There are a number of ways to communicate virus-related updates to customers on the platform.
Facebook announced the ability to publish hours updates and service changes on Facebook Pages Friday. Businesses can mark themselves “temporarily closed” (as with Google My Business) or communicate other types of changes, which respond to the coronavirus outbreak (e.g., takeout, online classes or e-commerce offerings).
Businesses can also pin posts to the top of their timeliness, as another tool to communicate messages to customers.
The changes and where they appear. Facebook says that to make the changes, you go to Page Settings–>Page Info–>Temporary Service Changes. Businesses will be able to indicate the location is temporarily closed or select other options, under the heading “Open with Service Changes.”
Below are the admin screens as they appear on mobile.
Facebook says these updates or changes will appear on:
- The business Page itself
- Page previews
- Search results
- Curated lists of local resources on Facebook
In the context of lists, Facebook uses the example of food delivery: “Within Events, if people are looking at a featured list of ‘Places Offering Delivery,’ they’ll see businesses that indicate that their services include delivery.” A search for places offering takeout or delivery, presumably, would also show the same information.
Below is a before-after image showing a restaurant page that has marked itself temporarily closed.
There’s no discussion about APIs or whether these changes can be made at any kind of scale for chains and multi-location brands. It appears to be a manual process at this point.
Why we care. Social media is a critical channel for customer communication. And no platform other than Google has comparable reach and scale. According to the most recent public numbers, Facebook has more than 150 million businesses on the platform, globally, more than 90 million of which are small businesses. During the outbreak the site has seen massive traffic increases although without a corresponding ad revenue bump.