Facebook hopes more small businesses will soon “like” it more.
The company announced a new campaign called Facebook Fit on Tuesday to teach business owners how to better use Facebook to reel in new customers. The campaign includes business owner “bootcamps” in five U.S. cities in the coming months to provide tips for maximizing Facebook’s value as a marketing tool, such as producing more compelling content, buying Facebook ads that target certain users and using the latest Facebook mobile tools.
Attendees at the bootcamps will also hear from other corporations trying to make more inroads in the small-business market, including Intuit QuickBooks, LegalZoom and Square. They will be held in New York, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Texas and Menlo Park, California. Attendees will pay $25, but then receive a $50 credit for buying Facebook ads, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Small businesses “don't have enough customers,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told The Associated Press. “This is their No. 1 problem and we can help them solve it.”
Many business owners have become frustrated with Facebook in recent months as the company has tried to monetize its more than 25 million small-business pages. In December, the company announced that businesses would get far less exposure in their followers’ news feeds unless they paid to promote or “boost” their posts. Gawker’s Valleywag later estimated that Facebook was in the process of slashing businesses’ organic reach down to 1 to 2 percent making it much harder for businesses to use Facebook to reach their followers without forking over money.
The new Facebook Fit program is a way for the social media giant to try and make itself feel more user-friendly to small businesses and certainly to explain the value of spending marketing dollars on it. Currently only about 1 million businesses advertise on Facebook each month, Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business, told Bloomberg Businessweek.
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