As the COVID-19 Pandemic becomes an increasingly uncertain situation, Facebook has been changing and integrating new measures and tools to help small and medium-sized businesses continue operating.
On April 3rd, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg announced in a post that the company had pledged a $100 million in grants to help SMBs. According to her post, 40% of the grant amount was to help 10,000 small businesses across the 34 locations around the United States. They are facilitating these grants through Ureeka while the distribution of the remaining $60 million is yet to be explained.
In addition to direct monetary support, Facebook has rolled some new features and tools that will help small businesses find support throughout the pandemic.
One of these features announced for SMBs is the gift card or voucher registry feature.
Announced back in April, this particular feature is meant for small businesses in the United States – at least for now. Businesses can register and set up their gift card registries to allow their audiences to buy gift cards and support the business from the platform itself.
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The sole purpose of this feature is to allow people to support local businesses. With potential permanent closures and other impediments threatening small businesses, people can buy gift cards to continue supporting their favorite businesses.
Facebook has partnered up with their payment partners to create an outlet for people to find digital gift cards on their News Feeds. They can make a purchase through the News Feed prompt or they can find the listing on your page’s menu.
Even though stores are closed, gift cards can be effective in regaining some of the financial footing lost during the pandemic. Businesses can now sign up for the program.
To get more attention and get the news about their gift cards out there, businesses can advertise by sharing posts, creating stories, going live, or engaging in other Facebook advertising activities. There are even templates available for businesses to use.
In addition to gift cards and vouchers, small businesses can also set up personal fundraisers. This is a more direct way of asking for and receiving financial aid from audiences.
In addition to this feature, businesses can now also adjust their page settings to temporarily change their service changes. They can change it to “temporarily closed” or make special changes such as online services, pickup, delivery, etc.
Considering that COVID-19 is still a developing situation with increasing uncertainty in terms of its economic impact across industries, the changes Facebook has implemented are a beacon of hope.
They might not seem like a big deal to non-marketers. Facebook’s tools provide a chance to minimize the financial crunch small businesses are facing. While these are important additions, we look forward to seeing how Facebook continually develops its platform to support small businesses.