Facebook has assembled four educational portals to help businesses manage their use of the platform. The portals cover topics such as creating Facebook pages, advertising on Facebook, selling products on Facebook, and using Facebook for marketing.
I’ll review each of the portals in this article and offer my thoughts on them from an ecommerce merchant’s perspective.
This is Facebook’s hub for sharing resources to help small business achieve success on the network. These are divided into three categories: educational resources, case studies, and a video channel called Facebook Live.
In this section, Facebook provides a series of step-by-step educational guides that cover topics like how to create a Facebook Page, how to set up a Facebook advertising campaign and how to use Sponsored Stories, which is another form of advertising.
These guides — many of which are downloadable PDFs — are designed to assist small businesses get started using the platform. There are similar guides that cover more advanced topics, such as how to optimize pages and ads for greater effectiveness and how to use Facebook social plugins.
In addition to the guides, there is also a series of 15-20 minute webinars that contain tutorials about Facebook Ads and Facebook business solutions.
Facebook provides a series of case studies, which it refers to as Success Stories, to give business owners a better understanding of how pages, ads and Sponsored Stories work.
Unfortunately, these case studies only cover large companies – Unilever, Mazda, PepsiCo and 1-800-Flowers.com to name a few. If the page for small businesses, then Facebook should have provided examples of small businesses that have experienced similar success, recognizing there are surely helpful lessons from the larger examples.
This section includes a series of educational videos recorded at Facebook headquarters. These cover topics such as Facebook Ads, using Facebook for business, Facebook pages and others.
Facebook has set up a page just for retailers, called Facebook + Commerce, which, according to the Info tab, was created to help “commerce partners use Facebook to create social and personalized shopping experiences.”
The page helps merchants learn about “best practices and tools to help you increase registration; conversions, and cart size; drive referral traffic; and deepen user insights on your site.”
The page is primarily directed toward ecommerce developers. For example, there is a tab labeled “Developers” that provides guidelines for how to implement Facebook social plug-ins, such as the Like button, Activity Feed, Facebook registration and Open Graph.
For ecommerce merchants — versus developers — the page’s Wall contains a constantly growing stream of updates with links to useful resources, retail case studies, social commerce news and practical marketing advice.
Facebook for Business is an educational site with product guides and tips. Most of the information contained here is also available in the Facebook Marketing Page, described above. The difference is this site is outside the Facebook platform. It is not another Facebook page, in other words. I find the information easier to access and, therefore, visit the site more often than the page mentioned above.
Facebook Studio targets advertising agencies and web designers. Like Facebook for Business, it also sits outside Facebook’s platform as a separate website.
Facebook has configured the site to serve as an online community where marketers can share their work and see examples of campaigns created by others. Smaller merchants should note that the site also contains educational guides, instructional videos, and case studies not found in the other resources listed above.
Facebook is positioning itself to be more than just a social network, but a platform through which businesses can create a presence, build brand awareness, and even sell products and services. These four educational portals should provide merchants with enough information to get started.