bewakoof, an internet-first fashion brand catering to young people across India, looking for affordable and accessible fashion. Bewakoof has a strong repeat customer base- which they used FB to help retarget and bring them back to the site with the campaign goal of increasing sales, building brand loyalty and achieving a 15% lower cost per acquisition.
Similarly, Cilory, which was originally launched to allow people in India to access personal care products online, has since evolved into a multi-product retailer with a huge catalog of curated clothing and jewellery products. Taking advantage of the targeting capabilities Facebook offers, this brand was able to identify its key demographic on Facebook to promote itself and expand that target base further.
Then there is The Birthplace, a boutique maternity hospital that caters to well-off Indian moms-to-be and works closely with them throughout their pregnancy. The exclusive maternity hospital used Facebook to reach affluent moms-to-be in India and build a community from scratch. The strategy has been so successful that 60% of The Birthplace’s customers now come from Facebook.
Facebook has been aggressive this year to promote entrepreneurship and startups in India, given that India now is one of its bigger user bases. In October, in order to empower small businesses in emerging markets, Facebook launched slideshow – a lightweight video ad solution made from a series of still images. Similarly, in September, it had reaffirmed its commitment to boost startup activity and innovation in India, while selecting an Indian startup Tookitaki as it first Facebook Marketing Partner from the country, as a part of its Facebook Marketing Partners Program.