While literally everyone is taking strain during the current pandemic, it’s an especially trying time for smaller businesses. Lacking the bank accounts of larger companies, they’re basically burning cash as they wait to get back to work. And, when employment resumes, they’re going to need all the help they can get. Help that Facebook thinks it can supply.
The first way Facebook’s trying to give smaller businesses a leg-up in the time of COVID-19 is by launching a new *checks notes* sticker. Yeah, that’s right, a sticker for Instagram that says Support Small Businesses. Which might come in handy once the influencers are allowed to come out and play again, provided said influencers aren’t trying to get free stuff from said small businesses at the time.
Facebook’s also adding a #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag to the Facebook app itself. And these measures aren’t as piffling as they sound at first. Sharing an Insta post with the sticker will add the post to a shared Story, while there’s a mechanism for businesses tagged in such posts to easily share the content, or contact the users who posted it.
There’s also a feature headed our way that’ll let Facebook users know what’s going on at the businesses nearby — called, aptly enough, Business Nearby. The feature may be more America-centric for the moment, as we’re unable to view options, but it’ll allow users to see what’s going on at businesses, allow for ordering of products through third-party websites and (hopefully) grow some virtual foot traffic for businesses.
Then there’s also a new knowledge base for businesses, providing updates and info concerning COVID-19, and then there’s one big feature specifically for businesses. Messenger’s Business Inbox is getting a substantial upgrade, making it simpler for businesses to communicate with customers using Messenger. The company is integrating its Chat Plugin (or, at least, letting you integrate it yourself), so that customers will never have to wait for a response. Provided you have your phone, that is, and we all have our phones nearby these days. Hey, every customer counts right now.