Facebook held a Baltimore-focused webinar on Thursday informing and educating businesses on the utility of the company’s business suite.
Called Boost with Facebook, the virtual event was part of a national initiative to help educate small business owners about the tools that can help them find success on the platform. For those that want a refresher or couldn’t attend, a lot of the information from Thursday’s prerecorded webinar can be found at Facebook Blueprint.
Facebook organized an event in Baltimore with a similar aim in 2018. Thursday’s virtual event was the first of a national tour for the company. It came on the heels of accelerated digital adoption with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now that we’re operating in this remote world, online presence and social media is one of the few ways businesses owners can connect with their audience,” said Erica Woods, Facebook’s state public policy manager.
From telling customers that a store is open to selling new products, social media has become integral to small businesses. Introductory speaker Jayson Williams, who is CEO of Baltimore-based community development and engagement firm Mayson-Dixon Companies, lost 50% of his business as a consultant during the pandemic, and made a pivot to providing personal protective equipment. Amid this shift, he found that 31% of his new business came from social media in 2020.
To illustrate the necessity for branding and telling your story on social media, Williams shared a lesson from his father, who is a former cab driver in Baltimore city.
“People give to people more than people give to causes. Be the person, not the cause,” said Williams, relaying the message from his father.
“He was really trying to explain to me that it’s the people’s story. People want to invest in people. They want to invest in your business because of your mission and what you believe in.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.