Facebook has announced five new tools aimed at making it easier for businesses to connect with people on the social network.
The new tools include a redesign of Pages for mobile, which allows people to make a reservation at a restaurant or book an appointment at a salon directly on a business’s profile page. They can also see Stories, recent photos, upcoming events and offers.
Another tool increases the visibility of Recommendations on Pages. Facebook users use Recommendations to ask their friends where to go, eat or shop, which can help businesses reach new potential customers.
The company is also rolling out a new Local section in the Facebook app and a standalone Facebook Local app that allows users to see businesses that are nearby.
Facebook is also building out its Events tool and expanding its jobs application tool to markets around the world.
The company claims that 1.6 billion people around the world have connected to a small business on Facebook and more than 80 million businesses use Pages.
The platform has become a vital channel for many retailers to reach new and existing customers, and as a result, it has come to capture a growing share of marketing and advertising dollars.
At the same time, it is facing increased pressure to protect users’ data and privacy on the platform in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, and there is growing awareness of the negative impact of spending time on social media, which has been shown to increase feelings of loneliness.
Facebook last week added new tools to help users track the time they spend on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Under the settings page in each app, users can now select “Your Time on Facebook” and “Your Activity” on Instagram to see how much time they spend on the social networks each day and set time limits to curb their usage.
This article first appeared in Internet Retailing, a sibling publication to Inside Franchise Business.