Since 2020, more businesses than ever before have been pushed into the online marketplace. Consumers are spending more time and buying more online, which means social media advertising has a key role to play in driving sales for small business owners.
In September 2020, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the launch of the company’s Business Suite tool for small businesses faced with new challenges. With Business Suite, Facebook aims to help small business owners save time on social media management while keeping up to date on messages, and getting a sense for business results based on analytics and ad tracking.
What Is Facebook Business Suite?
Facebook Business Suite is a new social media management tool that replaces the Pages Manager app and has many of the same features you’ll find in Creator Studio. Rather than switching back and forth between Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, Business Suite allows small business owners to:
- Engage with followers
- Schedule posts
- Respond to messages
- Manage advertising
- Check engagement data all from one homepage, which is accessible on both desktop and mobile.
How Does Facebook Business Suite Work?
Facebook Business Suite helps owners manage their business’s social media, all in one place. On your home screen, you’ll see notifications from both your Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as recent posts, ads, and insights about how your audience is interacting with the content you post. You can create, schedule, and promote posts right from the homepage. You can also create automated responses to help reduce the amount of time you spend on responding to direct messages from customers.
Facebook suggests using this automated messaging feature to answer FAQs or to direct people to additional resources.
Business Suite also offers a Commerce Manager tool for those who already have a commerce account set up. If you don’t have Commerce Manager set up, you can access the feature from the new homepage.
How to Use Facebook Business Suite
To use Facebook Business Suite, you’ll first need to make sure that your Facebook and Instagram business accounts are linked. Then, log into your Facebook account and visit Business Manager on your desktop.
If you’re eligible, your account will open up with the new Facebook Business Suite page automatically. If you’re using the Pages Manager App on mobile, you should also see an invitation to opt in to Business Suite.
Once you’re in Business Suite, you’ll find a navigation tab on the left with several options. This is what each signifies:
- The “Activity” button shows notifications.
- The “Inbox” includes messages from both Instagram and Facebook, but can be filtered by platform.
- “Posts” will take you to a section that contains both published and scheduled content.
- “Page Settings” are a bit hidden in the “More Tools” section; it’s possible that Facebook eventually will change this navigation based on feedback from users.
Pricing and Fees
Setting up a Facebook business page is free. However, if you choose to promote posts or produce and manage ads, you’ll be charged based on the campaign spending limits you set.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Business Suite
|Convenience||Lack of novelty|
|Automated messages||Cross-posting may backfire|
|Easy-to-read analytics||No drafting tools|
Pros of Facebook Business Suite Explained
The ability to schedule posts, manage ads, and check notifications from one location can be beneficial, and frees up time to focus on other small business issues like operations and employee management.
Business owners can answer a common question with a preset message, or direct followers to a page with more answers—all from a mobile device.
In an email to The Balance, Liz Jostes, co-founder of social media management firm Eli Rose, said that this feature is especially relevant at a time when consumers are more likely to navigate directly to Facebook, rather than a company’s website, in search of the most up-to-date information on hours and safety precautions.
Business Suite’s overall analytics design provides clear insights and comparisons between a business’s presence across both Instagram and Facebook, as well as an intuitive filter that can be used to sort data in various ways.
Cons of Facebook Business Suite Explained
Lack of Novelty
Business Suite’s best features are not necessarily new; they’ve just been relocated. In the past, business account administrators could already cross-post to both Facebook and Instagram through Facebook Pages and Creator Studio.
Cross-Posting May Backfire
Cross-posting, though, may not be necessary or wise in Business Suite. The cross-posting feature may be a nice addition, but Jostes says that it’s not advisable—from a strategy perspective—to publish the exact same content in the exact same way across both Instagram and Facebook, in part because of hashtag usage.
No Drafting Tools
According to Jostes, there currently isn’t a “save as draft” option when working on a new post; when you’re creating new content, it needs to be published immediately or scheduled.
How Does Business Suite Measure Up?
There are many other options for managing social media, including popular tools like Hootsuite, Sprout, Later, Loomly, and Sendible. Facebook Business Suite’s usefulness, compared with these other tools, will depend on your skill set and business needs.
However, using a third-party social media management tool means you may not know exactly how a piece of content will show up when it goes live.
With Facebook Business Suite’s native scheduler, you have the benefit of previewing content in a predictable, exact way.
Jostes notes that Facebook is likely to continue to integrate new enhancements into Business Suite in the coming year, including planning calendars, which were previously only accessible through third-party tools. “Now that [both] Business Suite and Creator Studio exist, expect that there will be future enhancements that pull in extra functionality,” she said.
In addition, Facebook has also said that it plans to include other apps, like WhatsApp, in Business Suite in the future, and also to build out a set of tools that can be used by all businesses, small, midsized, and large.
Facebook Business Suite Tips
As Facebook continues updating Business Suite to become a refined one-stop shop for small business owners’ data analytics, marketing, and messaging needs, here are some tips to consider when using the tool:
- If you’re a beginner, start small: Learn how to create posts on Instagram and Facebook first before using Facebook Business Suite.
- If you’re a more advanced social media user, jump in: You will likely benefit from using Facebook Business Suite if you run a small business and manage social media yourself. The consolidation of tools for posting, messaging, analytics, ad tracking, and beyond makes for a more seamless experience.
- Watch out for bugs: If you see something, report it. Facebook will continue to update Business Suite as the months go by.