Facebook this evening announced that it will hold a free “Facebook Marketing Bootcamp” series of webinars and live question-and-answer session. A tab app on the Facebook Marketing Solutions Page posted “All Marketing Managers are invited to become a Facebook marketing expert in just 3 weeks… learn how to use Facebook’s social technology to grow your business”.
Facebook Marketing Bootcamp is Facebook’s biggest effort to date to educate marketers, entering a space otherwise handled by third-parties including this blog and our Facebook Marketing Bible. Facebook is recognizing that many marketers lack of understanding of the site’s value to business, and are therefore spending less on marketing and advertising than they could be. The program could boost confidence and get more people creating Pages, publishing content, and buying ads.
Marketers can register for Facebook Marketing Bootcamp for free, and the 6 webinars, live Q&A session, and weekly tips will run from November 1st to November 16th. The first 5,000 people to sign up may receive a $125 Facebook ad credit. As the course is held online and not in person, there does not appear to be a cap on how many people can join the sessions.
In June, I analyzed a MerchantCircle report indicating that despite high awareness, only 22% of small businesses use Facebook ads, and of those 35% say they wouldn’t use them again, mainly because of poor performance. This lack of adoption and negative experience is in part due to a lack of knowledge of how to use the ads tool or run effective campaigns that tie in with other Facebook marketing products.
Since then, I’ve been recommending Facebook expand its business education and outreach. Facebook frequently makes changes to its marketing products and creates new opportunities but doesn’t always follow up with instructions for how to best take advantage of them.
For example, it released new ways to target ads by broad category, launched the Recommendations feature for Places, and dispensed free ad credits, but guide marketers how to use them beyond dispensing the occasional .PDF instruction manual. This can lead marketers to have bad or confusing first experiences that makes them less likely to devote resources to Facebook in the future.
In the last month, though, Facebook has stepped its educational efforts, announcing partnerships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business where it would send representatives to advise members on Facebook marketing. The company has also been running more one-off marketing education sessions on its streaming channel Facebook Live. At the same time it’s stepped up outreach to developers, holding mini-f8 Open Technology Days in four US cities as well as abroad and planning a Mobile Hack day at its headquarters this week.
Through the Facebook Marketing Bootcamp, educational resources will be formatted into a coherent curriculum and offered free to anyone interested. Rather than allowing unofficial outlets to be the only source of this intensive training, Facebook will be able to promote responsible marketing strategies that don’t endanger the experience of users with spam or overly aggressive tactics.
Facebook should continue to explore different mediums for distributing marketing education. With a combination of white papers, live conferences, and webinars Facebook can push towards its goal of getting all businesses, even less savvy late adopters, using Facebook marketing.