Former Google, vp of global online sales and operations, and currently Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is aiming to reach out to small businesses by giving small business owners an advertising credit to try out Facebook advertising.
In a USA Today interview, "My dream is really simple," said Sandberg, 42. "I think every small business should […] be using Facebook. We're not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business."
Next week, Facebook will unveil a plan to get small businesses hooked. The company plans to offer free $50 advertising credits for up to 200,000 small businesses. When a person clicks on an ad, there's a set rate predetermined for that click through -- 5 cents or 25 cents, for example -- the advertiser has to pay. Facebook will pick up the tab for the first $50 of such ads delivered under its offer.
To get to that point, Facebook will be giving out $10 million in advertising credits ($50 each to up to 200,000 small businesses). Details will be revealed this week, perhaps at f8.
Sandberg feels that the $50 credit will be enough for most businesses to get a strong sense of the Facebook advertising's potential. For $50, she says, "most small businesses can target every single person they need to target at least once, and then they can grow their business from there."
Sandberg estimates that of the nation's nearly 30 million small businesses, 9 million are using Facebook to speak to their customers, and "hundreds of thousands" are spending money on ad campaigns, as well.
Sandberg says Facebook allows businesses to interact with customers and create viral marketing campaigns. "Facebook takes word-of-mouth marketing and makes it work at scale."
Facebook is also pushing for attention from small businesses in other sectors. Facebook recently partnered with American Express OPEN (the company's small business division) to give cardholders Facebook advertising credits as a potential points reward. American Express gave an extra back-scratch by giving those cardholders double points when they spent money on online advertisements, including those on Facebook.
Sandberg says the social-media giant has created 250,000 jobs -- engineers, developers and others who work on Facebook-oriented projects and related social-media jobs at companies. Facebook has 3,000 employees.
"We feel really good about our contribution," she says.
Here is the video of the interview: