Facebook is joining the International Franchise Association, the Washington, D.C., based group announced today.
The move makes sense when put in the context of Facebook‘s recent announcements regarding job creation, economic growth and the platform’s role in helping customers and local businesses connect.
IFA represents 825,000 franchises, and the partnership will enable franchisors use Facebook to find people interested in buying a franchise, all in a secure, online environment.
Facebook’s page creation, ad-targeting and check-in tools are services small business franchisors can utilize to increase engagement with customers and grow a fan base.
We’re guessing that the partnership might have been arranged during Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg‘s visit to Washington D.C. earlier this week.
Spokespeople for the social network had said she met with leaders on Capitol Hill about issues related to small businesses.
The company is putting Sandberg’s experience to good use; she previously served as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, under President Bill Clinton.
In September, the company announced with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce a small business program that would give Facebook advertising credits to a number of small businesses.
Behind the scenes, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been part of a cadre of Silcon Valley chief executive officers who have briefed President Barack Obama on range of economic issues and job growth strategies important to the tech community.
Facebook’s emphasis on small business issues is understandable since 800 million people are using the site while the global economy is still anemic.
Building relationships with third parties, like the IFA and Chamber of Commerce, is helping the company raise awareness of its work on these issues, and likely deflects some attention from other public policy concerns, as Capitol Hill continues to grapple with Facebook over privacy and security, for example.
What do you think of Facebook’s expanding role in working with small businesses?