Facebook and Instagram launch new features to increase small business support and growth
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that came along with it, companies and institutions have been making moves to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on their users and members respectively.
Small businesses have not been left out of this. Facebook and Instagram plan to introduce features that will enable users to discover and support small businesses in their areas. These features are part of Facebook’s efforts to increase the online presence and visibility of small businesses.
This is in a bid to keep the businesses afloat and relevant in a time when storefronts have been closed and social media has become the marketplace of the world. Tools to keep businesses informed, connected to their customers and their customers’ varying needs will also be added to both platforms.
Users that have or patronize a small business will be able to share them while using a #SupportSmallBusinesses hashtag that Facebook will be promoting. This in turn will boost the visibility of small businesses and lead to their exposure to a larger audience, therefore increasing the number of potential customers they’ll have.
Support Small Businesses sticker
On Instagram, a new feature will be rolling out that will allow users to show their love and appreciation for small businesses they patronize in the form of a “Support Small Businesses” sticker. Just like the “Stay Home” sticker that was introduced last month, a story that is posted with the “Support Small Businesses” sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story. This will enable other users view the various small businesses that are being appreciated and possibly patronize them.
Small businesses can also repost content that mentions them along with the stickers on their own stories. This will help bring their high customer satisfaction levels to users that come across the stories.
Find Business Nearby
In order to help users have access to essential services and goods and to simultaneously boost patronage to local businesses, the new “Business Nearby” feature will be introduced by Facebook. This feature will allow users to discover stores in their area that provide the essential services and goods that they need, communicate with them directly and be able to place orders and purchase products.
Business Resource Centre
A resource centre with the most recent COVID-19 developments will also be introduced. This centre is dedicated to businesses and it will provide in-app, real-time information specific to businesses. This would enable them to make timely decisions that will profit their businesses and keep them a step ahead of the challenges they would have faced if misinformed.
This new resource will be found in the shortcuts on the Facebook app and through business profiles on Instagram.
Staying Connected with Customers
To ease the communication between business pages and their customers, Facebook will be rolling out a “major” upgrade of the business inbox in Messenger. Page managers of businesses will be allowed to switch from the page account to their personal account and vice versa within the Messenger app. Therefore there will be no need to move from their Facebook business page to their personal Messenger accounts.
All communication can be done on the Messenger platform with just a simple click. This will increase their message response time and simplify the process of responding to customers’ messages sent to the business page.
COVID-19 Post tags.
On every platform, information about the pandemic is highly sought for. Facebook plans to use this trend to grow businesses’ virtual foot traffic by introducing the COVID-19 tag.
When composing a post on a Facebook business page, the option to include a COVID-19 tag will be there. That way, customers will be able to find updates related to COVID-19 on the business page easily. It will also make the posts from the business pages to stand out on the news feed and get users’ attention.
This update is similar to the “Temporary Service Changes” tool that Facebook launched last month. The tool enabled business pages to update customers on changes that had been made to their schedules and activities due to the pandemic.