Yesterday, Facebook launched its “Facebook for Business” resource center, which collects instructions and guides for using Pages, ads, Sponsored Stories, and Platform applications. It walks business owners, marketers, and advertisers through the purpose and functionality of Facebook’s core products in simple, straightforward language, and links to .PDFs where they can learn more.
With Google preparing to allow businesses onto Google+, this seems like an opportune time for Facebook to showcase the depth of its existing business offering and make it easier to start marketing to its 750 million users.
Previously, the resources found on Facebook for Business were scattered across several other official Pages and introduction sites, including Facebook Marketing Solutions, Guide to Facebook Ads, and Facebook Platform. Now businesses can find all this information in one place, and with a more intuitive flow for those unfamiliar with Facebook.
The section on Pages gives step-by-step instructions for creating a Page, executing a strategy, gaining fans, and using Page Insights. One new recommendation it includes is that Page admins should create a “conversation calendar” to organize what kind of posts their Page will publish each day of the week.
For ads, Facebook outlines how to create and target ads, manage a budget, and optimize performance by analyzing metrics. It links to a Facebook Ads Optimization Guide (.PDF), which recommends a strategy of testing ad variants for two to three days.
The Sponsored Stories section is the first dedicated site for learning about the social ad unit. It does a good job of clearly explaining a complex subject. Lack of understanding of how Sponsored Stories work has likely been a deterrent to adoption. These instructions, combined with recent reports of the high efficiency of the ad unit, should lead more advertisers to integrate Sponsored Stories into their mix.
Canvas Apps, Page tab apps social plugins, mobile single-sign on, and Facebook Credits are all addressed on in the Platform section. This part of Facebook for Business is the least fleshed out, often just directing users to the developer documentation, which may be too advanced for those new to the Platform.
Google+ has run into a few snags in its program for businesses. Many brands created personal profiles only to have them deleted. While it first said that official brand pages would be available within weeks of the launch of the new social network, Google has revised that time table to say businesses may have to wait months before they can set up a presence on Google+.
Facebook may be purposefully taking advantage of the the current discontent with its new competitor by launching Facebook for Business this week. It may be able to gain extra ground on Google if it can remind both existing Facebook-integrated businesses and those new to the site of all the marketing channels it already offers.