Facebook To Small Businesses: Use Pages As Your Primary Mobile Solution
Company's pitch: “Be where your customers are already spending their time.”
Facebook today introduced several updates to Pages that make them more mobile-friendly and add a number of useful new features. The upgrades were characterized as the “biggest [Pages] update since 2012.”
At a high level, they consist of the following changes:
- New, prominent call-to-action buttons.
- Improved layout and navigation for mobile devices.
- New customizable sections that can be configured for different types of businesses.
While these will be available to enterprises, as well as small businesses (SMBs), the announcement and changes were principally aimed at SMBs. Repeatedly, during the presentation, Facebook argued that SMBs should see Pages as their primary mobile solution.
COO Sheryl Sandberg initially took the stage to set the stage at Facebook headquarters. As she has done numerous times in the past, Sandberg spoke passionately about the importance of small businesses and their contributions to the economy (and how small businesses give women entrepreneurial opportunities). She also announced that there were now 45 million active SMB Pages on Facebook globally.
Facebook presented a cascade of mobile usage stats that showed the company’s app at the center of the mobile universe. Citing comScore data, Facebook said that 75 percent of mobile time is spent in four mobile apps, one of which is Facebook. Thus the company argued, “Be where your customers are already spending their time.”
One of the more interesting parts of the announcement addressed new Messenger features (optional for Pages). They include:
- Saved Replies. Saved responses to common questions, which can be pre-populated but also quickly personalized.
- Private Replies. Where public comments on a Page can be taken into a private conversation between the business and the commenter.
- Response Signals. Facebook is introducing a new public badge for Pages. Page owners who respond to 90 percent of messages within five minutes receive a “very responsive” badge.
Facebook is promoting Messenger as both a customer service tool and a sales/booking solution for SMBs. The company provided numerous examples of how responding to messages via Facebook turned into sales for local businesses.
In one case involving a party planning business, Facebook said that 50 percent of the SMB’s leads were coming from Facebook and that responding to messages through the site/app resulted in a 99 percent conversion rate.