Facebook launches a unified UI for managing small business accounts

The social network has also released consumer surveys that show encouraging stats for local SMBs

Facebook is launching a new interface for small businesses that allows for pages and messages to be managed across the social network and its roster of apps.

The Facebook Business Suite lets users manage multiple accounts and post and read messages across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram from one single space.

It will also include analytical tools for business to measure the impact of their social media strategies across their accounts.

The Business Suite is available globally, but only to SMBs at present, though there are plans to expand it to larger organisations in 2021.

"The last few months have been tough for small businesses everywhere, and while there are reasons to be optimistic there is still much uncertainty ahead," Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a blog post. "But whatever happens, Facebook will continue to do all we can to help them adapt, survive and thrive online."

According to a report released by the company in July, in partnership with the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), SMBs making more than 25% of their sales online were more likely to report higher sales than this time last year and were less likely to have reduced their workforce during the pandemic.

In another report, published in September in cooperation with Deloitte, nearly half of surveyed consumers said they had spent more money online since the outbreak, and 40% had increased their use of social media and online messaging for product and business recommendations.

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Nearly two-thirds of consumers also said they had swapped at least one of their usual businesses for a new one during the pandemic, and that they used digital tools to discover that new business.

The survey also revealed encouraging support for local businesses. Of those who said they had started shopping somewhere new, nearly three-quarters said that at least one was a local small business. Just under a third (31%) also said they plan to increase their spending with local SMBs once the pandemic is over.

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