Facebook is giving small and midsized businesses in early present in honor of National Small Business Week Sept. 21 through 25 with its release Thursday of Facebook Business Suite, a cross-application interface that enables SMBs to manage their pages and profiles across the Facebook family of apps.
Rich Rao, the social network’s vice president, small business group, pointed out an interview that Facebook typically rolls out new feature to larger businesses and eventually extends them to SMBs, but it decided to make Facebook Business Suite available to smaller businesses first due to the needs it is seeing as a result of Covid-19.
Facebook Business Suite will enable SMBs to:
- Post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time and manage posts from a single destination in order to better stay connected with their communities on each platform.
- Get all messages, notifications and alerts from Facebook and Instagram in one place, allowing them to stay up to date and respond quickly.
- See insights from both platforms and determine which approaches are working the best for them.
Rao said the pandemic led more and more SMBs to move the bulk of their business online, and the option of creating, drafting and scheduling posts across Facebook and Instagram was one of the key requests it received from small businesses.
He added that the insights in Facebook Business Suite include side-by-side comparisons and cover both organic and paid posts.
Facebook also shared the third wave of its Global State of Small Business Report, an ongoing collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank.
Highlights from the U.S. portion of the update, all reflecting results from July, include:
- 86% of female-led SMBs and 86% of male-led SMBs were operational or engaging in some sort of revenue-generating activity.
- 55% of operational SMBs said sales were lower than in July 2019.
- 45% of operational SMBs expected cash flow to be a challenge over the next few months.
- 38% of operational SMBs reported that at least one-half of their sales for the month were made digitally, and 47% said at least one-quarter were made in that fashion.
- 28% of operational SMBs said they had reduced headcount due to the pandemic.
- 64% of owners or managers of operational businesses still felt optimistic about the future of their businesses.
And Facebook commissioned a study with Deloitte to examine the impact of Covid-19 on consumers’ purchasing patterns and their use of digital tools to search for and interact with businesses.
Highlights from the U.S. portion of that study, also reflecting results from July, include:
- 23% of respondents have been spending more time using online messaging.
- 41% have been spending more time using social media.
- 49% said their spending online has increased.
- 20% stopped buying from an existing business and started buying from at least one new business.
- 17% who started to purchase from new businesses did so from businesses owned or operated by women.
- 20% who started to purchase from new businesses did so from businesses owned or operated by minorities.