Facebook and Instagram announce new tools to help communities help and connect with their local businesses

  • Customers can now support their favourite local stores – from restaurants and bakeries, to salons and bookshops – by purchasing digital gift cards on Facebook & Instagram
  • For the first time, businesses will be able to set-up personal fundraisers on Facebook & Instagram to ask their customers for support during this critical time
  • Facebook is hosting a series of webinars in partnership with Be the Business to provide guidance for SMBs
  • Instagram is also launching a “Support Small Business” sticker that lets people shout out a business they’re loving. Any accounts you follow who use the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing you to see other businesses that people are supporting during this time. 

Facebook and Instagram have announced new ways for people to support the small businesses they love and new tools to help those businesses connect with their customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Support the businesses you love through digital gift-cards 

During this challenging time, people are looking for ways to support the businesses that they love in their communities, even when they aren’t able to give their custom. One way they’re doing that is by purchasing gift cards, so we’re rolling out digital gift-cards to help people more easily discover and buy gift-cards from local businesses.

From this week (11th May), businesses are able to promote their gift cards on Facebook through their own Pages and in News Feed posts, and on Instagram by adding a Gift Card sticker to their Stories or a button to their business profile page. People will also now be able to search for and discover digital gift cards for their favourite local businesses – including restaurants, fitness studios, salons, bookshops, bakeries, and more.

The new digital gift-cards will help small businesses generate income during lockdown and enable people to continue to support businesses as they look to re-open and start to recover from the crisis.

Personal Fundraisers for businesses

Facebook and Instagram’s fundraising tools make it easy for people around the world to raise money for the causes they care about, and people around the world have been rallying to support important causes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Given the challenges many SMBs are facing during this time, they’ve expanded their fundraising tools so business owners will now be able to create personal fundraisers on Facebook to ask customers for support. They have also launched the ability for businesses to share their Facebook personal fundraisers to their Instagram audience through a Stories sticker, and on their Instagram profile with a “Donate” button. Their supporters can simply tap their Stories sticker or the profile button and complete their donation on Facebook.

This follows the launch of a $100m grants program, where Facebook will provide cash support and ad credits to help 30,000 small businesses around the world facing challenges during the pandemic.

Facebook has also added a new feature called ‘Posts from Businesses Near You’ that gives people a single destination to browse the latest posts on Facebook from relevant businesses, including those nearby.

Show your support for small businesses with new stickers

The new “Support Small Business” sticker on Instagram lets people shout out a business they’re loving. Any accounts you follow who use the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing you to see other businesses that people are supporting during this time. Creators on Facebook can also use a new “in support of” tag to promote small businesses to their fans and disclose pro-bono work.

Resources and guidance for business owners

In addition, Facebook is providing support for SMBs through a dedicated Business Support Hub delivering online training opportunities for SMBs during these challenging times. This includes a webinar series tailored to the UK market with Be the Business focused on insights to help businesses, leaders and their employees pivot, transform, re-merge and recover. It will also include thought leadership content, training videos and leadership masterclasses.

Additional tools to help SMBs stay connected to their customers

SMBs will also be able to use a number of new tools to help customers find them and to communicate essential information:

  • Businesses will be able to create a dedicated virtual events section to clearly promote their schedule of livestream sessions, which have become a vital revenue stream for many businesses and a core way to keep their customers engaged.
  • Customers will also be able to stay engaged through the ‘Recommended Businesses’ unit, where people can see a list of local businesses personalised to their interests, and will quickly be able to navigate to a nearby businesses’ most recent posts through the ‘business posts’ unit.
  • And on Instagram restaurants and businesses can now add an “Action Button” to their profile, or post a Food Orders sticker in their Instagram Stories. Customers can simply tap the button or sticker to make their purchase through our partner’s site, bringing them the food they love and supporting a local restaurant or business at the same time.

Facebook VP for Northern Europe, Steve Hatch, said: “Running a company during COVID-19 is far from ‘business as usual’, and for smaller companies the impact of lockdown has hit hard. SMBs are the backbone of the economy, they sit at the heart of our communities and at Facebook they are part of our story as well, so we want to do all we can to support them at this challenging time. I hope the additional tools and guidance we are launching today will help these businesses weather this difficult period, and with our gift cards and fundraisers I hope more people can say thank you to their favourite small businesses too.”

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