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FICCI, Facebook to help SMEs leverage social media

23-March-2012
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FICCI, Facebook to help SMEs leverage social media

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Facebook have announced a partnership to enable Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to harness the power of the Internet and social media.

This partnership will expand Facebook’s global Small and Medium Business (SMB) Boost programme in India and provide Indian SMEs with educational resources and free advertising to help get started and grow businesses online. This programme will also aid numerous member SMEs of FICCI in exploring and utilising social media for business promotion and consumer outreach activities.

Announcing the partnership, Marne Levine, Global Vice President of Global Public Policy at Facebook said, “The SME sector has proven to be the growth engine of most global economies. Social media has the potential to drive tremendous economic growth and job creation in India. As we’ve seen in the US and Europe, social media is generating growth in the economy, creating new jobs and redefining how businesses interact with their customers. It is this experience and insight that we would now like to bring to India through our partnership with FICCI.”

At present, India has around 6,400 industrial clusters, of which nearly 6,000 are ‘low tech’. Poor technology adoption remains a major cause for poor operational and marketing competitiveness in the sector. Facebook and FICCI aim to make technology a driving factor for enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian SME sector through this collaboration. FICCI has already identified innovation as one of the key themes for strengthening Indian SMEs and in recent past has strived to highlight innovative practices from the world over and adapt them in the Indian context.

Recent studies have shown that social media has the potential to drive economic growth and help businesses grow. Social media benefits not only brand promotion, but also in improving the brand itself. It makes it easy for an organisation to dynamically understand its customers and thereby plan and anchor a better marketing outreach program. Other areas where SMEs benefit through the use of Facebook and social media include image building, recruitment and retention, business associate acquisition, research, product development and procurement.

FICCI Secretary General, Dr Rajeev Kumar said, “FICCI is delighted to be the anchor partner for Facebook in India to run its global SMB Boost program. The SME sector is an area of critical focus for FICCI considering its impact on innovation and growth. In addition to working with Facebook to provide this boost to our members, FICCI and Facebook will also integrate training sessions on online marketing through social networks in its tradeshows and conferences for SMEs.”

A study by Deloitte Consulting of Facebook’s impact in Europe showed that Facebook adds an estimated 15.3 billion pounds value to the European economy and supports more than 232,000 jobs across the region. According to McKinsey, over the last 17 years, in the US and globally, 65 per cent of the jobs created have been created by small business, so enabling small businesses to grow is critical to the economy.

Facebook has 46 million users in India and offers a significant growth option for Indian SMEs here, just as it has in Europe.

Facebook also unveiled a series of ‘Facebook for Business’ tutorials, which they will run at FICCI tradeshows and conferences. Participating SMEs will receive hands-on training on how they can use Facebook to create an online presence, build and maintain a Facebook Page, engage Facebook users and access customers through Facebook’s global user base of more than 800 million.

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