Facebook and Instagram have become far more than social media platforms for Alaskans. They’re places to sell household items, plan events and foster community. And Alaska’s small businesses are increasingly using social media to grow and develop.
Facebook and Instagram proved particularly useful during the early days of the pandemic, as Alaskans hunkered down and many activities went virtual.
Still, not everyone has the tools they need to take advantage of these new technologies. In the Alaska Small Business Development Corporation’s annual small business survey, published in February 2022, 14% of respondents said mentorship and technical help would make it easier to raise money for their small business.
As these platforms have grown in popularity throughout the world, Meta continues to adapt them to meet user needs. It can be hard to keep up with these ever-changing updates but doing so can help individuals and businesses grow online and off. To help, here are some tips on new Meta features impacting businesses and individuals alike.
Four tools helping small businesses grow
Alaska consumers increasingly use Instagram to connect with and buy from local businesses, and the platform has created new ways for businesses to promote their brands and grow. These tools include new interactive Maps, enhanced Reels capabilities, Subscription features, and easier payment options.
- Instagram Maps make it easier to gain new customers. Small businesses just have to add their location to the Instagram Connected Business Page and they will start appearing on a dynamic map based on the user search results.
- Reels provide a fun new way to connect with customers while promoting and selling products and services. And, they’re easy to create because every video uploaded to Instagram is automatically converted into a Reel. If videos are under 90 seconds, you can use the full menu of editing tools – music, effects and more.
- Subscription capabilities allow small business owners to make the most out of the content they create. Becoming a creator can give businesses a boost while creating a new business. Instagram is adding important functions to its Subscription capabilities, allowing businesses to have specific content only for subscribers.
- Meta Pay allows small businesses to sell their products and services. Consumers can now use Instagram Chat to not only connect with businesses, but to buy directly from them using Meta Pay. By making the process of purchasing even easier, small businesses can increase sales.
Two new ways to customize your Facebook experience
Customizing your Facebook experience not only allows users to see more content tailored to them – it helps businesses and creators reach their target audiences.
- The Feeds tab provides an alternative to Feed, making it easier to find content and customize your experience. This tool allows you to view posts from friends, Groups and Pages you follow in reverse chronological order. You can find the Feeds tab in the shortcut bar on your Facebook app. The key here is control.
- The Home tab is becoming the place to discover content on Facebook. It uses AI to recommend content tailored to each user. This will make it easier to discover content relevant to you and, if you’re a creator, to find your audiences.
Create a safe experience for teens online
As social media has grown in usage among Alaskans, that includes younger populations too. Meta is introducing new tools for parental supervision and mitigating concerning behavior while increasing resources on the Family Center Education Hub.
- Nudges are notifications that encourage users to switch to a new topic if they’re being on one for a long period of time.
- A new age verification test on Instagram makes it more challenging for users to use a false age on their account. Now, when some users switch their birthday from below 18 to above 18, they’ll be asked to choose from three options to verify their age:
- Asking three friends over 18 to vouch for their ages.
- Uploading a video selfie that is read by a face-based age prediction vendor and then deleted.
- Uploading a driver’s license or other photo ID.
- Parents can also set time limits for their teen’s use of Instagram, and find more resources on the Family Center’s Education Hub.