We all live in the digital era. Isn’t that the most clichéd line you have ever read? But it is true. We live in a world that is evolving at a fast pace. Exponentially fast pace as Salim Ismail puts it in Exponential Organization. With each year we see developments happening on every front. Be it technology, food, agriculture even beauty and kid’s toys, everything is being affected by the presence of digital.
What about businesses run by women in Pakistan? Are they still selling according to traditional rules or using the new portals offered by the new age digital media. Two entrepreneurs from dissimilar fields decided to share their opinion with Finance It Out. According to Samina Faisal Khan, Owner & CEO ForiFix, “websites have been a bad experience for us. We have tried to hire the best, gone through with the briefs and sat long hours with our developers each time to get them to develop something that would help us reach out to our potential customer, but it just hasn’t helped.”
“It is very tedious to maintain. We would have to maintain multiple pages and post multiple photos with their descriptions. For me as a single entrepreneur managing 2 businesses, this even sounds hectic, “says Mariam Imran Ali Rashid, Owner Silver Lodge, a jewelry store that sells silver jewelry online.
So how do these women and thousands of other women get customers for their business?
“Facebook,” says Samina. “We are active on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and are using all three social platforms to the fullest,” says Mariam. Social media platforms that provide easy access to a wide range of audience are a favorite with all start-ups. But for women who are either into a long-term business or just looking to market their business, social media has become a constant friend.
Facebook started in 2004, after Orkut. It became a marketing channel once businesses found the potential in creating micro-channels which help bring small groups of people together, whether it is a page or a group. This idea of creating micro channels is pretty old when traditionally people created cults and followings in geographically close locations which allowed them to connect and communicate and influence. Only now digitally your following could be anywhere in the world. As a place of business, it has become a choice by many.
“Most our clients come from Facebook. The word of mouth created by those clients helps us get new ones,” says Samina. “We already had a business running on Facebook. So when we started jewelry, we introduced our old customer base to Silver Lodge. That speeded up our process. To increase our reach we introduced a group Designer Lounge which carried posts from both businesses. It helped our sales a lot.”
Every social platform allows its users to advertise their product/service. To put it from the media’s perspective, it is a way to get your targeted audience from the pool that the platform has already built. “I did a lot of trial and errors. It depends on our requirement. If I go for advertising through Facebook, I end up spending $5-$7 daily for a week or two,” says Samina.
“Ads are good. But compared to the amount spent I think the effectiveness depends on the current size of your page. For example, if your page is already 3K+ then running an advertisement may bring another 1.5k – 2.5k likes, which is a good response. But if your page is 1K strong and you post an advertisement, the increase is only 200-250 likes, which is not very effective considering the value you spend is same. We used advertisement to spread awareness about Silver Lodge so it helped,” adds the Silver Lodge owner.
For ForiFix and Silver Lodge business comes through Facebook and they are happy. The traditional concept of having a website does not ring true. For many home-grown businesses run by women, social media platforms are a God-given as they have given them an audience at the convenience of their homes. The times couldn’t have been better to do any business.
In the words of Micheal Bloomberg, “Being an entrepreneur isn’t really about starting a business. It is a way of looking at the world; seeing opportunity where others see obstacles, taking risks when others take refuge.”
ForiFix is your go-to for odd jobs for your home. You can find them here.