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Facebook, Instagram launch tools to help small businesses survive the pandemic

(Image credit: Facebook)

In a bid to help small businesses stay afloat during this turbulent time, Facebook and Instagram have launched a handful of new features that allow users to promote and support their favorites.

A digital gift card feature allows businesses to promote their gift cards directly through their Facebook Pages and News Feeds, and on Instagram by adding a sticker to their Stories or a button to their profile page.

Users, meanwhile, will be able to search for gift cards issued by local businesses - including hairdressers, restaurants, bookshops, grocery stores and more - and make purchases directly through either platform.

Pandemic support measures

The social media giants have doubled down on existing support extended to small businesses, such as the $100m Small Business Grants program, which will see Facebook provide cash support and ad credits to struggling firms.

Both platforms have now expanded their fundraising tools to allow businesses to create campaigns on Facebook to solicit donations from loyal customers and add a “Donate” button to Instagram Stories and profile pages.

Instagram has also rolled out a new “Support Small Business” sticker option, which lets users spotlight their most beloved businesses via their Stories. Mentioning a business directly using the sticker gives the user’s followers a preview of the account and highlights other firms the person has championed.

In an effort to make content published by small businesses more easily discoverable, Facebook has also launched a new feed called ‘Posts from Businesses Near You’ - a single destination from which users can browse the latest posts from local businesses.

“Running a company during Covid-19 is far from ‘business as usual’, and for smaller companies the impact of lockdown has hit hard,” said Steve Hatch, VP Northern Europe at Facebook.

“SMBs are the backbone of the economy, they sit at the heart of our communities and at Facebook they are part of our story as well, so we want to do all we can to support them at this challenging time,” he added.