The Facebook Community Boost Show Is Set to Hit the Road

57 percent of small businesses find lack of familiarity with available digital tools to be a challenge

52 percent of small businesses say Facebook helps them sell products to other markets

After last week’s news that Facebook is revamping its News Feed, small businesses needed some good news from Facebook, and they received it in the form of an update on the Facebook Community Boost program, which was originally announced last November.

Facebook Community Boost is aimed at helping small businesses in the U.S. grow and learn digital skills, and it will visit 30 cities over the course of 2018, with the social network working with local organizations at each stop.

Vice president of global small business Dan Levy said in a Newsroom post that there are 70 million small businesses on Facebook, adding that the first five stops on the tour will be:

  • St. Louis, March 26 through 30
  • Houston, April 3 through 6
  • Albuquerque, N.M., April 30 through May 4
  • Greenville, S.C., May 29 through June 1
  • Des Moines, Iowa, June 4 through 8

The social network is working with Morning Consult to survey business managers and people seeking employment or looking to add to their skill sets in each city, and then tailoring the programs accordingly, and Levy said of the first stop, St. Louis, “There are wide gaps between the digital skills job seekers know they need and the skills they feel they have. While 93 percent of jobs and skills seekers say digital skills are important when looking for job, only 12 percent rate themselves highly in this area. Managers also see gaps in the skills they need to grow their businesses. For example, the majority of managers in St. Louis said that creating a mobile-friendly interface was important to growing their business, but very few saw themselves as proficient.”

Facebook also tapped Morning Consult’s survey skills and expertise from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a new report it released, Examining the Impact of Technology on Small Business: How Small Businesses Use Social Media and Digital Platforms to Grow, Sell and Hire, and findings from that report included:

  • 84 percent of small businesses in the U.S. use at least one major digital platform to provide information to customers.
  • Three out of four use tech platforms for sales.
  • 57 percent find lack of familiarity with available digital tools to be a challenge.
  • More than one-half believe the cost of internet services is a constraint to building an online presence.
  • 60 percent use Facebook for their businesses.
  • 42 percent have hired more people due to growth since joining Facebook, and 56 percent reported higher sales.
  • 52 percent say Facebook helps them sell products to other markets, and small businesses that use the social network are more likely to report trading with other countries.
  • Businesses owned by African Americans, Hispanics and veterans were more than twice as likely to say they were built on Facebook.

Dashboards from the report are available here.

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