Latest statistics show that Facebook has around 800 million members. A recent survey by Peopleperhour.com revealed that 91% of small businesses in the UK are now actively engaging with social networks for business purposes; an increase of 60% from last year. With a rising number of businesses looking to build brand awareness via Social networking, Mindleaders has launched a new training app for businesses on Facebook, actually developed in co-operation with Facebook. Felicity McCarthy, EMEA SMB Marketing Manager at Facebook says “We’re always excited to make Facebook an essential part of how marketing managers find new customers and grow their businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses are thirsty for education and information, so this course from MindLeaders will give them lots of advice and tips which they can follow at their own convenience.” I spoke to Jessica Mabe, the Facebook Community Manager of Mindleaders to find out more about this collaboration. Originally founded in 1981 in Dublin, Mindleaders is now a successful global entity. Jessica explains more about Facebook Trainer, who it is aimed at, how it will adapt to Facebook changes and what makes it stand out from other Facebook courses and trainers. Jessica also tells me what she thinks is the stand out difference between Facebook and other Social Media sites and why she believes Mindleaders were chosen to provide this course. There are many Facebook trainers and advisers worldwide, what is different about your course apart from being given the official stamp by Facebook? Our course, Facebook Trainer, stands out in a number of ways, both in features and design. We know that learning is best facilitated by a variety of media, so rather than just one medium, our training uses video, images, narration and interactive screens together to stimulate and engage with the audience. It’s also structured around a single use-case or story that explains and deepens the learner’s understanding of Facebook’s marketing features progressively. A lot of training just explains how to use each feature in isolation, whereas our courses explain them as part of a cohesive overall strategy. We also use “action time” screens that suggest concrete ‘next’ steps to take, making the training directly relevant to the learner’s marketing aims. Related: 20 Examples Of Effective B2B Facebook Pages Who is Facebook Trainer aimed at in particular? The courses are for anyone who is getting started with Facebook marketing or who has made a start and wants to develop further. That could be owners of small-to-medium sized businesses, SME marketers or students learning about social media marketing. Rather than seasoned online marketers, our audience is the people who understand the potential benefits of Facebook marketing, but don’t know how to get started. Is the course simple to use for a complete newbie on Facebook? Absolutely. The only thing necessary to take the training is to sign up for a Facebook account and we explain everything from there. All the jargon is explained, and we’ve included links that allow learners to navigate to the right parts of the Facebook Help pages to find out more. We’re well known for building courses that are highly accessible, and this is no different. Depending on the level of knowledge on Facebook can the client skip parts that they already understand? There are seven courses divided into sub-topics which learners can skip or jump in and out of depending on what they need to know. All the content is outlined in the menu, so if you need to understand or refresh your understanding of one feature or another, you can jump directly to that section. Related: Does Facebook Timeline Make Custom Tabs A Thing Of The Past? What if Facebook brings in changes as they do quite often? Will your training course automatically adapt? The plan is to release quarterly updates to the training and new modules to keep up to date, but part of the benefits of the collaboration is that we were able to consult with Facebook and create content that had more longevity than the training material produced by third-parties. The initial seven courses explain core Facebook marketing tools and principles that won’t be changing any time soon. We’ll also be releasing plenty of guides and free add-ons to fans of our Facebook page which encompass changes, such as the recent “6 Step Guide to Facebook timeline”. What does Facebook wish to achieve by creating this course? Facebook want to see more small businesses using Facebook to reach customers and grow. A lot of recent research indicates that even those small to medium sized businesses which have a Facebook page aren’t using it to engage with their customers. So it’s in Facebook’s interest to create training that reaches these people and shows them it isn’t that hard to succeed if you know how. What do you think sets Facebook apart from other Social Media like Twitter and Pinterest? There are several reasons – one of the most important is scale. There are over 800 million users now and that includes 70% of internet users in the UK and US. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook. This means that whether you like Facebook as a platform or not, your customers are already there. Users also share a lot more information about their interests and preferences on Facebook than other social networks, which makes extremely targeted advertising possible. Finally, businesses know that word-of-mouth is the most valuable form of advertising, and Facebook has features like sponsored stories which facilitate that directly. Related: 20 Easy Ways To Grow Your Company Facebook Page And Fans What are the costs involved and how does the client “take” the course? For a twelve month subscription there is a one-off cost of just £39.99, plus VAT ($59.99), which makes our training a really affordable alternative to face-to-face training courses. After purchasing via our Facebook page you take the course by installing the app on your Facebook profile. We save your progress automatically, so you can work your way through the courses by opening up the app whenever you have time. Why do you think MindLeaders where chosen by Facebook to create this elearning app? We were chosen because of the decades of experience we have in training millions of people across the world and the approach we take to creating successful learning experiences. Our courses are designed applying proven learning principles, with scenarios that put knowledge in a context people can relate to and activities that allow learners to immediately put new skills into practice. A central problem for Facebook was finding a way to delivering the content that users would want to engage with. We proved that we could solve that problem. I have dipped in and out of this online course myself and have learnt a few things I wasn’t aware of which is great. I found it very simple to use and you can move around it to skip bits you may already know, or start from scratch and follow simple instructions to create your Facebook business page and what to do with it from there. My thanks to Jessica Mabe at Mindleaders for the interview and the quote from Facebook too.