Facebook recently unveiled a new program geared toward aiding small business hiring in the U.S. The program is called Facebook Community Boost. The social media’s newest initiative aims to help companies grow through Facebook’s network, which includes Workplace, while also educating job seekers in the digital skills they need for an increasingly internet-driven job market.
Facebook Community Boost will tour 30 U.S. cities in the coming year, including Houston, Greenville, South Carolina, St. Louis, Albuquerque, and Des Moines. After launching, Facebook said it will name the 25 other U.S. cities. The social media giant plans to partner with local organizations in each city to train those who are out of work, give budding entrepreneurs advice on how to integrate social media into their current strategies, and help already established small businesses and nonprofits grow and hire new employees via the Internet.
“I’m glad that Facebook recognized that one of the first five cities to benefit from this program should be Houston,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a release. “(The city is) the most diverse … in the nation, the largest economic engine of Texas and a proving ground not only for innovation in tech, energy, medicine, and space exploration but also for mom-and-pop small businesses that reflect all the cultures of America and the globe.”
While Microsoft and LinkedIn aim to be the vendor of choice for enterprise-level employers, Facebook seems to be jockeying aggressively for the small business market. It’s a natural fit, since most small businesses in America already have a Facebook Page, and posting jobs to it doesn’t force them to learn any new behaviors, or at least nothing too mind blowing. Cracking the small business market isn’t easy, but there’s gold in them laundromats, local pubs, and neighborhood bodegas.
Morning Consult, partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, released a study showing the importance of small businesses to the American economy. According to the research, when small businesses make effective use of the Internet, it creates a significant number of new jobs.
The research firm found that roughly four out of five new jobs in the U.S. happen because of small employers. Of the small and medium sized employers on Facebook, one out of three reported they built a company page on Facebook. In addition, 42 percent of respondents reported having to hire more workers due to growth. Additionally, 26 percent of consumers polled said that had either searched for or found a job via Facebook. Those numbers mean there’s still a large piece of the pie that Facebook can grab while leveraging its already-existing relationships with SMBs.
A total of 80 percent of small- and medium-size employers already on Facebook said that the social media platform has increased their ability to connect to people in their local community. Of the employers who participated, 56 percent reported increases in sales due to use of the platform, while 52 percent reported that Facebook has helped them extend their reach past their own communities to other states and countries.
Facebook also has an advantage when it comes to diversity, since, you know, everyone is pretty much on Facebook. Morning Consult found that the platform has been especially important for African American, Latino, veteran, and disabled business owners. African American-owned small and medium-sized employers reported that 63 percent of them had started their business on the platform.
Four-out-of-five Latino business owners who use Facebook said that they had been able to increase their staff since creating a Facebook business page. Almost 75 percent of veteran-owned employers have been able to grow their sales territory outside of their community since joining Facebook.
In a recent press release, Facebook representatives said that Facebook Community Boost is the result of requests the company has received from the small business community. This is not the company’s first attempt to aid small- to medium-sized business. Since 2011 it has invested $1 billion to attract and support these companies.
Facebook’s Boost Your Business has already trained more than 60,000 small employers in the U.S., with hundreds of thousands more globally. Over 1 million employers of this size have used Facebook’s free online education hub, Blueprint.
Google Hits the Road, Too
Google is also hitting the ground and connecting with local job seekers and employers. Dubbed Grow With Google, the company best known for its popular search engine, visited Indianapolis on November 9. Here’s an interview with a local news outlet.
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This first-of-its-kind event from Google was a free event and was billed as an opportunity for anyone, from job seekers to students to entrepreneurs, to improve their digital skills. Indianapolis residents had access to more than 20 workshops and 100 coaching sessions over two days.
Why Indy? “We looked at the data, we saw incredible growth and momentum,” said Grow With Google Head of Community Impact Erica Swanson. “We saw that Indianapolis is No. 5 in the country when it comes to the growth of tech jobs.” Google will be hitting the road in the coming months, spreading the gospel at local events like the one in Indianapolis in Oklahoma City, Lansing, Micigan., Savannah, Georgia, Louisville, and Columbia, South Carolina.
If you were skeptical before that Facebook and Google were serious about making a real dent in the employment space, these two news items should change your mind. The race is on, and competitors who don’t have similar resources are most likely toast.