Facebook's is getting more ambitious with its small business outreach efforts. The social media juggernaut launched a new program this month called Facebook Community Boost, which will hit 30 cities in the U.S. during 2018, offering entrepreneurs, small business owners and job seekers new ways of succeeding in the mobile era and lifting their local economies.
"We have been investing in small businesses since 2011. We can do more. Community Boost is the next step," a Facebook spokesperson told Small Business Computing. "We want to help small businesses grow so they can hire more people in the community. And equally we want to equip people with new digital skills so they can land those jobs."
When Facebook Community Boost rolls into town, it will provide digital and social media training to job seekers. According to a study from Morning Consult, sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, 62 percent of the small and midsized businesses (SMBs) in the US that use Facebook consider those skills an important factor in hiring new talent, surpassing a job applicant's educational background.
Meanwhile, Facebook will offer entrepreneurs and small business owners new tools and training programs on creating an engaging online presence and connecting with their communities.
Participants will get a chance to brush up on their online safety and digital literacy skills. They'll also learn how to use the Facebook Groups and Events features to cultivate lasting and rewarding connections with their neighborhoods.
Since joining Facebook, 42 percent of SMBs in the US have hired more workers. A third have used the social media site as a foundation for their businesses. More than half (56 percent) attribute sales growth to Facebook.
Despite the program's local community focus, participants may walk away with more global ambitions. Fifty-two percent of SMBs in the US on Facebook said the platform helps score sales in other cities, across state lines, and in some cases, overseas.
"One of the things I'm most proud of is that 70 million small businesses use Facebook to connect with customers," wrote Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and cofounder of Facebook, in, what else, a Facebook post. "That's 70 million people who now have access to the same tools the big guys have. Now we need to make it easier for people to start and build new businesses or find jobs and opportunities, and in the process strengthen their communities."
To start, Facebook plans to visit Albuquerque, Des Moines, Houston and Greenville, South Carolina. Interested entrepreneurs and small business owners can learn more here.
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