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Facebook Embeds Itself Into Local Economy

Some business owners not certain they want to buy what Facebook is selling.

Hundreds of local business owners from across the Peninsula flocked to Menlo Park Thursday, hoping to learn new ways that Facebook can help them reach new audiences.

The lunchtime affair began with a brief speech by Congresswoman Thursday afternoon at the Quadras Conference Center, located at 2400 Sand Hill Road. 

Eshoo said local businesses could grow and thrive through proper utilization of the social media titan, which recently to Menlo Park. She said Facebook's willingness to network with local businesses, through the help of alliances with organizations such as the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business, showed the company's commitment to connect with the community on the Peninsula.

Such an effort carries a legacy of caring about the region that Eshoo said was established by David Packard, a co-founder of the Palo Alto-based tech giant Hewlett-Packard.

But even as Facebook augments uber-succesful technology , the vitality of small businesses remains paramount to the economic of the region, said Eshoo.

"Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy," Eshoo said.

The congresswoman said her advocacy for small business stems from the time in her childhood when she worked in her father's store, which sold jewelry and watches. Her father would have enjoyed the access that the entrepreneurs have to the market through technology and social media, she said.

"I wish he were in the audience," Eshoo said. 

A majority of the tools that Facebook promoted Thursday revolved around advertising. The company offered the audience a variety of service packages, tips, and techniques that can be used to effectively harness the power of that touts more than 800 million worldwide users.

The intent of the conference was to show how companies on Facebook can use a tool that focuses advertising on highly targeted audiences. After a nearly 45-minute presentation dedicated to illustrating how Facebook can be used to help local businesses, the audience was provided an opportunity to pick the brains of a couple of the company's marketing specialists during a question and answer session.

While most in attendance filed out of the conference room with a new sense of how Facebook can help their company, some maintained a more reserved sense of enthusiasm.

Lori Lindersmith, who works for in Redwood City, said she found the information helpful and enjoyed the ideas presented at the event. But she was still unsure whether she could integrate the concepts into a successful business plan for her company.

Carrie January 20, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I attended the Facebook presentation, and while I enjoyed it overall, there was some concerning audience feedback that illustrates how confused people are about Facebook 's features and tools. I have seen this for years as a social media /pr consultant here in Silicon Valley. How many times have I heard: "Facebook is a waste of time," or " I just don't get Facebook." Comments at the event regarding FAN page frustrations, as well as FB eliminating the Review feature, which businesses need to get new clients, reveal there is quite a bit of discomfort with FB as a basic platform. Now that FB is relocated to Menlo Park, they should get in the community spirit and roll out the "FacebookMobile," so they can drive around helping people figure out the basics. Then they might get the advertisers they are looking for. Also, since FB is now such a large local employer, they should hire PR staff to handle glitches like yesterday's less than great audience feedback more smoothly. FB doesn't want us to think they don't care about us, right? PS totebags are nice, t-shirts are better.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 01:04 AM
@carrie What's your FB URL?
Carrie January 21, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Hi Vanessa, this is my Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/carriecommunications
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
@carrie Sweet. Liking your page now. Have you liked mine yet? http://www.facebook.com/MenloParkPatch
Carrie January 22, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Yes, I'm on it, thanks!

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