The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the USA’s independent office focusing on foreign aid, held a webinar Friday, teaching Palawan entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and local industry leaders to take their businesses online and maximize the use of major social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.

Attendees varied from Palawan industry leaders and officials, small business owners, and some members of the press.

The webinar is part of a series of learning sessions headed by the USAID – Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth and Equity (SURGE) Project, a five-year aid project that promotes economic growth to urban areas in the country.

USAID-SURGE component lead Celso Enriquez gave the opening remarks, stressing the importance of using social media sites such as Facebook because of its accessibility to Filipinos.

“Lahat ng entrepreneurs are having a difficult time coping with the crisis. It started as a health crisis that evolved into an economic crisis,” said Enriquez. “Halos majority na ginagamit ay Facebook kasi ito ang pinaka-accessible sa mga Philippines.”

USAID’s partner organization, Bayan Academy, provided the trainers for the webinar. Program director Basil Soria gave a short speech about how the migration of businesses from physical to digitals stores provides new opportunities.

“The great thing about using social media for business is that posting is free. But the challenge is to create eye-catching posts. Studies show that people spend 3 seconds per post,” said Soria. “We are seeing many businesses migrate from physical space to digital space to thrive in the new normal.”

The first presenter, online entrepreneur and certified Facebook trainer Patricia Lim, gave a short lecture on key terms such as marketing, branding, and advertising. Lim also discussed the importance of using online marketing to adapt to the new business environment brought about by the pandemic.

Next to present was Carol Arcaya, Bayan Academy assistant manager. Arcaya gave a quick tutorial on how to set up a Facebook account and create a Facebook business page. Advanced methods were also discussed, such as highlighting upcoming events or featuring specific products was discussed.

How to create and manage an Instagram business account was also discussed, along with using production and photography techniques to create visually appealing posts.

The webinar concluded with a question and answer segment and synthesis of learnings.