ARARAT - Ararat businesses received another shot in the arm with the announcement that Ararat Rural City Council had been successful in obtaining a small grant to help Ararat businesses celebrate the inaugural Support Small Business Day on October 19.
The grant, from the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, is for the Find Me - Follow Me awareness campaign, to aid businesses in becoming more expert in their online marketing.
A series of training sessions on creating and managing a business Facebook page will be held, followed by a media campaign asking locals to find their favourite businesses and follow them on their own personal Facebook pages.
"It's a great opportunity for local businesses to engage with their local customers, and perfectly timed to take advantage of the lead into Christmas, bringing new and on-line media skills to the businesses as well as great opportunities for customers that shop locally," Council's business development officer, John Watson said.
Part one involves Ararat businesses.
Training sessions will be available free of charge to train owners/managers and staff on how to set up a business Facebook page and then how to get the best from it in terms of marketing.
Businesses that already have a Facebook page are welcome to come along and be a part of the Find Me - Follow Me campaign and gain the benefits of the training to check that are doing all they can, and the added benefits of the second part of the campaign.
Part two will involve a media campaign to drive customers and locals to 'find' the business on Facebook and then 'follow' their page.
This gives them a broad base of supporters and a direct feed to those followers' Facebook feeds in which to apply many of the skills recently learned.
Businesses can be identified by a yellow Find Me - Follow Me sticker that they can put on their shop window or car, plus a coloured poster for their window.
Participants will be asked to track and count new 'likes' and as an enticement for people to follow these businesses, each new 'like' will be in the running for a $500 gift voucher to be spent in a participating store of their choice. This prize will be drawn on Support Small Business Day on October 19.
Two free identical training sessions will be held on October 7, an afternoon session, held from 1pm to 4pm at the Ararat RSL's newly refurbished conference room, and an evening session at the same venue from 6pm to 9pm.
The training will be delivered by Rachel Kinscher, director of Visionary Group, Ballarat, who specialises in events, marketing and ebusiness.
All Ararat regional businesses will be eligible to become part of the free Find Me -Follow Me campaign and those that are interested or want more information should contact John Watson on firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct on 5355 0250