Facebook executives to provide user tips to businesses at Austin event

Facebook Inc. officials are gearing up on Thursday to provide small business owners with user tips at an event in Austin. It's the fourth stop of a five-city tour.

Facebook Fit Austin, at the Austin Music Hall, is expected to draw 900 attendees. It will include a keynote speech from Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small business, and a panel discussion with local businesses.

The half-day event will also include breakout sessions led by Intuit QuickBooks, LegalZoom and Square.

Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) has held similar events in New York, Miami and Chicago since early June. After Austin, the tour is wrapping up in California, Levy said.

“We're helping people, whether they’re getting started or more experienced using Facebook, to help them learn about the best tools and techniques to grow their businesses,” he said.

The most underused tools, he said, involve mobile applications designed to enable business owners update their Facebook pages with information such as sale details or operating hours.

In 2010, California-based Facebook opened an office in downtown Austin, its first U.S. sales and online operations office outside Palo Alto, Calif. It now employs more than 200 local workers.

Facebook is growing in popularity among small- and mid-sized business owners. About 30 million of them now maintain Facebook pages compared with just 25 million late last year, Levy said.

“It’s completely mainstream,” he said. “I pretty much can’t name a type of business not on Facebook.”