Facebook has Launched a new set of features to support SMBs impacted by COVID-19, including a ‘Support Small Business’ sticker for Instagram and an update to Messenger to help streamline direct response.
Here’s what’s been announced:
First off, Facebook is rolling out a new ‘Support Small Business‘ sticker for Instagram, which includes not only the new sticker itself, but also enables users to share thumbnail images of the latest three Instagram posts from the business that they choose to highlight within their Story.
How to use in Instagram :
As you can see here, after you’ve selected the ‘Support Small Business’ sticker for your Story, you then enter the Instagram handle for that business. Instagram will then populate the sticker with preview images from that account. Users can’t control which images are chosen, but it provides another way to help showcase SMBs and get more people interested in tapping through to check them out.
This could be a hugely beneficial tool for showcasing brands, while also, essentially, promoting more Instagram use. Not only does this get more people visiting more Instagram profiles, but it also provides added incentive for SMBs to maintain a more active, attractive Instagram presence to support the preview stickers.
In addition to this, whenever the Support Small Business sticker is used, that Stories frame can be added to a shared Story, dependent on your privacy settings – you can see an example of this in the final image above. Tagged businesses are also able to re-post these Stories via their own profile.
As noted, that could provide even more impetus for SMBs to maintain their Instagram profile, and to call on their fans to use the ‘Support Small Business’ sticker to help promote their products and services.
If you run a small business, you should definitely be thinking about not only the content you’re posting on Instagram – and how enticing it might be in a three-frame preview – but also, who you can call upon to share the new sticker, be it influencers, friends, your existing audience, etc. There’s a lot of promotional potential in this option.
Worth noting too that the ‘Support Small Business‘ sticker was first spotted in testing by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong last month, adding to Wong’s long track record of feature discoveries.
Facebook’s also adding a new “in support of” tag for creators, which will provide a means to showcase SMBs to their fans, similar to Facebook’s ‘Paid Partnership’ tags.
As you can see here, the new tag will add an ‘in support of’ note to the top of a creator post.
As explained by Facebook:
“The “in support of” tag new tag designed for creators to show their support for small business partners in which no exchange of value has occurred. Creators must select “Tag Unpaid Promotion” in the Post Composer in order to use the tag. Businesses will receive a notification when they are tagged and will receive the same information they would ordinarily receive for a branded content post. Not all small businesses will be eligible to be tagged.”
Again, for SMBs it’s worth considering if there are any creators that you can call on to add the tag, while it also provides yet another means to gain exposure to a broader Facebook audience.
Facebook has been working on local business discovery options over the last few years, which it’s now looking to give more focus to help support impacted businesses during the pandemic.
As you can see here, the new update will make it easier to switch between business and personal accounts within your messaging streams, helping to maintain connection on the go.
These new options further enhance Facebook’s support for SMBs – and there’s a lot of potential in here, a range of ways that could help small businesses get through the crisis.
For its many flaws and problematic elements, Facebook can also be a hugely beneficial connective tool – and while some businesses have been burned in the past for putting too much reliance on The Social Network, leaving them at the mercy of its algorithms, initiatives like these underline the valuable role the platform can play in facilitating opportunity, which Facebook has sought to showcase in its various responses to the pandemic.
You can read more about Facebook’s latest SMB tools here.