What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
|Chris Crum has been a featured writer with the WebProNews.com team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Chris writes for Small Business Resources about social media, search, and what’s new for small business. Hundreds of publications link to Chris’ articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.|
Small Businesses Get New Features for Their Facebook Pages
Small Businesses have a tricky relationship with Facebook. For years they have counted on the social network to be a free place where they can establish a presence to reach any potential customers and fans of their brands.
In recent years, however, Facebook has made that much more difficult. You can still set up that presence for free and provide potential customers and brand fans a place where they can find and engage with you. However, actually reaching them in the News Feed where they spend the bulk of their Facebook time is much, harder these days unless you are willing to spend the money to accomplish this.
While I regret to tell you Facebook isn't doing a whole lot now to help you in that department (you'll still most likely have a lot better reach if you pay for it), the company is giving businesses new features for their Facebook Pages which could lead to more sales. In the end that's really what it's all about anyway, right?
Facebook has been tinkering around with e-commerce for years, but is only now really starting to take it more seriously. That might have something to do with the fact its peers like Google, Twitter, and Pinterest are all stepping up their efforts to get people clicking "buy now". The latest move from Facebook includes new sections for business pages, which are geared toward helping businesses reach their goals with customers.
Businesses that sell products are being offered a new "Shop" section to display at the top of their Facebook Page. Facebook is working with e-commerce partners to enable consumers to buy things right from these Shop sections.
For businesses who offer services, Facebook has you covered too. They've unveiled a section you can include at the top of your Facebook Page called Services.
In its announcement, Facebook said, “Until now, Pages have been largely the same for every business. Now we’re beginning to add new sections to Pages, so different types of businesses can prominently feature the information that is most relevant to their organization.”
"The new Shop section helps retail businesses bring their products to the forefront of their Page, while the new Services section enables professional services businesses to showcase a list of their offerings at the top of their Page," it added. "So now, for example, a spa can add their services menu to their Page or highlight the line of products they sell, helping people get to know their business faster. And understanding the services and products a business offers is key to deciding to work with that business."
Facebook recognizes that different types of organizations need to highlight different information, so they'll also be building other types of sections for Pages in the "near future". What those will be remains to be seen.
Not only is Facebook giving businesses these new sections, they're also giving them more prominent call-to-action buttons and a new layout. Calls to action now appear at the forefront of the Page encouraging users to book appointments, contact the business, browse an online shop, etc.
According to the company, the new buttons make it easier for businesses to accomplish their goals. With their increased prominence, they certainly can’t hurt.
The new layout makes it easier for consumers to navigate a business' Page, including different new sections in different tabs, which are available near the top, but remain under the main call-to-action.
While you may still have to spend some money to get into potential customers' News Feeds, Facebook is at least making it easier for you to get them to buy something or engage with you once they get to your Page.