Instagram Adds New Feature to Support Small Businesses
With social media becoming an even larger source of communication amid the current pandemic, one top app is continuing to introduce new ways for small businesses to reach their customers — and vice versa. As Adweek reports, Instagram recently announced a new feature that will allow customers to highlight their local small businesses. With the aptly named Support Small Business sticker, users will be able to share Stories about their favorite businesses and tag them. Tagged businesses will not only be able to share these appreciations in their own Stories but posts that use the sticker will also be featured in a shared story, allowing other Instagram users to see which businesses the people they follow recommend.
The addition of the sticker is just the latest way Instagram and parent company Facebook are working to help small businesses during this time. In March, Facebook announced that it would be launching a $100 million Small Business Grant Program to provide entrepreneurs with both cash assistance and free ad credits for the platform. Predictably, the program proved popular, with the company noting that they were only able to provide grants to a portion of those who applied. Nevertheless the social network has continued to maintain their Small Business Resource page, alerting owners to new features and providing educational tools on a number of topics.
Speaking of features, Instagram has previously added some innovations to assist those businesses adapting to the changing world. For example, last month, the photo-sharing app introduced another sticker option that enabled businesses to promote their online ordering and gift card options. Meanwhile Facebook has also been reminding users about their Businesses Nearby feature that makes it easy to browse local eateries, retailers, and more.
In a blog post announcing the feature, Instagram wrote, “Businesses are facing immense challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, and supporting them is critical to the well-being of entrepreneurs, our communities, and the economy. Today, we’re announcing new ways for people to discover and support small business, along with more tools for keeping businesses informed.” Additionally Instagram’s chief operating officer Justin Osofsky told Adweek, “We want to do everything we can to support small businesses right now, whether that’s building new tools to help them stay in touch with customers or giving people the power to easily show their love to businesses they care about. Every bit of support counts right now—we’re making progress with these updates, but our work is far from finished.”
With some businesses now starting to reopen, the need for small businesses to communicate with their customers on social media is only growing. Plus, as consumers start to emerge from quarantine, many are looking for businesses in their area that they can support. Therefore this latest addition from Instagram along with some of their other recent features could well be effective in helping small businesses get their name out there and hopefully recover from recent setbacks.
Also published on Medium.