In case you needed further incentive to create a Facebook presence – outside of their 800 million active users – the social network has announced that starting in January, 2012, they will be offering free ads to small businesses. Teaming with the National Federation of Independent Business and the US Chamber of Commerce, Facebook will offer up to $10 million of free advertising to 200,000 small businesses – or $50 each.
Part of the program will be teaching small businesses how to leverage Facebook for eCommerce. Users will be able to learn how to build a Facebook page and how to create a paid ad campaign. These campaigns can include display ads and “Sponsored Stories”. This is Facebook’s program that allows, say, a skate shop in San Diego to highlight videos posted by one of its customers using their product. These lessons will be offered through a series of webinars and live on Facebook’s cross-country road show that they’re organizing with the help of states’ Chambers of Commerce. Details on Facebook Tour ’12 will be announced down the road.
The eCommerce possibilities of the social networking site are pretty impressive. It’s a marketing tool that can show off your videos or feature your special offers and discounts. It can also serve for real transactions: hotels, restaurants and basically any service company can take reservations. And for customer service – both showing customers love and showing attentiveness to their complaints — Facebook is truly great.
You can get some ideas from small businesses that are maximizing Facebook at the Social Media Examiner 2011 Small Business Facebook Pages Awards.
This is practically a risk-free opportunity for jumping into eCommerce. When it costs nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose!
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