In early September 2016, Facebook announced a program to help mom and pop shops grow their businesses by connecting them with buyers overseas. According to a September 8th article by Hayley Tsukayama in The Washington Post, “more than 60 percent of U.S. Facebook users are connected to at least one business outside the country, and more than a half-billion people outside the U.S are connected to a U.S. business on Facebook.” That’s a nice reach!
Many business owners mistakenly think their company is too small or their product won’t sell outside the U.S or that exporting is too hard. "Made in America is a powerful brand and small companies have much to offer in all markets. Federal government agencies like the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, EXIM Bank and others work diligently to de-mystify exporting for small businesses, help them find overseas buyers and empower them to compete internationally. Facebook just joined the club.
Facebook’s program, “Expand Across Borders with Facebook” offers a variety of tools to help small businesses overcome these challenges including:
- Finding new customers worldwide
- Creating compelling marketing communications using Facebook pages
- Instantly reaching an international audience
The International Lookalike Audience function compares your existing customers, known as your “source,” to similar Facebook users in countries you choose. For example, let’s say you always wanted to sell your products in Australia. The International Lookalike Audience will use your source of U.S. buyers and find similar people Down Under. Facebook also has tools to help you target your ads globally, to a region, to specific trade groups and more.
In addition to connecting to individuals, Facebook can accelerate your B2B activities. Getting paid is key to any successful business transaction, especially if you are shipping your products to businesses thousands of miles away. When evaluating the option to grow your business by exporting, remember a few things: foreign businesses expect to buy on credit terms (as opposed to cash in advance) and you can protect the value of the products you ship overseas from nonpayment by these buyers with export credit insurance.
So go ahead. Expand your horizons, grow your business and protect your assets. Download EXIM Bank’s "Guide to Export Credit Insurance" to learn how.