Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced on Thursday (September 17) that Facebook is introducing a new app that will let small business owners manage profiles and pages across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. The app has been named ‘Facebook Business Suite’.
It combines the back end infrastructure of the three apps. This will enable small business owners to receive messages, notifications, and alerts in one unified inbox. They even plan to add WhatsApp integration in the future.

This will help businesses save time and stay up-to-date by managing their pages or profiles across all the apps. It will allow them to manage and receive messages, notifications, and alerts in one place. Moreover, they’ll be able to post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time. They’ll also easily know what’s working and learn what’s resonating with their customers with Facebook and Instagram insights.

In January 2019, the New York Times reported that Facebook is planning to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. This integration combined the messaging capabilities of the three apps by allowing cross-communication while keeping them as three separate apps. So we can say that this has been on the company’s to-do list for quite some time now.

Facebook also published a study on the impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ purchasing patterns in partnership with Deloitte. The study also focused on consumers’ use of digital tools to search for and interact with businesses,. Close to half of the participants said they had spent more money online overall since the outbreak. 40% said that they have increased their use of social media and online messaging for recommendations about products and businesses. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of those who have swapped at least one of their usual businesses for a new one during the pandemic, said they used digital tools to discover that new business.

The study also found encouraging support for small local businesses. Nearly three-quarters of those who said they had started shopping at new businesses, claimed that at least one was a small business. 31% said they will increase their spending on small local businesses once the pandemic is over.

Facebook’s latest Global State of Small Business Report found that small businesses making more than 25% of their sales online are more likely to report higher sales than this time last year and less likely to have reduced their number of employees. This report is produced monthly by Facebook in partnership with the World Bank and OECD.

Facebook is introducing the Facebook Business Suite for small businesses first. But it will soon make this the main interface for businesses of all sizes who use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It is available for small businesses globally starting Thursday (September 17) and will expand to larger businesses next year.

The last few months have been harsh for small businesses all over the world. While there are reasons to be optimistic there is still much uncertainty ahead. This new interface by Facebook should make it easier for small businesses to manage their online social presence and business.