BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people conduct business and led many smaller operations to turn to online platforms to reach customers.

Now, Facebook is trying to help struggling entrepreneurs be more successful with their efforts.

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On Thursday, the social media giant is hosting a free virtual event to show people how to best use the platform to connect with customers, sell products and advance their businesses.

Among those who turned to the virtual world as the pandemic raged as Jayson Williams of Mayson-Dixon Companies.

“We had a little referral thing, and when I looked at it, we linked the referrals to people reaching out to me via social media,” he said.

Williams said his consulting firm lost 50% of its business the first few weeks of the pandemic. He started boosting posts on Facebook to help reach potential customers, and it worked.

“We just started using our social media to kind of tell our story, to tell what we were up to, how we were giving back,” he said.

A video of his team giving away masks posted to Facebook created the traction the company needed to survive.

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That’s what social media is for, according to Facebook’s economic impact team.

“Facebook and its family of apps at its core is a connecting tool,” said Diana Doukas, a manager of that team.

The goal of Thursday’s virtual event is to teach small businesses the latest ways to use Facebook’s products to help them better navigate the platforms.

Doukas said Maryland is a great place to start.

“Over 99% of the economy here in Maryland is made of small businesses,” she said.

Boost with Facebook is open to every small business in the Baltimore area. To learn more, click here.

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Rachael Cardin