Facebook is still a lucrative network for small business owners and merchants, even though organic growth is nearly non-existent. Earlier this year Facebook informed that 40 million SMBs have active Facebook Pages. That’s up from the 30 million Facebook said it had last June.
Later Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also assured that Facebook is still the best way to reach out to customers.
While Facebook has been giving the powers to let users decide what appears at the top on their News Feed but at the same time Facebook hasn’t ignored business owners. The recent major updates by Facebook show its intention to make the network an exciting one for business owners and merchants. Listed below are five such major updates that will excite business owners to do more business on the social network.
1. Saved Replies
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Facebook is testing a new feature called “Saved Replies,” which will allow business Page owners the ability to write, save and then re-use canned messages when communicating with their customers over Facebook. The addition will save businesses time when handling incoming customer service inquires and responding to other customer feedback via the site, reported TC.
The feature, which is available now to a select group of business owners via the messaging interface on Facebook Pages, offers a simple tool that lets a Page admin create a new reply, save it for later use, and even search through their list of replies to find the one they need. This latter option is especially helpful for those who have a longer list of replies and don’t want to scroll to find each one.
Facebook is yet to officially confirm on this feature but Saved Replies will find importance by smaller businesses and startups.
2. Response Rate
Continuing the good work to improve customer service-focused features for page administrators, Facebook recently introduced Response Rate. With this feature admins will be able to tout just how fast they do answer their customers’ questions, as a number of Facebook admins report seeing a “response rate” feature. The addition will show a Page’s responsiveness info to Page admins, and if the rate is high, it will also be displayed to Page visitors via an icon below the cover photo, reports TC.
The feature that is being rolled out in phases is only available to Pages that allow fans to contact the Page. According to Facebook’s Help documentation Page owners who want to get this “very responsive to messages” icon will need to have met two specific metrics over the past seven days: they have to have responded to 90 percent of their messages, and they need to have maintained a median response time of 5 minutes for all replies sent.
3. Place Tips
Earlier this year in January, Facebook introduced Place Tips as a way for businesses to serve marketing messages to people visiting their real-world locations.
Triggered for users who check in at a location or have their location settings activated in Facebook mobile apps, Place Tips offer advice, recommendations and other information from friends who have visited the location and from the business itself.
With Place Tips causing “a steady uptick in Page traffic from in-store visitors” for local businesses that are using them, Facebook recently announced a way for more businesses to optimize their Place Tips, reported Marketing land. The company is offering free Bluetooth beacons to U.S. businesses, expanding support for such devices beyond their experimental trial in New York City.
Facebook tracks users’ location using cell tower and WiFi triangulation and GPS location, but the beacons are the most effective way to trigger Place Tips, at least for people using Facebook’s iPhone app. Facebook further informed that Businesses with active Facebook Pages will be given priority, “Because Place Tips are only shown to people when there is enough content from the business and a person’s friends to offer an enjoyable experience.”
4. Call Business
Last month Facebook also launched a handy feature for local business advertisers. It added a new call-to-action button for News Feed ads: a “Call Now” button that enables people to telephone a business. Mobile customers who tap the button are re-directed to their phone dialer.
The new feature, part of Facebook’s “local awareness” objective, which the company launched in October 2014 offers the ability to target people when they are near your business or who live in the vicinity. Facebook says such ads reach “more people in your area per dollar spent than with any other kind of advertising, including newspaper or direct mail.”
These ads that can now be created directly from Facebook Pages are being billed as Facebook’s first advertising objective created explicitly for local businesses.
5. Buy Button
Last July, Facebook had revealed that it is testing a new feature with ‘a few’ small and medium-sized businesses in the US – a Buy button. The goal was to help businesses drive sales directly through Facebook via News Feed ads and Page posts.
Until now Facebook was testing the Buy button feature with select merchants but recently it opened up to more retailers on Shopify‘s ecommerce platform. With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook. The expanded test is with a set of invited US-based Shopify merchants.
This is a big step from Facebook towards making the Buy button available to a wider audience. For now the feature remains free.