Facebook is expanding its efforts to assist local businesses with overcoming the challenges they’re facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As many stores remain closed and social media serves as an online Main Street, the shift to doing business online is more urgent than ever.”
Facebook and Instagram are receiving new features that will allow other users to discover and support small businesses in their area.
Both platforms are also adding tools to help businesses stay informed and connected with their customers.
Facebook will begin promoting a #SupportSmallBusinesses hashtag while encouraging users to share a small business they love.
This has the potential to increase exposure for small businesses and get them in front of people who may be discovering them for the first time.
Support Small Businesses Sticker
A new Instagram feature will let users show their appreciation for small businesses in the form of a “Support Small Businesses” sticker.
When a story with this sticker is published it will be added to a shared Instagram story, similar to the “Stay Home” sticker introduced last month.
If a business is mentioned along with the sticker then the business can repost the content to their own story as well.
Find Businesses Nearby
Facebook is introducing a feature that will allow users to more quickly find essential products and services.
More specifically, Facebook is working on ways to help people get those products and services from local businesses.
Using the new ‘Businesses Nearby’ feature people can find out the latest information on local stores, message them directly, place orders, or buy products.
This feature should help improve “virtual foot traffic” to business, as Facebook puts it, which is key as businesses move online to stay open.
Business Resource Center
Facebook is rolling out a dedicated resource center for businesses with the latest information related to COVID-19.
The real-time, in-app information is curated to help businesses more quickly take steps to move their business forward.
This new resource center can be found in the shortcuts on the Facebook app and through businesses’ profiles on Instagram.
Staying Connected With Customers
Facebook is launching a “major” upgrade of the Business Inbox in Messenger, making it easier for businesses to communicate with customers directly.
The upgrade will allow page managers to seamlessly switch between their personal account and page account within Messenger.
The ability to switch accounts on the fly will simplify and speed up the process of responding to messages sent from customers to a Facebook business page.
COVID-19 Post Tags
Facebook is introducing a way for businesses to tag posts related to COVID-19.
When composing a post as a Facebook business page, there will now be an option to add a COVID-19 tag.
This will help when customers are quickly scanning through a page’s posts looking for updates related COVID-19.
A COVID-19 tag will also stand out in the news feed and catch peoples’ attention.
Facebook notes that this update is similar to the Temporary Service Changes tool it launched last month.
Temporary Service Changes is another way to share critical information related to COVID-19 on a Facebook business page.
Related: Facebook Lets Businesses Show Temporary Service Changes on Their Facebook Pages
Source: Facebook for Business