While Google Plus Snubs Businesses, Facebook Gives Them Free Ads

September 28, 2011

9:00 am

Facebook announced Monday that it will be giving away up to $10 million in free advertisements – $50 for 200,000 businesses – starting in January 2012.

“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, Facebook chief operating officer.

This initiative is part of a partnership with the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lobbying organizations that promote the interests of small businesses and together have millions of members. Other components of the partnership include educating businesses through webinars and a cross-country roadshow on how to use tools like Facebook pages, platform, ads, and sponsored stories.

$50 worth of ads is a small amount, and Facebook may be hoping to give businesses a taste of social marketing before convincing them to start paying. Facebook’s announcement page mentions “at least” $50 in ads, though, so there may be exceptions.

If Facebook succeeds, it could become entrenched in the practices of small businesses much the same way Microsoft and its Office products are ubiquitous at large businesses. And, while Google Plus profiles for companies may be coming soon, for now this is an area where Facebook has a head start.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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