Facebook vice president of global business and customer marketing Michelle Klein revealed Thursday that over 140 million businesses are using tools across the social network’s family of applications every month to accomplish what they need from a business perspective.
And with the all-important holiday shopping season approaching, Facebook is hosting its first-ever Boost With Facebook Holiday Bootcamp training program at 17 of its offices worldwide.
Representatives of small businesses that applied for and received invites will experience a training program to help them prepare for the holiday shopping season, with events taking place Thursday at Facebook offices and other facilities in: Austin, Texas; Berlin; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chicago; Dublin; Istanbul; Johannesburg; Lagos, Nigeria; London; Madrid; Menlo Park, Calif.; Mexico City; New York; the Philippines; São Paulo; Singapore; and Warsaw, Poland.
Klein said Facebook is anticipating thousands of attendees, noting that there were $850 billion in transactions during the 2018 holiday shopping season in the U.S. alone.
Small business expert Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame will participate in a Facebook Live video and, at the event in New York, Lovepop, a Shark Tank alumnus, will be among small businesses sharing their holiday plans and preparations.
The social network introduced its Facebook Community Boost program in November 2017 with the aim of helping small businesses grow and learn digital skills, and the program was expanded to more markets last June.
“People live their lives within a 25-mile radius,” Klein said in an interview. “Proximity really matters. That’s why we’ve been investing in showing up over the past 18 months of this program, connecting with people.”
Facebook also marked Thursday’s events by introducing new featured aimed at helping small businesses prepare for the holiday shopping season and beyond.
Customizable templates were added for Stories across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, enabling small businesses to create vertical, full-screen assets for the format.
And the social network will add new features to Instagram Direct messages to enable small businesses to better manage customer communications across the Facebook family of apps.
Those features will include labels, search and folders to help businesses stay organized, as well as instant replies, away messages and saved replies to frequently asked questions.
Klein said its Facebook Community Boost events were overbooked in many locations in the U.S., Canada and Brazil, adding that the social network was excited by the “tremendous turnout in local communities.”