MENLO PARK, CALIF. — Facebook says it’s going to help small businesses become more accessible on mobile devices. The social networking company announced today that it’s updating its Pages offering to not only include enhanced call-to-action buttons and improved Page layout, but is also introducing new sections — all geared toward the mobile audience.
“Building an online presence is hard,” said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. “And building a mobile presence is even more difficult.” With Facebook, it’s free. “It’s the mobile-Web presence for small business customers.”
And Facebook is certainly a popular place for the small-business community: there are currently more than 45 million active businesses on the platform. Sandberg is happy to support this type of entrepreneurship, and wants to create more opportunity for families and their customers. She reiterated the company’s mission to bring everyone together, something which is especially applicable to small businesses. Sandberg remarked that Facebook is able to connect business owners to new customers, delight those customers, and even help source materials and talent.
Starting today, Page administrators will be able to incorporate new call-to-action (CTA)/messaging buttons and will find that they are featured more prominently to better capture the user’s attention. Although CTA buttons aren’t exactly new, admins can now opt to use one of several new options that Facebook is currently testing on mobile, such as “Call Now”. Previously, Pages had access to seven buttons, including “Book Now”, “Contact Us”, “Use App”, “Play Game”, “Shop Now”, “Sign Up”, and “Watch Video”.
To help businesses cater to their audiences, Facebook is also adding new sections that administrators can take advantage of. To start with, the social networking company is releasing new Shop and Services sections. The former is geared toward helping retail businesses showcase their products more prominently. The latter will enable professionals to tout their offerings front and center on their Page.
The inclusion of a Shop section is intriguing since it’ll allow businesses to sell more of their products right from their Page, thanks to the integration of a Buy button earlier this year. Facebook could possibly be trying to prevent administrators going to third-party services like Shopify for their ecommerce needs.
Although various types of Pages might be able to incorporate these sections, the Shop and Services sections appear specifically targeted to the “Local Business or Place” category — although Shop, at least, is viable for other Page types, including Entertainment, Brand or Product, and Cause or Community.
And Facebook isn’t done sprucing up its Pages for businesses. In addition to all of the aforementioned, in the coming weeks, users will notice a new coat of paint on the Page. The company said that this is being done to make it easier to find information without “lots of scrolling and clicking.” One noticeable improvement is Facebook’s new emphasis on tabbed navigation: Page visitors will be able to click on a tab associated with a particular section to see the details. Of course you’ll be able to get a summary of all the sections on the Home tab.
More than 655 million users access Facebook exclusively via their mobile device. What’s more, across all devices, the company says over 1 billion people visit Pages every month. Businesses are understandably eager to further tap into this market and have likely prodded Facebook to provide more tools to better engage users.
There can be a lot of information on a typical Page, whether through admin-created posts or comments left by fans. This just doesn’t work well on mobile — people hate scrolling incessantly to find the information they want. So now Facebook is tweaking those Pages to further accommodate businesses.
Facebook has been taking additional steps to update its Pages offering. Most recently, it introduced a tool that allowed Page admins to respond privately to customer concerns. It also started giving video publishers more control over how their content would be distributed and viewed on the social network. There’s also the added capability for administrators to pull up saved responses to common questions.
“The new features for Pages reflect our belief that no matter if you’re a plumbing company, a flower shop, a non-profit or a brand, your Page should house the information people are looking for, help you communicate with your customers, and support your unique goals,” the company said in a blog post.
Today’s event took place in Facebook’s new office building in Menlo Park, California, and was attended by dozens of small business owners and constituents. The release of these features could definitely benefit this community as they look to the social network to help them build themselves up to compete against larger chain stores.
Never content with the status quo, Facebook went on to say that additional call-to-action options and new sections will become available in the future.