Small businesses that use Facebook as part of their marketing now have a greater array of tools at their disposal, with the social network rolling out several updates to its pages overnight.
The updates aim to improve how Facebook pages are viewed on mobile devices and in turn, help small businesses tap into the 81% of Australian Facebook users that are connected to SMEs on the platform.
Businesses on Facebook will now be able to add a “call-to-action” button to feature prominently, which will sit directly under the business’s cover photo when the page is viewed on mobile devices.
In a blog outlining the new feature, Facebook said the “call-to-action” buttons should be used to “bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its page, whether its encouraging people to book an appointment or browse an online shop”.
Over time, businesses will also be able to add additionally “call now”, “send message” and “contact us” buttons to their pages.
Businesses will now also be able to add different sections to their Facebook Page, including a “Shop” section for retail businesses or a “Services” section for service-based businesses.
For example, a day spa could list the different treatments a customer can purchase under the “Services” tab or promote the beauty products it sells in the “Shop” section.
“Until now, pages have been largely the same for every business,” Facebook said.
“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 organisation.”
Mobile users will also be able to switch between tabs on a business’s Facebook page, meaning the amount of scrolling and clicking is reduced.
“People are spending more time on their phones and tablets, which means businesses need to keep up with people’s expectation that they can find information and communication with a business anytime, anywhere, on any device,” Facebook said.
Facebook said the changes will be rolled out over the next few weeks and businesses should expect more mobile-driven updates soon.
“This is just the beginning,” the social network said, adding the updates to Facebook pages also build on updates to the way businesses can message individual Facebook users, which were announced last month.
Steve Vallas, social media expert and co-founder of social commerce agency Chunky Media, told SmartCompany this morning the Facebook pages updates make sense given the progression of social media users to using the platforms from their mobile devices is well-documented.
“The progression to mobile is accelerating and Facebook says itself 60%-ish of consumption is now on mobile,” Vallas says.
Vallas says Facebook has been testing the use of “call-to-action” buttons in the US for approximately 12 months and he says the feature as “part of a trend of getting users more and more comfortable engaging with brands” on the platform.
“They talk about immersive experience now,” he says.
“The ultimate game is owning the wallet.”
Vallas says Facebook’s recent updates to its advertising products, including allowing businesses to use carousel ads or dynamic product ads that can be retargeted based on traffic to a business’ own website, are part of the same trend.
“But small businesses aren’t necessarily in the position to retarget based on their traffic so its about making sure the smaller end of town are looked after,” Vallas says.
But while Vallas says some businesses may be concerned that Facebook is attempting to make sure brands “live” within the walls of Facebook, he says small businesses must embrace the social media platform.
“The reality is there is an opportunity for those who embrace it,” he says.
“Most won’t, it will seem to hard … but it’s where people are.”
That being said, Vallas says using Facebook to market your business should not come at the expense of other marketing activities.
“The old adage of don’t put all your eggs in one basket still holds true,” he says.