Facebook-owned Instagram on Monday announced new features to help businesses that are facing immense challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. Instagram launched a ‘Support Small Business’ sticker that users can incorporate into their Stories to talk about their favourite small businesses. Other Instagram users will be able to see who is using the sticker via a shared Story, raising awareness and visibility for those businesses. “As many stores remain closed and social media serves as an online Main Street, the shift to doing business online is more urgent than ever,” Instagram said in a statement.
“We’re announcing new ways for people to support and discover small businesses, along with more tools for keeping businesses informed and connected with their customers,” the photo-sharing app added. The company is also making it easier for businesses to communicate with customers by adding a dedicated Business Inbox in the Messenger app.
Instagram also said that Facebook’s Businesses Nearby feature can be used to find information on which local businesses are still providing goods and services, message those businesses and buy from them via third-party apps, giving those businesses more virtual foot traffic. “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,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky. Businesses on Facebook can also tag posts related to COVID-19 on their pages in order to keep people updated.