Next week is Small Business Week, an annual commemorative holiday celebrated by the Small Business Administration for the past fifty years. Hopefully, the programming will reflect on the needs and unique challenges facing small businesses at this time.
This morning, Facebook announced a new digital tool for small businesses to consolidate their operations across social media platforms, the Facebook Business Suite. The interface will allow small business owners to edit their profiles, post content, send and receive messages, and analyze user traffic all in one place. The platform is available for small businesses starting today, and will be expanded in the coming year to serve larger businesses, according to the press release.
Concurrently, they have announced the publication of two reports that have surveyed consumer behavior online during the pandemic. In a study conducted in partnership with Deloitte, “Digital Tools in Crisis and Recovery,” Facebook reports that among respondents from 13 countries 48% said their online spending had increased. 38% of respondents said they started buying from at least one new business, and 60% of these people said this new business was a local small business. This is a good sign, and bodes well for the future. 31% of respondents said they plan to spend more at local small businesses in the future.
In the “Global State of Small Business Report,” produced with the World Bank and the U.S. OCED (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Facebook found that 64% of small business owners on the platform felt optimistic about the future of business. The report details the reopening of businesses across the world, the need for continued assistance, and trends in e-commerce. The research all points to the fact that small business owners continue to be reliant on online platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to connect with customers and conduct business.
The Facebook Business Suite aims to help small business owners save time and better understand their performance on the platforms. Amanda Stefl, owner of Timber Hill Winery in Milton, Wisconsin told Facebook that the product “makes it faster and easier to analyze post results from both Facebook and Instagram all in one glance.”
“The last few months have been tough for small businesses everywhere, and while there are reasons to be optimistic there is still much uncertainty ahead. But whatever happens, Facebook will continue to do all we can to help them adapt, survive and thrive online,” says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.