Social media changing the fortunes of new entrepreneursSocial media has become an effective way to promote products and services especially for small and medium entrepreneurs thanks to a rapidly growing number of social media users in Nepal.
Social media has become an effective way to promote products and services especially for small and medium entrepreneurs thanks to a rapidly growing number of social media users in Nepal.
Radha Dhakal Sapkota, the owner of Eagle Eyes Fashion House and Beauty Parlour, started her boutique business in 2012. She said that after creating a Facebook page for her boutique five years ago, the number of business inquiries has increased along with a surge in sales.
“Social media such as Facebook and Instagram has become a very effective marketing medium for entrepreneurs like us,” she said, adding that the medium is free and easy to use.
She gradually expanded her business and added a beauty parlour to her business.
Sapkota’s Facebook page—Eagle Eyes Fashion House and Beauty parlour—has gotten more than 54,000 likes on Facebook with 595 followers on Instagram. She manages both accounts herself.
When she was not actively using Facebook page, customers started recommending her fashion house on Facebook which increased customer awareness. “That’s when I realised the benefits of social media for my business,” she said.
The different features in Facebook help to connect with possible customers instantly. “Social media has helped in growing the business,” she said.
Tulja Kedia and Ishu Dhakras started Ne Nepal in August 2018. Ne Nepal sells handmade jewellery, home decor, and wellness products. Ne nepal has 623 Instagram followers and 120 likes on its Facebook page. “Social media has become a huge platform for new entrepreneurs who have budget constraints,” said Kedia.
They are planning to open a physical store soon. Besides promoting the products, social media helps in connecting with customers and raises brand awareness through recommendations and tags, she said.
Radha and Tulja represent a growing number of small and medium entrepreneurs that contribute heavily to the country’s economy. According to a report of United Nations Capital Development Fund last year, micro and small enterprises contribute about 38 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and employ more than 2.5 million people.
There are more than 183,000 registered micro and small enterprises in Nepal, among which 14,300 are women-led.
However, they face many challenges such as lack of collateral, the prevalence of informal credit, constrained access to working capital, lack of long term financing, lack of financial and digital literacy, cash-based payment, among others.
With the rapidly expanding internet access 59.98 percent and mobile penetration 134.36 percent in the country, social media has become a significant platform for micro small and medium entrepreneurs to connect with potential customers.
Domestic social media marketing agencies claim that there are 9.8 million active Facebook and Instagram users in the country. A report of Statcounter, a web traffic analysis tool, shows that 93.55 percent of them are Facebook users and 4.01 percent are YouTube users.