Facebook will bring its Community Boost Program to Edison

Facebook announced Tuesday that Edison is one of 13 cities that have been selected to participate in the company’s Community Boost program.

Facebook officials will be in Edison on Oct. 8-9 to hold a series of training programs and workshops to help businesses grow by utilizing Facebook and Instagram, said Doug Frisbie, global marketing director of small business at Facebook.

The Community Boost program was designed to help small business owners, entrepreneurs and job seekers boost their business and develop new digital skills needed to compete in today’s digital-focused economy, company officials said.

Facebook already has visited a number of cities and plans to make more announcements soon, company officials said.

Dan Levy, vice president of small business at Facebook, made the announcement regarding Edison in conjunction with Small Business Week this week.

“This is one of the best weeks to celebrate small businesses,” he said. “It’s National Small Business Week in the U.S. and our (Facebook) team is in Albuquerque, the third stop for Facebook Community Boost. And we are just getting started, as the program is coming to more than 30 cities in the U.S. and around the world.”

According to Levy, the Community Boost program is continually being built based on insights from the community, so it can provide free resources to help local business owners grow companies and help job seekers feel more prepared.

“Truth is, we are always celebrating small businesses in every part of the world. Every day, local business owners are teaching us how to make Facebook a better place to grow their companies. And we take that feedback to heart,” Levy said.

Frisbie hopes the program will boost local economy.

“(A boosted economy) is certainly our hope,” he said. “The indicators are certain that there’s a lot of potential, we just want to accelerate that.”

According to Levy, past Community Boost programs have enriched its attendees.

Frisbie said that the main challenges from businesses when it comes to digital platforms are acquiring new customers and hiring qualified people.

“Facebook and Instagram help them do both of those things,” he said.

The event will focus on Facebook and Instagram use and how to acquire new customers, build a community and increase customer support through one-on-one messaging, Frisbie said. It will also focus on general business skills, financial readiness, human resources and back office.

The curriculum also consists of different elements including:

  • A variety of training levels on Facebook marketing;
  • Specialized topics, like how to get creative with your mobile phone;
  • How to take photos and videos and turn them into engaging advertisements;
  • International trade;
  • Instagram specific training for businesses that are only active on Facebook;
  • A learning bar for one-on-one specialized support, and more.

Digital and social media skills are some of the most sought out skills for job applicants today, Frisbie said, which is why this program is so important.

“Eighty-eight percent of businesses told us that an individual’s digital and social media skills are important when hiring, and we know that on the business side, 43 percent of (small to midsized businesses) have told us that Facebook helped them hire more,” he said.

According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult, one in four people in the U.S. said they found a job using Facebook.

So, Frisbie said, one of the things Facebook recently added was the jobs board where businesses can post jobs and job seekers can find them.

The poll also found that 78 percent of New Jersey’s small and medium-sized business on Facebook say it has helped their business increase sales.

Although the event is only two days (and free for anyone to attend), Facebook plans to keep the lessons it teaches in the Garden State.

“We will be training partners in the Edison area on digital skills. So, after we leave, they will be able to continue training the community and job seekers within it on skills that they need in order to get the jobs that small businesses will hopefully be creating through their growth.”