The International Trade Centre (I.T.C) in partnership with the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) delivered a two-day workshop on the power of social media as a business tool to open up new global market outreach for local women entrepreneurs.
The training was first in a series of workshops delivered under I.T.C’s Women Economic Empowerment in the Pacific Region financed by Australia’s D.F.A.T.
While the core principles of business are age old, new technology and social media bring exponential possibilities to reach local and global customers.
In the case of Samoa where as many Samoans live abroad as inside the country, a local business woman who has the savvy to use social media, can gain immediate access to 600,000 Samoans worldwide.
This opens the possibility of selling products locally but also shipping specialty Samoan products to diaspora abroad. Social media has its own etiquette to create credibility, build trust, loyalty and sales leads with customers.
I.T.C representatives, Torek Farhadi and Jane Heng went over key topics including understanding the different types of social media channels, launching a business page on Facebook based on learnt core business values and creating content with specific target markets in mind.
Other topics covered included why timing is everything in social media and how storytelling gives small ventures a big voice.
I.T.C plans to do another workshop in Apia in April 2016 and in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D) offer the same training in rural areas of the country in the future.
Participants mentioned “that Facebook which is sort of a hobby can in fact be stepped up for use in business and the way one can present a business on Facebook is actually pretty structured”.
They left the training with Facebook pages for their businesses and many thought they now see Facebook as a business assistant rather than a personal outlet.
“Social Media is an empowering feature when it comes to reaching out to export markets because you have immediate feedback from potential customers and a long process of classic sales negotiation can be conducted quickly with these tools,” said Farhadi, senior advisor Women and Trade at the Geneva based I.T.C.