Facebook this week expanded on a campaign to support small businesses as they recover from the negative effects of the pandemic. The social network started a seven-week virtual experience called the “Facebook Good Ideas Festival” to offer free training and advice on how to use its platform to strengthen their marketing strategies.
The launch of the festival coincided with the observance of the United Nations Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day on June 28. Facebook collaborated with the International Trade Center, a development agency started by the UN and World Trade Organization, to provide content aimed at helping small businesses to rebuild.
“Throughout the festival, we’ve got both inspirational and educational content covered,” Michelle Klein, vice president of global customer marketing, said in a blog post. “You’ll have ongoing access to free digital skills training and interactive workshops that will help you learn creative new ways to grow your networks, sell goods online and more.”
Facebook’s virtual festival comes as the social network seeks to become a bigger hub for e-commerce and diversify its revenue away from mobile advertising. The company last year said it had 10 million advertisers, most of which are small- and medium-sized businesses that use Facebook’s self-serve tools to run targeted campaigns. As part of its ongoing support for small businesses, Facebook this month delayed a plan to collect a commission on paid events and subscriptions created on its platforms.
Zoe Saldana, the actress best known for her appearances in several Marvel Universe films, is the host of the festival as it showcases stories of small-business success and provides training on Facebook and Instagram’s software tools for business. The main week of the festival will be July 12-16 on the Facebook for Business and Instagram Page, according to its website.
The festival’s programming also includes the newest season of “Boost My Business,” a video series hosted by “Queer Eye” star and fashion designer Tan France. Among the businesses featured in the series will be Sistah SciFi, a Black-owned bookstore that features books written by Black and Native women. The episode will share what this business owner has learned about building online awareness for her bookstore.
A Focus on the Hospitality Industry
Because the hospitality industry experienced the worse effects of the pandemic, the Good Ideas Festival is dedicating content to helping those small businesses recover. About a quarter of businesses in the service and hospitality industries had closed during the pandemic, Facebook found in a survey.
In its new digital series called “Found on Facebook,” the social network is profiling restaurateurs such as PriaVanda in New York City. Her Indian restaurant, Desi Galli, stayed open during the pandemic by creating meal kits to ship nationwide. She also used Instagram Reels, the photo-sharing app’s TikTok clone, to teach people how to make Indian dishes at home.
Facebook will offer a dedicated training session about “Getting Back to Business” in regions where businesses are reopening. The social network partnered with companies including Adobe, BigCommerce, Canva, Intuit, the National Restaurant Association to offer training on a variety of topics. Those include developing a pricing strategy, design tips and content creation.