Facebook is announcing some new programs today for small businesses, particularly ones that advertise. At the same time, the company’s also arguing that plenty of businesses find out value on the social network without buying ads.
Specifically, Facebook says the number of active small business Pages keeps growing — it’s up to 40 million, compared to 30 million last June. And only 2 million of them are active advertisers.
The fact that there are so many active businesses that don’t bother with ads seems particularly noteworthy given the declining reach of organic (non-ad) content from Facebook Pages. But Jonathan Czaja, Facebook’s director of small business for North America, said that creating Pages isn’t just about pushing posts to potential customers.
“Creating a presence on Facebook … is a powerful asset in its own right,” he said.
As for those new programs, Facebook will be holding more events for small businesses around the country, with half-day events in San Diego, Minneapolis, Nashville and Boston.
And for advertisers, it’s also adding one-on-one chat support. The idea of customer support through chats might not seem all that unusual or worth celebrating, but again, we’re talking about millions of advertisers here.
Before now, if you were a small business buying ads on Facebook and you needed help, you had to send an email and wait for a response. Czaja said many of those advertisers were asking for live support, so Facebook is giving it to them. It’s rolling out the program in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland in the next few months, with more countries to follow.
“We’ve got hundreds of reps worldwide providing both email and chat support,” Czaja said. “We intend to grow that dramatically in the coming years.”