Small businesses just got another reason to be on Facebook: access to up to $10 million in free advertising credits.
The social media giant has joined forces with the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help U.S.-based small businesses grow and create more jobs by using Facebook. The initiative is intended to teach small businesses how to use Facebook to generate new customers, retain existing ones and build an online community through things like buying display ads targeting specific markets as well as other cost-free measures.
While many small businesses may be disenchanted by the idea of being on Facebook, its sheer number of users is reason enough not to ignore it. Facebook claims to have more than 800 million users--a potential massive audience for small businesses if targeted properly.
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According to Facebook, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, small businesses in the U.S. employ more than half of all private-sector workers and have created more than 64% of all new jobs during the past 15 years.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and we believe that Facebook can be a tremendous tool to fuel their growth and success,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook, in a recent press release.
The new program, which officially starts next month, starts with a nation-wide roadshow coordinated with local chambers of commerce and regional NFIB offices. Facebook officials and members of the two groups will host forums for small business owners on how they can use best use Facebook.
The joint effort includes webinars, case studies and tips to educate small business owners on how to boost their connection with customers via Facebook and reach new ones via free tools like Pages and Platforms. Small businesses will also learn other marketing options available on Facebook.
While promoting the benefits of being on Facebook and teaching small businesses how to effectively use the medium will boost marketing efforts, the real incentive for small businesses will likely be the free advertising credits. Starting in January, 200,000 businesses around the country will get at least $50 of free advertisement credits to be used on Facebook. The company plans to provide more details on the program soon.
The program is part of an emerging trend of large companies looking for ways to help small businesses thrive. Earlier this week, Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz pledged to donate at least $100,000 of profits annually from two Starbucks stores in low-income areas to boost jobs in those communities.
The tech industry in particular has been targeting the small business market with online education campaigns to help them grow and create more jobs.