How to Grow your Small Business with Facebook

boost your biz

Facebook will host their last half-day event of the year ending in Boston on Thursday, October 15. In hopes of getting a more detailed perspective on the event, we were able to interview Facebook’s Bess Yount who leads the Small and Medium Business Community Engagement Team at Facebook. She tells all about the Boost Your Business Event in Boston and why you should attend if you are a small, growing business in New England.

Incidentally, we learned that Bess Yount grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has many fond memories of vacationing in New England specifically recalling the many small businesses that have shaped those memories. “So many of my memories are centered around family and friends, but they were also hugely shaped by businesses too: family dinners around the holidays at Papa Razzi in Concord, ski trips to King Ridge mountain in New London, my first experience away from home at Windridge Tennis and Sports Camp and cozy Cape Cod visits at the Candleberry Inn to see my (now) husband play baseball.” Small businesses are truly the corner stone of many memories we all create and for Facebook they grasp how important those businesses are to the community. Facebook has been working hard to create ways to help small businesses expand on their ever-growing platform. “At Facebook, our mission is to make the world more open and connected. Small and medium businesses aren’t just a part of this mission, they’re essential to it. Through Boost Your Business and other programs, our SMB Community Engagement team is focused on connecting small and medium businesses with each other, their customers, the resources they need in their communities, and the marketing solutions they need on Facebook to grow and succeed,” Bess explains.

The Boost Your Business Program is an integral advancement from local communities’ small businesses because it’s a platform to connect with customers. “For years, Facebook has been going into local communities around the country to train small and medium businesses. Last year we hosted five events in cities across the U.S. where we met with small and medium businesses to help them understand how to use Facebook’s marketing tools to achieve real business objectives, connect with current customers, and find new customers.”

Bess says that Facebook was eager to continue to build upon their commitment to help small businesses by implementing a larger networking component and put greater emphasis on local small business panelists who use Facebook on a day-to-day basis to grow their business. Bess says that Facebook realizes, “Businesses really learn best from each other.” Attendees on this year’s panel include a diverse set of businesses that allow other businesses to draw from their unique business-related experiences. For Boston, the panelists are: Lee Copper of Hopsters Brewery, Nathan Rothstein of Project Repat, Corinna Graham of the Museum of Science, Boston, and Amy Norman of Little Passports (keynote speaker).

Out of the four cities chosen to become half-day events, Boston was chosen because, “We wanted to get out to cities where there are thriving small business communities. According to some recent data I saw, there are nearly 120,000 small businesses in the greater Boston area. We want to help these businesses understand how they can use Facebook to connect with their customers whether they are in or near Boston or around the world.”

The half-day events are much larger than the 2-hour pop up events that are designed to give an overview of what’s possible on Facebook explains Bess, “The half-day events are a bigger investment of time, but give us the opportunity to go deeper. We have corporate partners (including Mailchimp, Shopify, Visa and Zenefits), tailored breakout sessions, and booths where attendees can meet with our Facebook Small Business, Creative Shop, and Instagram teams. Businesses tell us that they want more support around email campaigns and management, commerce opportunities, payment solutions and human resources offerings. That’s why we partnered with MailChimp, Shopify, Visa and Zenefits, four leaders in those spaces. Additionally, each partner has a booth as well where the staff can interact with attendees and answer their questions.” The presence of corporate partners are valuable to attendees because, “Facebook is a valuable platform for small businesses, but we also recognize that there are other tools/services that small businesses need to be successful. MailChimp and Shopify are great examples of this as they are leaders in their spaces, and have an acute understanding of small business email marketing and selling needs, respectively,” explains Bess.

There will be two key speakers at the event one of which is Amy Norman, the co-founder and co-CEO of Little Passports, who will be addressing the keynote for Boost Your Business Boston whose inspiring and incredible business has been transformed by Facebook. Mari Smith, who attendees will get the opportunity to learn from her during one-on-one consultation sessions, will also be a key speaker at the event. “Mari is considered one of the world’s most influential and knowledgeable new media thought leaders and one of Facebook’s top marketing experts. She is an expert both in helping businesses grow but also doing it via digital and mobile channels.” In the past, attendees were eager at the opportunity to speak with her in the one-on-one sessions.

The event will give the opportunity for small businesses also talk with the Facebook Creative Shop who will focus on assisting small businesses in finding their voice and telling their authentic story. “The Facebook Creative Shop is a team of brand marketers, creative directors and strategists who work hard work to build tools, processes and creative ideas to help businesses drive real results and delight people. SMBs have loved learning from the Creative Shop team and getting helpful tips and advice to make their content on Facebook truly sing.”

During the event attendees will also have the opportunity to choose from one of two learning tracks that are designed to assist their specific needs. One of which is an online sales component, the other an in-stores sales component. Bess describes the “Growing Online Sales” track as an opportunity to learn everything you need to know about direct response advertising on Facebook, this includes best practices, ad types, targeting and measurement. And the “Driving In-store Sales” track as a place where attendees will gain a better understanding on how to use Facebook to drive in-store traffic, learn how to target their audience effectively and which tools to use to help measure performance.

Tickets are limited and are available for only $25 online at In addition to all the information and one-on-one workshops featured, attendees will receive a $50 ad credit for Facebook. The event will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015. Attendees have the option of attending the AM session from 8:00AM – 12:30PM and the PM session is held at 1:00PM – 5:30PM at The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts on 539 Tremont Street in Boston, MA. Yount tells us that they are still getting feedback on how valuable the event was for previous years attendees so be sure to pre-register early! We hope to see you there.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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