This guest post is written by Molli Megasko

Yes, it’s another Facebook post. But don’t roll your eyes yet (Howie!). I’m not going to talk about the user changes, I’m here to discuss the free ads Facebook is giving to small business.

This January, Facebook is planning to give away $50 in free advertising to 200,000 small businesses across the country to show them how the ad platform works in hopes of return sales and more users.  (That’s $10 million in free advertising!)

The social networking site is partnering with both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) to help reach small businesses and educate them on social advertising.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

It is intended to educate small businesses on how to promote themselves on the social-networking site, like buying display ads targeted to specific markets, but also through cost-free measures to engage more with customers.

Beginning now, both organizations, and Facebook employees, will work with the local chapters around the country to start the education process and discuss best practices with small businesses. Currently, 9.2 million pages on Facebook are home to small businesses.

What does $50 get me?

Fifty dollars in advertising might not sound like a lot, but on the Facebook platform, a little can go a long way.  According to an updated note on Entrepreneur, businesses interested in receiving the $50 freebie will need to first take out an ad on Facebook starting in January. Then, they will give you $50 worth of credit for clicks.

*Note that the free advertising will be awarded to business owners on a first-come, first-served basis.


Besides helping small business become more social and giving them the tools to grow, as we all know, the sweet spot of Facebook is advertising.  In fact, most of these changes we are seeing on our interface are to help advertisers become more targeted.

It’s important to know your audience and test out messages and change your images.  Just like Google Ads, once you build, they might not come.  It’s up to you to keep the ad fresh and know what works and what doesn’t work.

How to set up a Facebook ad

These ads work just like Google AdWords…you pay when people click. The best part about these ads is you know they will be in front of your desired audience.

First you choose the type of ad: A social ad or a Facebook ad.

We suggest small businesses stay with the Facebook ad until their fan base is large enough to move to a social ad (Facebook ads drive traffic to your page, and help increase your fan base). Within the Facebook ad you’ll have choices on targeting.  You can target by state, city, gender, age, keywords, workplace, and relationship. Then assign your daily limit of clicks and determine your budget of daily spend.

After your ad is created, our favorite part is the analytics and optimization.  Here you can see who viewed your ad, who clicked on your ad, and what actions they took  (Facebook formats it into a nice report for you).

This campaign is a great opportunity for small businesses. Not only can you get in front of new audiences and take your products and/or services national, but you can now get free online networking education.  For those small businesses not even on Facebook yet, you can see this as free marketing and free advertising, and in an economy like ours, free advertising is a great bonus.

Does your small business run ads on Facebook?  If so, what successes have you seen?