July 20, 2022
The two-day Meta Boost summit visited Detroit’s Garden Theatre, its first stop of a nationwide tour designed to help small businesses “Learn. Create. Grow”.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is the tech giant parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The conference provided an engine for businesses to receive support and advice on how to leverage the social media and technology services of Meta’s family of companies, such as workshops in digital marketing, learning how to create engaging content with consumers, and steps to growing business and taking it to the next the level.
“We are a community and learning platform that helps guide businesses on how to best drive business growth,” said Brandy Pitts, director of global head of partnerships digital marketing at Meta.
Pitts leads the Meta Elevate program dedicated to the Black and Hispanic communities to increase their economic impact and success. Meta Circles is another program driven to provide mentorship, a six-week course with one-on-one interaction with a Meta mentor.
“We provide e-learning, toolkits, and scholarships for digital marketing associates for access to free certifications for Black learners.”
Meta Elevate started as a grass-root program in 2018 and was created by employees of color who saw they could help their communities better leverage and understand the company’s tools and services. The company’s efforts on this front expanded nationally in 2020.
“At the heart of everything we’re doing, it’s about helping these communities increase their business impact and helping their livelihood. This is a long-term commitment that Meta has to help these communities.”
Leading the start of the Meta Boost conference was an open panel by Alvin Bowles, vice president of global partnerships at Meta and Dennis Archer Jr., chief executive officer of SIXTEEN42 Ventures.
Archer talked about his upbringing in the professional world of having only worked for African American-owned businesses in law and media and then making the transition to work for himself.
“Seeing Black folks in leadership and in businesses that they started from scratch was very inspirational, …I had this a foundation which I believed developed this ‘I think I can’ attitude and it all works when you also surround yourself with the right people,” said Archer.
A leading Detroit entrepreneur, Archer leveraged his background in marketing and advertising and has created a plethora of companies in business consulting, media, and the restaurant food business. He talked to the packed audience about how Meta’s platforms became a needed and useful source for business during the height of the COVID pandemic.
“Our restaurant, Central Kitchen + Bar, a very consumer-facing entity, we leveraged all of (Meta’s) the tools for reservations, to promote daily specials, and communicate with our audience.” At the easing of state pandemic restrictions, Archer explained how “fantastic [it is] to use Facebook and Instagram to let folks know, ‘hey, I know we weren’t open yesterday, but we’re open today, or here are our new hours.”
Meta Boost is free to businesses of all sizes and focuses on them being able to obtain access to the educational tools to be able to focus on improving their businesses.
The program hopes people understand the complexities between where they may know how to use social media for their own personal accounts in staying connected with friends and family and how these lessons can be translated to business outcomes.
“Individuals know to post and read content, but do they know how to leverage tools such as analytics, such as who is engaging and who might be interested in buying their services or goods,” said Pitts.
“It’s about turning audiences into businesses, if individuals want to be able to do so. We’ve got businesses large and small that can help bridge that distance between, ‘I have an idea, and how to execute it on our platform.’”
There couldn’t be a better place for Pitts to kick off the two-day Meta Boost summit other than Detroit. It’s a visit home for the Detroit native and University of Michigan alum.
“To be able to bring some tools back to the city of Detroit, which is on its own journey of resurgence. Its never left. Detroit has always been around and has been one of the most important cities in the world for economic empowerment.”
“Taking this blue-collar, gritty town, and seeing the creativity spur out of it, and I’m just humbled to be able to bring our business (Meta) to play a small part in that resurgence.”