Why Facebook helps French micro-businesses and SMEs to digitize and sell online for free

Why Facebook helps French micro-businesses and SMEs to digitize and sell online for free

The American social network has launched an emergency system in France with the CPME to help local businesses go digital in order to better cope with the crisis. The goal is to reach 2 million entrepreneurs over the next six months

“82% of French people aged 16 and over buy online, but only 15% of French very small businesses sell online. France is lagging behind in Europe on this subject and ranks in 21st position”, warns Clotilde Briend, director of Public Affairs at Facebook France. Why ? “46% say it’s for lack of time and 43% for lack of money,” she notes.

This is all the more problematic as these small companies constitute the bulk of the French economic fabric. On the other hand, 50% of French VSEs and SMEs (i.e. 2 million companies) are on Facebook.

Flash training, diagnostic tools …

Faced with this observation, Facebook and CPME have joined forces around an emergency mechanism to accelerate the adoption of digital solutions by French merchants. “The risk of seeing greater difficulties arise in the coming months is real, and many points of sale and shops could close in the coming months. In this context, digitizing your business is no longer an option, today. it is a question of survival “, justifies François Asselin, president of the CPME.

To try to remedy this, a vast program to accelerate the digitization of businesses has been launched by Facebook to reach 2 million entrepreneurs over the next 6 months. In particular, through a major awareness campaign with videos of local businesses shared on the social network and on the #SoutçonsnosTPEPME site “to help entrepreneurs accelerate their digital adoption”.

The partnership began the week of November 16 to 20, with a program of 25 free 30-minute “flash” training sessions to urgently switch to digital solutions. It was offered to the 150,000 companies in the CPME network, which employ nearly 3 million people.

In addition, a diagnostic tool dedicated to traders to effectively build their digital action plan is offered to them. Through questions and tests to be carried out, the merchant is guided to take stock of his presence, his objectives and his priorities. online showcase, orders, reservations and dematerialized payments, customer relations …

At the same time, to facilitate merchant communication, Facebook has developed a dedicated kit. They will be able to use Facebook tools like a profile picture frame.

And, to encourage the French to turn to local shops, the hashtag # JeLikeMonCommerérant was created, with the support of collaborative maps to find and publicize active traders in partnership with Mapstr.

What are the needs of VSEs and SMEs?

Following the first confinement, Facebook had already launched in June an initiative to contribute to the economic recovery of French VSEs-SMEs, based on a plan to accelerate the digital transformation of VSEs-SMEs. With 100 free training courses on all the digital tools at their disposal, in partnership with French digital experts (Numate, Butler Digital) as well as Prestashop and Shopify. “More than 7000 people attended our training courses, more than 1000 digital diagnoses were finalized”, underlines Clotilde Briend. Among the most popular training courses: fundamentals of digital marketing, the basics of e-commerce, how to create ads on Facebook, how to connect with my clients on Instagram, how to use messaging tools.

The most frequently asked questions during training are very diverse: how to create a professional page on Facebook? When is the best time to post content? How to create stories on Facebook? How to measure and optimize my actions on Facebook and Instagram? What type of content generates the most engagement? What advice to reach more people and increase engagement? My business operates in such and such a sector: how do I start establishing my online presence in the most relevant way? Which Facebook tools are relevant to my business?

Today, VSEs and SMEs present on Facebook primarily use free tools. The American social network is surely hoping for some financial benefits from this partnership with CPME and to improve the image of GAFA during this crisis. “There is no commercial issue or image. It is more of social responsibility, and to stimulate the economic growth and competitiveness of the country”, retorts Clotide Briend. But, Facebook also has every financial interest in France preserving its economy and this fabric of small businesses.

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