Through Facebook Fit, Facebook Meets Small Business Owners Face-to-Face

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For the average Facebook marketer, the company can seem … faceless. Facebook is working to change that. The social network concluded a nationwide tour at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, where it met with small business owners and entrepreneurs: Facebook Fit. In addition to hearing from small business experts and Facebook Director of Small Business Dan Levy, attendees got one-on-one help regarding their marketing situations. This in-person interaction is something Facebook wants to do more of.

The five-city tour (New York; Miami; Chicago; Austin, Texas; and Menlo Park) drew roughly 4,000 attendees, according to Facebook. There were about 350 people at Facebook headquarters Tuesday to learn more about using the social network to grow business.

Levy talked with AllFacebook about how the tour helped many marketers just by being able to humanize Facebook. Lower-level advertisers don’t have dedicated representatives, so they’re left relying on resources such as the Facebook for Business hub. Levy said doing this tour helped put a face to the name and encouraged advertisers to try tactics they might not have known about before.

Levy talked with attendees Tuesday morning at Hacker Square, in the middle of Facebook headquarters, about the value of Facebook advertising. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, discussed the need to support small businesses:

Our goal is really simple: Our business grows by growing your business. We show the people who use Facebook how your business is connecting. When someone finds a local plumber, finds a local dentist, finds a local toy store, they’re connecting and sharing in ways that we think grow business, but more important, make the business more personal.

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The events feature speeches from Levy, as well as USA Today columnist and small business expert Rhonda Abrams and digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong (as seen on NBC’s Today). All three sat down to talk with small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering personalized suggestions and listening to concerns.

Facebook Fit also featured sessions where attendees could learn how to get started on Facebook or use ads to drive in-store traffic. Partner companies LegalZoom, QuickBooks and Square were on hand to lead product demonstrations, as well as share how they and their clients have successfully used Facebook marketing for growth.

Robert Diaz, head of business development for Asset Conversion Corp., attended the Menlo Park Facebook Fit event and felt that it provided useful information for his B2B company. He talked with AllFacebook about his experience:

We’re business-to-business, so it’s a little different. It’s not to consumers. We know that social media is good to talk to individuals, but is it appropriate to connect to businesses? … The “Getting Started” session was useful. In the time that they had to explain to us about Facebook and what it can bring, I think I got a lot out of it. I’ll go into Facebook and check it out and get more in-depth information to see if the time is right for us to do something.

Facebook has said that it is considering expanding these Facebook Fit events and bringing them to more cities and countries, offering direct help and advice to small businesses.

Readers: Would you be interested in attending a Facebook Fit event?

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