Facebook Community Boost: New Plan Looks to Increase Digital Skills of Small Businesses

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Facebook announced earlier this month a plan to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow their businesses and enhance their digital and social media skills to compete more effectively in today’s new economy.

The program, Facebook Community Boost, will visit 30 U.S. cities in 2018 to work with local organizations and small business owners, advising them how to get started and how to increase their internet presence. Cities that Facebook have announced will be their first stops are Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Small Business Presence

Small businesses make-up a significant portion of total operating companies with over 30 million in the U.S. and nearly 500 million throughout the rest of the world. They create approximately four out of every five new jobs in the U.S. Mark Zuckerberg was quoted in a USA Today November 10th Facebook Launches Plan to Help Small Businesses article saying that small businesses are really a critical part of strong local communities.

According to Facebook, over 70 million small businesses have pages on Facebook. While many of them don’t have much beyond that in terms of a digital presence or digital marketing strategy, which is what Facebook hopes to change. Recent research by Morning Consult suggests this is a good thing because when they do use a digital approach it translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities everywhere.

Facebook Community Boost plans to offer specific ways for small businesses to expand their digital footprints and find new customers right around the corner. Many experts believe that local businesses don’t quite dial in their online marketing. They agree though that local content is important to generating leads and sales.

Social Media Optimization

Social media offers a way to connect with people by engaging with them on a familiar platform. Facebook, for example allows businesses to engage with their audiences through posts that are useful to their fans, the collection of testimonials and reviews, through surveying as well as commenting on other blogs and posts that relate to their business. Companies may be surprised to learn that social media can help them get positive reviews elsewhere too. Anyone who posts a positive comment or hashtags photos can be private-messaged to encourage they leave a review.

Social Media is also showing itself to be an effective tool for advertising. In fact, of the six million advertisers on Facebook, the majority are small and midsize businesses. Locally targeted ads offer an inexpensive way to reach specific customers, which have shown to generate leads months later.

And if your company is also involved in video marketing and advertising, views on sponsored content distributed on Facebook increased 258% since April 2016. Livestreaming on Facebook has also increased fourfold over last year’s numbers. A video is the quickest way to disseminate lots of information. It can say up to 10,000 words for every 1,000 written words.

So small businesses are going to continue to see advancements surrounding digital solutions to help them succeed in this new era. Embracing this movement will keep businesses connected to local communities and beyond.

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