Facebook and Instagram are rolling out new features that will help users find, discover and support small businesses.

Facebook is expanding its efforts in order to assist local businesses with overcoming the challenges that they face during the 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.”

Both platforms are also adding tools to help businesses stay informed and connected with their customers

Facebook is going to start promoting a #SupportSmallBusinesses hashtag while they encourage users to share a small business they love. This has the possibility of increasing exposure for small businesses and getting them in front of potential consumers who could be discovering them for the first time.

For Instagram, a new feature will allow users to show their appreciation for small businesses in the form of a “Support Small Businesses” sticker.

After a story that includes this sticker is published, it will be added to a shared Instagram story. When a business is mentioned along with the sticker, the business can repost the content to their own story as well.

A feature that’s being introduced on Facebook will let users to quickly find essential products and services. Specifically, Facebook is trying to help people get those products and services from local businesses.

By using the ‘Businesses Nearby’ feature, users can find the latest information regarding local stores, message them directly, place orders or purchase products. With this feature, it should improve “virtual foot traffic” to business which will help businesses stay open online.

A dedicated resource center for businesses is being rolled out by Facebook that has the latest information on COVID-19. The app will include real time information that is curated to help businesses more quickly so they can take steps to move their business forward. You can find this resource in the shortcuts on the Facebook app and through businesses’ profiles on Instagram.

The company is also launching a “major” upgrade of the Business Inbox in Messenger, making it easier for businesses to communicate with customers directly. This will let page managers seamlessly switch between their personal account and page account within Messenger.

By letting users switch accounts on the fly, it will make things easier and will speed up the process of responding to messages sent from customers to a Facebook business page.

Finally, Facebook is introducing a way for businesses to tag posts that are related to COVID-19.

When you are composing a Facebook business post, there is now going to be an option to add a COVID-19 tag. This will assist customers who are quickly scanning through a page’s posts looking for updates relating to COVID-19

The tag will stand out in the news feed in order to catch people’s attention. According to Facebook, this update is similar to the Temporary Service Changes tool that was launched last month by the company.

SourceMatt Southern