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.