How Small Businesses Can Leverage Social Media During COVID-19
The coronavirus outbreak made a significant impact on small businesses. However, many social media networks have pushed out new updates and features designed to help small businesses navigate through these uncertain times.
Whether you run a company that is small or big, these new features to help you stay connected with your customers and maximize your exposure throughout the global pandemic.
Facebook recently rolled out Shops, a new e-commerce feature will give businesses the opportunity to create online stores to promote and sell their products directly from Facebook and Instagram. This will enable customers to purchase products straight from Facebook or Instagram without having to leave the platform. This solution is perfect for small businesses who have a social media presence, but don’t have e-commerce set up on their website.
Since Facebook Shops allow customization, businesses have the option to select the products they want to showcase from their catalog and then personalize the appearance and feel of their Shop by selecting a cover image, accent colours, etc.
For the launch of Shops, Facebook collaborated with eight third-party shopping platforms including Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Café24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonmics to help businesses sell their products on Facebook and Instagram. With the partnership between Shopify and Facebook, merchants who already have Shopify set up on their website can link their Shopify business to Facebook and providing a consistent shopping experience for their customers.
Facebook also pledged $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. To learn more about how to apply, click here.
Small businesses may find creating quality video content challenging due to lack of resources, time, budget or skills. Since many businesses are no longer able to host in-person video shoots, YouTube has come up with a new tool called “Video Builder Tool,” which gives small businesses an free, easy way to create video content. It took Google months to develop this tool, however, due to the coronavirus, they sped up the launch it in order to help businesses align their communication and content strategies.
The tool allows users to create and customize 6 or 15 seconds videos, and then upload it to YouTube or use it in a YouTube ad campaign. The video content is also integrated with the Google Ads program.
Pinterest recently added a “Shop” feature to its Lens camera search results to showcase matchng in-store products. Whenever users capture a photo of a product offline in the real world or uploads a screenshot, Pinterest’s results will display all the in-stock items that match to the image.
For first-time users navigating the new tab, click the camera icon in the search bar, and take a photo or upload an image to Pinterest. A “Shop” tab will appear along with shoppable Product Pins, and you will be able to see the price and availability, as well as the links that direct you to an e-commerce checkout page. This feature makes it convenient for their consumers to find the products they are looking for from the comfort of their home.
Pinterest also partnered with Shopify to create an easier way for small businesses to upload their product catalogs. This partnership gives small businesses an opportunity to be exposed to 350 million users on Pinterest’s platform. Businesses can turn existing products from their store into “Product Pins” on Pinterest, as well as add a shop tab to their Pinterest profile for free organic promotion, and promote their pins as a paid ad.
Instagram added new stickers to help small businesses generate sales. These stickers can promote gift cards, food orders, and fundraisers and can be displayed on a business’ profile or in their Stories.
When users tap the Sticker, they will be directed to the business’ website to complete their transaction or brought to a dedicated fundraising page on Facebook. Stickers also allow customers to easily show their support and love for the local businesses in Stories. When you use the new “Support Small Business” sticker in Stories, your photo or video will be added to a shared story where friends can see which businesses you love.
Many social platforms continue to introduce new features to help businesses who are struggling and to help consumers show support for the companies they love. As Instagram’s COO Justin Osofsky recently said: “Small businesses are the backbone of local communities…We want to do our part in helping them stay open, keep in touch with customers, and be informed on how to navigate this crisis.”