Facebook will revamp Pages for small businesses to fight declining organic reach

Snapchat-like stories and 'action buttons' comprise some of the new changes aimed at boosting engagement

Facebook is redesigning Pages for small businesses in an attempt to revitalise an aspect of its platform that has become strangled with oversaturation and algorithmic tweaks to the news feed.

Pages will increasingly serve as platforms for consumers to meaningfully interact with small businesses, by making reservations or booking appointments for example, against serving merely as marketing tools which organisations use to compete for news feed exposure.

As part of the wave of changes, user recommendations will be given more prominence, and ticketed events will allow organisers to sell tickets directly from Facebook Events. The tech giant's job application tool is also being expanded worldwide to help businesses more effectively advertise for employees.

"Local communities are built, grown and sustained by people," said Facebook's vice president of local Alex Himel. "People like your neighbors, your friends and your favorite local business owners. On Facebook, there are more than 80 million small businesses using our free business tools."

Facebook's recently-rolled out Stories feature, akin to that offered by Instagram, will be expanded to businesses so Page-owners can post their own Snapchat-like update for their users and engage with customers.

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Also introduced as part of the revamp are a host of 'action buttons' that can allow Facebook users to perform actions beyond just sending a message - such as booking a service with the business.

"These improvements are a small part of our commitment to help businesses connect with customers," the company added on its Facebook Business site. "We'll continue to work on new ways to make these connections easier and more valuable to help all businesses grow."

Revitalising pages for small businesses is a much-needed endeavour given the combination of oversaturation, and changes to Facebook's news feed earlier this year that prioritised person-to-person interactions over person-to-brand interactions.

According to research by Social@Ogilvy, as reported in the Philadelphia Business Journal, organic post reach for pages with 500,000 or more followers may be as low as two percent - while it could be even lower for smaller pages.

Image: Shutterstock

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