Social media giant Facebook made a number of announcements in April about the various ways it's helping small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Ranging from grants to new features to help businesses survive, following is a round-up of the company's latest small business offerings.
Small Business Grants
Facebook announced that it offered $100M in cash grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries who were experiencing challenges from COVID-19. Applications for the grants were rolled out in April for various US cities in or near a location where Facebook operates.
The company launched a new place for people to discover digital gift cards for local businesses. This new feature also began rolling out in the U.S. in early April. Facebook said at the time it would be available broadly across the country in the coming weeks.
Image via Facebook for Business
"During this challenging time, people are looking for ways to support the businesses that they love in their communities," Facebook says. "One way they’re doing so is by purchasing gift cards, so we’re helping people easily discover digital gift cards for their local businesses."
You can set up a digital gift card with one of Facebook's partners, and people in the area will then be able to discover it on Facebook. Businesses can also share their gift cards on their Instagram profiles, and when a customer clicks, they can purchase them online. (1)
Facebook also enabled small business owners to create personal fundraisers for their businesses to ask customers for support. When someone donates, payments are sent to the fundraiser creator's personal checking account via Facebook's fundraising payment processor, Stripe. People can donate publicly or privately.
Screenshot via Facebook
To set up a fundraiser, go to Facebook's Fundraisers page, and choose Business from the list of categories provided. (2) Facebook may require you to show business owner approval or documentation to receive any monies. The feature is specifically for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Making It Easier to Show Temporary Service Changes on Facebook Pages
The company also enabled businesses to announce temporary service changes on their Facebook Pages and in Facebook searches.
"Businesses that have changed how they operate, like fitness studios offering virtual classes or restaurants offering delivery instead of dine-in service, can easily indicate those changes to customers," the company said in an announcement. "Businesses that are subject to closures can share that they are temporarily closed.” (3)
Image via Facebook
Additionally, Facebook has been providing relevant tips on its corporate business blog. These have included advice on how businesses can stay safe and secure while working from home, using live video on Instagram to connect with customers, and creating an online presence during the pandemic.
It's likely that we'll continue to see Facebook add additional tips and announcements related to how businesses can handle life during the coronavirus. Check in regularly with Facebook for Business News to stay up to date. (4)