It’s an exciting time for business owners on Facebook. If your boutique or brand has taken off at least partially due to your Facebook page, then you may have noticed that there’s a lot to benefit from in Facebook’s ability to foster customer interactions and provide a place for constant and immediate feedback, especially for small businesses that can routinely and effectively monitor comments and posts on their page, and respond immediately with statements, status updates, and even actual product changes and service additions, or promotions.
Facebook intends to help businesses take things to a whole new level via a slew of upcoming new and overhauled business communications tools, which seek to improve on customer-business relations, help with lead generation, help small businesses reach out to larger audiences, provide greater customer convenience, and a lot more. Let’s take a closer look.
A General Overview of What’s Coming
It’s no secret that Facebook is and always has been in the business of sales. With the ability to interface with customers directly and utilize their information to personalize your sales approach like never before, Facebook aims to bring people and businesses closer together.
The added caveat is that they’re now trying to do so while providing people with an expanded range of options to control how their personal information is being used.
But that doesn’t mean the company aims to take away the personalization aspect in sales and marketing. Instead of shifting the focus entirely onto personalized ads, Facebook claims to be ushering in personalized experiences. This means improving the communication tools between customers and businesses.
Improving Customer-to-Business Communications
If customer choice is the big talking point, why not give customers more choices? Or, more specifically, why not give them the opportunity to choose to talk to businesses the same way they might talk to friends and family?
Effectively bringing individual interactions between customers and small business owners back to the same level they once were between shopkeepers and locals – but through the Internet. At least, that’s the vision Facebook is presenting with its proposed changes to customer-to-business communication on its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
The first step is to give businesses the option to provide a click-to-message button on their ads, directly connecting prospective customers with the business through Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger. No need to first head to the company’s page and click their way through to the contacts – customers could now immediately ask the questions that pop up the moment they lay eyes on an ad.
Cross-Platform Chat Integration
A lot of businesses thrive on the publicity they can get through Instagram, and the functionality and ease of messaging on WhatsApp.
Facebook is trying to bridge any and all gaps between its apps for businesses, making it easier for them to facilitate customer communications and small business marketing efforts – by letting prospective customers immediately start a WhatsApp chat through the Instagram profile of any business they visit.
Better Tools for Customer Acquisition
It takes a lot of time out of a business owner’s day to communicate with a client before finally being able to put together a quote for them. They can’t risk asking multiple questions at once, because one of them might be ignored or forgotten.
By implementing a customized 4-5 item questionnaire, certain service providers and businesses can get the information they need from prospective clients before the conversation even starts, and immediately give them a relevant quote to start things off.
Aside from quote requests, Facebook has also been testing lead generation through Messenger and is planning to expand on this idea via personalized ads.
Video and Audio Calls for Businesses on Messenger
Through the existing Business Inbox feature on Messenger, businesses on Facebook can now start video and audio calls with customers who prefer a more personal or in-depth sales pitch, or want to communicate with a representative face-to-face.
Audio Rooms for Businesses
Live Audio Rooms were a feature Facebook implemented for public figures, pages, and live streamers as a way to earn or raise money for a cause. New features are being added to help businesses utilize live rooms as a way to gain new customers, for example via product showcases, live reveals, tips and tutorials, and so on.
Expanding the Appointments Feature
Previously only available in select regions, Facebook’s Appointments feature is also going global. It’s exactly as described – a way for businesses to book and manage client appointments more easily.
Updating the Facebook Business Suite
Updates to the Facebook Business Suite will include managing business communications through Messenger, Instagram, and the Inbox, and send emails via the Suite. A proprietary File Manager is being added to help businesses manage content creation for their Facebook pages, engage in A B testing, and more.
Separating Business and Pleasure
After lots of feedback, Facebook is also officially going to provide business owners with the ability to create Work Accounts that allow them to have an individual presence on the platform without merging that presence with their private accounts.
More specifically, it allows managers and executives to control and operate the Facebook Business Manager without requiring a personal account to begin with. According to the platform, this feature is still being worked on with limited businesses and may debut at a larger capacity next year.
Expanding Facebook Business Explore
Facebook Business Explore is a new feature the company launched to help smaller businesses get discovered more easily, by providing customers with the ability to choose interests and get recommended a variety of different businesses based on what interests them, with a focus on local businesses and creators. The feature is now going global.
Most of Facebook’s new tools revolve around providing both businesses and customers with more opportunities to inquire about items, directly contact businesses via their ads, make it easier to communicate directly with sales representatives and business owners via video, and provide an array of greater options on the business side of things for companies managing their content on Facebook through the Facebook Business Suite.