At the beginning of this year, there was cautious optimism for business and our economy to “bounce back”, but we were reminded how adapting to change has become the new normal, particularly for small business owners. Now the ability for businesses to stay resilient includes surviving any challenge that is thrown at them and digital tools could be the answer, writes Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs, Meta ANZ
Digital platforms give businesses the opportunity to adapt to these changing conditions with precision. Business growth and expansion can be achieved through efficient investment in online marketing, getting customer feedback in real-time and creatively adapting business models online.
Helping regional businesses go global
Small businesses, particularly those in regional communities, are using tools like personalised advertising to expand their business reach, build a meaningful customer base and participate in the global economy. Take Sarah Quinney and Dan O’Connell, co-owners of BoardSox in Torquay, VIC. The entrepreneurs create sustainably made, surfing accessories online and through retailers. They recently tapped into Facebook and Instagram to find customers who were sustainably conscious surfers and were blown away by the results. Since starting their campaign their sales increased by 413 per cent and they attributed 70 per cent of revenue coming from Facebook ads.
Dan Richards and Simon Noble from D-Still Drinkware, Coombabah, QLD were also able to adapt their business model and build an entirely new customer base quicker than ever. They experienced a similar surge when they started using targeted ads on Facebook. The digital boost drove 37 per cent more traffic to their website and gave them the confidence to increase their team and upgrade their space to a 1000sqm facility on the Gold Coast.
Personalisation a key trend for business
These stories reflect the data from our Dynamic Markets report, showing how impactful personalised ads are for small businesses around Australia to not only stay open but also grow. In the report, we found 71 per cent of small businesses in Australia that use personalised advertising reported that it was important for the success of their business and that 64 per cent reported that Facebook apps were important to adapt to the changing business environment during the pandemic.
Small business revival is boosting local economy
Strong and digitally-enabled businesses aren’t just beneficial for the business owner and staff, they’re also vital to support thriving communities particularly those in regional Australia. Sue Heward, the owner of Singing Magpie in Monash SA, gave up a corporate career to take over the 100-year-old family farm that needed help due to drought. Sue took over the farm and created an Instagram page to share pics of the produce, but the business accelerated when it was featured on the Buy from the Bush Instagram campaign. Since then she attracted thousands of new followers and nurtured her community through Instagram, which she attributes to the source of 80 per cent of her total sales. The online demand for her products was so strong, she hired three new staff members and is looking to grow her manufacturing capabilities so they can process more products.
These are tough times for small businesses all over Australia and we know as our economies begin to open back up, they will be key to driving our economic recovery. Meta is determined to do all we can to help them make it through. That’s why we continue to invest in products to enable commerce and find new customers. It’s also why we provide free digital skills training through our Boost with Facebook Australia Group and partner with the Government and industry on initiatives like Skill Finder.
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