Facebook just released a series of features to keep users updated on small businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.
With the new Business Nearby feature, Facebook users can see what stores and restaurants are close-by, what their hours are, and if they have pickup or delivery. Facebook users can adjust their geographic radius from 1-500 miles to be shown all of the businesses within that area. The feature could provide more virtual foot traffic for businesses, as well as help users find essential products or services more quickly. Furthermore, users can now tag posts as being “in support of” a specific local business to provide additional support during the crisis. Facebook is also adding Coronavirus-related information, tools, and tips for small businesses to utilize on its app shortcuts page or on their Instagram business page. Facebook and Instagram have an 85% adoption rate of customer service tools, according to a Gartner report, so it makes sense the brand would roll out features on both platforms during the crisis.
To amplify the message even more, Instagram has added Support Small Business stickers for users to add to posts and stories. Any post using the stickers will be added to an Instagram story highlight collective for all to view. Facebook has also extended support features to Messenger, where businesses can more easily communicate with customers through a dedicated Business Inbox and answer questions sent to their Facebook page. The features arrive on the heels of Facebook extending its Community Help page to allow users to quickly donate supplies and services to areas and organizations in need. The social media giant has also been working with the World Health Organization on WhatsApp and created a $100 million grant to aid small businesses during the pandemic.
Social distancing has kept people physically apart, but social media is keeping them connected. Facebook’s new features provide an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers who are searching for ways to support local shops and restaurants during the Coronavirus crisis.