Facebook is launching a programme to attract small businesses to its online advertising platform by offering free advertisement credits for the social network.
The company is offering 50,000 small companies up to £60 worth of advertising credits each.
It has also published a “toolkit” to help entrepreneurs understand online advertising and is running a series of regional business advice events across the UK in conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce.
The scheme starts in the UK today and will also be rolled out in other European markets later this month.
Facebook, which has faced shareholder anger over a disastrous flotation on the stock market this month, will be hoping its latest charm offensive has better results.
Gregor Lawson, co-founder of Morphsuits, which has an £11m turnover, said his company has used Facebook since the fancy dress business was established in 2009.
“Because we had virtually no budget when we started, it was the perfect platform for a small business to advertise on,” he said.
“You can be laser-focused on the interests, demographics and location [of the people you want to reach] and limit your spending.”
He estimated that 15pc of the company’s revenues come from Facebook.
He said that, while it is “incredibly easy” to set a campaign up on the site, the “operating system is clunky in terms of data – it doesn’t link up very well Facebook users’ behaviour and how that results [in purchases] on ecommerce websites”.
Facebook is under pressure to prove its effectiveness as an advertising platform to justify its £104bn flotation value, the largest ever by a US technology firm.
Businesses with more than 50 ‘fans’ on the social network can automatically register for £20 of credit, with the chance to apply for a further £60 as they increase their ‘fanbase’, Facebook said.