- Facebook to focus on business-centric communication apart from social networking
- The social media giant has started testing a feature called 'Support Local Businesses'
- Businesses can add a #SupportSmallBusiness Sticker to their stories on Instagram
- 46% of SMB owners on Facebook optimistic about the future of their businesses
- 15% of SMBs with a Facebook page have closed due to Covid-19
- Sales were lower for 55% of SMBs, compared to those in 2019
- One-third of SMBs have reduced workforces
- 53% of SMB leaders are struggling with basic necessities
- Women-owned small businesses are closing at a higher rate than men's globally
Facebook has revealed an array of features and initiatives to assist Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in recovering and support the business community in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region from 2021 by becoming friendlier to them.
The social media giant shared its strategy focusing on business-centric communication apart from social networking at a virtual conference titled "APAC Press Day" on Tuesday.
To combat the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, a couple of insights into global SMBs have been pointed out at a session titled "Look Back, Look Ahead," conducted by the Vice President of Asia Pacific at Facebook Dan Neary.
Mentioning that 46% of operational SMB owners on Facebook feel optimistic about the future of their businesses, he said, "Making potential engagement via Facebook for sophisticated SMB operations in future attractive, we have started testing a feature called 'Support Local Businesses' on Facebook feeds."
"On Instagram, businesses can add a #SupportSmallBusiness Sticker to their stories and also a button for their business profile page, where on WhatsApp, consumers can just scan the QR code a business displays on its storefront, product packaging or receipt to initiate a chat," he added.
The Facebook official said according to a study 15% of SMBs with a Facebook page have closed due to Covid-19.
This study was a collaborative effort of Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank to survey SMBs around the world over a six-month period in the context of Covid-19.
Even those who have reopened or survived have faced severe financial pressure, with consumer-facing businesses such as retail shops being the most affected.
Sales were lower for 55% of SMBs – compared to 2019 – which forced one-third of SMBs to reduce workforces.
The report also found that 53% of SMB leaders are struggling with basic necessities such as household expenses, a lack of demand for their products and cash flow issues.
According to the report, there also appears to be a gender division – women-owned small businesses are closing at a higher rate throughout the world.
Women's jobs are estimated to be 1.8 times more vulnerable to current economic issues than men's jobs.
However, the data also shows that digitalisation has been an important issue with 45% of SMBs in the APAC region making more than a quarter of their sales via digital channels.
Moreover, through the Journalism Project, Facebook has committed $2 million in investment in grant funding, coaching and training to support Asia-Pacific news organisations' novel coronavirus work in partnership with the International Center for Journalists and World Association of News Publishers.