Facebook wants to help your small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) survive in this global pandemic.
To that end, the company rolled out a new product so you can monetize online classes and events.
Even better: the tool is free. For now. In this article, I’ll explain what we know about the tool.
Paid Online Events Handles All the Important Stuff
Facebook’s paid online events handle hosting, ticketing, payments and even promotion from a single platform. All you need to do is come up with a good idea for a virtual conference that people are willing to pay for.
You can promote your online event to your organic followers on Facebook via Facebook Ads. The tool also enables you to collect payments, but you’ll need to link to a bank account.
A caveat, though: you’ll have to comply with Facebook’s partner monetization policies as well as other requirements:
- You need to follow Facebook’s community standards. That means your event can’t include hate speech, calls for violence, or sexualized content.
- You can’t solicit engagement via “engagement bait.”
- You can’t focus on hot-button issues such as politics, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class.
- You can’t discuss subjects that result in suffering, destruction, or distress.
- You can’t discuss substance abuse or criminal behavior.
- You can’t use profane or derogatory language.
- You can’t discuss gore or bodily conditions.
- You can’t disseminate info disputed by a third-party fact-checker.
- You can’t provide misleading medical info.
- You can only share original content.
- You must follow Facebook’s payment terms.
- You must have an authentic, established presence on Facebook.
- You can only connect to other entities that follow Facebook’s guidelines.
As you can see, Facebook makes you follow quite a few rules. That’s because the company doesn’t want its reputation soiled by bad actors.
Facebook Paid Online Events: It’s Free – For Now
Facebook promises not to charge you anything for a year if you use the tool. After that, all bets are off.
That means you get to keep 100% of the proceeds from your virtual ticket sales.
There’s a caveat to that, though. If you’re using iOS to host the event, you’ll need to give up 30% of the proceeds.
Facebook calls that the “App Store Tax.” It’s an Apple thing and not a Facebook thing.
During the press conference when Facebook announced the new tool, company reps went out of their way to say that they asked Apple to waive the 30% fee. No dice.
The company fielded plenty of questions about that subject. Tech journalists love to ask questions about how well the “big boys” in Silicon Valley get along with each other.
In this case, not so well.
Other Items to Note
Here are a few other things you should know about Facebook’s new toy.
First, you can create a custom audience from the attendees to your virtual events. That’s a great way to do some remarketing in the middle of a pandemic.
Also, the tool doesn’t integrate with Facebook Shops. Yet.
According to a company rep, though, soon “brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase. We’re starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll roll it out more broadly in the coming months.”
Facebook says that several companies beta-tested the tool and they “all” provided positive reviews. One of them reportedly called it a “game-changer.”
The beta-testers used the tool to host “expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes and more.”
Boxing matches? I’d like to hear more about that one.