New Year, new business: Tips for growing your small business in 2017 – Part 1

The start of a New Year can be an exciting time for small businesses, and a time to refocus on business growth in the year ahead.

According to data from NAB’s 2016 Online Retail Sales Index, SME retailers accounted for 37 per cent of all online retail sales in the last year in Australia, while research by PWC reveals 54 per cent of Australian consumers buy products online weekly or monthly, with 34 per cent agreeing that their mobile phone will become their main purchase tool in future.

With this in mind, in 2017 there will be a lot of opportunity for small businesses to grow. To help your business shine, here are some tips to take advantage of the opportunity ahead:

Tip #1: Be where customers are – on mobile

Business are going mobile and this year more shopping will be done on smartphones than ever before. In fact, 62 per cent of global consumers report using their smartphones more than previous years to research purchases, and 60 per cent of global consumers say that they plan to buy more often from smartphones or tablets.

Smartphone penetration in Australia is also approaching its peak with 84 per cent of the population owning a smartphone.

The good news for small businesses: Businesses can manage their Facebook Page from a smartphone, and by using the Ad Manger app or products like Slideshow, they can easily and conveniently create ads from the smartphone to target consumers shopping through mobile. If your customers are on mobile, then your business must be as well.

Tip #2: Bring the in-store experience to life on mobile

With new tools such as video and Facebook Live, taking a brick and mortar business mobile is simpler and more powerful than ever. Third-party research predicts that 75 per cent of all data will be video by 2020. People expect experiences that are authentic – and the New Year is a perfect time for connection and new beginnings.

Two million small businesses on Facebook across the globe already use video to connect with customers directly from their phone; video is an engaging medium to capture customers through their smartphones. Kay’s Designer Consignment in Florida is an example of one of these businesses. Kay has done a great job showcasing her new products using Facebook Live, and interacts with customers as they view and ask questions. She has sold thousands of dollars’ worth of product through Live. You can, too.

Tip #3: Create thumb-stopping creative

Video and Facebook Live are just two of the many ways that telling a story has gotten easier and more magical (especially for sales). When it comes to telling the story of your business or selling a product on Facebook, remember to show, not tell. With creative apps like Instagram’s Hyperlapse and Boomerang, great natural light, a simple tripod, and backdrops that contextulise your product or service, you can turn any space into your creative studio. But being creative doesn’t always mean re-inventing the wheel. Remember to repurpose the assets you already have. Turn beautiful product images from your website into a carousel ad, or ask to feature content your customers have shared to really bring your brand to life.

Stay tuned next week for the second half of our story where we will discuss three more tips on how to succeed in growing your business this year.

Kate Box, Head of Retail, Facebook Australia & New Zealand

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