Facebook is planning to give away around £4.2M of advertising to help SMEs, according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, through the AdBoost programme. This campaign will offer £80 of Facebook ads to companies across Europe, hopefully encouraging more small businesses to use Facebook effectively for internet and social media marketing.

The new Facebook programme is being launched with the British Chamber of Commerce and businesses will be helped with the creation of Facebook pages, engaging with users, and using the ever-growing selection of Facebook tools for advertising on the network.

Small businesses can struggle to commit fully to social media marketing, often not grasping the importance of it for their business growth and reach, or finding it difficult to define a clear strategy for doing so. Small businesses also suffer from a lack of human resources and social media is, by its very nature, time consuming. However, this is where an agency can help, by offering additional resources, expertise and value for money marketing.

A simple Facebook page and associated advertising across the Facebook social network can help SMEs in many ways. For example, by allowing loyal customers to share their recommendations to others, including to their friends through posts on both their walls and the business page. For businesses who struggle to keep a blog updated, it can provide an easy, short form method for keeping customers in touch with new products, offers, sales, or events. However, it should be remembered that not all of the target audience of any business will use Facebook and so a more comprehensive internet marketing strategy will be required to attain maximum potential.

It is to be hoped that the free ad credits will not go to waste and that the 50,000 SMEs Facebook is intending to help across UK, Spain, Italy, France and Germany will benefit from the exposure. Start creating your ad today!

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology