ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Facebook and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are using workshops in New Mexico and across the country to attract Latino-owned companies in hopes they use more tools on the social media giant’s platform.

The meeting in Albuquerque on Friday follows a recent announcement by Facebook and elected officials that the company would be investing a quarter-billion dollars in a new data center in New Mexico, the nation’s most Hispanic state.

State officials and business owners have been scrambling to take advantage of the economic windfall expected to come from the data center during construction and once it’s online in 2018.

They’re pushing for more economic diversity in the state with a focus on high-tech industries in hopes of guarding against weak oil and natural gas prices, which have left the state with a large budget deficit.

Facebook selected New Mexico over Utah for the data center after a mini bidding war. The village of Los Lunas, just south of Albuquerque, agreed to give up all property taxes for 30 years in exchange for annual payments starting at $50,000 and topping out at under $500,000.

“It’s a strategic partnership.” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said Friday.

To step up its Hispanic outreach, Facebook sent a small business expert to Albuquerque to give a presentation on the latest apps business owners can use to attract customers via social media.

The event attracted a few hundred attendees who use bilingual apps.

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is holding similar seminars across the country during Hispanic Heritage Month, Facebook spokeswoman Ana Martinez said.

Rebecca Avitia, executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, said her center relies on Facebook and agreed Hispanic business owners could take better advantage of its tools.

“We didn’t want people to come to our website because it was 15 years old,” Avitia said. “So we used Facebook and grew our attendance to events by more than 25,000 in a year.”


Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras .