Facebook Reinforces SMB Commitment, Part II

This is the latest in Localogy’s Skate To Where the Puck is Going series. Running semi-weekly, it examines the moves and motivations of tech giants as leading indicators for where markets are moving. Check out the entire series here, and its origin here

Just one day after we examined Facebook’s explicit commitment to and reliance upon SMBs as an ad revenue source, the company emboldened its outreach to the local business segment. To cultivate that ongoing relationship at a time when SMBs need support, it has pledged $100 million in relief.

The $100 million program will specifically help small businesses weather the storm of lost business due to public health concerns and measures. That’s resulting from consumer self-quarantining and various shades of municipal orders to mandate or recommend non-essential businesses to close their doors.

Facebook’s program will specifically offer cash grants and ad credits to 30,000 eligible SMBs in 30 countries. The funds will be allocated through an application process. Doing the math, that means an average of $3,333 per business, which could offer meaningful help in offsetting top-line losses.

“We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19,” said Facebook in a post. “We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg separately published on her Facebook page today that the company is planning to offer educational content “to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment.” She specified that more details will be provided in the next few weeks.

To reiterate figures from our post yesterday, Facebook has 140 million business pages, 8 million of which are paid and most of those are SMBs. This makes the SMB segment a priority for Facebook, so relief grants are a logical move to show solidarity for its SMB constituents during a challenging time.

SMBs, more so than other business segments, also have cash flow challenges that preclude reserves or rainy-day funds for unexpected virus outbreaks. So we’ll continue to see repercussions on SMBs which will lead to relief from public sources, as well as more SMB-centric private entities like Facebook.

Elsewhere in the world of SMBs weathering the storm of losses from a global pandemic, there are best practices when it comes to online communications. These include things like making sure any new policies, closures or hours of operation are listed in places like Google My Business.

Several of these best practices were recently assembled as a sort of public service announcement by Brandify’s Damian Rollison, and can be seen here. Stay tuned for more ongoing coverage of SMB dynamics and information-sharing in this challenging time for the local commerce sector.

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