Facebook launched a new application this morning designed to make it easier for businesses to manage their pages and profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in one place. The app, Facebook Business Suite, combines access to top business updates and priorities, and provides a way to compose and schedule feed posts for Facebook and Instagram, view information, and create ads.
To use the new app, businesses will need to link their business Facebook and Instagram accounts first, if they haven’t already.
Once logged into Facebook, the Business Suite can be accessed on the desktop at business.facebook.com. On mobile, users of the existing Pages Manager application will see an option to join Business Suite instead. The app will also be available as a standalone download for iOS and Android.
In Business Suite, business owners will be able to see alerts, messages, comments, and other critical activity happening on Facebook and Instagram right on the new app’s home screen. They can also configure personalized recorded responses here to meet common customer inquiries.
The app offers tools to create feed posts for Facebook and Instagram, schedule posts, and provide information on what works. Here, businesses can see the reach, engagement, and performance of their posts on Facebook and Instagram. They can also choose to create an ad to help build that engagement and grow their audience, if needed.
Facebook says it initially built Facebook Business Suite with the needs of small businesses first, as many have been forced by the pandemic to find new ways to reach customers and sell online. However, the long term plan is to create a set of tools that can be used by all businesses, including the largest. The company aims to tackle this market next year. Business Suite will also expand to include WhatsApp in the future.
In line with the news, Facebook published two polls offering insight into small business trends. One, the monthly State of the World’s Small Businesses report, produced in partnership with the World Bank and the OECD, found that companies that make more than 25% of their sales online are more likely to report higher sales this year and are less likely to have laid-off employees.
A second study details the impact of COVID-19 on consumer purchasing habits and the use of digital tools. Nearly half of those polled said they spent more money online since the outbreak, and 40% increased their use of social media and online messaging for product and business recommendations, according to Facebook .
Of course, these fairly optimistic reports about the state of small businesses amid the pandemic don’t paint the full picture. In the United States, for example, Yelp reports that 60% of American businesses closed due to COVID-19 will not reopen. As of August, 163,735 U.S. businesses had closed since the start of the pandemic, the report said, up 23% since mid-July.
These closures could also have an impact on Facebook, as the majority of Facebook advertisers are small and medium-sized businesses. But the global nature of Facebook protects it. Even though the United States is losing more small businesses due to its mismanagement of the pandemic, Facebook is exploiting many more advertisers outside of the United States.
Facebook indicates that the Business Suite will be gradually rolled out during the month of September. The app today joins several other Facebook offerings for its business customers, including Facebook Pages Manager, Facebook Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager. However, Facebook notes that its new Business Suite is currently not designed to serve those who use Ads Manager.