How Facebook's Newest Programs Can Help Small Biz

Date: September 10, 2015

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Two new functions might help small businesses boost sales.

While Facebook’s newest offerings unfortunately don’t include a filter for overzealous family members, the good news is that the social media giant’s latest rollout should help businesses grow.

During a press event Tuesday, Facebook unveiled the additions of shopping and services to its existing pages function. The new programs aim to help the many businesses sell products and services directly through their Facebook page.

“That may be cheery news for Main Street merchants, but it could be seriously jarring for the existing collection of merchant-focused sites—most notably Yelp,” wrote George Anders on Forbes.

There could be quite a battle ahead, especially as taking advantage of social media platforms is becoming the norm for entrepreneurs and small business owners, as NFIB previously reported. For more on the best strategies to effectively promote your business on social media, including posting attention-grabbing photos to simply being authentic, visit NFIB’s guide to social media made simple.

With Facebook’s new update, businesses with pages can sell merchandise and products directly through the shopping function without customers having to leave the Facebook page. Businesses that offer professional services, from roofing companies to day spas, can also garner more customers through the new interactive services section, which can allow customers to book appointments using the call-to-action button.

Facebook plans to open up these functions, which are still in the testing phase, to the general public in a few weeks. There are already 45 million Facebook pages, the company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, noted at the event.

“The new features for Pages reflect our belief that no matter if you’re a plumbing company, a flower shop, a non-profit or a brand, your page should house the information people are looking for, help you communicate with your customers, and support your unique goals,” according to the company’s update about the functions.  

The impending updates can also make it easier for small businesses to control Facebook interactions with customers and clients. Page administrators can respond more swiftly to frequently asked queries from customers using a “saved reply” function. There’s another function that enables the administrator to respond to a public comment privately.

Many small businesses are already engaging customers through social media, and the latest offerings could be one step closer to making such engagements profitable. 

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