Social media marketing (SMM) is a powerful sales tool that businesses of all sizes use to reach out to prospective customers and when utilised correctly it can drive leads and sales.
Local entrepreneur, Milly Morake is one of the many Batswana who have embraced SMM as a service to grow domestic small businesses.
Upon realising that a number of local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) were struggling to market their products, Morake decided to create a Facebook page ‘Strictly BW locally made products’ which is a platform aimed at assisting small businesses to reach their clientele.
Morake told BusinessMonitor that she launched the Facebook page during the first lockdown in 2020. The Facebook page accords local manufactures an opportunity to advertise for free. With over 99,000 followers on Facebook, the page promotes consumption of locally produced products and use of local services before importing. It also provides a platform for networking and inter linkages for small businesses and to promote joint venture and value chain amongst different SMMEs.
“We realised that Batswana produce quality products and they are capable of feeding the nation and also export their products, but they are not aggressively marketing them,” Morake said. She added: “We also realised that there was no platform dedicated to market locally manufactured goods, which was affecting their growth hence the establishment of the Facebook platform.”
With just 10 months in existence, ‘Strictly BW locally made products’ has managed to expose a lot of local talent acting as a reliable source for potential investors and those who are eyeing regional penetration as the group has followers beyond Botswana.
The group also offers local manufacturers the opportunity to advertise and also get opportunities to listen to different speakers who address topics of pricing, customer service, branding, and business insurance, which can go a long way in assisting SMMEs.
“Many of these businesses got recognition through this platform and they were profiled and invited to different opportunities and they got clients,” explained Morake.
She added that her page is monitored and run like a professional business as all posts go through the administration team to ensure the business being advertised is legal.
“We make sure that they follow the rules, we don’t allow name and shaming of other businesses, since we are into building and supporting each other,” she said. “We also don’t allow political and religious posts at all, so this has attracted professional attention from big local businesses and individuals.”
Morake said she also takes time to visit the SMMEs that advertise in the page to acknowledge their businesses and give support when needed. In addition, she attends business Expos to spot the ones who can benefit from the page. She said the results of the page then birthed another local group, Palapye Business Hub, for greater Palapye and surrounding areas. “Through this group we will host events, market days, workshops and partner with relevant stakeholders to make sure the businesses grow and new ones are established,” she said.