I wrote back in December about Facebook's efforts to woo SMB advertisers.
The site is now getting a big boost from Visa, and its well-oiled (and funded) marketing machine. According to an Associated Press story published on Boston.com, Visa is ponying up $2 million for site advertising to promote a new small business network it created for Facebook. It plans to supplement the Facebook ads with a full-fledged multimedia marketing campaign, according to the story.
The first 20,000 U.S. SMBs that download the Web application required to join the network, which debuts today, will receive a $100 advertising credit on Facebook. The aim of the network is to offer tips to SMBs on attracting new customers (many of them, no doubt, based on accepting Visa) and cutting costs. Members of the Visa network will also be able to connect with each other to share ideas or even negotiate deals.
Visa partnered with Google to offer maps, calendars, word processing and a template for creating expense sheets and business cards. The network will also feature SMB-oriented articles from The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine.
Experts agree the Visa network could provide a shot in the arm for Facebook's efforts to prove itself as a valuable advertising platform if the SMBs that choose to advertise via the network are impressed enough with the results to place more ads on the site.